Sonic Solutions drops HD DVD authoring in favor of Blu-ray

Update ribbon (small)

11:30 am ET January 31, 2007 - Sonic Solutions this morning clarified its position regarding its apparent switch from HD DVD to Blu-ray, telling BetaNews that initial reports that the company abandoned HD DVD altogether were not quite accurate.

Sonic spokesperson Chris Taylor said that the decision is only specific to its professional authoring suite. Other divisions, such as its Roxio consumer arm and ATG licensing group would remain format neutral. Even within the professional division, HD DVD would still live on through its CineVision authoring application.


"The decision has been in the works for a while and based on the pro authoring sales opportunity, the needs of the majority of our customers, and the opportunities we see in emerging markets," Taylor said in an e-mail interview. He confirmed that support would still be offered for the portion of the HD DVD hardware that is being discontinued, although said details of the exchange program mentioned in the original story are yet to be finalized.

January 30, 2007 - Sonic Solutions said today it will stop sales of its professional software that assists in the authoring of HD DVD discs, choosing to focus on Blu-ray instead.

Sonic hopes that its increased focus on Blu-ray will help fuel growth of the format, and move it beyond being the niche product it is now. It will also commit to helping content creators use BD-Live, the format's interactive layer, to its fullest extent.

"Going forward, the group will direct its considerable format expertise on helping our professional customers fulfill the richly interactive promise of Blu-ray Disc including BD-Live, and aligning with a broader company strategy to enable the secure and efficient digital-distribution of video entertainment," CEO Dave Habiger said in a statement.

The move isn't all that surprising: With significant movement to Blu-ray by nearly the entire sector in the past month, many companies are increasingly dropping HD DVD in order to focus on what appears to be the format winner.

It is imperative that this happens quickly: With high-definition streaming increasingly making its mark on the industry, a format war that lasts any longer could mean that the next-generation DVD format winner could find a market where most consumers have passed it over in favor of streaming technologies.

Sonic is offering incentives to its existing HD DVD customers to switch. The company will allow for a limited time the exchange of an HD DVD system for a Blu-ray Disc system, which will speed the transition between the two formats.

However, it will not force customers to switch. Support will be maintained for those who stick with HD DVD, and software updates to the authoring software will be provided on an as-needed basis.

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