Sony DVD-500UL external burner offers ease, options

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April 03, 2003|By KEVIN WASHINGTON

My best efforts with DVD burners have usually been rewarded with blank disks that wouldn't play in a DVD player connected to my television.

But the folks at Sony finally have figured out how to make DVD creation a much more rewarding experience with their DRX-500UL external burner ($400). While an internal version is available, I didn't test that.

DVD burning is a good way to back up materials on your computer as well as share video that won't deteriorate over the years. So, a DVD burner that offers few hassles is welcome in the tech world. The DRX not only burns smoothly with the bundled software, but gives you the option of using the format you choose. Unfortunately, the group of manufacturers who make DVD players and burners never sat down to come up with one standard. So there are two general standards, divided into recordable DVDs and rewriteable DVDs.

The DRX will burn in DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and the DVD+RW. You can experiment with the format that best works with the player you most often use. Sony's dual drive handles CDs as well so that you can create DVD videos, video CDs and audio discs that will play in all types of devices. It connects to your computer via a Universal Serial Bus 2.0 port or Firewire (IEEE 1394) port. I used both without problems.

Compatible with PC and Macs, the DRX reads DVDs at 8X and writes and rewrites them at 2.4 X. Its CD reading speed is 32X and writing speed is 24X, so it's relatively fast there, too.

While Sony recommends that you use only name brand media made by such companies as TDK and Sony, it said last year that anyone who uses discount media might want to go to Sony's Web site and download new firmware. That update will also increase the DVD burning speed to 4X for DVD-R and DVD+R discs.

Information: 800-352-7669 or www.storagebysony.com.

Sony DVD-500UL external burner offers ease, options

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