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Friday, October 04, 2002
Taiwanese companies halt launch of rewritable DVD drives

Faced with sluggish economic conditions and the battle among DVD drive standards, several Taiwanese optical storage device makers have decided to take a wait-and-see attitude towards launching rewritable DVD optical drives. Adding to the existing competition among three major rewritable formats – DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD+RW – Sony last month launched a DVD drive supporting both the DVD+RW and DVD-RW formats.

Ultima Electronics, citing bad timing, decided to postpone the launch of its DVD+RW drive from the fourth quarter of this year to the first quarter of next year. The company explained that it has the technology and production capability to launch the drive, but given the weak economic climate, launching the product as previously scheduled would run the risk of “dumping money.” Ultima said it will wait for demand to pick up next year because so far demand for rewritable DVD drives has been small and limited to power users.

Lite-On IT said that it will launch its own DVD optical drives next year but has not decided on the format yet, saying it is better to launch the drive after one format becomes dominant.

AOpen is the only Taiwanese company that has launched a rewritable DVD optical drive. The company expects to ship 10,000 to 20,000 drives, supporting the DVD+RW format, from September to the end of the year.

Separately, CMC Magnetics, which announced Taiwan’s first Philips-certified DVD+RW disc with a 4.7GB memory capacity on October 2, estimated that the by the end of the year DVD drive demand would surge and the price of a DVD+RW drive would drop to US$200 from US$380 at present.

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