HP and Dell get behind Blu-ray format

Hewlett-Packard and Dell have announced support for the Blu-ray Disc format which is being standardised by a group of 10...

Hewlett-Packard and Dell have announced support for the Blu-ray Disc format which is being standardised by a group of 10 companies.

The Blu-ray Disc Founders (BDF) group also announced they expect the first products based on a read-only version of the format to be available in around two years' time.

Blu-ray Disc is based on blue-laser technology, which means it can store on a 12cm disc around six times the amount of data that can be recorded using DVD.

A rewritable version of the format, called BD-RE, has already been standardised and Sony has been selling a consumer recorder in Japan for high-definition television use since early 2003.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, LG Electronics launched a Blu-ray Disc recorder which it plans to put on sale in the US this year.

A read-only version of the format, called BD-Rom, is expected to be finalised early this year and a record-once version, called BD-R, is expected to be finalised around the middle of this year. The first BD-Rom devices are expected in late 2005.

BDF is made up of Hitachi, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Mitsubishi Electric, Philips Electronics, Pioneer Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Sony and Thomson Multimedia.

The announcement by HP and Dell will come as a blow to NEC and Toshiba, which are jointly developing the High Definition/High Density DVD (HD-DVD) format.

Development of the alternative format, which also uses blue lasers and offers similar improvement in data storage capacity, has reached version 0.9 in the DVD-Forum and the version 1.0 specification is expected later this year.

Martyn Williams writes for IDG News Service

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