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Sonic makes noise with DVD software

The latest version of its MyDVD software includes new features for video editing and production on recordable and rewritable DVD discs.

Software company Sonic Solutions on Friday will begin shipping the latest version of its video editing and production program aimed to make DVD editing easier.

The latest version of Sonic's MyDVD software includes new features for video editing and production on recordable and rewritable DVD discs, improving on earlier versions. MyDVD can be used with any type of recordable and rewritable DVD discs or drive. The software is bundled with certain models of PCs sold by Dell Computer, Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and NEC.

"Our goal is to make it easy to use recordable DVD technology," said Mark Ely, general manager of Sonic Solutions' desktop product group.

The jump in sales of digital cameras last holiday season brought more attention to video and image production technology. The expected increase in digital camcorder sales this holiday season should only help amplify this trend. Indeed, analysts say that editing software needed to manipulate and create digital videos and images is viewed as one of the many features that will encourage consumers to upgrade their PCs.

"Manipulation of digital video stresses the capabilities of existing machines," IDC analyst Roger Kay said.

Ely added that the falling prices of recordable and rewritable DVD drives is lending momentum to the adoption of video editing. DVD discs can hold up to 4.7GB of data, making them an ideal storage technology for digital video clips and images.

Drives and discs have fallen significantly in price over the last year. The major obstacle, however, still is the lack of compatibility between different DVD recordable and rewritable formats.

Sonic's MyDVD software can be used with any type of DVD format. The latest version of the software, MyDVD 3.5, will cost $79. Version 3.0 owners can upgrade for $29.

With the new version, people can open and edit files directly on the DVD disc without having to move files to a hard drive--a lengthy process because video files are very large. For example, an uncompressed video file that runs one hour would be about 13GB. Version 3.5 also allows consumers to record digital video files onto a CD rewritable disc for playing on a DVD player. More DVD players can read CD-rewritable discs than DVD-recordable or DVD-rewritable discs.