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Acer to launch HD-DVD laptop this month

But will launch Blu-ray systems in future too

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

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

The laptop will be a new model in Acer's high-end Aspire 9800 range and will feature an impressive 20.1in LCD 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, product marketing director at Acer.

The downside to using such a large panel is the computer's overall weight. It's close to 8kg, which is several times that of a standard laptop. It additionally pushes up the size: the machine measures approximately 480x350x60mm.

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

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

To date, only a handful of laptop makers have announced models with HD-DVD functionality. 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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