Toshiba has introduced first notebook with rewritable HD DVD drive

HD DVD, HD TV, HD Video, HD-Ready Notebooks Comments Off

Toshiba Q40 Qosmio Series 2

Toshiba this week announced that it is to launch its first notebook PC with built-in rewritable HD DVD drive.

The Qosmio Series 2 will initially launch in Japan, where arguably they can put it to much more use that us lowly high-definition-catcher-uppers in the West.

The notebook will feature either the 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 or 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7250 processor, 15.4 or 17 inch display offering 1,280x800 or 1,920x1,200 resolution respectively, plus 2GB of RAM, up to 400GB hard drive, TV tuners, and battery life of over three hours. Pre-installed with Windows Vista Home Ultimate (with Premium and Business capabilities)

Taking their place as a decent portable entertainment device, these notebooks can receive two TV channels at once, and record high definition content to standard DVDs, albeit in small amounts, thanks to HD Rec technology.

For those who've been in a cave for the last couple of years, Toshiba are probably one of the biggest fans of HD DVD (having developed it), and this notebook adds to their portfolio of devices which can read and write the high definition disc format.

They'll cost from $2,600 to $3,500, but no word on if and when they'll be arriving over here.


Microsoft has released Xbox 360 HD DVD drive emulator

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Microsoft today released details regarding it’s newly developed Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator which has been designed to streamline the HD DVD creation and testing process. The Xbox HD DVD Emulator allows producers of HD DVD’s to test all areas of the disc, such as encoded video and Hdi interactivity, virtually to ensure proper functioning of the disc before it is burned. This software based HD DVD burning tool represents a significant reduction in cost for makers of HD DVD’s as it allows companies to do away with costly hardware and an trial and error process of burning which costs both money and time for the company concerned.

Xbox 360 logo

This new product also ensures a better level of quality as the use of the Xbox 360 HD DVD emulator can help companies release more titles free of errors thus ensuring a higher profit on their products. The Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator has also been designed to be operated from a network storage share, from a USB drive directly connected to the Xbox 360 console, or by using an optical disc in the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. This design was created by Microsoft to lessen the testing time for both Xbox 360 HD-DVD’s and with other HD DVD players.

Jordi Ribas, the general manager of HD DVD at Microsoft, stated that the company was “ committed to supporting and advancing the HD DVD ecosystem” and that “the new Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator reflects these efforts by providing developers with the software-based tools they need to efficiently deliver the highest-quality content”. Riblas also stated that ““Microsoft developed the Emulator to help save studios and postproduction houses time, resources and costs involved with the creation of HD DVD content, and let them focus on what really matters — pushing the envelope with the format.”

Source: The Game Reviews

Acer announced first dual HD-DVD Blu-Ray desktop PC

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Acer has unveiled what it claims to be the first desktop PC with a combo drive that can play both Blu-ray and HD-DVD content in its new Aspire M5630 series.

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Along with the ability to play 1920 x 1080 resolution HD content via either Blu-ray disc or HD-DVD disc, the new series also features Intel's Core 2 Quad processor Q6600 (2.4GHz with 8MB L2 cache) providing the processing power required for gaming and multimedia applications.

"Acer realised that the battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD is still in play, and therefore understood the need to create a solution that future proofed our offering in the market," said Acer Computer Australia's Raymond Vardanega.

The Aspire M5630 range starts from $2299, and includes Vista Home Premium, 2GB DDR2 system memory, 500GB SATA HDD, ATI X2400 Pro 256MB PCI-Express x16 video, wireless keyboard / mouse and bundled with HDCP compliant Acer 22-inch wide LCD monitor.

Acer also offers a Core 2 Duo E4500 option with Blu-ray / HD-DVD combo optical drive with an RRP of $1999. It features Vista Home Premium, 2GB DDR2 system memory, 320GB SATA hard drive, ATI X2400 Pro 256MB PCI-Express x16 video, wireless keyboard / mouse and bundled with HDCP compliant Acer 22-inch wide LCD monitor.

The Acer M5 series comes pre-installed with Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium or Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic. Additional pre-installed software includes Microsoft Office 2007 Trial, Acer Arcade Live suite, Acer Empowering Technology, to enhance system performance, reduce noise, protect data and make recovery easy; Norton Internet Security 2007, Adobe Reader 7.0; CyberLink PowerDVD and NTI CD-Maker Gold.

Warranty is two-years carry-in.

Promotion & Specifications

Source: SmartHouse

HP launched a new dual format burners

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New HP Compaq series logoHewlett-Packard (HP) will begin launching its next-generation PCs with a Blu-ray Disc (BD)/HD DVD dual-format burner in the US and Europe starting October 2007 and in other markets later on, the company said at a product presentation held in Singapore on September 11.

Spotlighting the "HP Tough Innovation" as the main theme for its product presentation, HP claimed that it has extended the latest touch sensing technology to products from PDA phones to PCs and MFPs (multi-function peripherals).

The company's new HP Pavilion dv2000- and Compaq Presario V3000-series notebook PCs now all support capacitive touch sensor technology, HP said.

The presentation also included HP's latest printer, the Photosmart C8180 All-in-One, which comes with a touch-screen display and a built-in CD-DVD burner with Lightscribe technology, according to company data.

At the same venue, HP also announced that it will replace its previous 'Compaq' logo with a brand new one converged from the letters C and Q, with the new logo to be used on its Compaq-series desktop and notebook lineups starting the fourth quarter of this year.

Source: DigiTimes

A new China HD DVD standard has been announced

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The consortium, composed of Chinese university engineers and government officials, in cooperation with a Chinese video standards group that includes globally recognized manufacturers, has reached an agreement with the DVD Forum to release a new blue-laser disc mechanism and also a new format of high definition DVDs, that is closely related to Toshiba’s HD DVD format, despite using the aforementioned blue-laser (also used by the Blu Ray format).

Dubbed CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD), the new high-def DVD has been developed by the Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center (OMNERC), a laboratory inside the Tsinghua University, in collaboration with other research institutes and manufacturing enterprises at home and abroad.

The relationship between Toshiba’s HD DVD and the CH-DVD is very close, since the latter is designed based on the HD DVD specifications, but also includes Chinese intellectual property. CHDA will play a leadership role in the promotion of CH-DVD, and will make a big push to launch CH-DVD player into the Chinese market in 2008.


The CH-DVD boasts with advanced copy-protection features (piracy being one of China’s greatest plagues), which should effectively prevent the spreading of pirated discs.

HD DVD and CH DVD are compatible, which means HD DVD players (with additional software) can read CH DVD, and vice versa.

The news of a third next-gen DVD format comes in a time of intense fighting between the two main rivals, Toshiba and Sony. Toshiba allegedly paid $150 to Paramount and DreamWorks for the two studios’ exclusive support for HD DVD, while Sony claimed at the end of August an early lead in front of its home ground rival, with 1 million Blu Ray discs sold in the US, and 250,000 sold in Europe. According to Sony's estimates, Blu-ray discs now account for 69% of the total high-definition market in Europe, with Sony titles making up more than 47% of the total European Blu-ray market.

However, with the launch of this third format, China becomes the preferred territory for the high-def battle. At the beginning of September, China Film Group, one of China’s largest film distribution groups, had also adopted the Bly Ray in detriment of HD DVD, while Toshiba responded with the launch of a super-cheap, $199 HD DVD player from Venturer Electronics, a Canadian-based distributor of Chinese made consumer electronics.

The player, which will be on North American store shelves in Q4 2007, is called SHD7000 and features 1080i video output, an HDMI connection (to upconvert standard DVD to near HD quality) and Ethernet connectivity, which allows for network access to studios and third parties via the Internet. Toshiba currently sells its HD-A2 HD DVD player for $299 after a $100 manufacturer’s rebate.

And to spice things up even more, on September 7, the DVD Forum officially approved on August 31 the 51 GB single-sided triple-layer HD DVD disc (an extension to the HD DVD standard, which was submitted by Toshiba in April) for production. With this approval, the HD DVD camp not only demolishes the Blu Ray camp’s argument that the BD is better because it can store more information, but also surpasses Blu Ray, which can only hold 50GB of data.

Source: eFluxMedia

Universal Launches New HD DVD Website

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Further pushing the boundaries of HD DVD interactivity, Universal has launched a new consumer high-def promotional and support web site promising exclusive web-enabled content.

The studio-created site, dubbed Universal Studios Home Entertainment Hi Def, is designed to be an extensive consumer portal for all things Universal HD DVD. Among the site's offerings are a FAQ covering the format's current interactive features, extensive technical support (including connection issues and a breakdown of common software and hardware error codes) and previews of upcoming releases.

But most exciting are a number of site sections still under construction, which seem to suggest that the studio is planning to use the site as a launching pad for future web-enabled content. Labeled "Coming Soon" are several features, including something called "U-Shop," which apparently will allow consumers to buy exclusive products while they watch the movie; "Best Buddies," where fans will be able to send friends pointers to favorite clips on a given an HD DVD title via the studio's "MyScenes" feature; and a dedicated Download Center.

Universal is also promising that additional content will be made available only to registered users of the site, including trailers and other exclusive material.

Source: Hi-Def Digest

Third High Definition DVD Format to Come This Fall

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The ongoing war between Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition video formats is heating up as appropriate players become more affordable. While the end of the battle is still far ahead, there is a small company from London, England, which plans to offer truly affordable high-definition format called HD VMD already this fall.New Medium Enterprises unveiled its first HD VMD (Versatile Multilayer Disc) player at IFA trade-show in Berlin along with the short list of movies to be available for the player this fall. The company, which positions its standard as “The New Definition of High Definition” promises affordable prices and widespread availability, but remains tight-lipped over the movies portfolio it is able to release.

NME’s ML622S player that is capable of DVD and HD VMD playback has recommended retail price of €179 ($243) and offers video playback encoded using MPEG-2/MPEG-2 HD, VC-1 or H.264 codecs in up to 1080p (1920x1200, progressive scan) resolution with up to 45Mb/s bitrate along with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS audio.

The London-based startup launches its HD VMD technology worldwide in October or November with a competitive player and content bundle box which will include 5 new HD VMD titles for Australia, France, Iceland, India, Poland and Scandinavia. The company says that HD VMD’s “growing list of film content” includes “blockbuster films from Hollywood, Bollywood and International titles worldwide” including 16 Blocks, Apocalypto, Passion of the Christ, Lord of War, Lucky Number Slevin, plus the award winning children’s series, Lazy Town.

HD VMD technology is based on multi-layer DVD discs and red laser head. Each additional layer adds approximately up to 5 GB of memory over a standard DVD disc. VMD provides the ability to place up to 20 layers on a single disc with no quality loss in the content stored. This means capacity to record 100 GB or more without major changes to DVD players, but the disc technology requires new manufacturing process and production lines. Currently the company can produce up to 30GB discs. HD VMD is not supported by any major movie studios, like Blu-ray or HD DVD.

Source: Xbit Laboratories

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