Sony to release Combo drive in Australia

Sony will introduce its DVD combo drive featuring both +RW and -RW formats in Australia at the end of the month.

Sony will ship both an internal and external drive to channels over the next two weeks. The drives can record media using either of the two main DVD recordable formats, DVD-RW and DVD+RW. The device also burns DVD-R, DVD+R and CD-R and CD-RW formats.

The internal DRU-500A was announced in the US in September and will ship here next week. The external DRX-500UL will be available from mid-November.

The introduction of the drives means consumers will not have to choose between rewritable DVD formats. Until now, devices had used either DVD-RW or DVD+RW technologies. If a disc was burned on one format, it could not be read by a device that used the competing system. The jury is still out as to which technology will eventually become predominant in the marketplace.

The emphasis may now shift to the affordability of the media, since Sony has effectively bypassed the compatibility issue.

The DRU-500A comes with an ATAPI interface while the external DRX-500UL features IEEE 1394 (i.LINK) and USB 2.0 connectivity, along with USB 1.1 support.

The drives are also the first to feature 4x DVD-R recording with compatible media. Other speeds are 2x DVD-RW recording, 2.4x DVD+RW writing, 24x CD-R recording and 10x CD-RW recording.

The drives will also include a software suite for video editing, authoring, file storage and backup. The internal drive will be priced at $899, while the DRX-500UL will cost $1,299.