Visitors to the IFA consumer electronics show, which opens Friday in Berlin, will have ringside seats to the war over high-definition disc formats raging between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. As the two formats duel for the title of successor to current DVD movie discs, many European consumers haven't decided which kind of player they will buy.
"Everyone is waiting for IFA where many new products are expected to be announced," said Frank Simonis, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc have sold in lower quantities in Europe than in other regions and prices are still relatively high, between €599 (US$814 ) and €899, according to Simonis. Currently, five manufacturers have launched Blu-ray Disc players in Europe, including Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic). Five additional vendors are expected to launch Blu-ray Disc players at IFA, while companies with players already in the market plan to introduce devices with new features, Simonis said.