Beyond Binary; August 1995; Scientific American Magazine; by Gibbs; 2 Page(s)
Browse the shelves of your local video store next year, and you may see something new: movies on CD-size digital videodiscs (DVDs) rather than tapes. Two camps of electronics companies are still battling over what form the discs will take, but they do agree on one point. DVDs will offer only prerecorded fare. Folks who want to digitally videotape their favorite cooking show or create their own multimedia masterpiece are out of luck.
A new data storage technology pioneered by Optex Communications in Rockville, Md., could change all that. Optex is wrapping up seven years of work on a drive that will record 5.2 gigabytes of data--eight times the capacity of a CD-ROM and enough for several hours of compressed video --onto an erasable 5.25- inch disc cartridge. The capacity is nothing special: magneto-optical drives will soon equal it. More important is the promise that Optex's drives will be cheap and fast.