Fox: No Plans to Support HD DVD

In the ongoing battle between still-unreleased next-generation DVD formats, Fox Filmed Entertainment has already chosen sides. The studio says it sees Sony's Blu-ray as the clear winner due to PlayStation 3 support, and, unlike other studios, will not produce movies in HD DVD.

The public backing by Fox comes amid wavering support from the computer industry due to Blu-ray's restrictive copy-protection scheme. HP has retreated from Blu-ray's camp after Intel and Microsoft strongly pledged their support for HD DVD instead.

But Fox and other studios like the strict technology that will prevent consumers from utilizing future movies as freely as current DVDs. HD DVD employs more lax copy controls and ensures support for streaming movies to different locations throughout the home.

"We believe that Blu-ray not only has the superior technology and backing in terms of strength to market but also the superior content protection," Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman James Gianopulos told attendees Thursday at the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit in New York.

Bill Gates, however, recently labeled Blu-ray's content protection as anti-consumer. "The inconvenience is that the [movie] studios got too much protection at the expense consumers and it won't work well on PCs," Gates explained.

The rift in future DVD support could prove damaging to the technology before it even gets off the ground. Consumer electronics companies and computer manufacturers excluding Dell have staunchly backed Toshiba's HD DVD. Movie studios have pushed Blu-ray, although many have plans to ship films in both formats.

One key issue is the use of iHD, which would provide new interactive features to the next-gen DVDs. Blu-ray has rejected calls to utilize iHD, instead relying on a Java-based menu system.

But iHD is already slated to be part of both rival standard HD DVD and Windows Vista. And with sales of entertainment PCs beginning to surge, companies like HP don't want to miss the boat when it comes to a potentially valuable feature that will be natively supported by Windows.

"Based on that discussion and technical reviews, we decided iHD is a must, if you will, for the PC implementation of next-generation optical discs," said HP's director of strategic alliances Josh Peterson.

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