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News in Brief - march 2005


PHILIPS TAIWAN has started to market Philips optical disc drives on its own in the Taiwan clone PC. Previously, Philips CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives, as well as Philips CD-RW burners, had been sold in Taiwan through agents. Philips Taiwan is selling DVD burners such as the 16x Dual DL (single-sided double-layer) model DVDR1620K at the large retail chain Tsann Kuen, with a guarantee that any burner failing to perform writing can be returned to any retail outlet with a 100% refund.

ULTIMA ELECTRONICS and Protop Innotech, two manufacturers of optical disc drives (ODDs) in Taiwan, recently obtained certification from Philips to become additional OEM producers for the latter, according to other Taiwan ODD makers. Philips currently has three major OEM makers in Taiwan – Philips BenQ Digital Storage for half-height ODDs, Quanta Storage for slim-type ODDs and Lite-On IT for DVD recorders.

DAXON TECHNOLOGY, a second-tier manufacturer of optical discs in Taiwan, recently secured certification for 16x DVD+R discs from Philips, the second maker in Taiwan after CMC Magnetics, according to Daxon. the company’s shipments of DVD+R/-R discs are focused on 8x speed this quarter; however 16x DVD+R discs will begin to see increasing demand next quarter due to the certification and growing use of 16x DVD burners, the company indicated. In addition to 16x DVD+R discs, Daxon is poised to apply for certification for 16x DVD-R from the DVD Forum, once the licensing is available, the company noted.

RITEK, in which the UK’s Rank Group has a large interest and is the second largest producer of optical discs in Taiwan, has not yet sent its 16x DVD+R discs for Philips certification but will do so “when the occasion arises.” Ritek’s 16x DVD+R/-R discs have passed product certification by many clients, according to the company.

INTERNET RETAILER AMAZON has launched into the hugely competitive online DVD rental market in the UK. The service is integrated into Amazon’s UK site, which is already a popular DVD retail store. Unlike most other services, Amazon imposes a limit on the number of DVDs customers can rent per month. Its lower-priced plan costs £7.99 per month for two DVDs at a time, with a limit of four per month. The more expensive package is £9.99 per month for three DVDs at a time, with a limit of six per month. Postage is free.

. . . AND AS UK COMPETITION heats up in the online DVD rental market, LoveFilm.com and Home Entertainment Corporation, which runs Moviechoices.com, are to form a strategic alliance. LoveFilm is to acquire Moviechoices.com's customer database and in turn Home Entertainment will take responsibility for LoveFilm's stock management and procurement operation. The move follows the recent entrance of Amazon.com into the market and the imminent arrival of US market leader Netflix.