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Pioneer, Iomega launch DVD burners

Aiming to tap the growing popularity of DVD writers, Pioneer designs its device to store data equally quickly in rival DVD formats, while Iomega simplifies recording from camcorder or VCR.

The DVD-burner field got more crowded on Tuesday, with new product releases from storage specialist Iomega and consumer electronics company Pioneer Electronics.

Iomega launched a device that offers a simple recording method, while Pioneer unveiled a drive designed to burn data equally quickly in competing formats.

The Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner is an external drive that can write in multiple DVD formats, including DVD+R/+RW and DVD-R/-RW, according to Iomega. It includes a video capture card that allows users to record images by attaching a camcorder or VCR directly to the drive, Iomega spokesman Chris Romoser said. Users start recording by pressing the "QuikTouch" button and pushing "Play" on the source VCR or camcorder.

The DVD burner will go on display at next week's Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, Iomega said. It is slated to be released in early December, priced at $399.

Pioneer's DVR-A07 is an internal drive that is designed to write data at eight times (8x) the normal DVD playback speed, both to DVD-R discs (a standard that is being ratified) and to +R discs that are designed for this recording speed.

The drive also records high-speed DVD-RW and +RW discs at up to 4x speed, according to Pioneer. In addition, they incorporate what the company calls "Precision Recording Technology," designed to improve image quality in DVD-RW discs that are used repeatedly.

Pioneer said the DVR-A07 is expected to be available in December. The company is waiting for the DVD Forum, an industry organization that counts consumer electronics giants Sharp and Pioneer among its members, to approve of 8x write speed for DVD-R and 4x write speed for DVD-RW.

DVD burners, which allow users to store data including photo and music files, are growing in popularity with consumers. Retail sales of laptop and desktop computers with DVD recorders jumped 550 percent in unit terms during the first half of this year, according to research from NPD Group.

The growth is occurring despite a format squabble in the recordable DVD industry that is reminiscent of the battle between VHS and Betamax to become the standard for video tapes.