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Hewlett-Packard drops exclusive support for Blu-ray

Hewlett-Packard has ended its exclusive support for the Blu-ray high-definition DVD recording standard. The computer manufacturer said it would now support both Blu-ray and its rival, HD DVD.

The decision was expected. HP decided to embrace HD DVD after the Blu-ray group, of which it was a member, refused to support a home networking technology that the company wanted.

HP asked the Blu-ray proponents to include two technologies — Mandatory Managed Copy and iHD — in the format. iHD is already supported by HD DVD and, HP said, it improves the interactive qualities of future DVDs and simplifies the movement of video around a home network.

The Blu-ray group, which includes Sony and Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), agreed to include Mandatory Managed Copy, which allows users to copy video, but declined to support iHD.

HP’s key customers, Intel and Microsoft, recently pledged their support for HD DVD, the competing standard backed by Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo. HP said Microsoft plans to support iHD in the upcoming release of Windows Vista. HP rival Dell plans to support Blu-ray products, as does Apple Computer.

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