DVD-RAM is significantly more durable and reliable than other optical media. DVD-RAM also uses phase-change technology that can be rewritten roughly 100,000 times. With its hard sectors, random access capabilities and optional cartridge, DVD-RAM more closely resembles traditional disc-based storage media than do DVD-RW and DVD+RW. As the data is written, it verifies so writing is slower than with conventional DVD media. Also, the Panasonic media has a special scratch resistant coating.
As most people who play with DVD writers are not hard core data archivists, these features are not a big selling point. I think most manufacturers are adding this just because they can and they are desperate for something new to sell (see LightScribe). Some of us with Panasonic DVD recorders have a legitimate use for these discs. Others have real data integrity concerns. As for the rest of the people who will get these drives, time will tell. Expensive 16X RAM media will meet the same roadblocks that expensive DL media has.
In any case, I have a slot waiting for a 4550 drive. I am just a gadget junkie. :bigsmile: