Data plays it again

Just when you thought you might have seen every digital media storage device for the consumer market, along comes another one.

The latest, from US-based Dataplay, boasts size, or lack of it as one novel feature. About the size of a quarter, DataPlay digital media are single-sided 250MByte and double-sided 500MByte micro-optical discs that support both user-recorded and pre-recorded content.

One 500 MB digital disc can hold over 11 hours of music downloads or five complete pre-recorded albums of CD-quality music, hundreds of high-resolution photographs or dozens of games.

Soon to be available DataPlay-enabled consumer electronic devices will be able to play any DataPlay disc, pre-recorded or blank.

DataPlay has also developed what it is calling ContentKey, a tool that gives consumers access to additional content on a DataPlay disc over the Internet without necessitating a download. For example, consumers will be able to buy a disc with a new e-book by a favourite author. That disc might already contain three other e-books by the same author, a biography of the author and a celebrity endorsement of the book. The consumer can simply visit a specified URL and make a financial transaction for access to one of the three e-books and/or provide personal information in exchange for access to the biography and celebrity endorsement.

DataPlay is partnering with manufacturers to produce the discs and will also license ContentKey and DataPlay discs to companies throughout the world.

The company has already secured a pact with BMG as a result of which the BMG will make its new releases available on pre-recorded DataPlay digital media. DataPlay has previously signed content deals with the Universal Music Group and the EMI Group.

In addition to content arrangements with music labels BMG, Universal and EMI, Rosetta Books is also planning to release e-book content on the new media.

What is more, consumer electronic developers, such as Toshiba Corporation and Samsung Electronics, are manufacturing portable music players/recorders, digital cameras, PC peripherals, PDAs and portable games that will support the DataPlay format.

DataPlay digital media is scheduled to become commercially available in Q4 of this year.

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