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Yesterday a big hitting consortium of Japanese manufacturers – including Canon, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Sanyo, Sharp and JVC – sat down together and agreed to set up the iVDR Consortium. This ‘Information Versatile Disk for Removable’ usage group – great name guys! – is tasked with laying out the specification for the next generation of ‘lightweight, compact, removable hard disk drives compatible with a wide range of applications from AV to PC devices’.

The idea is to create a standard interface, file system and hardware component set for a range of universal removable hard drives for things like home servers, video recorders, car AV devices and computers. The initial spec calls for 2.5″ ATA drives to be used, and for the capacities to rise to 200- 400MB within 3 years. So far so good, but the really interesting part of the new docs is the repeated emphasis on ‘content protection security technology’.

So it appears that moves are afoot to introduce copy protected removable multimedia hard disks for use in everything from PCs to set top boxes and even perhaps games consoles. Presumably these drives will be interchangeable and upgradeable, but will also incorporate some form of digital rights management to prevent all those rotten pirates.

Er…could this possibly be CPRM come back to haunt us all?

The consortium has a Web site here, but as yet with precious little content. Maybe they’re all checking out the copyright issues first?

Red – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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