Q: I want to burn DVDs, but my computer did not come with a burner. And I have to admit, I’m confused by all the offers out there. What should I look for in choosing one?
–R. Miller, Washington, DC
A: Good question. Finding the right tool can be a daunting task. And being a tech editor doesn’t make it any easier. Like you, I’m also in the market for a DVD-R/RW (commonly called a burner), and there’s a lot to consider when choosing one. Compounding the confusion is the introduction of “double layer” media, where burners can write to both sides of a disc. On the one hand, double layer media allows you to store an incredible amount of information on a DVD-R (up to 8.5GB). But the downside is that these media are not compatible with every player. And because of the dual capacity, burn times are often much slower than they are for single-layer media. You should also consider the cost of double-layer discs, which can be up to $15 each.
In terms of hardware, currently I’m looking at Sony’s DRU-710A (www.sony.com; $180), LaCie’s d2 (www.lacie.com; $130 to $230), and Iomega’s Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner (www.iomega.com; $330). Good luck.