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Roxio combines CD, DVD burning tools

The software maker is set to release a new version of its Easy CD Creator package that includes support for DVD burners.

Software maker Roxio is set to release a new version of its market-leading Easy CD Creator application, for the first time combining tools for burning CDs and DVDs.

Easy CD & DVD Creator 6, available Tuesday from retailers and directly from Roxio, combines tools for transferring music, video, photos and data files to recordable CDs and DVDs, plus a streamlined version of PhotoSuite, the image editing package Roxio took over last year with its acquisition of MGI Software. The new package also includes a library of audio tools--for editing music files and "ripping" MP3 files from an audio CD--and expanded disc copying and archiving functions.

Christi Wilkerson, senior product manager for Roxio, said that when the Easy CD Creator line started, consumers mainly used recordable CD drives for making data discs. Since then, typical usage has expanded to include creating audio CDs, transferring photos to discs for backup and storage, and recording digital video files. Accomplishing those goals has typically meant having a myriad of unrelated applications on the PC.

"We felt the market was really looking for an integrated interface and workflow," she said. "It's so much more convenient when you have everything in one place."

While DVD burners are still confined to a small minority of PCs, adoption is increasing rapidly, Wilkerson said. Roxio decided to add DVD functions--previously limited to the company's VideoWave video editing packages--to stay ahead of the curve and to appeal to hardware makers looking to simplify the software they need to bundle with a new PC or recordable media drive.

"Our OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are asking for the same things consumers are: simplicity and consistency," she said. "When they ship a system or a drive, they want one icon on the desktop."

Roxio competitor Sonic Solutions, better known for its DVD burning applications, acquired a unit of storage application maker Veritas Software late last year so it could add CD burning tools to its software packages. Sonic Solutions CEO Bob Doris said the move was largely made to appeal to PC and drive makers looking to streamline the software packages they bundle with new hardware.

P.J. McNealy, an analyst with research firm GartnerG2, said offering an all-in-one package will help boost Roxio's appeal to mainstream consumers and let it take better advantage of the PhotoSuite and VideoWave franchises it acquired from MGI. "This should help them synchronize the development cycles of the products," he said. "And it reflects the different kinds of burning consumers are showing interest in."

Easy CD and DVD Creator 6 will sell for $99 for the full version, or $69 for those upgrading from a previous version of Easy CD Creator. Customers who purchased Easy CD Creator 5 within the last 45 days can upgrade for $20.