It has been a slow and, at times, agonising route to market for the HD DVD next generation media format. It has had to put up with rival Blu-ray’s superior storage capacity and its seemingly endless list of big name backers, whilst its own technology has suffered delays. Things could be looking up though…
Today IT industry heavyweights Microsoft and Intel threw their collective weight behind HD DVD. The former had always been leaning in the format’s direction since its upcoming Xbox 360 console has long been rumoured to get an HD DVD drive at a later date (this now looks an inevitability), while Intel had been a dormant member of the HD DVD group.
Now though, both monoliths have pledged to develop content for HD DVD and spoken out categorically in its favour. Microsoft Entertainment VP Blair Westlake (great name) declared, “After looking at the core advantages to the PC ecosystem and how it would benefit the consumer, it is clear that HD DVD offers the highest quality, and is the most affordable and highly flexible solution available.”
Intel boffin Brendan Traw also chose not to mince his words, “Intel has determined that HD DVD best meets the needs of consumers and the requirements for the respective consumer electronics, computer and entertainment industries for delivering a high-definition, interactive experience to the home on optical media.”
More grooviness for the storage medium also came via leading proponent Toshiba’s announcement that it will have the first notebook integrating an HD DVD drive on the market by the beginning of next year. At just 12.7mm high it will not be the bulky solution many had predicted in its early days and the backwards compatibility with DVD and CD has always been its biggest selling factor. When we will see consumer HD DVD-R drives, however, was not made clear.
The advocate of fair play within me is happy for HD DVD to get one in after the increasingly cocky taunting of Blu-ray developer Sony, though the pragmatist in me would rather just see one lose quickly to avoid another messy, and expensive, format war.