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Three developments in HD-DVD, Blu-ray shape battlefield in format war

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.

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