First HD-DVD drive hits UK – in a Tosh laptop

Today saw the low-resolution UK dragged a step closer to a glittering high-def future with the arrival of the first HD-DVD-playing laptop. Yes, QOSMI

Today saw the low-resolution UK dragged a step closer to a glittering high-def future with the arrival of the first HD-DVD-playing laptop.

Yes, QOSMIO lovers, we’re talking about the Toshiba G30, a machine we’ve been eyeing for an age and which we’ll finally be able to buy 18th April.

At the moment, owning a computer with a HD-DVD-ROM drive is a talking point and a future-proofing touch rather than something useful, but that should change early this summer when the first HD-DVD discs go on sale. The big deal is the discs’ huge 30GB storage, which are capable of squeezing in high-def films with far more detail than today’s DVDs.

Although the G30 can’t write to HD-DVD discs, it does burn old skool dual layer DVDs. Toshiba’s also planning a laptop for the end of the year that’ll burn HD-DVDs – a corking way to backup all that music, video and vital docs.

In the meantime, there’s the G30, which is also a super-specced bit of computing and entertainment kit. The 17in widescreen’s good enough for 1080p high-def, there’s a top drawer digital amp and the latest version of Media Centre running alongside Toshiba’s own instant-on media player software.

Other features of note? An HDMI socket for big screen hook-up, GeForce 7600 graphics card, 2GHz Core processor, 240GB hard drive (huge by laptop standards), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and – for your time-wasting pleasure – one Freeview and one analogue TV tuner.

The G30 goes on sale 18th April for £2300, by which time some of the first 50 HD-DVD movies should be on sale too. Elsewhere today, Sony’s European HQ said it’ll start flogging Blu-ray discs – all we need now is for some UK gear to play and burn the things. For now, it’s round one to HD-DVD.

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