TDK 2GB CD-R/RW Demos At Comdex

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NEW YORK -TDK and Calimetrics will launch an all-out effort at Comdex on Wednesday to build industry interest in the companies'new MultiLevel high-density CD technology, which more than doubles a CD's storage capacity.

TDK and chip manufacturer Calimetrics have co-developed a technology that boosts the capacity of a standard CD-R/RW disc to 2GB from 700MB. This is done through new chip technology that changes how the drives write the data and how the bits of information are stored on the media, said Bruce Youmans, TDK's executive director of marketing.

The supercharged drive can download data at three times the speed of a conventional drive. In addition, the MultiLevel technology can be adopted for use with any optical drive and media, which could lead to its use with the DVD platform, Youmans said.

TDK's road map has its first MultiLevel drives hitting the market by the third quarter of 2001. Pricing has not been established, but the increase is expected to be negligible for the hardware. A 2GB CD-R/RW will double the current cost per disc.

The technology's primary drawback is that the discs created are not backward compatible with the installed base of CD drives. However, the MultiLevel powered drives can read and write to all other CD-R/RW media, Youmans said. Because of the backward compatibility issue, drives will sell into the business market as a video editing and backup storage tool.

On the consumer side, the marketing director felt the MultiLevel drives will find acceptance as a bridge product that will fill the gap until DVD-R/RW devices become more affordable.

The technology will be demonstrated for the first time in Las Vegas on Nov. 14 and the project hopes to garner enough vendor interest to put together an alliance similar to those pushing DVD-RAM and DVD+RW, Youmans said, adding that Mitsubishi Chemical and Plextor have expressed their support.

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