Friday, December 21, 2007

Toshiba Reveals Laptops with Rewritable HD DVD

Toshiba Corp., a leading maker of various electronics equipment and the main backer of HD DVD high-definition video format, announced this week that on Friday it would begin to sell the world’s first portable computers with rewritable HD DVD drive. The new multimedia center notebooks will not only be able to receive TV channels and playback HD DVD, but also to record high-def shows on modern media.

The new laptops from Toshiba are Qosmio G40/97E with 17” full-HD (1920x1200) screen and Qosmio F40/88EBL with 15.4” display that supports 1280x800 resolution. Both machines will come with 2GB of DDR2 memory, hard disk drive(s) from 160GB to 200GB, built-in TV-tuner that can receive two channels to allow end-users to watch one and record another. The new Qosmio notebooks feature Intel Core 2 Duo microprocessors as well as Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics accelerators that feature acceleration of HD DVD playback as well as quality high-definition video post-processing engines.

The key feature of the new Qosmio notebooks is HD DVD RW drives, which can playback, record and re-record HD DVD media. According to Toshiba, the capability will allow its customers to record high-definition TV shows on appropriate media, which has capacity of 15GB or 30GB. In addition, people will be able to record high-definition content on normal DVD media thanks to HD Rec technology. Given that 15GB HD DVD bulk media costs about $10, whereas a 4.7GB DVD costs about $0.25, the HD DVD burning capability will hardly become truly popular in foreseeable future.

The new portable computers from Toshiba are not light and will hardly be used as mobile PCs. But since they come with remote control, their positioning seems to be a multimedia center for small flats in Japan, where notebooks have gained popularity due to space constraints.

The 17” is expected to sell for about $3500, while the 15.4” version will be priced at about $2600, reports InformationWeek web-site. Presently the new Qosmio machines are only announced for Japan and it is unclear whether and when they are set to be offered in other regions.

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