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HP Unveils First DVD+RW PC Drive

After months of waiting, Hewlett-Packard reported late last month that it will start shipping its dvd100i DVD+RW PC drive in September.

The announcement matched promises made earlier this summer at PC Expo that HP would bring to market a DVD+RW drive aftermarket kit with a sub-$800 price point. The drive will ship with a $599 suggested retail price and can burn DVD media at 2.4x rewrite and 8x DVD read speeds. The dvdi100 can also burn data to CD-RW and CD-R media.

HP and the other DVD+RW Forum members had given glimpses of the technology at Comdex, CES and PC Expo, but had waited until this summer to firm up their launch plans. In the meantime, Matsushita and the companies supporting the competing DVD-RAM technology had sallied forth to test the rewritable DVD retail market.

The first DVD+RW drives are expected to be available in HP Pavilion PCs shortly after the general launch, said Mark Bony, HP Pavilion product manager at PC Expo. The most likely scenario will have the drives offered through the company’s configure-to-order program and as a component in a high-end PC.

The first generation DVD+RW products will have DVD+R capability. DVD+R media is expected to be less expensive than its DVD+RW counterpart and possibly backward compatible with even more products than DVD+RW, Birk said. The Alliance is still conducting compatibility studies and could not say in how many more players and drives the DVD+R media would play.

Philips and Thomson are expected to announce their first DVD+RW drives this month.