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Thursday, November 27, 2003
DVD Forum approves portion of new format


The HD DVD format proposed by Toshiba and NEC as the next-generation DVD format was finally approved by the DVD Forum's steering committee during recent meetings in New York.

The proposal includes both read-only and rewritable formats, but only the ROM format in its 0.9 version was approved by the committee during meetings last week by a vote of 8-6.

The HD DVD format is a violet laser-based optical disk system with a capacity of 15-20 Gbyte per side using the same disk structure as current DVD disks.

As the next-generation optical disk system using a violet laser, nine consumer electronics manufacturers, including Matsushita Electric Industrial, Sony, Royal Philips Electronics and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., proposed the Blu-ray Disk format that lacks backward compatibility with current DVDs. The Blu-ray format was not proposed to the Forum as a candidate next-generation DVD format, but the two formats are vying to become the next-generation disk system.

With some committee supporting the Blu-ray Disk format, the HD DVD proposal was twice voted down.

In the latest ballot, the HD DVD format failed to acquire a majority. However, an amended voting rule not to count abstentions cleared the way for final passage of the proposal.

The steering committee also decided to increase committee membership and voting to reelect members has begun. New steering committee members will be elected by year-end at the earliest, the Forum said.

Industry sources close to the Forum said they expect the new membership to shift the balance in future voting for the HD DVD format.


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