Pioneer DVD-Recordable Drive Now Available for Your PC

On March 9, Pioneer New Media Technologies announced the availability of its first DVD-Recordable (DVD-R) drive, the DVR-S101, bundled with DVD mastering software from Prassi Software USA and five blank DVD-R discs. Aimed at the professional desktop DVD market, Pioneer's SCSI-2 DVD-R drive lists for $16,995 and provides a data-transfer rate of 1.428 megabits per second, a data-buffer capacity of 4 MB, and a tray-loading system. Together with the mastering software, this products constitutes the first fully functional DVD-R drive to be offered for sale that allows users to create a disc image file and record on the desktop. "The Pioneer/Prassi bundle provides the DVD-mastering market with the only DVD-R solution available," says Paul Dempsey, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Pioneer New Media Technologies. "This is a powerful product offering that is incredibly easy to use."

DVD-R technology is fundamentally similar to CD-R: Blank DVD-R discs are recorded in a DVD-R drive, which is controlled by a host computer. With the DVR-S101, the recording process is controlled by Prassi's DVD-Rep application software, which allows the user to select the files that will be transferred to the disc. Data can be written to or read from a DVD disc at 1.428 megabits per second, which is roughly nine times the transfer rate of a "1x" CD-ROM drive.

DVD-R is a write-once medium that can store any type of digital information, such as video, audio, images, multimedia titles, and data files. Blank DVD-R discs cost around $50 each and are usable on any DVD playback device, including DVD-ROM drives, DVD-R drives, and DVD video players, depending on the type of data stored. In addition, DVD-R supports a new file system called "UDF Bridge," a hybrid approach that accommodates both the newer UDF (Universal Disc Format) system and the older ISO-9660 system used by the CD-ROM format. This allows DVD-R discs to be used with computers that lack support for UDF.

Conforming with version 1.0 of the DVD-R specification, the Pioneer drive offers 3.95 GB capacity per disc, roughly six times more than a CD-R disc. DVD-R is currently aimed at testing and developing DVD applications and small-scale distribution of DVD content. It is also useful for archival storage of image, film, or video data. "Pioneer's DVD-R drive with DVD-Rep software will address the unique needs of the growing professional DVD-R mastering market," says Paolo Barettoni, vice president of research and development at Prassi Software.

DVD discs are dimensionally identical to CDs, so they are compatible with existing jukebox and changer mechanisms. This will allow networked environments to easily adopt this technology for high-capacity archive applications, and it will serve as a natural extension of CD-R by facilitating faster information flow and providing significantly more data per volume.