MWSF: Formac ships new FireWire drives, more

Formac began shipping a new DVD-RAM drive, CD-RW drive, and video/TV digitizer this week at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

Formac's FireWire 9.4GB DVD RAM drive, called the dvdram, is a new product in the company's Form + Function line. It lets you store, edit, and archive up to 9.4GB of data. Its FireWire interface sustains data-transfer rates of up to 400 Mbits per second. Users can store, archive, and work on their data with a random access rate of 95 ms and a maximum transfer rate of up to 22MB per second. With enhanced caching for read/write throughput, the dvdram is also fast enough to record and play digital videos, according to Formac CEO and President Oliver Bergmann.

The company has developed its own FireWire bridge that lets dvdram to be hot swappable and to run on the bus power of most Macs. This means that, in most cases, it doesn't need an external power supply.

Formac has also developed its own storage mastering software called ProDisc. It lets you partition, format, and access the dvdram's removable cartridges. ProDisc also configures the DVD-RAM drive and prevents complications with other devices such as CD-RW or CD-R drives, said Bergmann.

The Formac dvdram will also read and play all existing DVD and CD formats on the market, including discs accepted by CD-ROM, CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW, video CD, as well as DVD-R and DVD-ROM drives. It has a manufactures suggested retail price of US$599.

The Formac cdrw is a FireWire CD-Rewriteable drive that's available in two versions: a high-end $499 16x/10x/40x model and a $329 12x/10x/32x model. Both offer a three-in-one solution, combining the advantages of CD-R recording with the ability to store onto re-writable CD-RW media, said Bergmann. And, of course, it lets you record, erase, and rewrite CDs.

It's bundled with Adaptec Toast 4.11 software, which lets you mix and create custom audio discs. CDs produced on the cdrw are fully compatible with all CD drives and audio players existing today, Bergmann said.

What's more, Formac is also shipping the $429 Formac studio, a FireWire video/TV digitizing solution for your Mac. It provides input and output for Composite Video (RCA), S-Video and two FireWire interfaces. You can hook up your VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, DV/D8 camcorder / VCR or DVD player and capture movies straight to your Mac with full-screen at 30 frames per second. Formac studio supports all major movie formats such as 4:3, 16:10, 16:9 and 2.35:1.

It also lets you convert analog video to native DV and convert digital to analog video. Formac studio also packs a built-in stereo TV and radio tuner (NTSC) that lets you receive up to 125 TV channels with automatic channel identification. A special zapping feature allows you to preview the complete channel program at one glance. Plus, you can convert your favorite movies straight into native DV for easy and fast editing

This story, "MWSF: Formac ships new FireWire drives, more" was originally published by PCWorld.

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