NEC today unveiled its ND-3551A and ND-4551A DVD writers, the first in the world to feature Labelflash. Similar to LightScribe, this technology allows users to burn 256-shade images onto CD and DVD media as well as data.

A technology jointly developed by Yamaha and Fujifilm, Labelflash uses the same laser within the DVD writer to burn not only data but blue-and-silver images to the disc. This means users can create neat labels and track listings for CDs and DVDs they burn for easy archiving.

Unlike LightScribe, which could burn images to only one side of the media, Labelflash can label both sides. The top side of a Labelflash disc has a special coating, 0.6mm thick, that protects any image that is burned to it from fading. On the data side of the disc, images can be burned to any area that doesn't already have data burned on to it.

Both drives will burn data to DVD+R and DVD-R media at 16-speed, to DVD+R DL media at eight-speed, and to DVD-R DL discs at six-speed. The ND-4551A will also write to the now almost obsolete DVD-RAM format.

NEC claims that images can be burned to the disc in around seven minutes, though at high quality settings it could take as long as 27 minutes.

The drives will cost around £49 when they go on sale. The price of compatible media is not clear as yet.