Studios announce next-generation DVD titles

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 11:14 am

Film studios on Wednesday will release slates of next-generation DVDs due later this year in a move to jump start a multibillion dollar industry that risks being bogged down by a standards war.

Failure of two technology camps, called Blu-ray and HD DVD, to reach a unified technological front has set the stage this year for a formats war like the costly VHS/Betamax battle of 25 years ago.

Both Blu-ray, led by Sony Corp. and HD DVD, championed by Toshiba Corp., are expected this spring to launch new high-definition DVD players, offering greater capacity and interactive features, hoping to breathe new life into the sagging home video market.

News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox said it will release 20 Blu-ray films in a first wave this year that will include hits like “Fantastic Four” and “Ice Age.”

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment said it will release 20 titles on Blu-ray beginning this spring, including “The Fifth Element,” and “Hitch“.

Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. said it will announce products tied to both formats at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Some electronics makers have said they plan announcements related to the formats at the show.

Sony’s Blu-ray appears to have amassed more allies, including Apple Computer Inc. Panasonic and the greater share of movie studios, although some industry watchers believe HD-DVD’s enlistment of Microsoft, has turned the whole dispute into a battle with personal computers at the center.

Hewlett-Packard, which has long sat on the board of the Blu-ray Disc Association, only recently decided to also join HD-DVD after Blu-ray failed to comply with certain technology requests it proposed to make Blu-ray more appealing to computer users.

Source: Reuters


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