First desktop HD DVD burner

Toshiba’s Storage Device Division announced the first HD DVD burner for desktop PCs on Friday 5 January.

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Toshiba’s Storage Device Division announced the first HD DVD burner for desktop PCs on Friday 5 January.

Until now, no manufacturer has offered a half-height desktop drive for installation in PCs. Last October, Toshiba announced the first HD DVD slimline writer for notebook PCs.

Notably, the drive does not support rewritable media. Paul Castellaneta, senior director, HD DVD business development, said the rewritable HD DVD formats were not ready in time to be incorporated into this drive. However, he says: “We will support rewritable in subsequent models.”

Castellaneta says the company decided to use Serial ATA because OEM customers requested it. The SATA interface remains uncommon on DVD burners. And, as with DVD, the use of a SATA interface does not impact on the drive’s performance.

“One of the beautiful things about HD DVD is our ability to keep it low cost, at a high reliability,” says Castellaneta. “The goal will continue to be to offer the lowest HD solution in the market.”

Since the drive is an OEM component, Castellaneta declined to quote pricing. However, he did posit that: “It’s probably half of what a Blu-ray [burner] solution is.” Blu-ray Disc burners currently range in price from Sony’s $750 (£367) BWU-100A to Plextor’s $1,000 (£515) PX-B900A.

Castellaneta says he expects we’ll see systems integrating an HD DVD burner in the first half of the year. The drive, he says, will show up in external drives, as well as in desktop PCs, gaming PCs and media servers.

Meanwhile Toshiba continues to improve its HD DVD storage capacity. At the HD DVD Promotion Group’s press conference, the company announced it has developed 51Gb triple-layer rewritable and ROM media.

This capacity is up from the company’s previous explorations of a higher-capacity 45GB triple-layer disc. Currently, HD DVD maxes out at a 30Gb dual-layer disc. This capacity is 1Gb greater than rival Blu-ray Disc, which tops out at 50Gb.

The company spoke in terms of getting the disc approved as part of the HD DVD spec by the end of 2007.

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