Monday, October 24, 2005

Warner to back Blu-ray and HD-DVD format

The latest in the battle for the new high definition DVD standard – Warner to back Blu-ray and HD-DVD format. Warner Bros. Entertainment, till now a key HD-DVD backer among the Hollywood studios announced that it’ll release films on Blu-ray format too.

The recent issue of Business Week has a very well written article giving the synopsis of the struggles in this standard.

The key entities in this format war are:
A. Consumer Electronics
1. Sony has a lot at stake in this standard. It’s a triple gain for them if Blu-ray becomes the industry format:
- Royalties from sale of all the Blu-ray disks sold
- Resurgence in it’s movie biz through DVD sales
- High sales in electronic gear (HDTVs, movie cameras, Blu-ray optical drives and most importantly – it’s new PlayStation game consoles which will include a Blu-ray drive for playing movies

2. Toshiba would like to continue the inflow of royalty payments coming from it’s current DVDs through it’s HD-DVD patents.

3. Others : HDTV and DVD drive makers

B. Media
With Warner supporting Blu-ray format too, the Sony camp has now 5 of 6 film studios. Sony’s safeguards developed to prevent Blu-ray movies from being ripped to a computer’s hard drive strengthened support for it’s format from the studios.

C. PC industry
1. Microsoft, Intel : They stand a lot to gain if PC were to emerge as a hub for digital entertainment. Microsoft has an additional issue – game console war with Sony. While Microsoft had decided to hold down costs by not including a next generation DVD player in the Xbox console (and instead stream HD content from a PC to a console which could be attached to a TV), Sony said that it’ll include Blu-ray in the next PlayStation game console beginning next year. Plus it decided not to use Microsoft’s iHD technology to add interactive features to Blu-ray disks, opting instead for Java based technology. Microsoft says that Blu-rays disks will be more expensive to manufacture; others do not see any big cost difference.
Both Microsoft and Intel back Toshiba’s HD-DVD format.

2. Dell, HP, Apple: They back Blu-ray. Dell and HP sell HDTVs too.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between the two formats, HP has recently urged the other Blu-ray members to support 2 key technologies (currently supported in HD-DVD): Managed Copy (lets users make legitimate copies of their HD movies) and iHD (Microsoft’s techno for interactive features).

There looks to be only 1 winner.........

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