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Sony hints at Blu-ray, HD-DVD compromise

After more than a year of promoting Blu-ray as the best technology to replace DVD for storing HDV and winning proponents including Apple, a top executive at Sony, one of Blu-ray’s major backers, has opened the door to the possibility of unifying the format with its arch rival, HD-DVD, said a report by IDG News Service.

“Listening to the voice of the consumers, having two rival formats is disappointing and we haven’t totally given up on the possibility of integration or compromise,” Ryoji Chubachi, Sony’s president-elect, said at a news conference last week in which he discussed the company’s performance and future strategy.

The rival camps have assembled consortiums of major electronics companies, disc makers and Hollywood studios to promote the formats in a battle that echoes one fought a quarter of a century ago between Betamax and VHS.

HD-DVD backers, which include NEC and Toshiba, say HD-DVDs can be produced for about the same price as DVDs and are backward-compatible with DVDs and CDs, making the format more convenient for both consumers and the industry. HD-DVD movie titles, PC drives and players are all due out by the end of the year.

Sony has steadfastly promoted Blu-ray as a technology that has greater capacity, saying this makes the format more useful because more content can be stored on a disc. The technology also has wide support in the technology industry, although release dates for movie titles have not yet been announced.

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