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Sony has recently launched two products that may very well be the answer to ALL your recordable DVD needs: the internal DRU-500A ($350 MSRP) and the external DRX-500UL ($430 MSRP). I wrote about these units in a previous C&CV "Camcorder Insider" column (December 2002). These multi-format recorders are in such hot demand that I only got to review the DRX-500UL. Read on to find out more about this truly all-in-one machine.
Sony actually prefers to call its multi-format DVD recorders "Dual RW," meaning that they embrace ALMOST ALL recordable DVD and CD formats available today. The DVD-RAM format is not included. But, technically, new "DVD-Multi" drives have recently been announced from other manufacturers (like Panasonic) that include DVD-R/-RW/-RAM, but NOT DVD+R/+RW (for market reasons). I know the alphabet soup of recordable DVD is confusing, but unless you have some very specific requirements where the DVD-RAM format is what you really need, I believe you'll find that the new Dual RW drives from Sony will answer just about ALL of your recordable DVD needs with the four formats they do provide: DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW.
I found it to very easy to connect the DRX-500UL to my computer (and so will you!), because it didn't require any internal computer installation. This model comes with both USB2 and FireWire connectors. I also wanted to see how compatible the bundled software might be with both Windows and Mac platforms.
The DRX-500UL package contains the Dual RW drive in a stylish, pearly white-colored chassis with dimensions of 6.5-in. W x 2-in. H x 10-in. D, and weighing in at about four pounds. It can be used both horizontally and vertically, so its "footprint" in your workstation environment is very small. The bundled software is all Windows-PC based. (Note: For Mac users, I'll tell you how you can use the external …