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Microsoft, Intel Get Behind HD DVD

27 Sep, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner



Intel Corp. and longtime holdout Microsoft Corp. have come out in favor of HD DVD, striking a blow in the brewing format war that has threatened to delay the launch of the next generation of DVD.

In joining the HD DVD Promotion Group, the computer giants solidify a divide that pits them against Apple Computer Corp., which joined the camp backing Sony's Blu-ray DVD.

Microsoft had announced in June that it would partner with Toshiba to create HD DVD players and computers, but stopped short of supporting one format.

Today Microsoft and Intel announced that HD DVD "meets important criteria and delivers unique advantages, including PC and connected device interoperability and an easy, affordable transition to high definition for consumers."

The statement further said the companies believe HD DVD will get to market sooner and has greater potential for affordable, interactive devices.

"There are both challenges and opportunities in the transition to high-definition experiences throughout the home," said Blair Westlake, Microsoft's corporate VP of the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group. "And after looking at the core advantages to the PC ecosystem and how it would benefit the consumer, it is clear that HD DVD offers the highest quality, and is the most affordable and highly flexible solution available."

Among the key elements the companies believe the format will offer is "Managed Copy," a copy-once technology that lets users back up their digital media on their hard drives and play it on home networks or portable devices.

The companies also cited "hybrid disc" technology that lets a single disc store both high-definition and standard-definition versions of a film for backward compatibility as a benefit. Other features that brought the companies into the fold were HD DVD's 30GB capacity, "superior" development possibility for portable computers and the manufacturing cost relative to Blu-ray.

Other companies in the HD DVD Promotion Group include NEC Corp., SANYO Electric Co. Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. and content providers Warner Bros., Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures.

The Blu-ray camp includes Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Apple and others.

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