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CeBIT Toshiba unveils first HD DVD laptop

Toshiba unveiled the first high definition laptop computer with a HD DVD optical. The Qosmio G30 notebook, initially announced at last year's CES and now showcased at the CeBIT electronics trade fair at Hannover, Germany, is the latest model under Toshiba's Qosmio range of high-end audio-video computers.

The G30's built-in HD DVD drive is expected to be region-free, which means that the drive will not check for region encoding, allowing it to play HD DVDs bought in the US and elsewhere. Actually, the HD DVD regional coding has not yet been decided, and the first releases will not feature any regional restrictions.

The G30 incorporates an HDCP-compliant HDMI output port and a 17in 1920 x 1200 TruBrite LCD screen ready for 1080p HD content. The display is driven by an Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics chip with 256MB of video RAM. The notebook has a 2GHz Core Duo T2500 processor on board, 1GB of DDR 2 SDRAM, an 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi radio and Bluetooth 2.0.

It has also twin analogue and digital TV tuners, a Dolby Home Theater-certified audio system based on Dolby virtual speaker technology, Dolby Pro Logic II decoding and Harman Kardon speakers.

The computer will retail for a price between 2,500 and 3,500 euros and will be available in all countries within a few weeks, said Oscar Koenders, European computer marketing manager at Toshiba.


MATSUSHITA said it would introduce Blu-ray DVD players in Europe in the autumn of 2006. The CE giant, which sells its products under the Panasonic and JVC brands, said the new Blu-ray players would be priced somewhere between the $999 player announced by Samsung Electronics and feature-rich models from the likes of Pioneer at prices above $1,500.

According to Kazuhiro Tsuga, executive officer at Matsushita, the cost to produce an HD DVD optical drive and a Blu-ray optical drive are not that different and do not explain the big price difference for finished players. "Toshiba's price is quite strategic," he said, referring to the $499 HD DVD player soon to be launched by rival Toshiba.

Matsushita plans to start selling the first Blu-ray recordable and playback drives for PCs in coming months. They are expected to cost above $200 for PC manufacturers, which buy in volume, similar to the price levels when the first DVD drives were introduced in 1996 and 1997.

NEC has demonstrated an HD-DVD recordable drive with media from Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co. Ltd., known by its Verbatim brand name. The company was shooting high-definition video each morning at the show and burning it onto a disc for playback during the day.

The blank media, which only became available days before the trade show began, is single-sided so can store up to 15GB of data. The drive, called HD-1100A, is also compatible with dual-layer 30GB discs, and also writes to DVD and CD discs.

NEC is also working on drives for rewritable HD-DVD media although the standardization for HD-DVD Rewritable has yet to be completed. That is expected to be finalised in May or June this year, said an NEC spokesman.

BENQ announced its first 'Trio' writer - the BW1000 - a triple writer that encompasses BD, DVD and CD format support.

The disc writer supports all Blu-ray Disc formats at 2X read and write, as well as the interface of the future Serial ATA, which secures the data bandwidth while playing back high-definition contents, even for the most dynamical scenes.

With BenQ’s BW1000, users can easily transfer high-definition home videos and art works to BD-R and BD-RE media, either 25GB or 50GB version, to share and store premium contents with convenience.

The kit features revolutionary SolidBurn and Write Right technologies. SolidBurn automatically learns and optimizes the writing settings for recordable media and makes over-speed writing feasible and stable, delivering stunning drive intelligence to help users write any media at the desired speed.

BenQ’s Write Right technology provides thorough protection during the writing process, which includes Seamless Link (for buffer-under run protection), dynamical jitter calibration (for real-time writing quality consistency) and Walking-OPC (for real-time writing power compensation) features.

RICOH has developed recordable discs for Blu-ray and HD DVD, the next-generation DVD formats, and has started shipping samples to hardware manufacturers.

The samples to be shipped are BD-R and HD DVD-R, write-once discs for Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD respectively.

By employing highly sensitive inorganic recording materials and high-precision stampers newly developed for next-generation recordable DVDs, Ricoh was able to achieve high reliability when writing and reading data. This will provide an advantage in further speed increases and multilayer structures.

Ricoh said it aims to provide the newly developed next-generation recordable DVDs to end-user customers within the year.

INTERVIDEO and their partner ULEAD are demonstrating Blu-ray authoring, burning, content navigation and playback software at CeBIT.

InterVideo WinDVD showcased a complete Blu-ray navigation and playback solution, including support for BDAV video format. The product supports the interactive features of BDMV movie titles as well as the BD-J specification. This specification allows movie enthusiasts to take advantage of all BD interactive playback features including subtitles, play modes, angles and direct Internet connectivity for content updates.

Also on display was InterVideo MediaOne Gallery BD, a digital media software suite that delivers nine multimedia solutions in one package and enables users to record High Definition Video (HDV) content directly to BD RE discs. Users can also use MediOne Gallery BD to burn and backup data onto BD discs.

For its part, Ulead showed its DVD MovieFactory 5, a software with BD support enabling users to carry out the complete post-production movie process including editing, authoring, burning, backup and, if desired, content protection.

The release of InterVideo BD software to the retail market will coincide with the release of BD drives and media. Starting in late March, Ulead MovieFactory 5 will be available in box and electronic versions in retail stores and at for USD $49.99 (£29).

Story filed 12.03.06

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