NEC to market DVD burners

NEC Solutions has begun marketing and shipping a DVD burner under its own brand.

NEC joins a crowded market, but the company believes there's room for one more player - especially given the super-low $US100 price of its ND-3500A model.

The drive, which has been shipping for several months as part of OEM packages (and sold as a "bare" OEM drive online), can write at up to 16X for DVD-R and DVD+R; 4X for DVD-RW and DVD+RW; and 4X for DVD+R Double Layer.

As NEC's director of storage products, Glenn Brower, points out, it's not as if NEC has never marketed a drive before. "We've been making optical products for 15 years," he said. "We did retail kits 10 years ago, with CD-ROM drives. But we've been focusing on OEM since then." So why is the company jumping into the fray now?

"We believe there's an opportunity to provide a great product kit - 16X is the top write-once speed for DVD - with software," Brower said. With this drive, he said, the company hoped to spark volume and demand for the DVD category.

"The pricing has come down on these drives," he said, "but some vendors are still charging a bit too much. We've tried to price this in a way that, between the speed, the software, and the price, we'll have a triple benefit for consumers."

With certain 8X media, such as Verbatim discs, Brower said, the drive could write at 16X.

"The reflectivity of the media has to be good enough to allow the drive to write at that speed," Brower said.

The ability to write at fast speeds to slower media is handy given the low availability of 16X media at this time. Of competing 16X models, currently only Pioneer said its DVR-A08 could perform this hat trick.

The drive, priced at $US99.99, comes with Ulead's DVD MovieFactory 3.5 Suite Deluxe and NovaStor Backup, as well as tech support through NEC for the drive (30 days through Ulead for the primary burning software).

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Melissa J. Perenson

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