Can Blu-ray, HD-DVD Meet in The Middle?


Looking to bridge the gap between two competing optical disk standards, HP
has asked the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) to include two technologies
already supported in HD-DVD in the Blu-ray format specification.

Specifically, HP appealed to the group about Managed Copy and iHD, which it
said will “address the fundamental technical needs of the PC and help create
a seamless experience throughout the digitally connected home.”


Managed Copy allows consumers to make legitimate copies of their HD movies
to use around the home or across their networks. Making this feature
mandatory will ensure a consistent consumer experience across all
next-generation DVD content, HP argued.


iHD allows new interactivity with standards-based development tools and
technologies to provide consumers with better content, navigation and
functionality for HD films. HP said Microsoft plans to support iHD in its
forthcoming Windows Vista operating system.


The formal request reflects HP’s desire to ensure that customers are not
forced to choose between competing HD formats for DVDs.


“HP is committed to delivering rewarding consumer experiences, and we see
format compatibility as critical to making technology accessible and easy to
use for consumers,” said John Romano, senior vice president for HP’s Consumer PC
Global Business Unit.


HP’s olive branch is a welcome sign in a fierce battle between Blu-ray and
HD-DVD, two pending optical disk formats that promise consumers crystal
clear picture resolution.


Blu-Ray and HD DVD use blue lasers, which have a shorter wavelength than the
red lasers used in current DVD players. This allows discs to store data at
the higher densities needed for high-definition TV.


But each spec has different backers, creating two formidable camps.


HP, Dell, Sony and Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt
Disney Co. and Twentieth Century Fox support
Blu-ray. Microsoft, Intel, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios have
endorsed
HD DVD.


While DVD players equipped with either format aren’t expected until 2006,
Forrester Research has already tabbed Blu-ray the winner, citing Blu-ray’s
greater capacity, Java support and ability to be used in games and
computers.

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