NEC has developed a chipset that will help pave the way towards DVD+/-R drives capable of 16x-speed writing, the company said on Tuesday.

The chipset consists of an analogue signal processor, which is used to control the laser and servo systems of the optical pick-up unit, and a digital signal processor with ATAPI interface.

The two chips are offered in quad flat packages (QFP), which are thinner than conventional chips and better suited for use in slim drives used in notebook computers, NEC said. They also consume 10 per cent less power than their predecessors.

In addition to 16x DVD+/-R, the chip set also supports DVD+/-RW formats at 8x, said a company spokesman. NEC Electronics, which is based in Kawasaki near Tokyo, said it expects both NEC and Pioneer to use the chips in new rewritable DVD drives.

Volume production will start at the end of June and monthly production of 2 million chipsets per month will be reached at the end of this year, said the company.