Development of DVD and the international standarization

Since DVDs first went on sale in 1996, they have not only been a substitute for videotapes and CDs, but they have now become widespread as a general recording medium.

In his research, Dr. Hisashi Yamada was the first in the world to see the possibility of creating a digital optical disc for long-duration recording. From 1994 he brought to a successful conclusion hardware development of a DVD that had the same size as a CD but six times its storage capacity. In addition, under Japanese leadership he pushed through an international agreement on DVD standards, an agreement that included American movie industry requirements in the standards. For his contributions, Dr. Yamada has earned the respect of the industry and become known as the ‘father of DVD.’
Along with doing research and development on various technologies needed to achieve the DVD, Dr. Yamada integrated these technologies and directed development of DVD hardware that achieved a DVD that had the same size as a CD but six times its storage capacity. At the same time, he promoted international DVD standardization by involving not only domestic and foreign hardware manufacturers, but the American movie industry as well.
Dr. Yamada’s research was not just concerned with making wide-ranging improvements in optical disc technology. Consider the DVD’s two major features—it is a video disc that records digital images, and it is a vehicle for storing a large amount of computer data. When we look at these two features and their applications, Dr. Yamada’s research and development opened up a new field of technology. The ripple effects of this technology have brought about major changes not only in science and technology. They have also led to significant innovations in everything from visual culture and publishing culture to the way in which people conduct their personal lives. Economically speaking as well, the DVD standardized in Dr. Yamada’s research has become, as a successor to the VTR and the CD, the main pillar of the 21st century electronics and software industries.

Dr. Yamada not only spearheaded overall DVD technical development. He himself also researched and developed an optical pickup device-- the major structural component of the DVD-- and its signal processing circuits. He was also directly involved in developing the algorithm for the MPEG-2 high compression image-recording format, as well as in developing its large-scale circuit integration. He also played a first-hand role in creating the CPRM mechanism for protecting digital copyrights.

Many electronic parts related to recording require long-terDresearch and development of 20-40 years, involving both materials and manufacturing processes. During this period, a technology has to win out over alternative technologies, and various applications have to be discovered, so that commercialization is generally difficult. Faced with such challenges, Dr. Yamada, by gradually building up technological improvements in components, successfully brought about the switch from the CD to the DVD, and he achieved a large increase in storage capacity, from 730MBytes to 4.7Gbytes. Further, he researched and developed ‘electronic parts systems’ that incorporated component technology, such as MPEG-2, error correction, and encryption, unique to digital formats. All of these elements were reflected in DVD international standards, and this research was evaluated highly from a technical standpoint.

For the results of his research, in 2009 the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers gave Hisashi Yamada an award for distinguished achievement.

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