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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Calls issued for unifying HD DVD/Blue-ray formats at CES


Major TV industry and entertainment representatives issued urgent calls Saturday at the ongoing 2005 International Consumers Electronics Show (CES) to unify the HD DVD/Blue-ray systems to prevent an emerging formats battle.

Bob Chapek, president of the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG),urged his members to work harder to unite the HD DVD and Blue-ray Disc camps into developing or settling upon a single standard.

Both HD DVD and Blue-ray discs can dramatically increase the DVD discs' storage capacity from the present 4.7GB up to 50GB, thus saving space for consumers in enjoying video and audio entertainment.

"The time for unification is now, before a Darwinian process ofnatural selection can set in, and before the expenditures of many millions with the prospect of a stunted new format being a distance possibility," Chapek, also president of Buena Vista Home Video, spoke at a DEG meeting.

Weeks before the international CES, held in Las Vegas since Jan.6, Buena Vista joined Sony Pictures in announcing plans to supportthe Blue-Ray Disc format with movie titles, due to its larger disccapacity and the claimed ability to facilitate a broad range of extra content, including interactive applications.

Commenting on the split between major Hollywood studios on the HD DVD and Blue-ray Disc systems, Chapek stressed that the two parties should make concessions in order to avoid a formats war.

He said the DEG members, who are evenly divided on the formats battle, are in the best position to prevent the formats war so to save a lot of money that could be wasted if a future war breaks out.

At the same DEG meeting, former Sony executive Ron Boire echoedChapek's unification call, saying that because consumers need a single format of the new generation of DVD, industry leaders should work together to unify the HD DVD/Blue-ray formats.

Several Hollywood entertainment companies are planning to release more than 50 titles of movies in HD DVD format in the nearfuture.

To offer a technological solution to the possible formats war, Japanese company JVC unveiled at the CES a non-recordable hybrid disc featuring an integration of HD DVD/Blue-ray formats. The new DVD has three layers, dual DVD-layers topped by a 25GB high-definition Blue-ray layer for a total of 33.5GB capacity.

JVC company also said it is working on a four-layer disc providing two Blue-ray layers and two DVD layers for a total of 58.5GB of storage capacity.

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