Thursday, January 12, 2006

HD and Blu-Ray and More, Oh My!

– The wait for high-definition DVD may soon be over, if what’s been seen at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show is to be believed.

With announcements in hardware in both format camps, and title announcements from several of the major studios, it looks like the upcoming format war is starting to heat up.

Members of the HD-DVD Promotions Group took an early lead in the brewing battle by unveiling first players, titles and launch places.

Toshiba, a key format developer, started the race by announcing plans to market two HD-DVD players in March. Both players will output content in multiple resolution formats, including 720p and 1,080i high definition. “Other than that, the differences are primarily cosmetic,” said Jodi Sally, Toshiba digital A/V products group marketing VP.

Also announced were HD-DVD players from Thomson and Sanyo.

The Blu-Ray camp came up with a quick response: Samsung’s BD-P1000, with similar resolution specs and a slightly higher price point. Samsung’s player is slated for a late-April release, cutting short the first-to-market advantage that HD-DVD backers have touted as a key asset in the format’s early market momentum.

Also on the ball were the next generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft, with each announcing support for they’re preferred high definition format.

Microsoft has announced an external HD-DVD component for its already-released XBox 360. Similarly, Sony’s has confirmed its integrated support for Blu-Ray in its forthcoming PS3.

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