Matsushita Plans 4.7GB DVD-RAM Launch

BOSTON (05/15/2000) - Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. 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, which is better known by its Panasonic brand name, 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 (digital versatile disc RAM) discs are capable of holding 2.6G bytes of data per side to give a maximum capacity of 5.2G bytes on a double-sided disc. The second generation format extends this to 4.7G bytes of storage per side to produce a maximum capacity of 9.4G bytes 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 (US$2,270), which will push it well out of the reach of most consumers.

Matsushita said it will produce 4,000 units per month.

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 while an internal version will retail for 63,500 yen 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.

Discs for both products will also hit the shelves on June 30, priced at 2,700 yen. Matsushita is planning to produce 50,000 per month.

Matsushita Electric Industrial, in Tokyo, can be found online at

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