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New DVD-R/RW drive turns hours into minutes

Pioneer has released its first rewritable DVD drive which supports a technology that cuts down to one minute from one hour the time taken to record a DVD-RW (DVD rewritable) disc.

The DVR-A04J drive supports the Quick Format system used in the Instant CD+DVD software produced by Germany's VOB Computersysteme and bundled with the drive. By only formatting certain areas of the disc rather than the entire surface, the substantial reduction in time can be accomplished, Pioneer said.

The drive supports DVD-RW writing at single speed, DVD-R (DVD recordable) at double speed, CD-R writing at 8 speed and CD-RW writing at 4 speed.

With this product, the Tokyo-based company, a leader in DVD-RW technology, hopes to expand the share of the DVD-R/RW format in the DVD market, where other standards such as DVD+R/RW and DVD-RAM compete. DVD+R/RW is backed by Hewlett-Packard, Philips, Sony and Ricoh while DVD-RAM is backed by Matsushita.

The product was unveiled at CeBIT in Germany and is now available in North America and Europe at a suggested retail price of $499 (£347). It will be on sale in Japan after 20 April.

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