Supplies of Sony's combination DVD-rewritable drive are so hot to trot that channel orders are backed up for months.
Sony announced that its new DVD combo drive, the only one currently in the market that supports both DVD-RW and DVD+RW technologies, would be available at the end of October. But as Christmas sales heat up, shipments of the highly sought after product are as rare as hen's teeth.
Resellers have warned that the vendor will face competition from the grey market unless they can get the product shipped to Australia.
"We have a situation whereby people will simply buy the product off the net out of the US," said Ian Grieve, manager of Computer Ambulance in Queensland. "When I asked my distributor what everybody is doing when they cannot get the Sony Dual DVD burners, I was told that they are buying Pioneer. I then pointed out that Pioneer isn't dual format and was told that, at the end of the day, the customer wants a burner."
The channel is also questioning a supply system that has allocated units to Harvey Norman at a time when the rest of the channel is crying out for stock. Distributors have already sold out of the product, but stock remains on Harvey Norman shelves.
Sony Australia's product manager for optical storage, Gordon Kerr, said the issue was all about allocation and timing.
"Demand is running hot and stock is having to be shared around," he said. "Harvey Norman has only just received its initial allocation so its stores may appear to have stock now, but this will disappear as quickly as the supplies that were sent to Tech Pacific and others like it."
At this stage, Sony representatives cannot say for certain when more stock will become available. Supply from Japan is allocated on a rotating cycle.
Meanwhile, customers are having to make a choice between DVD-RW and DVD+RW technology.
"At the end of the day the distributor makes a sale, the dealer makes a sale and the customer gets a burner," Greive said. "But did the customer end up with what they wanted, or did they end up with what they were sold?"