DVD-burning enthusiasts have been clamouring for the double-layer DVD ever since they first tried to pack an uncompressed, full-length movie onto a 4.7GB disc. Sony has taken note, and will soon introduce two of the market's first double-layer DVD burners: the internal DRU-700A and the external DRX-700UL.
The DRU-700A and the DRX-700UL will let you write up to 8.5GB on special double-layer media -- that's about 4 hours of DVD-quality video or 16 hours of VHS-quality video. The drives will also feature the current generation's read and write speeds for DVD+/-R and DVD-/+RW media. Plus, for the first time, Sony will ship its drives with Nero -- one of the first software packages to support double-layer recording, and one of our favourites. The introduction of double-layer drives also ushers in a slide back to the bottom of the speed scale. The DRU-700A and the DRX-700UL will support double-layer writing only on special DVD+R DL media, and they do so at a drowsy 2.4X. The DVD+R DL discs, however, should be compatible with most set-top DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. Instead of the slow, incremental upward crawl of recording and writing speeds, the double-layer drive offers real innovation with the leap it takes in DVD capacity. Expected to ship this summer, Sony's DRU-700A will sell for $230 (~£126), while the external DRX-700UL will cost $330 (~£181). They'll undoubtedly have stiff competition: BenQ, Pioneer, Lite-On and Philips have also announced double-layer devices, all set to ship around the same time.