September 26, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

Intel, Microsoft endorse HD DVD

Intel and Microsoft are combining their industry power in an attempt to make the HD DVD format the victor in a battle over a standard to succeed DVD.

Typical DVDs today can hold 4.7GB of information, but two dueling camps are trying to establish a larger-capacity format that will allow for the recording of high-definition television and the backing up of more data. HD DVD, supported by a Toshiba-led consortium, is up against Blu-ray Disc, which is backed by Sony and others, including the two biggest personal-computer manufacturers, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Intel and Microsoft believe weighing in on the HD DVD side will be enough to tip the balance. "We have a high expectation of having a single format, and that format is HD DVD," said Intel spokesman Bill Kircos.

There are several reasons the two companies went with HD DVD, said Richard Doherty, Microsoft's program manager for media entertainment convergence. Among them: HD DVD requires that movies may be copied to a consumer's hard drive, making it easier for people to send movies around home networks; the format supports regular DVD recordings on the flip side of the disc, letting people sell hybrid discs to consumers who have DVD players today but fear their discs will be obsolete; and the format offers more capacity.

The Blu-ray allies disagree about the capacity claim and other issues. "This announcement does little to shift the momentum that's been building for Blu-ray Disc," said Marty Gordon, vice president of Blu-ray backer Philips Electrics. "It has dramatically more support from the consumer electronics industry, the PC manufacturers and the games hardware manufacturing side, as well as strong support from movie studios, music companies and game software developers."

Blu-ray allies expect to launch their products in the spring, Gordon said, including support for both 25GB and dual-layer 50GB. HD DVD starts at 15GB, but Toshiba last week announced a 30GB dual-layer disc. Toshiba plans to launch the first HD DVD drives in Japan this year and worldwide in the first quarter of 2006, Doherty said.

Come together, right now?
The two camps have held talks to unify their formats, but so far to no avail, and time is running short, with products from both camps scheduled to ship in the next few months.

If the sides don't come together, a host of problems ensue: Consumers will have to make sure a rented movie or purchased video game is compatible with their drives and players; movie studios, video game manufacturers and video rental stores will have to stock multiple versions of movies; dual-format drives that bridge the format gap will cost more; and neither standard is likely to catch on as fast as if the industry had coalesced.

It's similar to the classic war over videotape formats, VHS vs. Beta, and a smaller skirmish that broke out more recently for rewritable DVDs: DVD-RW versus DVD+RW.

Even at this late stage, it's possible there could be a resolution. "We're very hopeful you could see a unified standard," Gordon said. "It has to

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Blue Ray? HD DVD? say what
While the elephants of the marketplace rumble, the end consumers just wonder if they'd be crushed during this episode. I sit there and wonder, if i really care which technology would suit me best if one of these survive and i get a holler from deep down inside "i dont care".

I know that 50 GB space on a single disc is great but i also know that 30GB is good enough to hold high definition movies. So, for me it doesn't matter who wins.

However, What i'd hate to see is that when i go to buy a movie i have to carefully choose the right format for a movie dependeing on if i wanted to watch it on my dvd player or my PC, while my pc might support HD DVD and the DVD player might support Blu Ray.....

Guys, dont let that happen!
Posted by atiquekhan (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good points... but a bit inaccurate
<<I know that 50 GB space on a single disc is great but i also know that 30GB is good enough to hold high definition movies.>>

Actually... Microsoft has already demonstrated that a current 8GB DVD is capable of containing a full 2-hour high definition movie. The rush for 30 or 50GB is not simply to support high def. A change in compression codecs will handle that requirement just fine. But if codecs are changing and manufacturers must build new components, the opportunity for more advanced media is revealed. Thus, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
hold on a minute
You mention that Apple is supporting Blu-ray but you failed to
mention that Apple is also supporting HD-DVD. Support for both
is built-in to Mac OS X 10.4.x (Tiger). Apple has repeatedly stated
they are watching developments closely and will support whatever
becomes the standard. You are right that Apple is represented on
the board for Blu-ray so you might see them as favoring Blu-ray
now but they will go with whatever becomes the standard.
Posted by macvantagephil (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Iff BR becomes the standard then MS is also going to support in
in there OS, we all need a standard format or cheap players/
writers that can handle both disks.
Posted by Peter Bonte (316 comments )
Link Flag
Same for even Sony!
Sony is the main backer for BRD and they have already stated multiple times they will go with whatever the consumers demand. Nobody is going to back themselves into a corner and flatly not work with the technology that prevails.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Fact checker please???
Come on guys. 3/4 of this story has been posted on at least 30 times. Yet I still see in this one story conflicting messages. Does anyone proof read this stuff.

"...and HD DVD offers more capacity."

followed by

"Blu-ray allies expect to launch their products in the spring, Gordon said, including support for both 25GB and dual-layer 50GB. HD DVD starts at 15GB, but Toshiba announced a 30GB dual-layer disc last week."

ok, so HD DVD holds more, but it has 30GB and Blu-ray has 50GB. Maybe Roman numberals would be better since 30 is now apparently larger than 50.

Aaaagr! I want to smack you guys sometimes. Seriously, how much can it cost to hire a copy editor?
Posted by sghanna (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read more carefully please?!?!?!
Clearly you cant read, the beginning of the article was comparing current gen DVDs to the next High Def DVDs. In that sentence, HD-DVD was being referred to HD DVDs in general (Blu Ray is a type of HD DVD), not specificly the HD DVD.
Posted by BlinkMM182 (63 comments )
Link Flag
read more closely...
Bluray has announced a specification for 50GB but it does not exist in the real world yet. HD-DVD has announced and delivered a working specification and product for the dual layer 30GB disc.

In the article, Bluray's own guy (Doherty)concedes that the 50GB blueray disc and the hybrid disc is no where in HD-DVD the capacity lead for now...for which I is cheap. show me the money.

I agree with one of the other posters. I don't care which spec wins as long as I am not wasting money. It does seem to me that HD-DVD seems to be in a good position.

1. 30GB is more than enough to do HD movies plus extras/content. So the capacity argument is moot. Even if some filmmaker wants to get crazy and go nuts with content, 2 disc sets are not uncommon today. On the data backup side, again more than enough. i don't know who these everyday consumers are that say they need more capacity but no one i know has ever needed that much space.
2. HD-DVD apparently will be cheaper. its currently cheaper to produce because you can use the same manufacturing equipment as DVDs. cheaper to me is good. i won't buy HD movies if they are north of $30 regardless of format. ideally, history will repeat itself and HD movies will replace its last technology at the same price point. 19.99 would be a killer at the checkout line. if HD-DVD is smart, they'll set the bar low and get as many consumers to adopt as possible. if they know Bluray can't hit 19.99, at the start then their chances are even better.
3. Hybrid disc. Like that idea of ensuring my current DVD player doesn't get obsoleted if I buy a new movie.
4. Content...I'm sure this will work itself out but for me the killer app for HD content is movies and TV. not games, not music. i like how the bluray guy states in the piece that they got dramatically more support from the CE folks, the PC folks, etc. but only goes as far as 'strong support from movies, etc.' i read into that that HD-DVD has more content from movies and TVs...which is the only thing i care about in high def standards. again, i'm sure content folks will eventually support whatever standard that makes them money so i'm not overly worried about this one.

just my 2...
Posted by tlite722 (160 comments )
Link Flag
reporter responds: it's not a fact problem, it's a disagreement
The issue isn't a problem with reporting, it's a difference of opinion: the Blu-ray guys say they'll have 50GB at launch, but the HD DVD guys say they've seen no evidence of anything more than single-layer 25GB.
Posted by Shankland (1858 comments )
Link Flag
Look closer
HD-DVD will support 30gigs, and is ready for production at that level right now. Blue-Ray has never been able to get duel-layer to work anywhere but the lab and they don't see it being comercially viable any time in the near future. So while Blue-Ray might someday have more capacity, at the moment HD can hold more right now.
Posted by (15 comments )
Link Flag
Does it Matter???
Who in their right mind will purchase one of these "bleeding edge" devices when they first come out anyway? Those that do deserve what they get, just like purchasing a 1X CD-RW for $699 when they first came out.
Let the fools and their money decide what is going to prevail and then jump in when it is cost effecient to do so. By that time most of the "turf wars" will be over.
Besides it is just another hype for HDTV. How many people have purchased expensive HDTVs only to use them to watch standard NTSC over the air or cable analog channels? Plenty.

A fool and his money will soon be parted.

Fred Dunn
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Of course it matters
Yes, people are buying HDTV sets today to watch NTSC. NTSC is the predominant format today. That will not be so in three years. If I were to have my main TV die today would I buy a TV that only supported NTSC? Almost definitely not. Since TVs typically last 10+ years I'd buy a TV that is practical and usefull for the anticipated 10 years.

The same goes for these formats.
True, there is very little use for anything more than 30 GB today.
True, BD is more expensive and will be for the next 2-3 years even if it becomes *THE* standard.
True, many consumers won't care.

Yet, whatever becomes *THE* standard (and almost definitely one will arise out of the format war just as one arose out of the VHS/BetaMax tussel) will be what we are all stuck with for the next 10 years or so.

Initial price may not matter. Bleading edge adopters will pay almost whatever is asked. The price will most certainly come down, and even BD version will become inexpensive to produce if it becomes *THE* standard and tens or hundreds of millions of them are produced every year. Also the cost of the media and production is a very small fraction of the final retail price of DVDs. This will remain true whether HD DVD or BD is the final winner.
Posted by shadowself (202 comments )
Link Flag
You got that right, Fred
I paid a fortune for my first DVD player. Now, it doesn't match up in quality with the $39 one at Wal*mart.
Posted by shoffmueller (236 comments )
Link Flag
This is a mess and greed. Blue Ray, too much money to buy a movie while I buy used DVD movies for $2.00 to $10.00 While the blue ray costs up too $24.00 and higher. Not cost affective format while the regular DVD format performs great. I just replaced one of my older VCR tapes with a used DVD movie and it is 100% better. We as a nation are going in to a depression. There are a lot of people that do not like change after they invset in to a format that is cheap to produce and copy. So why change it. It is called , greed and controled market. Just do not buy it. I saw the demo at "Best Buy" on blue ray. They forget to tell about cost. I can still record a old vinyl record from my inventory and after making a copy you can not tell the difference if it is a CD or a tape. I have a twenty year old system but I can still blow out windows with it. I will send email to the greedy ones that are trying to screw us. That is what, you all should do. And stop this madness. If you want to keep it for games fine but do not change the movie format. Or you will have a war. And your stocks will fall for your stupid, greedy out look on life. Blue Ray is the falsehood of market control.
Posted by Richardfalsehood (1 comment )
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