Panasonic have today announced a PC DVD drive/burner with DVD-Audio playback capabilities. The DVDBurner II, a combination DVD and CD drive and writer, will begin shipping in October 2002 priced at less than $500.
Unlike Panasonic’s previous and continuing DVD-RAM/R burner, the DVDBurner II will be available through normal retail outlets and to OEM personal computer manufacturers.
Announced and demonstrated at the TECHXNY technology event held in New York City between June 25th and 27th, the DVDBurner II includes read and write support for all recordable DVD formats approved by the official DVD Forum, together with legacy support for CD-DA, CD-R and CD-RW discs. This enables a single drive to encompass all of the industry standard DVD and CD formats and the ability to select between 9.4Gb, 5.2Gb, 4.7Gb and 2.6Gb DVD capacities or 700Mb and 650Mb CD-R capacities.
The drive is fully compliant with the DVD Forum’s DVD Multi specifications – they ensure disc compatibility for all recordable DVD formats established by the 230 member DVD Forum for both consumer electronics products and personal computers. In addition to reading and writing DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, CD-R and CD-RW discs, the DVDBurnerII can also play DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio and CD-DA discs.
When writing a 4.7Gb DVD-R disc, Panasonic’s new drive achieves speeds of up to 2Ч and DVD-R playback at 6Ч. DVD-R discs are compatible with most of the DVD-Video players and DVD-ROM drives in use throughout the world today, thereby enabling the production of personal DVD movies from a video camera or other multi-media device. The DVD-RAM write speed is 2Ч, which in terms of data throughput is equivalent to at least 18Ч CD-ROM rate.
Speaking of which, the CD-ROM write speed is 12Ч and CD-RW 8Ч, both achieved with the help of Panasonic’s own buffer under-run technology. CD playback can reach speeds of up to 32Ч.
Dana Berzin, Product Manager for Panasonic’s OEM computer drives said: “Panasonic’s DVDBurner II changes the recordable DVD landscape, it bridges CD and recordable DVD technologies, and computer and consumer electronics applications by providing a single, cost-effective solution for home video, personal computing and business storage/archiving. With the new drive, users now have an all-in-one DVD/CD storage solution that provides the security of write-once and the flexibility of rewriteable, broad compatibility”.
Charles Vidal, Product Manager for Panasonic-brand retail computer drives: “Whether purchasing at retail to upgrade existing units or to customize a new computer, Panasonic’s DVDBurner II offers consumers backward compatibility and a proven solution for all their current and future storage needs. It’s a true all-in-one product that bridges formats, capacities and applications.”
With an ever-increasing move towards PC-based playback systems for both music and movies, it will be interesting to see how widely embraced DVD-Audio becomes within the multi-media crossover market. At the very least, the introduction of DVD-Audio capable PC drives will increase the format’s market penetration and introduce more consumers from the grass-roots level on up, to the potential of high fidelity multi-channel audio.
Now all we need is a software or soundcard playback package able to decode, process and spit out MLP data…