Japan’s Matsushita Electric, better known by its Panasonic worldwide brand, has announced plans to launch products based on a higher-capacity, second-generation version of the DVD-RAM format, which is still battling for market acceptance against increasingly popular writable CDs.
The company will launch in June a new computer drive and the first consumer video optical disc recorder, both based on the second-generation system.
First generation DVD-RAM discs are capable of holding 2.6GB of data per side to give a maximum capacity of 5.2GB on a double-sided disc. The second-generation format extends this to 4.7GB of storage per side to produce a maximum capacity of 9.4GB per disc, although initially only single-sided discs will be produced.
First to hit the market on June 10 will be a consumer video recorder based on the DVD-RAM format. Although intended as a future replacement to the conventional tape-based VCR, the new recorder will carry a 250,000 yen (£1,400), which will push it well out of the reach of most consumers.
For computer use, the company will put on sale during July both internal and external drives to support the format. The external model will go on sale from July 10 at 74,800 yen (£420) while an internal version will retail for 63,500 yen (£360) from July 25. At that price they come in slightly cheaper than the recommended retail price of the company's existing first generation DVD-RAM drives.
European launch dates have not currently been announced.