5x DVD-RAM is already here, first with Hitachi-LG’s GSA-4120B and later with Panasonic SW-9573 probably to be released to retail in August. DVD-RW is only at 2x and 4x. DVD+RW was the last to come but its entry speed was 2.4x and soon upgraded to 4x. 8x DVD+RW was mentioned from time to time but no drive supports 8x DVD+RW yet. The following PC World article has some information on this.
Quote from PC World:
The DVD+RW Alliance contends the technology can handle 5X now and, soon, faster speeds.
“We believe we have a solid foundation to surpass 5X,” says John Main, a Hewlett-Packard integration architect.
Most observers expect the next generation of +RW/-RW drives and media to manage 8X. Toshiba expects 8X drives to become available this summer, says Tom McGoldrick, director of support engineering.
“Technical specs for DVD-RW 6X and 8X are now being discussed,” notes H. Irie, DVD Forum secretariat. “We expect that 6X DVD-RW will be introduced first, probably this autumn.”
There is also an article about 16x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, and 8x DVD+R DL on DigiTimes website.
The DVD+RW Alliance held a technology symposium in Taipei for the first time on June 4, explaining its patent licensing and product certification process for 16x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW and 8x DVD DL (single-sided double-layer) drives/burners and discs, as well as introducing its anti-piracy technology, Vidi.
Eight members of the DVD+RW Alliance, including Philips, Ricoh, Sony and Hewlett Packard (HP), had representatives participating in the symposium.
Vidi, jointly developed by Philips and Hewlett Packard (HP), is a new copy protection technology to protect digital recordings of digital broadcasts and cable TV according to Broadcast Flag rules adopted by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The DVD+RW Alliance hopes to obtain FCC approval for Vidi and launch the technology as soon as 2005.
For the PC market, the DVD+RW Alliance has the upper hand on DVD Forum (promoting DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM formats). However, having already adopted CPRM (content protection for recordable media) anti-piracy technology, DVD Forum has dominated the consumer electronics (CE) market.
Though the article says “8x DVD DL” instead of 8x DVD+R DL, the information is from the DVD+RW Alliance so I guessed it really was 8x DVD+R DL. Since even common pre-recorded DVD-Video Dual Layer discs cannot be read at full 8x speed, 8x DVD+R DL writing is going to be more like 5x or 6x at the most.
Without some kind of support and cooperation from Taiwanese, Chinese, and South Korean media manufacturers, DVD-RAM 5x will also have a hard time in attracting more end users, resulting in one more vaporware despite what the PC World article said. I have zero hope for 6x DVD-RW and 8x DVD-RW regardless they will ever appear or not.