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Red-Hot Stuff: 11 DVD Burners Reviewed

Red-Hot Stuff: 11 DVD Burners Reviewed
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Fewer than three years ago, mainstream recordable DVD players cost more than $400. To add to the pain were several different recordable DVD format standards, which rendered some DVDs incompatible with different standard players. But now, the DVD burner world is a more pleasant one in which to buy and burn.

The prices for fast DVD burners have slipped into the affordable range. Even the disk media is, bit per bit, no longer more expensive than the CD. Producing your own data or video DVDs has, thus, gotten that much more cheaper.

The format wars has given journalists much to write about while propping up prices and giving consumers headaches, but no one besides the world's largest OEMs care much anymore. PC manufacturers render the issue more and more irrelevant as drives are usually multi-mode and disks generally cost the same regardless of format. Only four of the eleven drives sent for testing make do with only DVD+R/+RW, while the nine remaining devices accommodate both formats.

However, we've got to say that technically, the plus standard offers a few advantages, as it is constantly being perfected and doesn't have to be finalized. Attributes include video applications on standalone devices, such as lossless linking and block-by-block data manipulation. However, our results show that the movies written to DVD+R by the burners were not readable for every DVD player - whereas the DVD-Rs were. Another small but significant difference is the capacity of DVD+R discs, which is 8 MB smaller, barring the possibility of directly copying a full-to-the-brim DVD-R.

The rising number of drives available gave us a good excuse to conduct this massive round-up for the first time. After all, as we know, there are not only stars and starlets out there - there is the occasional black sheep as well.

Overall, 11 drives made it into the lab for testing, among them two external devices from HP and Sony. From U.S.-based NU Technologies we received an 8x burner. Despite numerous requests, Plextor has to date not sent a test device - which is too bad, because in the area of CDs, this manufacturer has always had a good reputation.

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