It seems as if something like this must have been announced long ago but, apparently, Buffalo Japan 's new high-definition HD DVD-ROM drive for desktop PCs is the first such player in the world.

The HDV-ROM2.4FB will be on sale in Japan by the end of December and uses a standard ATAPI connection to slot into a desktop PC setup. Windows XP SP2 is needed as well as a pretty powerful system.

The listed hardware requirements are, at least a 3.2GHz Pentium D CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 256MB graphics card and a DVI or HDMI output. Naturally, you'll need a high-definition screen to make the exercise worthwhile.

The drive plays back dual-layer HD DVD-ROM discs, single-layer HD DVD-R and pretty much everything else right back to CD-ROM.

However, the asking price of ¥38,850 (£170) is pretty steep, particularly when considering that Microsoft's HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 costs around half that. We suggest waiting a few months for other players to arrive and push the price down. J Mark Lytle