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Monday, January 10, 2005
Next Gen DVD War Turns Nasty

The Blu-ray Disc Association strengthened its ranks at CES in Las Vegas after Electronic Arts, Vivendi Universal Games, Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments pledged their allegiance to the recordable DVD standard.

The move turns up the heat in the bitter war against the rival HD DVD group over which will become the de facto standard for next-generation DVDs.

Blu-ray offers up to 50Gb of capacity while HD DVD will not go beyond 30Gb. HD DVD, however, seems to be ahead of Blu-ray in getting products to market.

But Andy Parsons, senior vice president of the industrial solutions group at Pioneer, and a representative of the Blu-ray Disc Association, said that the additional capacity Blu-ray offers is worth the wait.

"It is short sighted to concede the path of least resistance now," he said.

The extra capacity will be needed for future applications, explained Parsons, adding that most movies today already ship with a second disk for bonus features.

The conflict will come down to a confrontation, with one of the two eventually dying, according to Parsons. "There is no middle ground," he warned.

However, Kinichi Sugimoto, a principal researcher with NEC, and spokesman for the HD-DVD Consortium, sees an opportunity for both standards to co-exist. HD DVD could end up owning the consumer market, while Blu-ray could focus on enterprise storage.

Pointing out that HD DVD disks are less expensive, Sugimoto predicted that it will become the standard for the cost conscious consumer market.

After consumers have standardised on HD DVD players for their movies, they will stick to it when they start burning disks. "The Rom market will deliver us the rewritable market."


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