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New HP Desktops Support Blu-ray ... And HD DVD

As an upgrade option, HP plans to offer an ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner.
Hewlett-Packard plans to make available this week on select consumer desktop PCs dual-format drives that can play HD DVD and Blu-ray high-definition discs.

In addition, HP is adding several upgrade options to the HP Pavilion Media Center m8010y series and HP Pavilion d4890y series desktops. Options include an Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad processor.

Computer makers are moving aggressively with high-definition features in hopes that consumers eventually will use the machines to manage content and deliver it to the HDTV in the living room. Even though the amount of HD content on cable and DVDs is limited, HDTV sales are strong because of falling prices.

The dual-format drive HP plans to start offering May 9 can read/write Blu-ray discs, but is read only for HD DVD, the company said Monday. The drive also will be able to read/write standard DVDs and CDs.

As to the upgrade options, HP plans to offer an ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner, which enables recording of HD programs and playing of content on a digital TV. In addition, consumers can choose an Nvida GeForce 8800 card for enhanced graphics. HP offers PC customization on its Web site.

HP in April revamped its Pavilion and Compaq consumer desktops, transforming them into new lines of stylish PCs made to complement the buyer's living-room decor.

The lineup included the HP Pavilion Media Center TV m8000 Series Desktop, which HP billed as the "ultimate digital entertainment" PC for watching TV and video, listening to music, and viewing photos. Other makeovers included the HP Pavilion s3000 Series Slimline PC, which is less than a third the size of a regular PC, and the HP Pavilion a6000 Series Desktop, geared for working with digital photos and video. On the Compaq side, HP revamped the Presario sr5000nx series.

Pricing for the new systems ranges from $299 to $849 and does not include a monitor. HP displays start at $169.