Dell backs Blu-ray with first notebook product

Dell has joined the small group of companies producing Blu-ray products, announcing its first notebook computer with a Blu-ray drive.

The announcement cements its long-established support for the optical disc format in preference to HD DVD.

Blu-ray is an option on the new XPS M1710 notebook and provides support for playback of the limited but slowly growing number of Blu-ray movie titles. It also allows data burning on both 25GB single-layer and 50GB dual-layer Blu-ray (BD) discs.

'Blu-ray optical drive technology has gained broad industry support and we believe it will become the optical drive standard of the future,' said Alex Gruzen, senior VP, Dell Product Group.

'We continue to see PCs - both desktops and notebooks - functioning as the entertainment and productivity hub in the home and on the road with their versatility, power, connectivity, and vibrant high-definition displays. We believe high-definition video powered by Blu-ray Disc technology will be a significant part of that entertainment experience.'

To complement its Blu-ray support the Intel Core 2 Duo machine sports a 1080p high-definition resolution screen, powered by nVIDIA's GeForce Go 7950 GTX graphics chip with 512MB of video memory.

Dell is a long-time backer of Blu-ray as a founding member of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) in May 2004, along with Sony, which developed the technology, HP, Hitachi, LG, Matsushita (Panasonic), Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Thomson. Apple joined the BDA in March 2005.

The company reaffirmed its support for the technology in a joint statement with HP last year, after Intel and Microsoft had come out in favour of Toshiba's HD DVD.

Although HD DVD had the early momentum in the market, with Toshiba releasing its first HD DVD notebook in May of this year and Microsoft offering the drive as an option with its Xbox 360 games console, Blu-ray has the backing of the world's two largest PC makers and it will be fitted in the forthcoming Sony Playstation 3 console.