AfterDawn: Tech news

Sony unveiled dual layer DVD burners

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 19 Mar 2004 14:43 User comments (24)

Sony unveiled dual layer DVD burners Sony has unveiled its first dual layer DVD recorders, the 700 series. The new drives will feature a 2.4x dual layer DVD+R DL recording in addition to the more common single layer 8x DVD-R and DVD+R recording and 4x DVD-RW/DVD+RW recording.
The internal drive, called Sony DRU-700A is expected to cost $230 and should be available, according to Sony, in second quarter of this year. Meanwhile various major media manufacturers have also announced the availability of dual layer DVD+R DL discs.

Dual layer recording makes the process of backing up DVD movies much easier as the most common DVD disc format nowadays, the DVD-9, will fit on one disc directly without any re-encoding or removing extra features from the disc. So far the only option has been to re-encode DVD-9 discs to fit onto single layer DVD-5 -sized recordable discs.

Sony also announced that once DVD Forum finalizes the dual layer DVD-R specs that Pioneer submitted to the Forum back in October 2003, company will add support for that one as well (assuming that such support doesn't require any hardware modifications but can be done by upgrading the firmware instead).


Previous Next  

24 user comments

119.3.2004 16:31

That's great news. Any word on DL media availability? Prices?

219.3.2004 17:36

From an article at digitimes:

Ritek will start volume production of 8.5GB single-sided double-layer DVD+Rs and 12x DVD+Rs next quarter.

320.3.2004 3:43

Nice one! But is this as simple as it seems? I mean if we were to have this dual layer burner and the right media, could we just use DVD Decrypter then burn with Nero? If so, i will def be out to get one! :D

420.3.2004 7:45

This is great news, just built a new system but didnt get a new burner(old one works fine) because i knew that these burners were coming.... That said tho i will still be waiting for 4X Burn, 2.4X to slow for my $200.

520.3.2004 8:27

im hoping pioneer will do a firmupgrade for a07 to burn those disks... it would be more simple then just getting a brand new burner... i got me 2 dvd burners already... and i dont want to buy a new one...

621.3.2004 1:58

Sony also announced that they are developing a DVD copy protection called 'ARccOS' that is supposed to prevent direct copies and transcoding of DVDs (taken from German site

721.3.2004 2:50

Cyprien - With the Pioneer 107 as cheap as it is right now I dont think they will do a firmware upgrade(I hope they do). This is a great chance to sell even more burners.

821.3.2004 3:22

even if they dont... someone will make a hacked firm that makes it burn dvdr9.. it's not a problem now a days...

921.3.2004 9:52


1021.3.2004 17:08

Firmware updates have been able to increase burning speed on some rare occaisions in the past, however, will not be able to support DVD-9. This is an entirely different process from what I understand and I would NOT even hope for a firmware upgrade.

1121.3.2004 17:18

having 2 dvd burners(nec,lite-on)is great but having to buy a sony is fine too,but firmware upgrades would help us the joe publics and the companies that already have recording media already in the recording public

1221.3.2004 17:41

what ever happened to philips new burner, it was supposed to be 16x, I think, I've been waiting for it since 2002. I read somewhere it was supposed to be out in late 2003, still no burner??? tx

1321.3.2004 18:03

Hiya guys, sankyou: said:

Firmware updates have been able to increase burning speed on some rare occaisions in the past, however, will not be able to support DVD-9.
Can I ask you all to have a look at:
2. Liquid Crystal Tilt Compensator Provides accurate, reliable READ/WRITE performance with a variety of disc characteristics with the Liquid Crystal Tilt Compensator activated, even with irregularly curved or thick/thin media.
Now think about that.... Now everyone have a look at: with particular reference to DVD CONSTRUCTION.. There you will see how a DVD is made up. Now, with a DVD having two 0.6mm layers with dual recorded layers between them, there is not much difference in focal length between the layers. The Liquid Crystal Tilt Compensator is designed to compensate for warped DVDs, and that warp will quite often be in excess of 0.6mm. A conclusion: The Liquid Crystal Tilt Compensator is DESIGNED to adjust focal length automatically, just perfect for dual-layer recording. I think Pioneer has all the technology it needs to do that already, and all it will take is the firmware. I have been making this point for over a month (ask Oriphus), when I mentioned the compensating mechanism controlling the optics in the 107. Looks like we might be getting there!!! Let the Good times ROLL..
Life is just more of the same:

1422.3.2004 12:40

Oh, GREAT. My Plex708 is only about 2 weeks old, and now I want a new burner :-) Darn treadmill.

1522.3.2004 15:30

it's not really a problem for pioneer to make a firm for it's burners... ofcourse it wont fit ANY model... it will probably fit only the 106/a06 and 107/a07... from what i see the dvd9 dvd+r looks the same as regular dvd+r only with 2 layers... the problem is making the dvd+r and not the burner... if it can read the dvd9 it can write one... we just need to wait ans see what pioneer will say..

1622.3.2004 16:17

HA! six.6.six, you think YOU got screwed over? I have a TDK 420N. Burns DVD+R/W @ 4X, not dual format, not 8X. Got it a while ago, and cost me $300!!! Never going to adopt new technology early again.

1723.3.2004 22:06

I almost bought the Plex 708 a half dozen times and perhaps a couple more after a few beers. (note to self get the wife to take the credit card when I am nursing a beer while browsing through Newegg for new hardware). Fortunately my almost 2 year old Sony Dru500 is still recording DVD+R-R media at 4X with no problem. I will however lose complete control when dual layer burners are available. It could end up for some being as simple as a firmware upgrade, but I doubt it because there would be too much money lost to the manufacturer and big corportations aren't known for their genorosity.

1823.3.2004 23:24

If this burner is only 2.4x, and if a commercial dvd is usually around 7 gigabytes, then it will most likely take 50 minutes to burn each dvd if my calculations are correct. Then if we estimate 30 minutes to decrypt it to the hard drive, were looking at a one hour and 20 minute process. Whereas, with my dvd burner I can, on average; decrypt in 30, recode with a deep analysis in another 30, and then burn the dvd in 15 minutes with my 4x sony, a total of one hour and 15 minutes; and, if i was to want a new dvd i would only have to wait 15 minutes to copy, whereas it would take 50 with this dual layer burner. Plus, I got my burner with my system for only about $130 dollars. Oh yeah, on most dvds with Nero recode one can keep menus, lose the extras, and still be above 65% compression, which looks perfectly 1:1 to me even on a 60 inch screen. So, to all out there who are sad about this new technology, I say don't be, there is no discernable benefit yet. Oh yeah, and I can find media tht works for about 50 cents a disc... I seriously doubt DVD+R DL will be that cheap.

1924.3.2004 4:24

The new DRU-700a is able to burn DVD-5s at 8X, which of course on DVD's that are not too large most of us will continue to do. The added benefit of being able to back up those really large and difficult files is a nice alternative. If it's taking you more than 8 to 15 minutes to rip a movie you might want to inverst in a faster reader. It takes me on average 8 to 12 minutes to rip,15 to compress, and 17 to burn using 4X +R media and little more with 4X -r media.

2024.3.2004 16:16

the 12x media will be great for the 8x...

2126.3.2004 3:32

So, any word on price for the double-layer media?

2226.3.2004 6:02

Hi drchips, The LCD tilt control doesn't affect whether the DVD read/write head can focus on both layers. The head can already focus on both layers as it can read 2 layer discs. The issue of writing on layer 2 may possibly involve the drive not possessing the hardware required to correctly change the composition of the recordable material on the semi-transparent layer 2. Or perhaps, it is even down to marketing - who knows, not me. For Interest: Pioneer's tilt control is designed to reduce the distortion (called coma) that occurs in the read/write laser spot when the head is not precisely at 90 degrees to the recording surface. Even a 1 degree tilt can cause problems due to the uneven length path the laser light takes to travel to the recording surface. One of the major problems is with crosstalk to the next 'track' on the spiral. Due to the different physical dimensions and optical specs of the different formats, some are susceptible to tilt and others are not. CD is not susceptible to tilt as the track density is relatively low - tilt control unnecessary. DVD is more susceptible but not overly so due to the increased NA but decreased focal length - tilt control not really necessary (but provided by Pioneer - hmmm). DVD-HD is very susceptible to tilt due to the increased NA, tight track packing and still having the focal length of DVD, these drives will definitely need tilt control (hint). Bluray is probably not susceptible to tilt as the focal length has been reduced to .1mm to complement the other dimensions of the format, although this very short focal length brings with it other problems. Regards, Bob

2326.3.2004 14:57

Hiya bobnick,

The issue of writing on layer 2 may possibly involve the drive not possessing the hardware required to correctly change the composition of the recordable material on the semi-transparent layer 2.
Two main requirements for dual-layer burning are: 1 - ability of the laser to focus on the required layer 2 - laser head power (writing) in the 30mW range
Pioneer's tilt control is designed to reduce the distortion (called coma) that occurs in the read/write laser spot when the head is not precisely at 90 degrees to the recording surface.
Agreed, but follow my reasoning on this..
even with irregularly curved or thick/thin media.
If the media thickness is an issue (ignoring warp for the moment - taking a perfectly flat but "Thin" disk) and Pioneer's Tilt Control mechanism is designed to compensate for that, does it not also follow that the mechanism MUST compensate for focal length discrepancies (as they are the only discrepancies attributable to thin/thick differences). Bearing in mind the following: 1 - Pioneer has demonstrated a 106 with no hardware changes, just a firmware upgrade (rumour has it, reported as seen by a number of people at a number of Trade Shows) that writes dual-layer. 2 - There is no difference (other than laser power output) that I can see between the laser transport mechanisms of the 106 and the 107. 3 - Assuming that the 106 HAS written a dual-layer disk, can one not assume that the 107 can do likewise? 4 - I doubt that Pioneer has developed their Tilt Compensator to do just the one job, especially since DVD drives WITHOUT the Tilt Compensator have been doing such a sterling job so far - I think it goes deeper than that. For those interested in the Coma Effect as it is applicable here, it can be read about here: I am watching the dual-layer writable story closely, as I cannot see any "technical" reason why it cannot be done now, but can think of a few political (think big business and bribes) and marketing reasons against it. Have Fun...

2427.3.2004 4:22

Hi drchips, Hmmm we seem to be looking at this in different ways. I suppose my main point is that a DVD drive that is able to read a DVD9 can already focus on the 2nd layer well enough to read it and thus should be able to focus the write laser spot well enough to write to the layer. However, the quality of that write may be an issue. The tilt mechanism does not really come into it as there are hundreds of brands of DVD players that can focus on the second layer either using standard mechanical tilt control or none at all. Whether Pioneer showed a drive that did not have any hardware mods burning a dual layer DVD is a bit debatable, only the engineers who prepared the drive would know for certain, the people who usually run the stands are not likely to know for certain. And again the quality of that write and its reliability are unknown. Even if it were possible, as I had mentioned, marketing forces may rule the day. I believe that a few of the manufacturers (Philips?) had already stated that the problem was not with the drives but with the media. The view was that there was no point in creating dual layer drives if the media was not available and thus write strategies could not be programmed into the drives On that page that you linked, you will notice at the bottom where they discuss dual layer discs there is no mention of the LCD tilt contol at all. What is mentioned is the increase in the track margin to allow for the 55um difference of focal length. I would have thought that if the LCD was being used to improve the performance in this respect, Pioneer would have mentioned it here. You can do a rough estimate at this point , the mean difference in focal length of the layers is 55um while the focal length of the bottom layer is 600um or around about 8% - this is the only variable that changes, consider a beam focused on the bottom layer, the dimension of the laser on layer 2 with be about 8% larger than optimum which is at least partly compensated for by the 10% increase in track spacing thus again placing the Airy pattern minima where they should be to minimise crosstalk . There are other issues involved with this subject and I haven't looked at the DVD all that much so I may be quite wrong on this point. As far as I am aware Pioneer have only ever claimed the LCD tilt mechanism was for use in improving performance with tilted discs. That is all they claimed in their patent: There are no later granted patents although I have not checked the applications. There is a rather in depth analysis of coma (but a very good plot on page 30) in "Principles of Optical Disc Systems" by G Bouwhuis et al. Unfortunately Philips engineers wrote this book way back in 1985 so it definitely does not cover dual layer DVDs. >>:-) Having said all this, this website: shows the tilt LCD being used to improve the openings on the eye pattern and thus improve read performance and perhaps write performance. One difficulty is that the disc thickness error is not quantified so we have no indication of whether it is of the same order as the 55um layer difference. See ya, Bob BTW

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive