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Friday, February 17, 2006
Lite-On IT to Release 18x DVD burner

Taiwanese Lite-On IT plans to release an 18x DVD burner in the third quarter of 2006, following Plextor's recently announced plans to launch its PX-760A, the first DVD burner that will break the 16x recording speed barrier.

Quoting Lite-On's IT general manager for Lite-On IT's Optical Disc Drive Business Unit, Taiwanese publications indicate that the company will volume produce and ship 18x DVD burners in the third quarter of this year to accommodate needs in the market, before BLU-ray disc drives are ready to ship. A Lite-On spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

Launching an 18x DVD burner may be a good opportunity for all companies that don't have direct access to the Blu-Ray and HD DVD technologies, to feed the market with in-demand products, before the introduction of the first Blu-Ray / HD DVD drives in Q3 of 2006.

Considering that the 16x recording speed for DVD+R/DVD-R is the limit required by physics, the quality of the forthcoming 18x DVD burners may be affected by the faster revolutions per minute of the disc. The drawback to this is the RPM of the disc goes over 10,000rpm (10,200rpm - 10,800rpm) which is what is to be considered as the "tolerance" for the polycarbonate disc structure.

During 2006, some companies are also expected to release DVD burners that also support DVD-RAM recording, focusing on 12x and later on, 16x recording speeds. Actually, the 18X recording speed for recordable DVDs was achieved by using DVD-RAM's 16X speed specifications, considering that the 1X for the DVD-RAM is a little bit faster than 1X for DVD-ROM/R/RW. Using the same maths, 16X DVD-RAM would equal to 18X DVD.

Maintaining adequate performance when pushing the recording speed to its limits, requires extensive evaluation of the hardware and media. For example, Japanese Plextor postponed the release of its first 18x DVD+/-R burner in late 2005, in order to achieve a better writing quality and reliability. Plextor's PX-760 will finaly be available in North and South America this April, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of US$119. The drives will also be available in the European market possibly at the same time.

At the same time, BenQ remains hesitant about the release of an 18x DVD burner, staying with its plans to develop next-generation Blu-ray disc drives.

Sources indicated that companies such as Sony may also launch 18x DVD burners by the end of 2006. Currently, Japanese Pioneer has no plans to release a 18X DVD writer.

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