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The DVDRW228 is Philips's second-generation DVD+RW drive. Like its predecessor, it reads and writes CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD+RW media. However, the new model also adds support for DVD+R write-once discs so that you can prevent important data from being overwritten. Philips rounds out the package with a multimedia-rich software bundle, making the DVDRW228 a must-have for digital movie lovers. The DVDRW228 is Philips's second-generation DVD+RW drive. Like its predecessor, it reads and writes CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD+RW media. However, the new model also adds support for DVD+R write-once discs so that you can prevent important data from being overwritten. Philips rounds out the package with a multimedia-rich software bundle, making the DVDRW228 a must-have for digital movie lovers.
Because the printed documentation included with the $449 DVDRW228 is astonishingly brief, the prospect of installation looks a little intimidating. But if you pop the included CD into a functioning optical drive on your computer before connecting the DVD+RW drive, everything becomes clear. The CD leads you through the entire process and includes a video describing how to connect the drive, so even novices should feel comfortable with the process. More printed material would be nice, but the CD contains a detailed manual and additional materials that should be sufficient for most users. The Philips drive is compatible with Windows 98, NT 4.0, 2000, Me, and XP.
The DVDRW228's software bundle is geared more toward multimedia tasks than data processing. It includes Sonic Solution's MyDVD 3.5, a simple DVD-authoring program, as well as Ahead Software's easy Nero Burning ROM 5.5, which is good for both DVD- and CD-writing tasks. You also get Pinnacle Systems' Pinnacle Studio software, a sophisticated movie-editing program, and CyberLink PowerDVD decoder software for watching DVD movies on your computer. The one hole in the software package is its lack of a backup utility; you can use Nero to create data discs, but it doesn't compare to a full-fledged backup application.
Burn, baby, burn
In CNET Labs' tests, the Philips DVDRW228 completed its tasks rapidly. It was faster at writing DVD+RW media than other drives we've tested but slowed a bit when reading separate files. This means the drive is better suited to applications that read large chunks of data sequentially, rather than dealing with several files at once, which is often required in data operations. To help make sure you get successful recordings every time, the drive uses Seamless Link technology, which protects against buffer underruns. It also uses Thermo Balance Writing, which adjusts the writing process to match the characteristics of your CD-R or CD-RW media.