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Vivastar Ships DVD-RAM Drives

Vivastar’s first DVD-RAM PC drives shipped to retail last week, the first of what is expected to be a line of rewritable DVD products from the company.

The internal RS-121 carries a $499 suggested retail price and will handle 4.7GB DVD-RAM and DVD-R media. Adrian Garulay, the Swiss-based Vivastar’s CEO, said the first three retailers to pick up the drive are Brandsmart in Florida, DataVision in New York and the catalog/online Tiger Direct. Vivastar is holding talks with most of the computer and CE superstore chains, but Garulay said no other deal is likely to be closed in the near future.

Although the company is not well known yet in the United States, Garulay intends to build the brand by focusing on its Swiss heritage and the fact the company makes its own media in Switzerland.

The RS-121, manufactured by Panasonic, is bundled with Vivastar’s proprietary authoring software and comes with five DVD-R discs.

This is Vivastar’s first hardware product. It started out as a maker of DVD-R, DVD-RAM, CD-R and CD-RW media. Garulay claimed the company is one of the top two or three media makers in the European market. It started selling its media in the United States about nine months ago.

Vivastar will follow the RS-121 with an external version in the third quarter and has plans to branch out to build drives that can burn the DVD-RW and DVD+RW formats. Eventually Garulay hopes to market a drive that can utilize these two plus DVD-RAM effectively eliminating the format war that is now taking place, Garulay said. In addition, the company has a TV set-top version on its road map.