COMPUTEX - Acer to launch HD DVD laptop this month

Acer will launch a laptop computer with HD DVD drive later this month, it said Tuesday at the Computex trade show in Taiwan.

Acer will launch a laptop computer with HD DVD drive later this month, it said Tuesday at the Computex trade show in Taiwan.

HD DVD is one of two new optical-disc formats vying to replace DVD for high-definition content. The discs are the same size as current DVDs but hold several times more information so can accommodate the larger high-definition files.

The laptop will be a new model in Acer's high-end Aspire 9800 range and will feature an impressive 20.1-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) screen. The screen is a monitor-class panel of a type not usually found on laptops, so it delivers an image equivalent to a desktop monitor, said Trisha Pan, a product marketing director at Acer.

The downside to using such a large panel is the computer's overall weight. It's close to 8 kilograms, which is several times that of a standard laptop. It additionally pushes up the size: The machine measures 48 centimeters by 35cm by 6cm.

"It's definitely not for portable use," said Pan.

The computer also features twin 120G-byte hard-disk drives, NVidia GeForce 7600 graphics, a TV tuner and support for various audio technologies including Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect.

A version of the Aspire 9800 without HD DVD support has already gone on sale and costs around US$2,700, said Pan. Adding HD DVD support will increase the price by between US$200 and US$300, she said.

To date, only a handful of laptop makers have announced models with HD DVD. One of the first was Toshiba, which is a major backer of the format. Its machine went on sale in Japan in May. Fujitsu is planning to begin selling an HD DVD laptop soon.

Acer said its support for the HD DVD format isn't exclusive. The company is planning to launch a laptop with a Blu-ray Disc drive but hasn't yet decided on timing for the machine.

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