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HP cuts price of DVD recording PC

The company's spring lineup will include a PC with DVD recording for $1,599--about $400 cheaper than the previous model.

Hewlett-Packard is lowering the price of PCs with DVD recording drives.

The company's spring lineup of PCs will include a $1,599 Pavilion desktop with HP's dvd100i DVD+RW drive. The previous Pavilion fitted with the drive was priced at about $2,000. As a standalone product, the DVD+RW drive costs $499 following a recent price drop.

In addition to the drive, HP's 780n desktop features a 1.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor, a 120GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM and a high-end graphics card. The package does not include a monitor.

PC makers view DVD recording drives as a growing enticement for consumers. This is because DVD recording drives can be used to create discs that store movies, photos and massive amounts of data. The movie discs can be viewed on many home DVD players.

HP's move to lower the price of its PCs with DVD+RW drives comes at a time when a number of PC makers are offering the same or similar drives. Compaq Computer, Gateway, Sony and Dell Computer all offer DVD recording drives.

Gateway, for example, recently introduced the high-end 700XL PC with a new 2.2GHz Pentium 4 and a combination DVD-RAM/DVD-R drive. Dell began including HP's DVD+RW drive with its PCs last month, a company representative said. Apple Computer's new high-end flat-panel iMac will also include a DVD-R/RW drive for $1,799. Early last year, Apple and Compaq were first to market with DVD recording drives.

Despite the price drop, HP's PC with DVD recording isn't the cheapest one out there. Compaq and Sony are still selling less-expensive systems. Sony, for example, sells one Vaio model that also features a 1.5GHz Pentium 4, a 60GB hard drive and 256MB of RAM for $1,199.

Even Microsoft has gotten in on the DVD recording action. On Wednesday, the company said it is licensing Sonic Solution's AuthorScript technology for creating DVD movies. Microsoft will likely incorporate the technology into its Microsoft Windows XP operating system.

The DVD+RW format that HP's drive uses is just one of several on the market. DVD+RW and DVD-RAM are seen as having the upper hand for data storage because they allow people to store and erase files in the same way they can on a hard drive. Meanwhile, DVD-RW is seen as mainly for people looking to record video and then play it on consumer DVD players. That's because to store new files, the disc must first be erased entirely.

This week, HP introduced two other new Pavilion desktops.

The 520n is fitted with a 1.3GHz Intel Celeron processor, a 60GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, a CD-rewritable drive and a DVD-ROM drive for $799. The 750n model offers a 1.6GHz Pentium 4, an 80GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, a CD-RW drive and a DVD-ROM drive for $1,049.