Media attention these days focuses mostly on the high-definition Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats. Yet in this interim period--while high-def adoption ever-so-slowly ramps up--standard DVD continues to see updates and new products. Here's a wrap-up of the most interesting (and the more pedestrian) DVD players and burners that have crossed my desk this summer.
Sony recently began shipping the latest iteration of its stand-alone DVD burner, the DVDirect. The $230 VRD-MC5 is no ordinary external drive--it's intended for use independent of your PC. In fact, that's the first major change in this version: The DVDirect can no longer even connect to a PC. According to Sony, the capability was removed because the company's research showed that 97 percent of DVDirect users didn't bother with a PC. Gone, too, is support for PictBridge, which let you slot in a memory card and output a photo via a PictBridge printer.