HD-DVD, supported by the DVD Forum, is blue laser-based. The other format, Blu-ray, is based on blue violet lasers and is supported by Sony, Matsushita, Thomson, Philips, Pioneer, and others. Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and LG Electronics offered up products based on Blu-ray technology during the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Sony has been shipping a Blu-ray drive in Japan since April 2003.) Meanwhile, Toshiba and NEC demo'd HD-DVD players. Both new formats are still in development, but pilot lines already exist. It's worth noting that while HD-DVD is the authorized format of the DVD Forum, key Blu-ray backers such as Pioneer and Panasonic are Forum members. If nothing else, this suggests that the HD-on-DVD battle won't be fought along the familiar Forum vs. +RW Alliance lines.
At the IRMA Management Summit in December, Dominick Dalla Verde, senior director of preproduction at the Cinram (formerly WAMO) plant in Olyphant, Pennsylvania, made a presentation about the two formats. His data was somewhat sketchy, and Cinram declined a request to provide further details. Sony, on the other hand, was very forthcoming with details about Blu-ray. What is evident is the formats are very different from each other, and therefore difficult to compare. HD-DVD is more like an upgraded DVD, whereas Blu-ray is on a different course altogether. HD-DVD seems to have momentum in the U.S., but Blu-ray has a lot of support in Japan.
Mike Fidler, senior vice... [continues]
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