CES - Toshiba readies desktop HD DVD drive

Toshiba has released a new desktop PC version of its HD DVD writer in a move to boost support for the next-generation optical format.

Toshiba will release a desktop PC version of its HD DVD writer next month in a move to boost support for the next-generation optical disc format. The release will follow the launch of a notebook version last year.

Both the new SD-H903A desktop drive and last year's notebook drive provide read and write support not only for the new HD DVD format but also the CD and DVD formats, Toshiba said Friday.

The SD-H903A integrates a blue-violet laser diode to read and write HD DVD-R discs and supports high-density HD DVD-ROM discs, including high-definition movie and video images.

The desktop version, which the company will show at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, will begin shipping in volume in February. Pricing was not released.

Dual layer HD DVD provides 30G bytes of storage capacity. That's enough to store up to eight hours of HD DVD movies with extended cuts and interactive features, or up to five full-length standard DVD films. More than 1.5 million HD DVD movies have been sold since April 2006, according to Toshiba. Users could also store up to 7,500 MP3 songs or 30,000 high-quality images.

Seven of the 10 largest original equipment manufacturers of notebook and desktop PCs have adopted the standard, according to Toshiba.

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John Blau

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