Intel goes neutral (supports Blu-Ray too) starting Q2 2008

In a major step toward bringing an end to the much-buzzed-about format war that has pitted HD-DVD technology enthusiasts against the backers of Blu-ray technology, Intel Corp.'s CEO Paul Otellini today said during the Intel Developer Forum opening keynote that the company's fifth-generation Centrino mobile platform codenamed Montevina will have native support for both HD DVD and Blu-ray media when it launches next year.

Montevina, which is slated to make its debut in Q2 2008, will support Intel's 45-nm Penryn Core 2 processors, which are on track for a November 12 release. The fourth generation of Intel's Core 2 Centrino line, codenamed Santa Rosa, was launched in May of this year; Otellini said today that Intel has since shipped some 10 million Santa Rosa-based platforms.

Blu-ray has been supported by heavyweights like Sony Corp. and Philips Electronics, while Toshiba Corp. has been the major proponent for HD-DVD. Hollywood studios have taken sides, as well, with Lions Gate, Sony Pictures, and Fox Studios championing Blu-ray, and Universal Studios championing HD DVD.

However, as the industry's leading microchip maker, Intel's support of both HD DVD and Blu-ray throws a significant amount of credence behind the movement to bring some sort of a compromise to the two technologies, which have seemed destined to serve as bitter rivals in a market-dividing war.

Meanwhile, Intel is not the only company opting for neutrality in HD DVD and Blu-ray compatibility. Within the past year LG Electronics launched the Super Multi Blue Player, a high-definition DVD player capable of playing both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats; ST Microelectronics held demonstrations of its Sti7200 high-definition decoder chip with capabilities for both HD DVD and Blu-ray; and Broadcom Corp. debuted a complete system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution, the BCM7440, that combines Blu-ray and HD DVD, into an integrated, single-chip design.

Further, some industry watchers will likely be gratified by Intel's format-straddling stance, as analysts have predicted that universal players will eventually win out in the coming months as next-generation DVD technology evolves.

News source: EDN
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