03.13.2006 12:43 PM
Race for next DVD format is now wide open

The contest between two rival high-definition DVD formats appeared wide open last week as manufacturers revealed they would hedge their bets and support both formats, Reuters reported.

The Blu-ray format, backed by Sony, Philips and Dell, and HD DVD, whose chief proponent is Toshiba, are poised for a format war. Toshiba, the report said, appears to be set to reach the market first with lower cost players than those from the Blu-ray camp.

LG Electronics and Fujitsu-Siemens, both manufacturers of DVD drives, announced last week that each would keep their options open after Hewlett-Packard said last month it would back both HD DVD and Blu-ray.

LG Electronics, previously an exclusive Blu-ray backer, said it would now prepare for both formats. However, the firm noted that is “still one of the strongest supporters of Blu-ray.”

Philips said it would launch Blu-ray hardware in the second half of this year, while Samsung Electronics announced it would introduce a $1000 player in May in the U.S. market.

Matsushita, which sells its products under the Panasonic and JVC brands, said its new Blu-ray players would be priced somewhere between $1000 and $1500.

Toshiba said it would include an HD DVD drive in its most expensive laptop, which doubles as a high-definition television receiver. The firm has already announced it would launch HD DVD players this month, with prices starting at $499.

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