RealTime IT News

Intel, Microsoft Back HD DVD

Intel and Microsoft have weighed in on the next-generation DVD format war, choosing to side with HD DVD. The move places the two giants of the PC industry in opposition against Blu-ray technology, which is backed by Sony.

Both Intel and Microsoft have now joined the HD DVD Promotion Group as part of their endorsement of the HD DVD format. The HD DVD Promotion Group is a consortium led by Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo and Memory-Tech.

The HD DVD Promotion Group noted in a statement that Intel's and Microsoft's participation, "will contribute to the early market penetration of HD DVD products."

"The announcement from these two leading IT companies reconfirms the design advantages of the HD DVD format and its achievement of maximum compatibility between AV and PC products," said Hisashi Yamada, chief fellow of Toshiba's Digital Media Network Company and chairman of the Technical Coordination Group at the DVD Forum, in a statement. "In fact, it is increasingly clear that HD DVD offers the best way forward in the convergence of the AV and PC worlds."

Microsoft is no stranger to HD DVD and has even had a hand in helping the specification itself. Microsoft's VC-9 video decoding technology was approved as part of the HD DVD specifications last year for Rewritable Disc version 0.9.

The HD DVD format currently includes the 15GB (single-layer, single-sided) and 30GB (dual-layer, single-sided) discs options. In May Toshiba announced a new high-end option that would extend HD DVD's capacity to 45GB.

Sony's Blu-ray format, however, has a greater theoretical capacity that could reach as high as 100GB, according to a recent press release from TDK. The Blu-ray backers currently include media heavyweights Sony, Universal Music, Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, Apple, Dell and HP.

HD DVD has its heavyweight media backers, too, including Paramount Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video and New Line Cinema among its supporters.

As well, support for HD DVD is now expected in Microsoft's upcoming Vista operating system, extending the reach of the format beyond standalone media players.