NEC plans to start selling desktop PCs equipped with HD-DVD drives at the end of 2005, the company announced. Slimmed-down versions of the drives will be added to laptops in 2006

NEC did not announce which PC models would be sold with HD-DVD drives or how much PCs equipped with the drives will cost.

In addition to selling PCs equipped with HD-DVD drives, NEC will start selling the drives separately at the end of next year, first for desktops and later for laptops. "We are still developing the slim-type drives”, said Yoshibumi Yashiro of NEC.

Toshiba has also announced plans to start selling notebook PCs equipped with HD-DVD drives in December 2005.

Initially, Toshiba's high-end notebook models will be equipped with slim-type HD-DVD drives. "We'll start with the high end, and release more (HD-DVD-equipped) models in 2006," said Toshiba’s Keisuke Ohmori.

These first HD-DVD-equipped notebooks from Toshiba will be priced between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000 (between around £1,040 and £1,560). Toshiba hopes to sell about 1 million notebooks equipped with the HD-DVD drives during the first year following the launch, Ohmori said.

The NEC and Toshiba announcements underline the determination of companies that support the HD-DVD format to get products into shops next year.

HD-DVD technology was mainly developed by Toshiba and NEC. In August, another of Japan's major consumer electronics products makers, Sanyo, announced support for the standard. Both Sanyo and Toshiba unveiled prototype HD-DVD players earlier this month at Japan's premier electronics show, Ceatec Japan 2004.

Sample HD-DVD discs made by Memory-Tech, Ritek, Prodisc, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Imation, Cinram and Advanced Media were also shown at the exhibition.

Ranged against HD-DVD is the Blu-ray Disc format backed by a group of companies led by Sony and Panasonic. Panasonic recently launched its first Blu-ray Disc player, while Sony put its first Blu-ray Disc on sale last year.