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DVD Dealers Urge Unity on Single HD Standard

At its annual meeting in Las Vegas in late July, the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) issued a statement calling on the two parties involved in rolling out the incompatible formats of HD DVD and Blu-ray to work, instead, on a single next-generation standard for DVD that will not cause confusion and uncertainty among both producers and consumers. Here are excerpts from the group's statement:

"As consumer electronic manufacturers, duplicators and motion picture studios prepare for the launch of a DVD format capable of storing high-definition video, retailers are carefully evaluating their merchandising alternatives.

"As of this writing, two formats, each capable of storing high-definition movies on DVD, are planned for release into the market. Retailers uniformly agree that the concurrent distribution of more than one format is likely unsustainable, and that the launch of a single format is preferable to a format war which could confuse the public and lead to reluctance to embrace either format.

"The VSDA believes that consumers, retailers, consumer electronic developers, and content providers would benefit from clarification of the baseline criteria needed for a high-definition DVD format to gain acceptance and widespread support among the broadest spectrum of market participants, especially consumers.

"For these reasons, VSDA presents the following list of criteria, with the expectation that it will facilitate discussion and fulfillment of these requirements and therefore assist retailer and consumer acceptance of the next generation of DVD.

"It is in the best interests of consumers and retailers to be as well informed as possible with respect to the relative benefits of any new formats. To that end, every feature, specification and capability of a new format that distinguishes it from the existing DVD format and from any competing new format should be fully disclosed.

"Such disclosures should include not only the feature sets active at launch, but also any latent features capable of being implemented in the future, and any features that are available at the option of the publisher, including those on a title-by-title or copy-by-copy basis. They should be presented in a manner that facilitates format comparison and detailed evaluation of each value proposition.

"...Motion pictures encoded onto high-definition DVDs must be capable of offering the consumer with appropriate equipment the best quality viewing experience, with a maximum resolution of no less than 1920x1080. Any compression techniques should be employed without creating noticeable pixilation or artifacting during high action sequences on even the largest high definition television screens currently in production..."