Sony to abandon further development of professional disc for data

The PDD is very similar in appearance and specs to the disc used for Sony’s XDCAM and XDCAM HD optical disc recording system.

Sony has decided to abandon any further development of its Professional Disc for Data (PDD), the pro version of its Blu-ray optical disc storage technology, the German Web site Heise Online reported last week.

The PDD is very similar in appearance and specs to the disc used for Sony’s XDCAM camcorder system. The report said that the broadcast version of the disc would not be affected by the decision.

The PDD cartridge disc can store up to 23GB of data. The XDCAM disc has 23.3GB capacity, allowing 85 minutes camcorder running time at DVCAM quality or 45 minutes at the Digital Betacam format equivalent.

Sony’s Professional Division in the United States confirmed that the news concerning the Pro data disc would not affect the XDCAM version of the disc since they reflect different formats.

The report said Sony’s original plan for the PDD was for the storage capacity and transfer rates to double from generation to generation every two to three years. To achieve this, Sony intended among other steps to use drives with two read/write heads. This approach has come to naught, however, the Web site said.

Sony will continue to sell its first-generation drives until the end of next year. Support for the devices would be maintained up until 2014. The company said the storage media would continue to be available beyond that date.

Sony has been far more aggressive with the consumer version of its Blu-ray disc technology. The first Blu-ray format consumer players are due to be available in U.S. retail outlets on May 23. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment will first release eight Blu-ray titles, followed by another eight in mid-June.

Blu-ray is in a consumer format war against rival HD DVD. Toshiba, a key HD DVD proponent, plans to start rolling out movie titles and disc players this month.

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