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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blu-ray or HD-DVD? Better to wait and see

Blu-ray or HD-DVD? Better to wait and see

Free Image Hosting at"On the 20th Century Fox studio lot in Los Angeles, not far from a larger-than-life mural of Julie Andrews, arms outstretched atop the lyrical hills from ``The Sound of Music,'' the studio screened what it hopes will be another blockbuster.

This time, it's not a movie but a technology that it and other studios and electronics companies tout as the successor to DVD. It's called Blu-ray and it plays high-definition movies in resolution so sharp, you can inspect Johnny Depp's eyeliner in ``Pirates of the Caribbean.''

The screening Tuesday was the first in a series of high-profile events to introduce the Blu-ray format. Electronics makers are expected to unveil a new generation of Blu-ray players next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with promises of movies and devices in stores next year.

But before you race out to be the first in your neighborhood with a Blu-ray player, a word of caution. Blu-ray remains locked in a format war with another consortium of companies backing a rival (and, naturally, incompatible) technology called HD-DVD. The format war even divides the tech powerhouses of Silicon Valley: Intel backs HD-DVD, while Apple and Hewlett-Packard support Blu-ray.

Blu-ray has considerable momentum with every major studio but one, NBC Universal, agreeing to release movies in the new high-definition format. But the rival HD-DVD format may still beat it to market. The first HD-DVD players and movies -- initially planned for the holiday season -- will reach stores in March." [more]

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