Cheap PCs get boost with DVD burners

At the beginning of the year, recordable DVD drives were a high-end item found only in top-notch desktops. But by the end of the year, consumers will likely be able to get them in $1,000 machines. The gloomy state of the economy and fears about terrorism mean PC manufacturers may be driven to sell new PC holiday releases--even high-end models with DVD burners--at bargain prices.

In a sales season with dismal prospects, a $1,000 PC with a DVD+RW drive "might be a compelling enough reason to get people out to buy," said Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Techworld.

Computing giant Hewlett-Packard, which zoomed to the top in retail sales a few years ago in part as a result of adopting CD-rewritable (CD-RW) drives early, will likely offer PCs with DVD-rewritable drives for prices of about $1,000, Baker said. HP currently sells such desktops for about $1,350. By comparison, at the beginning of the year Apple released an iMac with a DVD-recordable drive for $1,799.

To spend more than $2,000 on a PC in the holiday season, it looks like consumers will have to buy a high-end notebook, a massive desktop system or a newfangled tablet PC.

For holiday sales, Emachines plans to refresh its desktop lineup in October. It will hold to existing prices, which start at $399 after rebates, but improve the technology found inside its machines. The company is also working on a new, relatively inexpensive, flat-panel monitor that will be available in both 15-inch and 17-inch sizes later in the fourth quarter.

Wilcox declined to offer more details on Emachines' new lineup. But sources familiar with the company's plans say its new top-of-the-line system will be based on Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon XP 2200+ processor and will sell for about $1,000.

News source: ZDNet

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