Recordable DVDs are available right now, but it’s a complete mess – DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and other “standards,” using different media, playing on different machines. It’s the same tangle of competing business interests that delayed the entire DVD market for years. (You could have had your movies on DVD several years earlier – it wasn’t technology, it was industry giants fighting among themselves that delayed things. There’s a great book to be written laying out the whole sordid story.)

There’s a possibility that it will be sorted out in a couple of years. Nine consumer electronics makers, including Sony, Philips Electronics and Samsung Electronics, are expected to unveil a uniform standard for next-generation DVDs on Tuesday. The standard reportedly will feature disks that can record up to 30Gb apiece, and if all goes well it will hit the market in 2003 or 2004.

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