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Monday, June 26, 2006

The (DVD) Standard War Intensifies

Movie studios favor Sony's Blu-ray DVD due to bigger capacity, says SONY Corp Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer.The Blu-ray DVD can store high-definition films and other media, because its capacity is higher than rival formats. As known to most, Sony is promoting Blu-ray DVD against Toshiba Corp's HD DVD to gain acceptance from film makers and consumers as the standard for offering sharper, more lifelike visuals in video players, games and personal computers. Toshiba has said it expects that by December between 100 and 150 movie titles will be available in HD DVD in Japan and Europe and 150 to 200 in the United States.Sony expects about 100 films will be available on Blu-ray this calendar year.The HD DVD disc can hold 15 gigabytes of data, against 25 gigabytes for Blu-ray and 4.7 gigabytes for a conventional DVD. Toshiba in March began sales of HD DVD players for about 110,000 yen (US$859) and said it aims to sell between 600,000 and 700,000 units by March 2007. The format has the support of Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp and NEC Corp, while Blu-ray is backed by companies such as Samsung Electronics Co and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. As i wrote earlier, In the near future, movie goers can have the same interactive experience typically available in multiplex. Blu-Ray technology can enable viewers go from watching an action movie to participating in an interactive game based on the movie, or he could switch to a 3-D version of a particular scene. Massive storage capacities up to 200 gigabytes supported by Blu Ray- provide an almost endless capacity for add-ons by home audiences. Sony stated that in fact, part of the justification for acquiring MGM was the profits to be realized from reissuing the 4,100 films in MGM's library in the Blu-Ray format. Sony has a critical mass of movies that it can release on Blu-Ray. Aside from its own titles, Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Lions Gate have agreed to release their titles on Blu-Ray. Warner Bros. Entertainment, announced it would release films on the Blu-ray format as well. Among six major Hollywood Studios- all but Universal have announced support the BD format. Paramount, Universal and probably Warner will release HD-DVD titles. A studio wanting its high-definition DVDs to be playable on personal computers - or for that matter on PlayStation 3 – will have to issue them in the Blu-Ray format. Next, almost all of the leading computer manufacturers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple, are committed to using Blu-Ray, though they may have show some support for HDTV as well. The situations of Sony and Toshiba are not symmetrical. For Sony, the Blu-Ray is an integral part of its overall strategy. For Toshiba, the HD-DVD is just another product they manufacture. A company reaching an accommodating deal on licensing fees could also end up making money by manufacturing the Blu-Ray DVDs. Microsoft and Intel recently announced that they would break from their neutral stance to back HD DVD. Key Chinese manufacturers said they planned to have HD DVD products on the market in 2006. The next-gen DVD wars were reignited, making it increasingly clear that consumers would soon be faced with two kinds of DVD players when they go to the local retailer.

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