Consumers can expect to see DVD-ready computers on the shelves sometime in the first quarter of next year, according to the company.
Only late last month did entertainment, electronics, and computer industry executives reach agreement on copyright protection issues that delayed the launch of DVD players beyond original projections of a Christmas 1996 rollout.
Lack of an agreement on copyright issues has also stalled development of software titles, but Toshiba said today that software developers including Electronic Arts, The Learning Company, Activision, and others have approximately 15 to 20 interactive DVD-ROM applications, games, and other software ready to ship. In addition to DVD-ROM titles, consumers will be able to play CD-ROM titles and audio CDs on the new drives, Toshiba says.
DVD technology offers up to 17GB (dual data layer, dual-sided) of storage capacity, which is as much as 25 times the capacity of a CD. The internal drive has a sustained data transfer rate of 1,350K/sec, according to Toshiba. MPEG-2 video and Dolby Digital Surround Sound AC-3 audio standards are supported by the new drive for playback of video titles.
Toshiba's desktop PC compatibles, the Infinias, have been shipping with a DVD-ROM-ready bay since their introduction earlier this year. But customers who want to upgrade will not be able to buy the drive direct from Toshiba. Instead, Diamond Multimedia will market Toshiba's drive to consumers through resellers and retail outlets as an DVD multimedia upgrade kit.
Toshiba says that the new drives will add between $400 to $500 to the cost of a PC. No price was announced on the upgrade kit from Diamond Multimedia.