HP to Unveil PC with Hybrid High-Def Drive

A spokesperson for Hewlett-Packard confirmed to BetaNews this afternoon that it will be including a hybrid Blu-ray / HD DVD disc reader and Blu-ray disk writer/re-writer drive as one of the options of its new high-performance Pavilion series PCs, with online availability confirmed for Wednesday.

Though HP would not confirm the brand specifically, it will most likely be using an LG "Super Multi Blue" hybrid disc component, which is the only one available that meets the specifications HP gave us this afternoon.

Model GBW-H10N reads to Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD, DVD, and CD, and will write to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray but not HD DVD, for reasons that may have more to do with licensing than technology.

The LG option will be available on Pavilion Media Center PC models m8010y and d4890y. Also available will be an optional nVidia GeForce 8800 DirectX 10 graphics card, ATI TV Wonder digital cable tuner card, and Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU - currently the only four-core option available on a single die.

The GBW-H10N has been available separately - at least someplace in the world - since June of last year, when a BenQ-branded edition showed up in Taiwan for over $900 retail. Today, the average price of this component is about $550 USD.

While its DVD-ROM write speeds at 16x are typical for drives costing less than $20 via mail order (without the Blu-ray writing capability, of course), its CD-ROM reading speed is a little lower than average: 40x versus the going rate of 52x.

Although HP remains mum on pricing until Wednesday, expect this component to add about $500 USD to the price of a performance Pavilion system.

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