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Pioneer DVD drives too hot to handle

The consumer-electronics maker says its DVD-rewritable drives overheat when recording on certain high-speed disks.

Pioneer Electronics said Tuesday that its DVD-rewritable drives overheat when recording on certain high-speed disks.

Representatives from Pioneer Electronics USA, based in Long Beach, Calif., said that writing to blank 4x DVD-R and 2x DVD-RW discs can cause its DVD-rewritable PC drives and DVD recorders to freeze.

If the drives or recorders remain frozen for longer than five minutes, the optical lens, which writes to the discs, can overheat and render the hardware inoperable.

To fix the problem, a user must download new software that can manage the system's hardware. The update is available on the Pioneer Web site. Owners can also have a disc with the fix mailed to them by calling 1-800-421-1623.

Pioneer's drives, which are also marketed under the name "Superdrive," are used in personal computers from Compaq Computer, Apple Computer and Sony Electronics. Andy Parsons, senior vice president for Pioneer, says PC makers plan to release their own fix for the DVD problem soon.

The Pioneer bug follows the recent approval of the 4x DVD-R and 2x DVD-RW specifications by the DVD Forum, which is a group of companies advocating the DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM formats.

Parsons said that the bug is not related to the new specifications.

Drives and recorders that are affected include Pioneer's DVR-A03, DVR-103, DVR-A04, DVR-104 computer drives and Pioneer's DVR-7000 DVD and PRV-9000 Professional recorders.

Pioneer has sold over 1 million computer drives and about 10,000 recorders in the United States, according to Parsons.