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Philips, HP, Thomson DVD+RW Products Slated

New York – DVD+RW products will finally arrive this summer with Philips, Thomson Consumer Electronics and Hewlett-Packard announcing launch dates for home DVD recorders and PC drives at PC Expo yesterday.

The news confirmed launch plans originally announced at CES by the DVD+RW Alliance members in January, but followed the introduction on of second generation products from the competing DVD-RAM format earlier this month. DVD-RAM products have been available since last year.

Dr. Frans Bos, Philips strategic alliance manager, said the company’s new CEO would officially announce Philips’ DVDR 1000 home recorder in Berlin on Aug. 26 with a PC drive to follow in late September. Pricing for either product was not available. Thomson’s home recorder will debut in late September with pricing to be announced at that time, said Rick Koertge, manager of DVD product planning, adding that Thomson plans to only play in the CE space with its DVD+RW products.

David Birk, Hewlett-Packard’s DVD+RW Alliance representative, said a PC drive from HP will be available later this summer with a sub-$800 price point. While Birk would not give a firm price point, he did say the drive would be competitively priced with other rewritable DVD products on the market. The first DVD+RW drives will be available in HP Pavilion PCs shortly after the general launch, said Mark Bony, HP Pavilion product manager. 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.

At the show on Tuesday Panasonic showed a new DVD-RAM PC drive carrying a sub-$600 price tag that will ship next month. The 4.7GB DVD-RAM drive will utilize a newly developed optical head, said Paul Liao, Panasonic’s chief technology officer, that will allow broader media support.

Ricoh, which announced then canceled plans for DVD+RW hardware and Mitsubishi Chemical have DVD+RW and DVD+R write once media available.

Alliance member Sony will have no products available until the second half of 2002 when a PC drive is expected.

The DVD+RW camp also added a new member this week with Dell Computers joining the Alliance. Sean McDonald, Dell’s senior manager for peripheral marketing, said the first PCs to feature the drive should be available by the end of the year. McDonald said Dell chose the DVD+RW because of its backward compatibility with the existing base of DVD video players and DVD-ROM drives.