Walt Disney and its Buena Vista Home Entertainment division have thrown their support behind the Blu-Ray high-definition DVD format.
Blu-Ray is a standard for the next generation of DVD discs promoted by Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and others. It is designed to store up to 25Gbytes of high-definition video on a single-layer disc and up to 50Gbytes of data on a dual-layer disc.
Toshiba and NEC are pushing a different standard, known as high definition/high density DVD (HD-DVD) for PCs and optical disc players. HD-DVD backers argue that while Blu-Ray discs can store more data, HD-DVD is better suited for high-definition storage because it uses more efficient codecs to write data to the discs.
Several Blu-Ray products have already been released, while HD-DVD products are scheduled to appear next year. With two competing standards backed by prominent PC and consumer electronics companies, the support of major studios such as Disney is crucial to the chances of either format emerging as a standard.
The HD-DVD standard recently won the backing of Paramount, Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures and New Line Cinema. Those studios expect to have HD-DVD content ready by the end of next year.
Disney will join the Blu-Ray Disc Association as a member of the board of directors.
Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service