Late February brought another wave of announcements, highlighted by original CD-R patentholder Taiyo Yuden weighing in with its own announcement of DVD-R and DVD+R discs certified for 8X recording. But availability was still suspect.
There's always been a time lag between announcements and availability, not to mention availability and availability in volume. Plextor tried to circumvent that problem with its first 8X recorder, the 708A, which wrote at 8X to 4X media, and a few other vendors promised the same. But that was a temporary solution at best. With NAB approaching, more than likely bringing announcements of other writable DVD innovations that will set media manufacturers a-scrambling—notably, new recorders offering "double-layer" DVD+R DL capability, and potentially others boasting 12X DVD+R—what's the real story for picking up 8X DVD media on the, uhh, street?
Again, if historically proven patterns hold, when 12X becomes the leading edge, 8X will become mainstream, specifically with drives offering 8X in both formats. Pioneer announced the first 8X DVD±R recorder with the A07, but other manufacturers soon followed suit, and Sony most recently chimed in with a downloadable firmware patch to its popular DRU-530 series (http://sony.storagesupport.com/dvdrw/dru530adwn.htm) that enables users to upgrade from 4X to 8X in the DVD-R department without having to buy a new drive. Seems like everybody's got one these days—a recorder boasting 8X capability in one format or both. But as we head into the (temporary) heyday of 8X DVD recording, how easy is it for users to acquire media that's actually certified to write at that speed?
The Taiyo Yuden announcement, heralding their new line of 8X DVD-R and DVD+R media, brought them into a group that includes, at this writing, Verbatim (DVD-R and DVD+R), Ricoh (DVD+R), Sony (both), Pioneer (DVD-R), Memorex (both), HP (DVD+R), and Ritek (DVD+R). According to some online listservs, several online vendors said they had Ritek DVD+R media in January, but their stock turned out to be mislabeled (or inaccurately advertised) 4X discs.
By early March, 8X DVD+R media wasn't quite so elusive, though 8X DVD-R still appeared to be fairly scarce. CDdimensions.com had Verbatim 8X DVD+R media available in bulk quantities of 100-500 and 600-1100. Pricing was still high—$2.28-2.32 per disc in those sizeable quantities, roughly 30 cents per disc higher than 4X discs from the same manufacturer. Another media distributor, www.cdrdvdrmedia.com, offered bulk Verbatim DVD+R media for comparable prices, as well as Ritek 8X DVD+R and PioData 8X DVD-R with pricing as low as $3.39 in quantities of 500. Meritline.com also stocks the 8X PioData DVD-Rs (again, $3.39 at max quantities), and several brands of DVD+R. Supermediastore.com, cdrom2go.com, , have nothing faster than 4X. Shop4tech.com has Ritek 8X DVD+R as low as $1.59 in bulk (500+), but nothing else faster than 4X. Cdrom2go.com offers a great deal of off-brand (USDM and Acme) DVD+R media for as low as $1.22 in bulk, several non-8X representatives of Verbatim's and Taiyo Yuden's lines, but nothing faster than 4X from name manufacturers or in the DVD-R format. Issidvds.com, an online media reseller specializing in bulk sales and supplying CD duplication and printing equipment, was the only online sales outfit I found stocking inkjet-printable 8X media; they had Verbatim 8X DVD+R printables for $2.34 in quantities of 50.
What conclusions we can draw from this survey are partly predictable and partly not: 8X DVD+R is farther advanced into the channel than 8X DVD-R (no surprise); online media vendors who also sell 8X DVD±R drives, by and large, aren't selling supporting media for the -R side; and whatever Memorex, Sony, Taiyo Yuden, HP, and Ricoh producing for 8X media, they aren't getting it into these Web sales channels, at least not yet. Memorex doesn't have 8X media on its own Web site yet. Sony as well has only 4X media at www.sonystyle.com. Taiyo Yuden still has its 2003 product catalog on www.taiyoyuden.com, so naturally there's no 8X media, DVD+R or DVD-R, in site.