Next-Generation DVD Format Battle Rages

A peaceful compromise is looking more and more unlikely in the battle for the next-generation DVD format. Blu-ray and HD-DVD proponents continue to make announcements about their technologies but no agreement is in sight as consumers get closer to being able to buy products based on the formats. Late last month, Sony Computer Entertainment President Ken Kutaragi admitted that unification talks between the Blu-ray and HD-DVD camps have stalled. Now the two groups plan on battling each other in the marketplace, which will surely be a repeat of the Betamax versus VHS battle of the 1980s, which turned consumers who bet on the wrong side into losers. Last week, Microsoft and Toshiba announced plans to work together to develop HD-DVD players that will use Windows CE technology. Microsoft still claims neutrality in the standards battle but says it's considering releasing a future version of its upcoming Xbox 360 console with HD-DVD technology. Initially, the console will contain standard DVD drives, whereas Sony's PlayStation 3 will use Blu-ray drives. On the Blu-ray front, Sun Microsystems announced that the Blu-ray Disc Association, the standards group behind the Blu-ray format, has adopted Java for the format's interactivity standard. Both technologies have their merits, but the group that is willing to spend the most money marketing its technology will likely win the battle.

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