Businesses and consumers seeking the latest DVD technology will soon have another option: Iomega's new Super DVD Writer 12x Dual-Format USB 2.0 Drive.

The company plans to ship the external drive in June for around $250 (around £140). But finding the new dual-layer media will likely remain a challenge until later in the year, Iomega representatives acknowledge.

Dual-layer media can store almost twice as much data as the current generation of 4.7GB DVD drives. In other words, the discs can hold an entire Hollywood movie or up to 12 CDs' worth of data, according to Iomega. The discs have two layers, one of which is semitransparent. This allows the recording laser to focus on either of the layers. Sony and Philips are also expected to ship dual-layer products in the June time frame.

Initially, dual-layer discs will cost about $10 (£6) apiece, when you can find them.

"The dual-media will not be widely available until (the fourth quarter)," says Richard Giannini, Iomega product manager. At that point, prices should drop to about $5 (£3) a disc, he says. The discs will play in existing DVD drives that support the +R format.

Standard Support

In addition to the dual-layer DVD+R DL format, the Iomega drive will support a variety of other standards, including DVD+R and DVD+RW at 12x write, 4x rewrite, and 16x read speeds; DVD-R and DVD-RW (at 8x, 4x, and 16x); and CD-R and CD-RW (40x, 24x, 40x).

Bundled software will include the Sonic MyDVD video editing application, Sonic Cineplayer for video playback, Musicmatch Jukebox music management software, and Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition, as well as Iomega's DVD Solutions, Automatic Backup, and Hotburn Pro.

In July, Iomega plans to ship the Super DVD QuickTouch, a slightly larger external dual-layer drive that houses an MPEG-2 capture card for recording directly from a VCR or video camera. This $329 (£180) product will save recording time and effort by launching video capture software stored on a PC to start the recording process with a single button press.