Blu Note: Dell Adds Blu-ray to Sub-$1,000 NoteBook (or Does It?)

The immediate benefit of the end of the high-definition DVD format war--spoiler: Sony's Blu-ray won--is that you'll be able to cram much higher density optical storage into a laptop or computer without worrying about obsolescence. Blu-ray can store up to about 50 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc, as well as handle playback that will look perfectly fantastic on a typical computer monitor.

Dell aims to move Blu-ray into the mainstream by offering it as an option on their Inspiron 1525 entry-level laptop line. Here's the rub, however: Dell's press release says that you can get a 1525 with Blu-ray "playback starting at $879." That's true: you get a CD/DVD burner that can play Blu-ray videos and read Blu-ray discs for $250 above the cost of a CD/DVD burner.

Should you want the whole megilla, however, it's a $450 premium to get a CD/DVD/Blu-ray burner--40 percent of the cost of the $1,079 base model with that feature and no other extras. (They've crammed a lot of lasers in that disk.) The cost will plummet this year, but if you absolutely, positively need to burn up to 50 GB at time (at a cost of about $35 per blank disc), you don't have to get a premium laptop to match the premium drive.

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