Sony's double-layer DVD burners

The next generation of double-layer DVD burners will write up to 8.5GB (4 hours of DVD-quality video) onto special DVD+R DL media.

Sony's double-layer DVD burners: Sony DRU-700A / Sony DRX-700UL
The next generation of double-layer DVD burners will write up to 8.5GB (4 hours of DVD-quality video) onto special DVD+R DL media. Sony will be among the first to bring drives to market.

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 winter, Sony's DRU-700A will sell for US$230 (~AU$303), while the external DRX-700UL will cost US$330 (~AU$435). 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.