The spat between players in the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) consortium is likely to end this week but some members who decided to go it alone will benefit from the delays in the agreement.
The consortium, formed this time last year, found a stumbling block when Hollywood players, including Time-Warner, insisted it sorted out copyright protection. Other issues which prevented the agreement included licensing and regional coding, said Peter Scatchard, marketing director at Hitachi Europe.
Members of the committee are struggling to achieve agreement not only on DVD drives, which read data with a capacity of around five gigabytes, but also on another, writeable data format of up to 17 gigs.
"There looks like there?s a good possibility that the copy protection issue will be resolved at a meeting later this week"? said Scatchard. "There?s a high level of possibility all the issues will be resolved."
He said that if final agreement was reached over the three problems manufacturers will be able to ship PC-based units just before Christmas. "From our point of view, Christmas is irrelevant anyway," he said. "We?d have needed designs in late summer to ship."
Yet Sony, Phillips, Ricoh and Mitsubishi will capitalise on delays in standards by releasing a rewritable CD drive when they announce a plan to produce units at around the $700 mark. Scatchard predicted a bright future for the device.
"Its short term fortunes are good," he said. "There is a strong demand for it and the companies have a three year window of opportunity." He claimed it will take that long for DVD-Ram units to come into full production.
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