Sanyo Electric has introduced a CD drive that can read and write twice the normal amount of data onto a conventional CD-R disc.

The product is called the CRD-BPDV2 drive for HD-Burn; with it, a 700MB CD-R can hold 1.4GB of data – enough to hold up to two hours of video, Sanyo claimed.

Sanyo’s HD-Burn technology increases the data storage density by increasing the number of useful pits into which data is burned.

First, the individual pits are made smaller. Second, an improved error correction system enables a greater proportion of these to be used for data and less for error-correction.

Error of its ways “This error-correction system used to take up a large area of the disc,” a Sanyo representative said. “In an extreme example, let’s say, out of 100 signals, in which you can use as data, the error-correction system used to use up about 30 of them but now, by using a new compression technology, it can be reduced down to 10.”

The new RSPC (Reed-Solomon Product Code) error-correction system is used rather than the CIRC (Cross-Interleaved Reed-Solomon Code) system used in conventional CD-Rs.

The resulting disc has to be played back on a DVD system, because of the different recording mechanism used in HD-Burn. The firmware on the DVD player needs to be changed to be compatible with HD-Burn.

Sanyo intends sharing the technology freely with DVD hardware makers, so that they can produce the required HD-Burn-compatible DVD players.

Sanyo will start taking orders for the sample drives at the end of September.