HP urges compromise in battle over new DVD formats

The company is threatening that if special technology is not added to the Blu-ray format, it would consider switching allegiances and backing the rival standard
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Hewlett-Packard, a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association developing the next-generation DVD, has urged the group to adopt software that has already been included in the rival format.

While still supporting the Blu-ray format, HP took the unusual step of announcing its request as the board members of the Blu-ray group met in Los Angeles. The move signaled a potential rift in the Blu-ray camp between consumer electronics giants like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung, and computer makers like Hewlett and Dell, the New York Times reported.

HP said that if the additional technology was not added to the Blu-ray format, it would consider switching allegiances and backing the rival standard, Toshiba’s HD-DVD.

HP, the Times reported, wants the Blu-ray group to incorporate the software because it allows consumers to legally copy DVDs onto their PCs, transfer movies to other devices and watch video in a greater variety of ways.

The computer maker asked the makers of Blu-ray to include two technologies in its specifications now supported by HD-DVD. One is known as mandatory managed copy, allowing users to copy high-definition movies onto PCs from discs and distribute them on home networks.

HP also asked Blu-ray to support a feature called iHD, which provides for new interactive features and is slated to be implemented in Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system. HP said its move reflected its desire to ensure customers are not forced to choose between competing formats for DVDs.

After remaining neutral for several years, Microsoft and Intel last month backed the HD-DVD standard being developed by Toshiba. The move made it politically more difficult for the Blu-ray group to work with Microsoft.

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