Toshiba have announced the first notebook HD-DVD Write Drive, which can read and write HD-DVDs as well as standard DVD and CD. Of course, announcements and availability are completely different beasts, so do not expect to see this little beauty until nearer the end of the year.

The SD-L902A, don’t you just love those snappy product names, will integrate a blue-violet laser diode offering support for high-density HD DVD-ROM discs, including high definition movie and video images. For me, however, it is the fact that at 12.7mm in height it really does deserve the little beauty tag that makes it a really interesting device.

Why? Because it meets the stringent space specifications for slim drives integrated into sub-notebook PCs. It manages this thanks to HD DVD discs having the physical structure as standard DVD, allowing use of an optical pick-up head with only a single objective lens. In effect, in the real world, it will give you the flexibility of a super-dooper-drive (should I trademark the term, maybe not) within a sub-notebook format.

Any DaniWeb members in Japan who happen to be attending CEATEC JAPAN 2006, at Makuhari Messe from October 3 to 7, will be able to see it in action at the Toshiba booth (1A09) and the HD DVD Promotion Group booth (1A06). Well, you never know. Moreover, if anyone does see it, please report back here and let me know what you think...

In the meantime, here are all the juicy technical specs:

Read/Write Speeds

HD DVD-R SL*: 1x; HD DVD-R DL*: 1x DVD-RAM: Max. 3x; DVD-R SL*: Max. 4x DVD-R DL*: Max. 2x; DVD-RW: Max. 4x DVD+R SL*: Max. 4x; DVD+R DL*: Max. 2.4x DVD+RW: Max. 4x; CD-R: Max. 16x CD-RW: 4x; High Speed CD-RW: Max. 10x Ultra Speed CD-RW: 10x

HD DVD-R SL*, DL*: 1x; HD DVD-ROM: 1x DVD: Max. 8x; CD: Max. 24x

Interface: ATAPI

Buffer capacity 8MB

MTBF 60,000 hours

Power source +5V (allowance +/-5%)

Operating temperature 5-50 degrees C (excluding media)

External dimension (W x H x D) 128mm x 12.7mm x 126.1 mm

Weight 170g (typical)

About the Author

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

So does this mean that HD DVD will become the de-facto standard for DVDs? What about Blu-Ray?

Well I think that is what Toshiba would like, Sony might think differently.