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Microsoft, Intel Vote for Toshiba's HD DVD

HD DVD technology got a noticeable thumbs-up this week when Intel and Microsoft (opens in new tab) indicated they will back the next-generation DVD technology over Sony's Blu-ray disc. The two HD formats for DVDs are incompatible and both groups you'll recall held discussions earlier this year to work on a possible solution. None was forthcoming.

The news this week from Microsoft and Intel apparently is having the short-term effect of further dividing the two groups. However, some observers think in the long-term, such added pressures on one group or the other could actually lead to renewed compromise talks.

But for the moment, proponents of HD DVD are saying the new support of two of the biggest names in the computer industry will speed the rollout of HD DVD, which originally was hoping for a late-2005 launch until some major content providers started backing away from endorsing either group's format by cutting back on the number of titles they initially planned to release in HD DVD, to be followed by Blu-ray releases.

Default settings in its next version of the Windows operating system ("Vista") would support the HD DVD format, but not Blu-ray, according to Microsoft. Previously, the company had reported it would support both technologies in its next version of Windows due out next year, according to published reports. And Intel said its new chip ("Viiv") would be "optimized" for HD DVD.

According to statements by Microsoft and Intel, HD DVD is more affordable and more suitable for PCs. The ball now appears to be in Blu-ray's court, which no doubt will provide some positive announcements of its own before too long.