DVD format war looms

The DVD stands out as one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies ever, but in the electronics industry it's akin to an aging king in Shakespearean drama -- rivals are lurking, knives drawn.

Just as consumers are beginning to get comfortable with their DVD players, electronics manufacturers are set to introduce next-generation discs that store more -- and would be harder to copy. A dozen companies, headed by Sony Corp., are pushing a disc called the Blu-ray. The other main contender, the High Definition DVD, is promoted only by Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp. But it has an important endorsement from an industry group and is also expected to get Microsoft Corp.'s support as the software giant seeks a toehold for its multimedia format in the consumer electronics arena.

Movie studios generally aren't commenting on the new formats. And the rival industry groups aren't saying exactly when they expect to have players on the market. Both, however, consider the DVD ripe for replacement next year. For consumers, the benefit of a new format would be better image quality. Sales of high-definition TV sets have finally started to take off, but current DVDs don't have the resolution to get the most out of HDTV sets.

News source: CNN

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