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IBM builds DVD into new PCs

IBM announces the first system with a built-in DVD-ROM player to be publicly available from a major vendor.

IBM (IBM) has introduced a consumer PC with a built-in DVD-ROM drive, the first such system from a major vendor.

IBM is also refreshing other PCs in its Aptiva line with larger hard drives and faster processors.

The new DVD-capable Aptivas might not get put through their paces for a while. Titles that take full advantage of the medium's capabilities aren't likely to appear until late 1997 or early 1998, according to industry analysts.

All DVD-ROM drives will be able to read the current library of CD-ROM programs, and software titles that require large amounts of disc space, such as multimedia encyclopedias, will likely be re-released in the new format by year's end.

Users will be able to use the new system as a standalone DVD player that attaches to a television or stereo, IBM says. A limited number of DVD movie titles are already on shelves, and offer the ability to play movies with subtitles in different languages, add parental ratings controls, or provide control over frame-viewing angles.

As reported last Friday by CNET's NEWS.COM, the new Aptiva C3D will offer a DVD-ROM player with MPEG-2 capabilities and Dolby surround sound. Titles are played back on TVs and stereos using a built-in adapter. The system also includes a 233-Mhz MMX Pentium processor, 48MB of high-performance memory and up to a 6.4GB hard drive.

IBM also announced two new S-Series Aptivas with a 233-Mhz MMX Pentium processor, 48MB of high-performance memory, a 24X CD-ROM drive, and up to a 6.4GB hard drive.

The Aptiva C3D will be available in early July, according to IBM. Prices for C-series models will range from $1,799 to $2,899. The Aptiva S-series models will be priced from $$2,599 to $2,999, depending on configuration, and are expected to be available this month.

Toshiba announced its own system with a DVD-ROM drive before IBM, but the system is available only to software developers.