Three times bigger and three times faster

TDK Electronics Corporation has formed a technology alliance with Calimetrics, to apply MultiLevel Recording technology to create a new recordable and rewritable optical disc format.

TDK Electronics Corporation has formed a technology alliance with Calimetrics to apply Calimetrics’ MultiLevel Recording (ML) technology to create a new recordable and rewritable optical disc format with three times the capacity and three times the speed of conventional CD-R/RW recording.

The first products to incorporate the new MultiLevel Recording technology will be a new generation of computer drives built on the familiar CD-R/RW platform but with the ability to record more than 2 GB of data at 36X on specially formulated ML blank discs, as well as 700 MB of data on standard CD-R/RW discs at 12X.

Commenting on the announcement, TDK Electronics President Kuni Matsui noted: ‘The dramatic gains in capacity and speed offered by the new ML format make it the ideal bridge to the future. Because the technology is IC-based, we expect ML drives to be priced at a small premium over today’s CD-R/RW drives. Hardware manufacturers can add ML capability to their CD-R/RW drives without altering existing optics, mechanics or manufacturing infrastructure. From a media perspective as well, ML discs maintain the cost-per-megabyte efficiencies of conventional CD-R and CD-RW discs. Equally important, ML drives retain backward compatibility with conventional CD-R/RW recording, enabling users to retain CD’s universal compatibility when so desired.’

TDK intends to introduce ML drives next year and has created a blank recordable disc for MultiLevel recording. The company says that new write-once disc will offer the highest transfer rate at the lowest cost/MB of any random-access removable storage media.

In addition to TDK, supporters of the new ML format include Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, a maker of CD-RW disc media sold under the Verbatim and Mitsubishi brands, and Shinano Kenshi, a manufacturer of CD-R/RW drives marketed under the Plextor brand. At the upcoming Comdex Show in Las Vegas, TDK and Calimetrics will be demonstrating the ML recording system for interested drive and media manufacturers, IC manufacturers, OEM suppliers and software developers.

ML is not envisioned as a replacement for recordable DVD drives. According to TDK’s Kuni Matsui, ‘The ML format is a bridge to the era of inexpensive recordable DVD. For the next several years, however, we see a tremendous demand in the market for a format that extends and enhances CD’s storage, speed and value. MultiLevel Recording technology can eventually migrate to the DVD platform, where it will offer similar gains in recording capacity and write speed.’