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DVD-RAM drives due April 15 in Japan

Hitachi will begin selling DVD-RAM drives on April 15 in Japan, several months before the company's high-capacity storage drives reach the United States.

    Hitachi will begin selling DVD-RAM drives on April 15 in Japan, several months before the company's high-capacity storage drives reach the United States.

    DVD-RAM drives will arrive in the U.S. market at the end of the second or the beginning of the third quarter, a Hitachi spokesperson said. The delay owes to the Japan-based corporation's decision to prioritize its home market.

    The drives will sell for 100,000 yen ($770), according to a report in the online version of Nikkei Business Publications. The American price has not yet been set, Hitachi said, though it will be below $1,000.

    DVD-RAM drives allow users to record data onto a disc, erase it, and then re-record on the same disc, similar to how a VCR or computer disk is used. Each disc holds up to 2.6GB on a single side, far more than a CD's 650MB capacity. They will likely cost between $40 and $50, providing an inexpensive way to store massive amounts of data.

    DVD-ROM drives can play back up to 4.7GB of multimedia content on a single side, but can't re-record information.

    Hitachi's GF 1000, 1050, and 1055 models will come in internal and external versions, with one able to connect to a notebook using a PC card. Initially they will be sold to system integrators and computer resellers, but by the end of the year they'll reach retail outlets, Hitachi said.