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Disney backs Blu-ray format

10 Dec 2004

The major Hollywood studios are split down the middle over next-generation DVD.

The Walt Disney Company says that it will support the Blu-ray Disc format for next-generation DVD through its home video division.

"Buena Vista Home Entertainment will begin releasing content non-exclusively in that format when Blu-ray hardware launches in North America and Japan," said Disney.

As a result, the company will join the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) as a board member.

Hollywood studios now stand evenly split over the two formats that will exploit the shorter wavelength of GaN-based blue laser diodes to greatly increase disc capacity.

Buena Vista president Robert Chapek cited the extendability of the Blu-ray format as one of the key reasons for the company's support. Sony has demonstrated an eight-layer disc structure that could hold up to 200 GB of data.

The Sony-led BDA, which includes the pioneering blue laser and LED company Nichia among its members, now has public backing from 20th Century Fox and Disney, as well as Sony's own movie studio and its recent acquisition Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The rival high-definition (HD) DVD group recently secured support from Warner Brothers and its sister studio New Line Cinema, as well as Paramount and Universal.

The latest moves give the HD DVD camp acsess to an estimated 45% of the current DVD market in the US, with the BDA thought to be slightly ahead with a 47% share.

However, none of the Hollywood backing announced thus far is thought to be on an exclusive basis, with studios reserving the right to supply to both formats in the future.

Iridian Spectral TechnologiesLaCroix Precision OpticsABTechBerkeley Nucleonics CorporationLASEROPTIK GmbHCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.ECOPTIK
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