That ad hoc committee of computer majors – Apple Computer Inc, Compaq Computer Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, and Microsoft Corp, and Fujitsu Ltd and Sun Microsystems Inc, which joined subsequently – that took it upon itself to review and pronounce on the two rival digital video disk formats as they relate to computer applications […]
That ad hoc committee of computer majors – Apple Computer Inc, Compaq Computer Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, and Microsoft Corp, and Fujitsu Ltd and Sun Microsystems Inc, which joined subsequently – that took it upon itself to review and pronounce on the two rival digital video disk formats as they relate to computer applications has now come out with its findings, and does not come down unequivocally in favour of either. They do conclude that with some additional work, either the Multimedia Compact Disk format proposed by Sony Corp and Philips Electronics NV, or the Super Density format proposed by the group led by Toshiba Corp, could by itself satisfy all nine technical recommendations that the team released in May 3. But since there are still two formats instead of a single or unified proposal, it says, the first of the experts’ recommendations – that there be only one format – remains unfulfilled. To meet the needs of computer-based applications, both format specifications need further definition in two areas, it declares – read-write applications and cross-system interchange compatibility. The experts ask that the format owners continue working toward making their products satisfy all of the needs of computer-based applications, recommending that each group adopt the Optical Storage Technology Association’s Universal Disk Format interchange standard for non-sequential recording of data, since with some additional refinements, this would enable full interchange compatibility between read-only and read-write products developed for both television-based and computer-based applications. In detail, the team says backward read compatibility has been demonstrated by both formats. The need for even the most basic digital video disk player or read-only memory drive to have capability to play back compatible content, irrespective of whether the content is presented as a CD-ROM, recordable read-write disk or recordable write-once disk is stressed. The team wants a single single file system for entertainment and computer-based content and all types of disk, and therefore recommends against the ISO 9660 volume and file system for current CD-ROM and CD-R applications because it was designed specifically for pre-recorded disks, in favour of the Optical Storage Technology Association-compliant domain of the ISO 13346 standard for volume and file structure of write-once and rewritable media using non-sequential recording for information interchange, with the restricted implementation informally known as micro-OSTA being adopted as the file system of even the most basic player. But to provide a bridge during the transition from ISO 9660 to OSTA UDF, the initial read-only media specification for any high-density compact disk format should include the volume and file system structures for both standards, it says. The team is happy that disks and drives will be cheap enough to make, and that neither proposal includes a mandatory caddy or cartridge, and it believes that the average number of uncorrectable errors per disk will match or be lower than that of current compact disk technologies.