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The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has issued its approved specifications for the VC-1 video compression standard. It had released its draft specs last summer. Both HD DVD and Blu-ray, the next-gen DVDS formats, tapped VC-1 as one of a trio of formats that studios are permitted to use for optical delivery of movies in HD.

Thus far, Warner Brothers has indicated it will use VC-1 for its HD DVD titles, which may begin appearing on some store shelves later this month when the first HD DVD players start to pop up. Final approval of the VC-1 standard is coming about two years after first promised by Microsoft, which wanted to evolve its Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9) into an industry-wide standard. (WMV9 and VC-1 are said to be virtually identical, for now.)

But the interoperability of VC-1 remains a concern for encoder and decoder vendors, and SMPTE had created a new working group to oversee the integrity of the format. (For more tech details and to buy VC-1 test materials, check out the SMPTE Web site.)