While it took longer than many expected, LightScribe products have finally started to ship. One of the first DVD writers to take advantage of this new technology is the DW1625 from BenQ. Announced this January, the DW1625 offers 16x DVD+R, 8x DVD-R, 4x DVD±RW and 2.4x DVD+R DL writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. The drive also includes features like 40x CD reading and writing speeds, 24x rewriting speeds, and support for BenQ's own Write Right technology.

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This fall, Plextor announced their long awaited 16x DVD±RW, the PX-716A. Featuring some of the fastest reading and writing speeds available, the PX-716A is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW and 4x DVD-RW writing speeds and has a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. More importantly, it's the first drive from Plextor to support the DVD+R DL format. Out of the box, the PX-716A can write to DVD+R DL media at 4x. However, thanks to a free firmware update, the drive can write to select media at 6x. The PX-716A also has many of the features found on the PX-712A, along with a number of new ones like AutoStrategy. Developed by Taiyo Yuden, AutoStrategy improves the compatibility of new or unsupported media by developing writing strategies on the fly.

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Last fall, the DVD+RW Alliance dropped a bombshell on the optical storage industry when they announced Double Layer DVD+R technology. Developed by Philips Research and MKM (Mitsubishi Kagaku Media), this new technology increases the capacity of DVD+R media from 4.7GB to 8.5GB. While not quite double the capacity, it does allow users to store up to 8.5GB of data, 4 hours of DVD quality video or 16 hours of VHS quality video without the need to flip over the disc.

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Advanced SCSI Programming Interface, or ASPI, is the glue that binds most major CDR software packages to the CDR drives. With so many different types of hardware out there, it's hard for software developers to add support in for each and every one of them. Adaptec, Inc. took that as a problem and created the ASPI layer that SCSI owners have grown to love.

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