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DVD drives to sell for $150

Creative Labs will begin to market six different DVD upgrade solutions for PCs that will be priced as low as $149 for a DVD drive with no extras.

Creative Labs will begin to market six different DVD (digital versatile disc) upgrade solutions for PCs that will be priced as low as $149 for a DVD drive with no extras.

The lower prices and diversified product push come as part of Creative's effort to capture as much of this growing market as possible.

DVD-ROM drives, which use discs that can store up to 4.7GB of multimedia data per side, are increasingly becoming standard equipment on higher-end desktops and notebooks. Sales of upgrade kits have also been increasing. By 2001, there will be 19.5 million DVD drives installed on PCs, according to the Yankee Group.

Marketing different levels of add-on packages will allow the company to target a wider variety of users, at generally lower price points. Currently, DVD-ROM upgrade packages sell in the $400 to $500 range. Creative itself now has one upgrade solution officially priced in the high $300 range.

With its new drive packages, Creative will also begin to target the corporate market, said a Creative spokesperson. Until now, DVD technology has mostly been confined to consumer PCs.

The new DVD add-on packages, which will formally be introduced on March 9, will all be based around Creative's current DVD drive. Price will vary depending upon the other components in the package.

At one end of the spectrum, Creative will offer the 2X DVD-ROM drive with no extras for $149. Right now, most manufacturers, Creative included, do not market a naked drive. Typically, they are sold only as part of complete add-on solutions.

At the high end of the line the company will offer the Encore package, a DVD drive package that contains the drive, game titles including "Claw," and an MPEG-2 video playback chip, among other features.

The Encore package, which is out now, will retail for $299. It currently retails at $379 although some retailers have already shifted to the new, lower price.

In addition, the company will market a DVD-ROM bundle for system integrators. Creative will also continue to seek out deals for bundling DVD-ROM drives into computers, the spokesperson added.