Warner to Use Microsoft HD DVD Codec

Scoring a major show of support for its VC-1 Windows Media Video format, which is one of the main codecs of both HD-DVD and Blu-ray high-definition DVDs, Microsoft has signed a deal with Warner Bros. Studios. Warner Home Video will use VC-1 in its HD-DVD titles slated for release before the end of the year.

While industry giants are choosing sides in the battle between HD-DVD and Sony developed Blu-ray, Microsoft wins either way. The company's WMV 9 based VC-1 has been selected as a mandatory format for both next-generation DVD discs, alongside MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.

The competing high-definition DVD formats has caused a rift in the movie industry. Movie studios Walt Disney and Twentieth Century Fox have pledged support for Blu-ray, while others including Warner Bros. will utilize HD-DVD.

HD-DVD discs are expected to reach the market first, although Blu-ray supporters are warning consumers to wait until the format is ready.

Blu-ray boasts a 50-gigabyte disc capacity and proponents boast that it is intended primarily for video purposes. HD-DVD discs will have two layers of data: one in the old DVD format and a second that holds 15 gigabytes. Supporters of HD-DVD note its backwards compatibility, as well as capability for data storage.

"As a technology provider, Microsoft is encouraged by the industry's efforts to deliver next-generation high-definition video experiences for consumers, and we see the Warner Bros. collaboration as a significant milestone," said Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media/Entertainment and Technology Convergence Group at Microsoft.

VC-1 has been initially approved by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and is in Final Committee Draft status. Microsoft is expected to show off VC-1 this week at the NAB 2005 conference in Las Vegas.

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