Apple Throws Support Behind Blu-ray

At CeBIT in Germany, Apple announced that it would support Blu-ray as its choice for the next generation of DVDs. Blu-ray has been locked in a battle for industry support with competing format HD-DVD since last year.

Apple will become a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, and will hold a seat on the group's board.

"Apple is pleased to join the Blu-ray Disc Association board as part of our efforts to drive consumer adoption of HD," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "Consumers are already creating stunning HD content with Apple's leading video editing applications like iMovie HD and are anxiously awaiting a way to burn their own high def DVDs."

Apple joins several other big-name Blu-ray backers, including Dell, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and LG, as well as movie studios Walt Disney and Twentieth Century Fox.

Apple's pledge of support for Blu-ray comes before this summer's expected release of QuickTime 7, which will feature better support for high-definition video. The new QuickTime will also come with the next version of Mac OS X, dubbed "Tiger."

Blu-ray was developed by Sony, and boasts a 50-gigabyte disc capacity. Proponents of the format say that Blu-ray is intended primarily for video purposes.

On the other hand, HD-DVD discs will have two layers of data. One will be in the old DVD format, which can hold about five gigabytes. The second layer will store data in HD-DVD format, which holds 15 gigabytes. Supporters of that technology note its backwards compatibility, as well as capability for data storage.

Hollywood support is crucial in the battle for HD, as it is expected that most studios will only produce discs in one format.

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