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DVD Web Sites Make Next-Gen Demands

24 Oct, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf


Calling themselves the HD Disc Consumer Advocacy Alliance, prominent DVD fan Web sites have joined forces to send a warning to the Hollywood studios on the fate of a next-generation disc, should HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc wage a format war.

Participants include TheDigitalBits.com, HomeTheaterForum.com, TVShowsOnDVD.com and DVDfile.com, among others.

“A format war will invariably result in consumer confusion and apathy, even among dedicated enthusiasts,” reads the group's manifesto posted on HomeTheaterForum.com. “It's quite possible a prolonged format war — particularly one with no clear winner — could squander the potential market for high-definition movies on disc altogether, both now and in the future.”

Of special importance to the group is the potential that the formats will be incompatible with current HDTV sets already owned by the key next-generation consumers — the early adopters, who make up a large part of the audiences these sites serve.

The group has listed several demands in addition to a compromise to create a single format. The group wants that format to allow high-def video signals to pass through analog component inputs as well as digital ones, which will keep early-adopter HDTV sets from becoming obsolete and incompatible.

A high-def disc's copy protection must allow fair use, clearly outline a content holder's ability to revoke hardware or software capability, and offer “specific guarantees that protect the rights and investments of consumers,” according to the group.

These guarantees could come in the form of mandatory disc exchange or hardware restoration programs offered at no cost to the consumer. Lastly, the new format must be backward-compatible with CD, standard-definition DVD and other formats, such as DVD-Audio and SACD.

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