NEC plans to start selling desktop PCs equipped with HD-DVD (High Definition/High Density-DVD) drives at the end of 2005, the company says. Slimmed-down versions of the drives will be added to the company's line of notebook PCs in 2006, it says.

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. The company will initially sell HD-DVD drives designed for desktop PCs and will later offer the slim-type drives for notebooks.

NEC is not the first company to announce plans to sell PCs equipped with HD-DVD drives. Earlier this week, Toshiba 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, according to Keisuke Ohmori, a company spokesperson. "We'll start with the high end, and release more [HD-DVD-equipped] models in 2006," he says.

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 Electric, 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.

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