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Next-gen DVD format war is on

It’s optical pistols at dawn (again)

BDA (Blu-ray Disc Association) members Dell and HP have moved to reject “inaccurate information” given by Intel and Microsoft about their chosen format.

Microsoft and Intel revealed plans this week to back HD-DVD, the next-generation DVD format being developed by the DVD Forum.

At the time, they said: “Although the companies have determined that HD-DVD is the only viable solution at this time, each remains committed to working toward one format that meets consumer and industry requirements.”

But Dell and HP reject the reasons given. “From a PC end-user perspective, Blu-ray is a superior format. It offers 67 to 150 percent more storage capacity, higher transfer rates, slim-line notebook compatibility, broadband connectivity and a proven interactive layer with BD-Java,” said Maureen Weber, general manager of HP’s personal storage business. “The technical merits and consumer benefits of Blu-ray Disc make it the ideal solution for HP’s customers.”

The BDA has also stressed that most generally known computer brands have moved to support their format, including Panasonic, Sony and LG, as well as Dell and HP.

“Every computer manufacturer in the BDA carefully reviewed both formats and ultimately chose Blu-ray as the superior solution for meeting customer demands and providing the best possible end-user experience,” said Weber.

“It is surprising that Tuesday’s announcement is not aligned with that of the vast majority of the computer industry and is contrary to our consumer research.”

The partners pointed out that Blu-ray Discs will have a capacity of 50GB, 67 percent more than HD-DVD will offer and 150 percent more than its recordable storage capacity.

Hybrid discs, the capacity to manage copy (a significant aspect of future digital rights management technologies), backward compatibility and interactivity all feature in the standard.

“We are actively engaged with our customers, who continue to tell us that features such as capacity, advanced interactivity, and industry-wide support are of the utmost importance when considering new optical solutions,” said Kevin Kettler, chief technology officer at Dell.

“Based on this feedback and a comparison of the two formats, Dell has no doubt that Blu-ray Disc best meets the needs of computer users and provides the type of open industry standards needed to drive innovation and growth of the format across all platforms.”

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