DVD Forum selects NEC & Toshiba for HD DVD

The DVD Forum in Tokyo has decided to adopt a DVD format proposed by NEC and Toshiba Corporations for the storage and display of HD television programs and feature films.

The 0.6-mm bonded disk, which uses blue laser technology, has the same substrate and maintains the key features used in current DVD systems. Called the Advanced Optical Disk System, it was jointly proposed to the 212-member Forum in August. Products built to the new standard will be allowed to display the DVD logo.

The selection means a rival blue-laser technology backed by the Blu-ray Consortium, which was not formally submitted to the DVD Forum, will not be considered. Hitachi, LG, Matsushita, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Thomson back the Blu-ray approach, which uses a disk with a 0.1-mm cover layer. Supporters of the Blu-ray technology have acknowledged its technology differs from DVD. The group does not need the approval of the DVD Forum to market its own incompatible products.

A key benefit of the NEC-Toshiba approach is its compatibility with the current DVD infrastructure. The aperture of the system's lens is 0.65 and the DVD disk consists of two 0.6-mm platters bonded back-to-back. Each side can store 20 GB for a single-layer recordable disk and 15 GB for a read-only disk.

The Blu-ray disk system, with a higher storage capacity, can hold 27 GB per side of a single-layer disk. It uses a 0.85 aperture lens.

It is expected that NEC will market the new DVD drives for personal computers next year and Toshiba will offer a home DVD recorder in 2004.

For more information visit www.dvdforum.org.

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