Technology power users and computer industry analysts seem to at least agree on compact disc technology's direction - up. More and more people have come to recognise the importance of this technology. Even non-technical users are beginning to realise the importance of having CD-Rom quality and quantity. However, CD-Roms are by no means the beginning or end of the CD story. Users can use CD-R to record data. There is also CD-I (CD-Interactive), a proprietary technology from Philips, but this only runs on a CD-I player. In general, CD-Roms are mostly used for game titles, big computer programs or collections of programs, such as Microsoft Office or interactive consumer catalogues. A few years ago, CD-Roms were on the cutting edge of technology, but like original luxury items such as the telephone, today they are seen as necessary, said Michael Morrow, managing director of Asia 2000, a leader in the local electronic publishing market. Almost every PC on the market incorporates a CD-Rom, and in many cases the drives are the highest speed on the market. This was certainly not the case a year ago, when even a low-end CD-Rom drive was by no means standard on a PC. Key manufacturers of CD hardware technology like Philips, NEC and Kodak have stayed in the game, convinced that this is the technology of the future. CD technology has become an industry standard as operating systems have become more appropriate to use of this technology. There are, however, more changes to come. The industry is currently looking at digital video disc (DVD) technology. DVD is similar to a CD-Rom, but can store 4.5 gigabytes of data on a single disc, which means whole movies can finally be stored without changing discs for lack of memory. If anything, DVDs will compete with existing laser disc technology because of the format and physical size. Mr Morrow, who believes DVD technology will be commercialised this year, said: 'DVD is a format being evaluated by the software market as it is a far more dense technology than CD-Rom.' Although considerable interest exists in Video-CD (VCD) technology, DVD may well end up taking over this market as well. VCD technology is not as good in terms of storage capacity, and as a result the quality of movies on the VCD format is poorer than that available on television. Current CD-Rom applications vary considerably. While they may be very popular as a medium for software dissemination, many individuals and organisations also use the discs to back up vast amounts of information. Asia 2000, uses CD-Roms to allow publishers to store large amounts of archives on the discs at a very low cost. Graphic designers also find the technology invaluable as a storage medium for their work, which often takes up hundreds of megabytes of disk space. LIKELY CONTENDER Digital video disc (DVD) is similar to a CD-ROM, but can store 4.5 gigabytes of data on a single disc, which means whole movies can be stored.