Currently, PCs with HD DVD drives include the HP Pavilion m7690n Media Center TV PC, the HP Pavilion dv9000t, and the Toshiba Qosimo G35 AV660 laptop.
For Blu-ray, Dell has its XPS M1710 laptop
, and Sony has its Sony VAIO AR series
laptops. Sony also introduced the first Blu-ray-equipped desktop, the VAIO RC310G
in the summer. You can also find HD drives in systems from the various high-end home-theater PC vendors such as Enviveit, Okoro, and Niveus. You can bet that CES will turn up more HD-equipped systems as well.
If you want to add a drive yourself, right now your only official choice is Blu-ray, but it's going to cost you. Lite-On, Pioneer
, Plextor, and Sony all sell Blu-ray burners with which you can upgrade a current PC. However, you'll pay between $600 and $1,000, depending on the model, roughly 10 times the price of a standard-definition, dual-layer DVD burner. We expect standalone HD DVD drives will debut in the U.S. soon, but for now your only options for PC-based HD DVD movie watching are a reputed hack to the Xbox 360's external HD DVD drive
and importing a Buffalo drive from Japan. HP has also announced an external HD DVD drive, but it has yet to hit the market.
In addition to the drive, you'll need to make sure that your display, your graphics card, and your player software are all HDCP
compliant. Many newer televisions and LCD monitors fit that bill, but you'll need to do your research on the graphics card. Many cards from 2005 and earlier from ATI and Nvidia advertise themselves as HDCP compliant, but they really aren't because they lack the requisite crypto-ROM chip that turns on that compliance. If your current card doesn't support HDCP encryption and you need a new one, be sure to read the packaging carefully to figure out whether it really completes the copy-protection chain.