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Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Blu-ray Disc BD-ROM Specification Adds Microsoft's VC-1 Advanced Video Codec

The Blu-ray Disc Association and Microsoft have agreed to include the VC-1 advanced compression video codec, the proposed SMPTE standard based on Windows Media Video 9, as a mandatory codec in Blu-ray Disc's BD-ROM specification for video playback equipment.

"We've been committed to adding advanced codecs to enrich the Blu-ray Disc format," said Blu-ray Disc spokesperson Maureen Weber, general manager of HP's Optical Storage Solutions Business. "We want to offer content providers a variety of compression codecs to suit their various needs.

With the addition of Microsoft's VC-1, we extend that option in a package that makes Blu-ray Disc's capacity advantage even more substantial while still delivering the picture quality that consumers demand from high-definition technology."

Video codecs are used to compress video images for storage to a disc and then decompress them for viewing. A critical piece to Blu-ray Disc was making sure that any advanced compression codecs included in the specification accomplish the compression and decompression with little or no visible loss of image quality.

"Microsoft has been actively working with various standards groups including Blu-ray to deliver exciting and compelling next-generation, high quality audio and video experiences for consumers across PC and CE devices," said Amir Majidimehr, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft's Windows Digital Media Division. "VC-1, the emerging SMPTE standard based on Windows Media Video 9, is one of the key components in various HD optical formats and we are extremely pleased that Blu-ray has chosen it as a mandatory compression technology for its format. Microsoft will maintain its neutral position in supporting the emerging high-definition video formats that deliver new possibilities for content providers and consumers."

About the Blu-ray Disc: Blu-ray Disc is a next-generation optical disc format being developed for high-definition video and high-capacity software applications. A single-layer Blu-ray Disc will hold up to 25 gigabytes of data and a double-layer Blu-ray Disc will hold up to 50 gigabytes of data.

About the Blu-ray Disc Association: The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is responsible for establishing format standards and promoting and further developing business opportunities for Blu-ray Disc -- the next-generation optical disc for storing high-definition movies, photos and other digital content. BDA's founding members are Dell Inc.; Hewlett Packard Company; Hitachi, Ltd.; LG Electronics Inc.; Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; Panasonic (Matsushita Electric); Pioneer Corporation; Royal Philips Electronics; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Sharp Corporation; Sony Corporation; TDK Corporation; and Thomson. Nearly 250 companies attended recent meetings in the United States and Japan to hear about how they can join BDA and play a role in Blu-ray Disc format's creation, technology contribution and the working levels of BDA's operations.

About Microsoft: Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Blu-ray Disc Founders:
-- Dell Inc.
-- Hewlett Packard
-- Hitachi, Ltd.
-- LG Electronics Inc.
-- Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
-- Panasonic (Matsushita Electric)
-- Pioneer Corporation
-- Royal Philips Electronics
-- Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
-- Sharp Corporation
-- Sony Corporation
-- TDK Corporation
-- Thomson

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