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Re-writable DVD drives hit the streets

Home movies may never be the same again. With new DVD-re-writable technology, you can edit out those embarrasing bloopers using your PC and transfer to your TV's DVD player on a 4.7 Gbyte disk.

DVD+RW is looking more likely than ever to emerge as the industry standard format for re-writable DVD drives.

Hewlett-Packard has become the latest PC vendor to back the standard and will launch a sub-$600 re-writable DVD drive next month. HP joins Dell Computer, Sony, Philips Electronics, Mitsubishi Chemical, Ricoh, Thomson Multimedia and Yamaha as a backer of the DVD+RW technology. Compaq Computer and Apple Computer, however, are still driving the competing DVD-RW standard.

Consumers are being warned to take time to understand the competing standards; particularly since their names are almost identical (DVD+RW versus DVD-RW). Both technologies allow you to record to disk and erase repeatedly and both are capable of storing complete movie length features.

Since both technologies will create disks compatible with most new consumer DVD players, the problems of picking the wrong standard will not manifest themselves immediately. The problem will come down the line when the industry rejects one of the standards and stops including support for it.

PC makers hope that re-writable DVDs could kickstart a new spending spree on high end hardware. The 4.7 Gbyte capacity of DVDs makes them ideal for home movie making. Editing these movies on a PC will require significant PC horsepower and may spur a transition to higher spec machines, suggest analysts.

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