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Thursday, January 20, 2005
HP to have Lite-On IT, BenQ produce LightScribe 16x DVD burners

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has selected Lite-On IT and BenQ to be OEMs for its 16x DVD Dual burners equipped with LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling technology (software), with Lite-On IT responsible for external models for retail sale and BenQ for internal models for installation in PCs.

Lite-On IT and BenQ declined to comment on the report but indicated that HP Taiwan will hold a press conference to introduce LightScribe to local sales channels on January 26.

LightScribe, a technology exclusively owned by HP, is for directly etching labels onto the non-recordable side of an optical disc, using the laser beam of the burner that writes to the recordable side of the disc.

BenQ and Lite-On IT join CMC Magnetics, Taiwan?s largest producer of optical disks, as the only Taiwan OEM makers of HP?s LightScribe CD-R and DVD-R disks, according to the makers.

For marketing purposes, HP will restrict availability of external LightScribe-enabling 16x DVD burners to own-brand retail sale and internal models to HP PCs this quarter, the makers pointed out. Then, HP will offer its LightScribe patent under licensed use by other burner makers, beginning the second quarter of this year, the makers indicated. The royalty charge may be US$2-3 per burner.

In addition, HP has granted the exclusive Taiwan-sales-agent right for its external LightScribe 16x DVD burners to the Taiwan company Worldtech, currently the Taiwan sales agent for Samsung?s LCD monitors and laser printers and Lite-On IT?s sales agent in South Korea. The Taiwan retail price is tentatively set at NT$3,500 (US$110), 30%-40% higher than retail prices of 16x DVD Dual burners.

The marketability of LightScribe-enabling DVD burners is still uncertain because, apart from higher prices, the laser-etching speed is slow, taking over 15 minutes to finish labeling by a 16x burner, the makers explained.

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