Three important developments over the past week have given cause to boost spirits in both camps of the format war that’s shaping up between Blu-ray technology and the emerging HD-DVD standard.
On Dec. 8, the Walt Disney Company and its home video division Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE) declared their support for the Blu-ray Disc format. BVHE will begin releasing content non-exclusively in the Blu-ray format when its hardware launches in North America and Japan. The company also will become a member of the Board of Directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA).
Two days later, Thomson announced it would support both HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs through its Technicolor business and provide consumer HD-DVD players through its Thomson and RCA brands.
On Monday, Dec. 13, Memory-Tech and Toshiba said they would jointly develop a dual-layer read only (ROM) disc that can store material in both the HD-DVD and DVD formats. The dual-layer disc will be single-sided. The layer closest to the optical head will store DVD format data. HD-DVD formatted material will be stored on the other layer. Each disc can store 4.7GB of DVD material and 15GB of HD-DVD data.
All three developments are intended to best position technologies and companies as HD home viewing expands to pre-recorded content. Having learned the lessons of the Betamax-VHS wars 25 years ago, manufacturers this time around are mindful to shape the battlefield to the best of their ability before the next consumer video format war flares.