Sony Wants Single Standard for HD DVD

Sony said Wednesday that it sees "no visible progress" towards a standard for the next generation of DVD discs, but the company is open to working on one to prevent an inevitable format war.

Sony is the creator of Blu-ray, one of two formats that the industry has thrown its support behind to move DVD into true high-definition.

A senior official with the Sony Media Group told Reuters that from the standpoint of the consumer, getting the entire industry to agree on one standard would be good business. However, no progress is being made towards that goal, as neither group has endeavored to do so.

The competing format, HD-DVD, holds an advantage over its Sony-produced counterpart: discs are backwards compatible, and have been shown to work in tests with hundreds of DVD players. This would ease the transition to the new format.

Even with some definite advantages for its competitor, Blu-ray is still gaining support within the industry. Apple Computer announced it was backing Sony's format last month, joining Dell and Hewlett Packard.

The first DVD players supporting each format will be released later this year, with DVDs in Blu-ray and HD-DVD expected to be available around the same time. Movie studios hope that the timing of the release -- close to the holiday season -- will give the technology a much-needed boost.

However, confusion could reign supreme and delay adoption, as consumers will be forced to understand complicated differences between the competing formats.

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