DVD-RAM: The Disc that Behaved like a Flash Drive

DVD-RAM: The Disc that Behaved like a Flash Drive


In this video I’m gonna ask that you step
back in time to the days when optical media was still a thing everyone used. Pretend it’s 2005 or something. Great. Your Motorola Razr is the envy of the neighborhood,
PT Cruisers are still on showroom floors, and your iPod–that’s just the bee’s knees. So many songs in your pocket right now! And it even plays video! Ho boy is it a great time to be alive. But you know what kinda sucks? Even though you’ve got this awesome CD and
DVD burner in your PC, it’s not exactly the most convenient thing to use. Every time you pop in a blank disc, Windows
is all like “What do you want to do with this disc?” and now you have to make a decision. Curse these choices! I just want this to appear as a removable storage device
like these new fangled thumb drive things. Or even my trusty floppy diskette! You can sort of use it like a flash drive,
but it’s slow, requires formatting, and is just a bunch of poopy nonsense. But what if I were to tell you that there
was a variant of DVD which actually was designed to function as removable storage? That my friends is DVD-RAM. RAM???? That’s right, DVD Random Access Memory. Just from a single glance of this disc, you’ll
probably see there’s something a little… different about the format. Unlike your garden variety DVD-R, either dash
or plus, this disc doesn’t require special formatting, files can be added to it or erased
from it on the fly, and aside from horridly slow read and write times compared to a contemporary
drug store flash drive, it behaves exactly as if it were a 4.7 gigabyte USB storage device. Perhaps the weirdest thing about DVD-RAM is
when it was released. It’s way earlier than you might think. The first version of MacOS to support it natively
was 8.6. 8.6! DVD-RAM was first standardized in 1996,
pretty much at the dawn of DVD itself, and the first DVD-RAM discs and drives were available
in 1998. So why the heck didn’t it become, like,
the gold standard of removable storage? 4.7 gigabytes of storage space in 1998 was
akin to what many contemporary hard drives had on board. A rewritable disc, with completely random
access, with that much storage capacity, seems like some sort of miracle product for 1998. And remember, this is DVD we’re talking
about, so even 1X drives were way faster than a floppy disk, and slightly faster than an
Iomega Zip drive (with dozens of times the storage space). Before we answer that question, let’s look
a little deeper into what makes DVD-RAM special, and why it has these little dashes all over
it. DVD-RAM discs are structured as if they are
a hard drive platter. Or a floppy disk. See, DVDs and CDs usually have their data
written onto one continuous spiral of pits and lands. Think of it like a very long list of information,
with little bits of code peppered in telling the drive where along the list it’s reading. This structure works great for things like
audio and video data, but it begins to fall apart when you want to store many, smaller
files. Every time you want to add files to a disc,
a new session needs to be made with a new table of contents written after the end of
the first. It’s essentially like creating an entirely
new list of information, and tacking it onto the old one. And each time you do it you have to also say
where the older sessions are on the disc. And whenever you want to remove files, it
becomes tricky to utilize that space again (assuming we’re talking about a rewritable
format) without erasing the entire disc. That’s why Windows is asking you how you
want to use the disc. If you choose “like a flash drive” it
will format it as a multi-session disc, and it will do its best to present it to you as
if it were a fully-featured removable drive. But DVD-RAM discs aren’t like that at all. Instead, the information on the disc is recorded
in concentric rings. Like a hard disk or floppy disk, data is encoded
on physical tracks and sectors. These little dashes are the boundaries between
the hard sectors created at the time of the disc’s manufacture. These create a disc where each physical location
has a defined value, and allows for formatting the disc with any file system you like. And that’s why they appear to Windows as
a removable storage device. Because they are! The operating system can natively write to
and read from this disc (assuming it supports the file system) without any session writing
nonsense. Windows XP natively supported FAT32 formatted
discs, and starting with Windows Vista, UDF formatted discs were supported as well. MacOS could format them as HFS and HFS+, too. It really was an optical format that behaved
as if it… weren’t an optical format. DVD-RAM was very much the best of both worlds. And keeping with the best-of-both-worlds theme,
DVD-RAM discs were made with incredibly stable phase-change alloys, meaning that the discs
could withstand being re-written upwards of 100,000 times. Plus they were very stable in storage, with
an estimated life of 30 years or more. And to allay concerns about disc damage, early
versions were stored in caddies so the disc was never actually touched by grimy little hands. So then, why the fudge didn’t DVD-RAM become
THE storage format of the 2000’s? If you guessed price, you’re probably right. But not so fast, there’s more to consider! First, let’s acknowledge that this disc
here is technically DVD-RAM Version 2. The earliest discs were only 2.58 gigabytes
in capacity, however double-sided cartridges were common which could hold twice as much. That’s 5.16 gigabytes for those playing
at home. And if you formatted these discs in the UDF
format, they could be used as a single 5.16 gigabyte volume. DVD-RAM v2 bumped capacity up to the standard
4.7 gigabytes of a single-layer DVD, and of course double sided discs were still available
which could hold twice as much. That’s 9.4 gigabytes for those playing at
home. V2 also increased write speed to 2x. And this disc is actually DVD-RAM v2 revision
1, which supported write speeds of 3x. Fascinating. DVD-RAM discs did get faster, with revision
6 supporting 16x speed, but from what I can gather these discs are very rare, and along
with a faster write speed came poorer longevity. These 2-3x discs aren’t that old, I think
I bought them in 2010 or 2011, but that was by far the most common speed ever produced. Also, the cartridges were largely dropped
in favor of some magical extra hard coating on the bottom of the discs, which to be honest
seems to work pretty well considering I’ve left this disc caseless in a junk box for
who knows how long. But let’s go back to 1998. What were prices like for DVD-RAM? Well, it’s not entirely clear, but according
to the Handbook of Emerging Communications Technologies, Creative Labs had a DVD-RAM
drive available for $500, and a single-sided 2.58 gigabyte disc would run you $30. A double sided disc went for $45. Other drives and discs varied in price, but
let’s stick with those price points for now. So, in January of 1999, Iomega’s Zip drives
cost just $100 for an internal drive, and the disks themselves were as cheap as $10
each. Assuming you bought 10 of them. Obviously the barrier to entry is much much
lower, but how does this compare in cost per 100 megabytes? Let’s do the math. A DVD-RAM drive with one double-sided cartridge
would cost $545 and would net you 5.16 gigabytes of storage space. That works out to $10.56 per 100 megabytes. Now, a 100 megabyte Zip disk costs $10, so
it looks to be barely more expensive than a Zip disk system, even accounting for the
initial cost of the drive. If you include the cost of the Zip drive,
that same amount of storage costs slightly more on Zip, with 52 disks plus a drive costing
$11.90 per 100 megabytes. Of course, this assumes you actually need
52 zip disks worth of storage space, but let’s suppose you do. As soon as you buy just one more DVD-RAM cartridge,
the cost per 100 megabytes plummets to $5.71. A DVD-RAM drive did cost 5 times as much as
a Zip drive, but the media cost per unit of data was less than a tenth that of Zip. 100
megabytes on Zip was $10. 100 megabytes of DVD-RAM works out to $0.87. One of the crazier things about this to me
is that DVD-RAM was cheaper per gigabyte than a hard drive! It took until the end of 2000 for hard disk
drives to drop below $9 per gigabyte, when DVD-RAM was available in 1998 at $8.70 per
gigabyte. And of course, the cost of DVD-RAM media dropped,
too. 2000 was the year that 4.7 gigabyte discs
appeared, and the drives stayed at the $500 mark. The cost of these new discs in may of 2001
worked out to about $6.25 per gigabyte, and it was only then that hard drives began to
dip below that price point. So then, and it seems like I’m asking this
question a lot, why didn’t DVD-RAM become the new super floppy? It sure seems like it could have. A gigantic removable storage medium, almost
as big as your entire hard drive, which works natively with your operating system with a
true FAT32, HFS, or UDF file system, and was actually cheaper per gigabyte than virtually
any hard drive for some years, seems like an absolutely tantalizing product. Why wasn’t this, huge? Well, there appear to be three answers. Speed, compatibility, and simple confusion. Let’s start with the first one. Although a 1x DVD drive reads data at a blazing
fast 1.5 megabytes per second, that wasn’t blazing fast for long. Sure, in 1998, it was amazing. Not as fast as your hard drive, but way way
faster than a floppy, and a bit faster than a Zip disk. However, part of DVD-RAM’s format specifications
was data verification at the hardware level, which was great for data integrity, but effectively
halved the write speed to 750 kilobytes per second because it double-checked everything
it wrote. It does appear, though, that with newer media
and by disabling the verification function, 4 megabyte per second write speeds were possible. That’s still not great, though, as a 32X
compact disc burner can get to that speed. Another big hurdle with DVD-RAM was that virtually
no DVD players knew what the heck to do with them. Much like CD-audio vs CD-ROM, DVD had this
problem with distinguishing DVD-Video from DVD-Data applications. A lot of consumers just saw DVD and expected
to be able to make DVD movies on any disc with this logo, but they’d find that DVD-RAM
discs just wouldn’t work with a DVD player. This wasn’t necessarily a problem with the
older cartridge-based discs because… cartridges (and it should be noted that the early cartridge
based DVD-RAM drives could generally read naked DVD-ROM and DVD-Video discs, too), but
once the 4.7 gigabyte discs appeared without a cartridge, suddenly the potential for missed
expectations comes into play. And this leads to the third problem: confusion. Although DVD-RAM was among the first writable
standards created under the DVD umbrella, it shortly found itself competing with DVD-R,
DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW. I’m not even going to get into the dash
vs plus nonsense right now, but the significant thing here is that all of these formats were
compatible with a standard DVD player, with some caveats. So even though they didn’t work as well
as a removable storage device on a PC, you would get just as much storage capacity for
things like data backups, and you could make DVD movies with any of these disc formats
to play on your TV. Another plus is that these formats quickly
fell in price, with a DVD-R disc running for less than $10 in 2001. Adding to the woes of DVD-RAM, all of those
formats quickly shot up in speed, with 12X and 16X write speeds becoming pretty normal
for blank DVD media. With DVD-RAM limited to 3X on a good day,
its native file system compatibility advantages came with a lot of speed downsides. And of course, there’s a fourth problem
I haven’t mentioned yet. Flash memory. While DVD-RAM and all its cousins were duking
it out, flash media started to become a viable thing. Yeah, it took until around 2005 or 2006 for
USB flash drives to even become available in sizes approaching that of DVDs, but it
was way more convenient, and quickly became available in larger-than-DVD storage volumes,
anyway. Plus it was generally faster than DVD-RAM,
with 5 megabyte per second write speeds being common in 2004. So, DVD-RAM kinda just became an odd duck. If you wanted a storage volume that you could
just throw a bunch of arbitrary small files onto, it probably didn’t need to be nearly
this big. A small flash drive was good enough. And before that, 100 megabyte Zip disks were
still plenty useful. And if you needed to backup a large amount
of data, a faster, cheaper DVD-R or RW would probably be fine. Really, CD-Rs were fine for most people. Somewhat ironically, where DVD-RAM came to
flourish was in set-top DVD recorders. In fact, that’s why I have these. Their nature as an agnostic storage volume
with extremely versatile re-writability meant that they were excellent for recording TV. A DVD recorder with a DVD-RAM disc was essentially a DVR with removable storage volumes of 4.7 gigabytes. And since there was no need for speeds faster
than 1x anyway, it was a perfect fit. So even though DVD-RAM never worked with DVD
players, DVD-recorders liked them best. Kinda weird, but that’s how it panned out. Of course this also kinda hurt DVD-RAM in
the long run, because it likely stifled development of faster discs. Since their most prominent application didn’t
even need 2x discs, there was little incentive to market 4, 8, or 16 x media. Had 16X DVD-RAM become common, perhaps they
would have become the new floppy. One area where I think DVD-RAM would have
KILLED is in DVD camcorders. Remember those? Yeah, neither do I. I kid, but 8 cm DVD-RAM
discs were available, and I think that in a camcorder they would have made a lot of
sense. Seeing how much better the set-top DVD recorder
experience was with DVD-RAM vs any other DVD format I’d think it would be a perfect
marriage for a camcorder. Easily delete individual clips. Import them into your computer natively. Etc, etc. And if they came with software for burning
full-size DVD-Rs of your clips, you could just have a few DVD-RAM discs, and use them
over and over and over again. I’m pretty sure there are some DVD camcorders
that work with DVD-RAM, but it doesn’t appear to have been that common. Most DVD multi drives made from the mid 2000’s
onward can read and write to DVD-RAM discs, so although they are hard to find (especially
these days) they are still at least marginally useful. If for nothing else, their incredible longevity
may make them suitable for archiving data. But I really think it’s a shame that they
didn’t go very far. An optical disc that behaves like a hard drive
seemed to me a sort of holy grail, and when I first learned about DVD-RAM, I was puzzled
by its poor adoption. But having made this video, it’s not exactly
surprising. Oh well, sometimes great ideas just don’t
get traction. Thanks for watching, and I hope you enjoyed
this look into the life of DVD-RAM. These guys definitely fall into my “that’s
a shame” category of tech, but to be frank we’re well past optical media for everyday
data storage anyway. When you can get a 4 terabyte portable hard
drive for $100, buying 851 DVDs doesn’t make a lotta sense. I’ll be exploring some more details of the
format, such as drive behavior when writing to a disc, and comparing large vs small file
transfers in a video on my second channel, Technology Connections 2. Clever name, I know. You can check it out through the link in the
description or through the card I hopefully remembered to add. As always, thank you to everyone who supports
the channel through Patreon, especially the fine folks that are scrolling up your screen. With your generous support, Technology Connections
has gone from side project to going concern, and I’m ever so grateful for your pledges. If you’d like to join these people in supporting
the channel, check out the link below or you can hang around for the button on the endscreen. Thanks for your consideration, and I’ll
see you next time! ♫ terrifyingly smooth jazz ♫ DVD-RAM discs were made with incredibly stable
phase-change alloys, meaning that the discs could be with… [stares intensely with that
face] And this disc is actually DVD-RAM v2 reversion
1. Reversion? Revision. If you choose “like a flash drive” it
will format it as if it is a mul ple eh be de pe ditchi de. Eurrgh. Came with a gle be blertche buh.. Most D… Most DV… [laughs] Most D… why am I laughing at the way I’m
saying “most?” A DVD-RAM drive with one double-sided cartridge
would cost $545, and would net you five dollars… five… pffffff eugh.

100 thoughts on “DVD-RAM: The Disc that Behaved like a Flash Drive”

  1. I still use DVDs, but I have a gamer pc what not includes drive for it. So I bought one USB 3.1 DVD drive 🙂

    What for? 🤔

    Films, photos from family, old games, storage for yi.. , Oh no not for that last.

  2. DVD RAM was co-developed by Panasonic and one of its best manifestations was in Panasonic DVD-RAM Video recorders. I bought one when launched in the UK for sub £350, the discs (in caddy) might have been £15 no more. After a couple of years I seem to recollect that Panasonic RAM discs became available on eBay at much cheaper prices.

  3. DVD-RAM was the best ever disk. I never had problems with it. When DVDs came out they proved to be not as reliable as CDs. Even years later I had DVDs failing to read right after burn or after an year or two. I hav a DVD-RAM, written 10 years ago and it still reads just fine. I never used DVD-RAM as a random access drive. I just wrote backups in plain ISO format on it. I don't really care about speed when backing up. I would pay a lot for a BD-RAM! I've tried to use Blu ray disks for backup. All the 10 disks failed to read after an year and they were different brands. Maybe my drive is bad – I'm not sure, but blu ray sucks. The most important feature of optical disks should be durability – especially these days

  4. given there should be no risk of ruining someone's business at this point, I guess we can also talk about one of the worst problems with optical media: noisy, shaky, and *unreliable*, yes. Nobody seems to mention, but my experiences with reliability of cd-roms and especially cd-rw were just depressing, I stopped using them almost immediately and I can't believe I was the only one. They'd fail to read back data right, that's it.

  5. Sorry but I disagree when it comes to "we are well passed optical." Thinking like that is plain stupid. Flash storage while it is hard to rate in years is around 10yrs. Optical is as you said 30yrs. So if your goal is archiving then you'd want the most stable for the longest life span you can get.

    I will say yeah its a bit stupid to be using dvd-ram but with bdre rev5 that give support up to 128gb of use. Also with a 6x write drive that gives 27MBps so 50gb bdre would take 16mins and 128 would take 64mins. Now the only thing is I don't know if bdre is the bd version of dvdrw or dvdram. haven't used one personally.

    Again if you are archiving then longevity is the key factor and bds benefit from the same time frame of 100 to 150yrs. That's anywhere from 10x to 15x that of flash. And also the more you write and erase from flash the more it degrades, meaning less than 10yrs if used a lot or more than 10yrs if used infrequently. But even with that you the user may lose track of this. So heres the easier thing you used bdre? Good it will last longer than you will. You will die before you lose your data.

    Days of optical being over is pure nonsense. When I back up my files I like peace and mind. My CDs that I written stuff to when I was in my teens are still good. All data there.

    If you truly care about archiving optical is the gold standard when it comes to longevity.

  6. You left out the comparison to CD media. Back in 99, CD data disks were large enough to store most things since file sizes weren't huge. Many people, myself included, used CD burners to make back ups of things. Most "computer people" had a CD burner to make their own music CDs so making data backups were easy too. I didn't know anyone who had one of those zip drives.

  7. The first version was backed by Tandy and was supposed to come to RadioShack as a 1 hear exclusive . it was developed under the code name Thor. And had a RadioShack target price of $1000 for an external. At some point the dev costs got too high for tandy to be interested and they gave up on the project. And then it was offered in the $500-600 range as an internal.
    Part of the problem was the format wars. DVD-RAM drives initially could only read one of the other two DVD formats and could write to neither. So when DVD-RW and DVD+RW drives started being able to handle both kinds of discs, DVD-RAM was stuck as its own thing.

  8. I was able to format one of my DVD-RAM discs as FAT32 on an old Windows Vista PC. Maybe try using a virtual machine to install windows vista and format a DVD-RAM disc as a FAT32 disc.

  9. I still own 2 Pioneer DVD/HDD combination recorders which can play back recordings I made from TV programmes on my DVD-RAM discs going back to 2003. The only limitation is it cannot delete preexisting recordings or make new recordings.

  10. Nothing can beat using clay tablets to store information, we still have the originals with the data written on them event after 4000 years.

  11. I think that confusion and simple fear played much more into it, too. For instance, I never really adopted RW discs, because of the fear that they'd have issues after a few rewrites (which, in all honesty, some cheaper ones actually did). The "word on the street" way back in 2004 was also that RW discs suffered from read issues once they were "tired enough", much more than R discs. R discs were simple, you didn't have to worry about any formatting, etc. – you wrote once, that was it. And they were still much cheaper by far than the other standards. Also, "RAM" was – in my opinion – a very poor choice of name, because it made people compare it to the wrong thing (ie. RAM), which was extremely unfavorable to the poor discs.

    Altogether, at a price markup of at least 10x the simple R discs (and often quite a bit more), it wasn't all that great a consumer standard to begin with – and where R discs went down in price (down to something like $0.25/disc sans the case), RW and RAM just kinda stayed where they were. It actually made more sense to just buy a pack of 10 Rs, record 5 of them and go, and if you needed to bring data back, you took the remaining 5 blanks with you (since you already needed to have a recorder on both ends).

    Funnily enough, the manufacturers repeated this blunder with BluRay discs – the writers quickly went down in price (though, for reasons unfathomable to me, most off-the-shelf computers still came with DVD burners despite this!), but the BD-R discs themselves got 'stuck' at their original market price (in Poland, that was about as high as $25 per the smallest 25GB disc) for a really long time. I mean, nowadays you can buy 25 of these at $0.70/disc, but this is 2019 — back when I was interested in them, USB thumb drives were rapidly becoming a thing. Nowadays, computers don't really come with any sort of optical bays at all any more…

  12. I had a DVD RAM recorder. Used to record TV, transfer to computer to trim them and send them to my daughter at university to play in her computer. End of term she'd bring them home and I'd re-use them. Ideal format for that sort of thing. I still have a stack of them.

  13. I remember the first time I burned my original song onto a CD-R and then I played it back on a Hi-fi and I heard my voice coming through the speakers and I was like "OMG, I'm on CD" 😂 😂 😂 how dumb I was. Stupid technology 😂

  14. It's 2019, 4GB is tiny. Especially when Micro Center now has 256GB USB 3.0/3.1 gen 1/3.2 gen 1 drives for ~$22
    I had never heard of this format…
    Also, I see based on that PowerSpec that you too are a Micro Center fan

  15. I never heard of these. Thanks for educating me. I used CDs for everything throughout the early and mid-2000s. I burned UT2004 (an FPS game) on CDs. It took 6 discs. That's a lot of discs for one game but it's way cheaper than normal DVDs, let alone DVD-RAM.

  16. Simonarne Myklebust

    sounds amazing for long time backup for documents and pictures and such but i will assume a normal dvd is almost as good just slower i guess

  17. My brain still cannot drik in how these disc were able to be RAMs, as the laser was writing data on them by making holes on the record layer.

  18. Robbie's Incoherent thoughts

    I still have Blu-ray burners in all of my computer's…..
    So not all of us have abandoned the optical disc formats

  19. nope i had a smartphone! before apple changed the definition to better suit their designs. keyboards and buttons those aren't "smart". its better that it become a useless brick when the digitizer has a problem…

  20. I had one of these! A DVD-RAM external drive. I loved it, it was absolutely brilliant for moving about small files and saving photos etc. But wow was it difficult to find a place to buy the media.

  21. A company I used to work for had these disks for their CCTV SYSTEM… It wasn't reliable and would often fail when transferring to disk… Atleast that's my memory of them (this was about 10 years or so ago.)

    I always found the disks interesting to look at if nothing else, loved the gold colour along with the little dashes.

    The cassettes they came in were interesting aswell.

    The company used to spend a fortune on these disks…

  22. PhazonXL Productions

    Hey, my dudes. New viewer to this channel.

    I just wanted to say that this channel is excellent. Love the long videos and the nerdy details this dude puts into the production. Yeah, the video is long, but it's filled with engaging content the whole way through. He's covering so many great topics. Keep up the excellent work, my dude.

  23. While I found this video very interesting, I have to compliment you on putting in those small errors at the end of the video. Those are always humorous and very personal, thank you

  24. I bought a 17" laptop in 2007 for ~$1,000. Its optical drive supported DVD-RAM and lightscribe. I didn’t have much to store on the included DVD-RAM disc, but I came up with stuff to put on it—once. I also came up with a random picture to put on the included lightscribe DVD.

    No wait, sorry. The lightscribe was in the desktop I bought later.

  25. 14:20 "One area where I think DVD-RAM would have killed is camcorders. Remember those? Neither do I!"

    But… the only video camera (other than modern phones obviously) we ever had in the family is a dvd camcorder I bought for my dad in 2008. I just looked at it, it supports "DVD R/RW", "DVD+ReWritable" and "+R DL Compatible". Doesn't appear to support DVD-RAM… BTW, it uses those smaller sized mini-dvds, maybe dvd-ram never was in that size?

  26. As always ignorance and bad knowledge among the boomers doomed a nice idea…ffs, when do we put them all into the matrix and start pushing the world forward as it deserves..

  27. My dad used these at a company around 1999ish he worked for airline company they wanted record saved on dvd ram aand sent to headoffice

  28. Marc Olivier Chouinard

    My personal take on DVD-RAM back then was that I didn't trust it ! My take was that it was a single write disk that got smaller until you wrote 4.7gb of data or ran out of file system modification. OR that after a few use, the disk would become unstable and data lost would start to occur. That what didn't made me trust DVD-RAM.

  29. I've got a DVD-RAM drive and about 5 DVD-RAM double-sided discs in cartridge … I should load them up and check what I put on them. Probably Kazaa downloads…
    And yeh, I never bought a Zip drive. Though my previous computer did have an LS-120 120MB floppy drive backwards compatible with regular 1.44MB FDDs (which it could read very quickly!)(nonetheless we didn't upgrade to LS-240 when it came out, even though it could also reformat to a higher capacity like 2.88MB or something as long as you only used it in LS-240 drives!)…

  30. I didn't know much about DVD-RAM, but Panasonic was about the only manufacturer that backed the format. Also, compatibility with DVD players was an issue. Looking back, it was ahead of its time and too bad it wasn't more widely adopted.

  31. 14:32

    My dad has a DVD camcorder that came with 5 8-inch DVD-RAMs. (Or maybe my dad bought those separately, I'm not quite sure.)

    They are great for reinstalling Windows or Linux on a PC that doesn't support booting from USB without having to burn DVD-R disks.

  32. I followed the URL @ 8:42 . Its interesting, some of the games we play now were not only computationally impossible back then, but in some cases also impractical from a storage standpoint. Destiny 2 as an example is over 80gb.

  33. Just dug up my grandfather’s barely working DVD player (Panasonic dvd-s35) and saw it had dvd ram video playback and Compact Disc Digital Video.

  34. My DVD-RAM set-top box was a dream come true when DVRs were over $500. I'd record whole seasons of TV shows on them, and there were only like $6 a pop.

    But the real magic was not only were they re-writeable, they were time-shiftable in real-time! Besides live-rewinding, I could pipe an audio cable into mine from the radio and actually get a Steelers game to sync up with the tape-delayed broadcast ensuring I never had to hear a peep out of those CBS blowhards.

  35. Want to know why this didn't take off and 99% of people didn't even know it existed? Because anyone who did know about it wanted it to literally be ram, like it says, but it couldn't and so it was just an overpriced DVD-RW as far as anyone was concerned. And as far as DVD-RWs go, hardly anyone used them either because most people didn't even have a DVD drive when they were relatively popular and now even less people use them because nearly everyone has a DVD burner and non rewritable dvds are cheaper, plus hardly anyone has a use for a DVD or CD that can be rewritten, the whole point of them is to keep what you put on them where it is and flash drives were of higher capacity than dual layer dvds and were cheaper.

  36. 2005 ?? I was already using dvdram as an external drive in 2000 long before i learned what "yuhassbee" means and is for. Long before mp3 players.

  37. Camille and her Cosmetics

    I can sort of get why this didn't take off. Even if you weren't confused about all the different DVD formats, I think some people just didn't want to buy a DVD that couldn't be recognised by a DVD player. This was at the height of Internet pirating, I remember people using DVD-RW disks to burn the latest pirated episode of LOST every week and play it on their TV.

    Not to mention the fact that portable media only works if all the computers you want to use it with are compatible with said media. Sure, DVD-RAM had a great application if you wanted to backup your hard drive, but this was when the Internet was still in its infancy and the 'portable' side of portable media was very much a thing. Who else remembers taking a floppy (or later a USB stick) to a friend's house so you could share files with them? Or copying your high school assignments to a floppy so you could put it in your bag and continue working on them at home? In the early 2000s DVD drives were still rare, many people (and schools and organisations) still only had CD drives. Owning a DVD-RAM wouldn't work because it wasn't universal enough. Maybe I'm not fully understanding the bigger picture though.

  38. LeaderOfTheRedNinjas

    We had these for recording TV in the DVD recorder that we replaced our VCR with in the 2000s. It was a fantastic technology, but probably was just in the wrong place for most people being between existing tapes and waiting for upcoming HDD drive recorders.

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