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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
HD DVD poised for prime time in Japan

Promoters launched a three-day "HD DVD Showcase" here Monday (July 26), starting with a gathering of executives from about 150 entertanment companies and announcements about several products release plans.

Pony Canyon, a major Japanese package software company, kicked off the campaign by announcing plans to release the first HD DVD software in almost the same price range as DVDs.

Toshio Yajima, Microsoft Corp.'s senior adviser in Japan, said Microsoft will include HD DVD specifications in the future Longhorn version of its Windows operating system. However, Blu-ray Disk specifications have not yet been delivered, and the format could still slip from Longhorn unless developers responded soon, he added.

The HD DVD showcase used Toshiba and NEC's prototype players and software. Several titles were encoded in VC-9 and H.264 at 8 to 12 Mbits/s data rates. They were shown on a 250-inch digital light-processing screen and also on a 61-inch plasma and a 57-inch liquid-crystal-on-silicon monitors.

Toshiba and NEC said they intend to introduce HD DVD products with both player and recorder functions during 2005. The launch date depends on completion of the format by next year. "To achieve high picture quality, Toshiba wants to introduce an HD DVD player and recorder together" with surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) TV sets, said Yoshihide Fujii, president and CEO of Toshiba Digital Media Network Co.

SED displays are a type of field-emission display being jointly development by Toshiba and Canon.

Proponents said HD DVD would also incorporate the recently completed Advanced Access Content System, (AACS) the next-generation copy protection format. Masato Otsuka, senior manager of engineering development at Memory-Tech, said the company's HD DVD disk lines will comply with the new copy protection format soon after the detailed specifications become public in August.

AACS requires the use of a unique ID code for each disk. Memory-Tech will start disk production on four HD-DVD lines by August, with a monthly capacity of 2.8 million. Yield are almost comparable to DVDs.

From EETimes

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