April 19, 2006 4:40 PM PDT

Advisory group includes HD DVD, Blu-ray supporters

Sonic Solutions has managed to unite companies representing warring disc technologies, HD DVD and Blu-ray, in an effort to ensure the smooth rollout of the next generation of movie discs.

Companies that support both Blu-Ray and HD DVD have agreed to advise the High Definition Authoring Alliance (HDAA), which is attempting to help authoring companies, which place movies onto discs, issue films in both formats.

The HDAA is expected to announce Friday that among the electronics and computer conglomerates that have joined the advisory group are Sony, LG and Pioneer.

"What we want to do is align the production community with the goals of Hollywood," said Rolf Hartley, senior vice president of Sonic's Professional Products Group.

Blu-ray and HD DVD are formats competing to replace the DVD. A year ago, many in Hollywood hoped that an agreement on a high definition format could be reached. Now the two sides appear satisfied to carry their fight to the public.

The HD DVD forces were first to market, when two HD DVD players by Toshiba went on sale this week. Best Buy stores in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco are sold out of the players.

Analysts have predicted that a format war could confuse shoppers or scare them into waiting for a winner to emerge. In the Betamax-VHS format wars of 30 years ago, Betamax owners found that movie studios quickly stopped making films for Betamax after most of the public began embracing VHS.

Novato, Calif.-based Sonic Solutions sells DVD technology and is best known for its DVD-burning tools. The company formed HDAA after concluding HD DVD and Blu-ray would not agree on a single format. The organization is agnostic and, Hartley says, just "wants to help make sure movie titles are compatible with whatever player platform that's in the home."

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