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Toshiba jazzes up multimedia laptop

The company introduces a new Satellite P25 with Windows XP Media Center Edition software, a new combo DVD/CD burner drive and additional video memory.

Toshiba is making it easier to play video and music on its big-screen Satellite P25 notebook.

The company on Monday introduced a new Satellite P25 model with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition software, a new combination DVD/CD burner drive and additional video memory.

The Media Center model, known as the Satellite P25-S607, is similar to the first Satellite P25 model, introduced earlier this month. However, the Media Center software lends the machine a user interface dedicated to multimedia. The interface is based around a series of large buttons--visible from across a room--designed to give people direct access to multimedia files that hold video, music or digital photos, as well as offer them the ability to watch or record TV programs and view DVD movies.

The software works with standard Satellite P25 features such as a TV tuner and a built-in DVD burner. While the newest notebook has nearly the same hardware as the first Satellite P25 model, Toshiba added to it a DVD burner that can also burn CDs and an Nvidia GeForce FX Go5200 graphics card with an additional 32MB of video memory for a total of 64MB. The notebook also comes with a remote control for operating Media Center features.

Like its siblings, the Media Center Satellite P25 features a 17-inch, wide-angle display. It also includes an Intel 2.8GHz desktop Pentium 4 processor with hyperthreading technology, 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive and built-in 802.11b wireless networking. It will sell for $2,699, a $600 premium over the standard Satellite P25, a Toshiba representative said. The notebook weighs 9.9 pounds and is 1.8 inches thick. It's the biggest notebook in Toshiba's lineup.

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The Media Center machine is the latest example of manufacturers catering to a consumer trend toward larger-sized notebooks. Many consumers who are replacing older home PCs are now stepping up to a notebook instead of buying another desktop. Such consumers seek desktop-like performance, large screens and fast processors, but are willing to pay extra for relative portability.

The Satellite P25 is one of several models offered at retail by Toshiba and other manufacturers, such as Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard and Sony, that address the trend.

Toshiba's first Media Center notebook model was its Satellite 5205-S705 that came out in early June.