HP, Dell defend Blu-ray DVD format; Paramount lends support

MUMBAI: As the war over the high definition digital versatile disc (HD DVD) format gets more fierce in the US computer firms and Blu-ray Disc Association members, Dell, and Hewlett Packard sought to defend the product that they have backed.

They also received a shot in the arm through Paramount which has announced that it is supporting Blu-ray.

For those not in the know there are two formats being developed for high definition DVDs which could well be the future in the fight against piracy. One of them is Blu-ray which has the backing of a lot of technology firms like Dell, Hewlett Packard, Panasonic, Sony and LG. The other format is HD DVD and Microsoft, Toshiba and computer chip giant Intel have thrown their weight behind that format. The catch is that these two formats are incompatible. This means that if you buy a Blu-ray DVD player it will not play discs made by HD DVD and vice versa. However both formats can play standard DVDs.

HP GM personal storage business Maureen Weber said, "From a PC end-user perspective, Blu-ray is a superior format. It offers 67-150% more storage capacity, higher transfer rates, slim-line notebook compatibility, broadband connectivity and a proven interactive layer with BD-Java. The technical merits and consumer benefits of Blu-ray Disc make it the ideal solution for HP's customers." The companies said that they were trying to set the record straight regarding what they termed erroneous comments made by Microsoft and Intel on the Blu-ray format.

Dell and HP state that on the capacity front Blu-ray Disc's capacity is 50GB. This will be available at launch for BD-ROM, BD-R, and BD-RE. This is 67 per cent more than HD-DVD's 30GB ROM capacity and 150 per cent more than its recordable storage capacity -- a

critical issue for computer users.

Paramount has said that it would release films in the Blu-ray format. Interestingly earlier it had said that it would release films in the HD DVD format. It could well be the case that Paramount might release films in both formats. Fox and Disney have also supported Blu-ray though reports inidcate that they too may release DVDs in the other format as well. Sony's next-generation PlayStation 3 game console will come equipped with a Blu-ray DVD player. This was a key factor behind Paramount's support.

Sony's PlayStation 2 console, which can play conventional discs, was a key driver of current-generation DVD sales.

Sony meanwhile insists that there will be no impact from Microsoft's and Intel's support of the HD DVD format. Analyst firm Gartner has predicted that DVD recorders and games consoles will be a major factor in determining the preferred format.

For the moment at least, Blu-ray appears to have public support. In a July poll in the US 58 per cent indicated that they preferred Blu-ray, 26 per cent were undecided, and 16 per cent preferred HD-DVD.

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