Hewlett-Packard reported that it has solved the backward-compatibility issues with its first dual-format/dual-layer DVD burner and will start shipping units by late July with a $99 suggested retail price.
The HP DVD Writer dvd530i was originally slated to ship in June, but at that time the unit was only compatible with about 40 percent of the DVD players on the market.
"Compatibility is the most important issue and now it is at 90 percent," said Doreen Canova, HP's product marketing manager.
The internal dvd530i has 2.4x speed for burning dual-layer DVD+R media, while single-layer Plus and Dash media has write speeds up to 8x. An external version of the drive with 16x dual-layer speed is expected out this fall, said Canova, and while there is nothing firm from the DVD Forum, which is charged with developing the Dash specification, a dual-layer Dash drive and media could be available during the first half of 2005.
HP is a staunch supporter of the Plus format, but decided in March to develop a dual-format drive in order to meet customer demand, Canova said.
"The choice to move to the dual-format was made for the customer. We still recommend Plus media, but we found that most consumers did not know about the different formats, so this solved the problem," she said.
Most dual-format vendors feel consumers now have the ability to conclude the DVD Plus and Dash format war through their purchases of blank media. Whichever proves to be the more popular choice will win out, and the manufacturers will drop one of the formats, which will enable a cost savings on producing the drives.