Pioneer has announced a new version of its DVD/CD writer that introduces built-in support for the DVD+R/RW standard.

Apple uses a version of the product in some of its Macs, which it markets as the SuperDrive. Pioneer's new mechanism (the DVR-A06) integrates support for the following formats: DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, CD-R and CD-RW. The DVD+RW format integrates support for DVD+ media. Peripheral versions of the product are expected to reach market in three to four months.

The move to support the DVD+R/RW standard opens a path for Apple to add support for it to its products.

The market for these products is expanding fast, Pioneer confirmed. Seventy per cent of DVD writers shipped so far have supported the DVD-R/RW format. All major software manufacturers have announced support for the format.

However, the existence of several competing DVD formats has confused consumers, who want a single product capable of handling them all.

The new product builds on Pioneer's success in supporting existing standards. The company claims writing precision and performance when using DVD-RW media. Other confirmed functions include data writing through "drag and drop," just like when using a floppy disc, and free additional writing and editing on either DVD-R or DVD-RW disc.

The product writes to DVD+ R at 4x; DVD+RW at 2x; to DVD-R at 4x; DVD-RW at 2x; CD-R at 16x; CD-RW at 10x.

Each format offers the following capabilities:

DVD-ROM: offers read only;

DVD-RAM: is capable of repeated recording and deletion of data, is built for data storage - its discs are incompatible with most DVD players.

DVD-R: Is recordable once only, the media is compatible with most consumer DVD players.

DVD-RW: This format lets users record and erase data on media repeatedly and the media is compatible with most consumer DVD players.

DVD+RW: This format also lets users record and erase data at will. This format is good for both data and video storage.

Apple's SuperDrive - a Pioneer mechanism - supports the DVD-R/RW formats at present.