Toshiba DVD format wins backing

Japanese electronics giant Toshiba has scored a victory in a brewing DVD format duel against rivals led by Sony after winning the support of US technology giants Microsoft and Intel.

    Next generation DVDs will have more interactivity

    Intel announced on Tuesday its official backing for Toshiba's next-generation HD DVD format, which is set to go head-to-head with Sony's Blu-ray in a replay of the rivalry a generation ago between VHS and Betamax video cassette tapes.

    "We'd been hoping the two groups would find a common format for the sake of consumers' benefit but apparently those efforts failed," said Masatoshi Mizuno, a spokesman for Intel in Japan.

    Microsoft meanwhile plans to incorporate software supporting Toshiba's DVD format in its next-generation OS Windows Vista, said a spokesman for the software behemoth, Kazunori Ishii.

    Toshiba also announced it had developed the first laptop computer with a next-generation HD DVD drive.

    High definition

    Toshiba, in collaboration with South Korea's Samsung, will start selling personal computers with a slim HD DVD drive designed specifically for laptops by the start of next year in Japan.

    Toshiba will sell PCs with a slim
    high-definition DVD drive

    The company said demand was growing for high-definition images.

    "Toshiba has responded to this trend by promoting the advanced imaging capabilities of the next-generation HD DVD format and has now brought HD DVD to portable computing, the fastest growing segment of the computer market," it said in a statement.

    The face-off between the HD DVD and Blu-ray formats has echoes of the battle a generation ago between VHS and Sony's ill-fated Betamax, which eventually became extinct when customers opted for its rival.

    Better standard?

    Next-generation DVDs, expected to hit the mass market later this year, are billed as offering cinematic-quality images and opening up new possibilities in interactive entertainment.

    Toshiba last month said it was in talks with Sony to find a common format, but in the absence of an agreement it was going ahead with production of its own format.

    Sony's Blu-ray disc is expected to have a greater storage capacity than the HD DVD, but also to be more expensive to make, at least in the short term, as the format has greater differences from current-generation DVDs.

    Whatever the outcome, analysts doubt consumers will have to wait long before multi-functional DVD players arrive to overcome the format differences.

    SOURCE: AFP


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