Today CDRLabs takes a long overdue look at BenQ's latest LightScribe capable DVD writer, the DW1655. While affordably priced, the drive features some pretty impressive specs including 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL and 4x DVD-R DL writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. Along with support for LightScribe, the DW1655 also includes features like BenQ's Write Right, OverSpeed and SolidBurn technologies.

In this review we'll take a look at some of the features found on the DW1655 and see how it compares to some of the 16x DVD±RW drives from the competition. Does the DW1655 have what it takes? You'll have to read the review to find out.


BenQ DW1655 16x DVD±RW
As usual, if you have any comments or questions about this review or the BenQ DW1655, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below.
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After weeks of rumors and speculation, Microsoft has confirmed that they are planning to launch a line of portable media devices under the name Zune. These iPod-like players would use a hard drive to store music and feature support for WiFi.
In a brief statement from Chris Stephenson, a general manager at Microsoft, the giant of Redmond, Washington said that Zune will be a new music and entertainment project covering a "family of hardware and software products" and that it will launch in 2006. Zune will use a hard drive to store music and will have a feature that could ripple through all portable music devices: a WiFi wireless connection to download music.

Stephenson also confirmed that a video player version is under development. And there are reports that a new subscription-based music service will accompany the hardware release.
While Microsoft has not announced an official launch date, the first Zune devices are expected to ship by the end of the year. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found DigiTimes. Add a comment
MPEG LA announced today that a meeting between the various Blu-ray Disc patent owners was held on July 6-7. The purpose of this meeting was to create a joint patent license. While progress was reportedly made, the MPEG LA is looking for feedback.
MPEG LA announced today that the first meeting of essential Blu-ray Disc(TM) patent owners, consisting of 17 companies, was held in Los Angeles on July 6-7 for the purpose of creating a joint license providing fair, reasonable, non-discriminatory access to essential patents, as an alternative to negotiating separate licenses. Participating companies included CyberLink Corporation; Dell Inc.; Hewlett-Packard Company; Hitachi Ltd.; Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.; LG Electronics Inc.; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic); Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; Pioneer Corporation; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.; Sharp Corporation; Sony Corporation; TDK Corporation; Victor Company of Japan, Ltd.; and Warner Home Video Inc.
According to MPEG LA's press release, additional patent holder meetings are planned, and work on the joint license will continue. More information can be found here. Add a comment
Today, CDRLabs brings you an in depth look at LG's latest "Super-Multi" drive, the GSA-H10N. Sporting some pretty impressive specs, the GSA-H10N is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 10x DVD+R DL and 4x DVD-R DL writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. More importantly, its one of the first drives with the ability to read and write to DVD-RAM media at 12x.

In this review we'll take a look at some of the features found on the GSA-H10N and see how it compares to some of the 16x and 18x DVD±RW drives from the competition. Does LG's new "Super-Multi" drive have what it takes? Is it the fastest DVD writer around? You'll have to read the review to find out.


LG GSA-H10N Super-Multi DVD±RW/RAM
If you have any comments or questions about this review or the LG GSA-H10N, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below.
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Thomson has announced that a number of top HD DVD manufacturers have decided to implement their new Film Grain Technology. Here's part of their press release:
Thomson (Euronext:18453) (NYSE:TMS - News) announced that leading consumer electronics, software and technology companies are implementing its Film Grain Technology(TM). Developed by Thomson's Technology division in collaboration with its Technicolor business, Film Grain Technology was recently adopted as a Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) registered disclosure document. Consumer electronics giants Toshiba and RCA; technology innovators Broadcom, Sigma Designs, Horizon Semiconductors and NVIDIA; and software leaders Microsoft and Sonic Solutions are set to deploy Film Grain Technology, with two Toshiba HD DVD players, an RCA HD DVD player and a Broadcom IC decoder now entering the marketplace...

..The first tool of its kind formally documented in cooperation with SMPTE, DVD Forum selected Film Grain Technology for mandatory inclusion in HD DVD(TM) products. The technology allows compressed motion pictures to be delivered more efficiently and improves their visual quality. It enables film grain that is extracted before content is compressed to be faithfully re-created during playback.
I can't say I know too many people that would want their HD DVD movies to look old and grainy but whatever floats your boat. If you'd like to read more, Thomson's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Universal Music is reportedly overhauling the packaging of CD's sold in Europe in an effort to slow the decline of sales. Using a new three-tiered system, Universal plans to offer titles in DeLuxe, Standard or Slim packaging.
Universal Music Group International, the world's largest music company, announced Wednesday that it is overhauling the packaging of compact discs sold in Europe as part of an effort to slow the decline of CD sales as downloading takes hold.

The company unveiled a new three-tiered packaging system for both new albums and older recordings -- "DeLuxe" packaging for top artists' latest releases, "Standard" packaging for all new releases and a slim "Basic" sheathing for old classics.
I have to give Universal credit. Instead of suing grandmas and college students, they're trying to adapt to current market trends. If you'd like to read more about Universal's new packaging, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
On behalf of the CDRLabs staff, I just wanted to wish all of our U.S. readers a happy Independance Day.




I know that many consider July 4th to be another day off and one more excuse to cook out, drink beer and blow things up. Just remember to take a few minutes to think about what this day is really about. Add a comment
The results are in and our readers have chosen the BenQ DW1640 as the top DVD writer for the month of June. Here are the top drives:
  1. BenQ DW1640
  2. Pioneer DVR-111/A11
  3. BenQ DW1650/1655
  4. (tied) Lite-On SHM-165H6S/165P6S, LG GSA-4167B, Plextor PX-716A and Plextor PX-755A/755SA
Your favorite drive didn't make it onto the list? Then go and vote for July's top DVD writer. Add a comment
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As part of your subscription, you will also get a vanity CDRLabs email address. Powered by Google, this email account comes with a whopping 2GB quota.

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    The guys at CD Freaks have taken a look at ASUS's new 16x DVD±RW, the DRW-1608P3. Here's what they had to say about this Pioneer DVR-111 based drive:
    Following our extensive tests we found that this drive is a very good Multi DVD burner. The ASUS DRW-1608P3S is called "Multi DVD Burner" since it supports recording on all available media formats including CD-R/RW, DVD±R/±RW, DVD±R Double/Dual Layer, and DVD-RAM. It is able to read and write DVD-RAM using a fast 5x CLV method.
    We too have a review of the DRW-1608P3 in the works. In the mean time, head on over to CD Freaks and check out their review. Add a comment