Toshiba launches Australian-first HD-DVD notebook despite rival’s claim

By Adam Coleman

SYDNEY: Toshiba yesterday launched its upgraded range of Qosmio AV notebooks incorporating HD-DVD technology, the first Australian product to incorporate the new standard in storage and viewing, despite false claims made by Acer.

With greater storage capacity on the one disk, HD-DVD is an advancement upon the standard DVD technology and allows consumers to experience more intense, clear and crisp images and audio than possible on today’s DVDs, delivering a cinema-quality experience of movies at home.

The Qosmio G30 is Toshiba’s first HD-DVD enabled device and is marketed as a four-in-one entertainment unit, which can play and record movies and television in both high definition and standard format in addition to being a television, virtual surround sound system and portable Microsoft XP Media Centre PC.

At the launch, Toshiba general manager ISD – Australia and New Zealand, Mark Whittard, took aim at Acer suggesting it is disappointing they would “lie” in a press release about its Aspire 5675WLMi notebook being the first Australian HD-DVD product, ranged exclusively through Dick Smith Electronics.

A Dick Smith Electronics spokesperson, who wished to remain nameless, confirmed the Acer HD-DVD product was not in stock and that the Toshiba notebook will be the first HD-DVD product in the range in the next few days.

“I have spoken to our buyer and he has confirmed we don’t have the product. We placed an order for it but there is no supply. We haven’t been told when to expect a shipment,” the spokesperson told current.com.au.

The Acer press release dated 23 May, boldly stated “Acer has today announced the Australian availability of the first notebook PC equipped with the latest HD DVD technology".

"The nature of Acer’s business model means that we can upgrade existing notebooks or desktops to feature new technology and deliver this in-store to customers within two weeks,” said product business manager – mobile, Lindsay Tobin in the release.

"Our global relationships with suppliers and our supply chain efficiency enable us to make this happen,” he said.
Acer spokesperson, Sheree Fromholtz, confirmed the HD-DVD Aspire notebook had been delayed.

“That is correct the product has been delayed. When we went out with the news we obviously did believe we would be first. We are now looking at an early July release. We will still be among the first,” she said.

The Toshiba Qosmio G30 comes with a 17-inch widescreen display with a brightness and colour saturation comparable to that of an LCD television. It also features an integrated analogue and digital TV tuner.

With the first Australian HD-DVD product, Toshiba set about presenting the technology’s benefits over Sony’s rival Blu-Ray technology, with a format war looming comparable to the VHS – Betamax videotape wars of 1980s.

Among those points raised in favour of HD-DVD was the lower cost of manufacturing, lower price and surprisingly greater capacity with Toshiba claiming 30GB on a single sided dual layer disk compared with Blu-Rays current 25GB.

Although the company did concede that Sony did have the potential to increase the capacities of its Blu-Ray discs.

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