Intel and Microsoft are combining their industry power in an attempt to make the HD DVD format the victor in a battle over a standard to succeed DVD.
Typical DVDs today can hold 4.7GB of information, but two dueling camps are trying to establish a larger-capacity format that will allow for the recording of high-definition television and the backing up of more data. HD DVD, supported by a Toshiba-led consortium, is up against Blu-ray Disc, which is backed by Sony and others, including the two biggest personal-computer manufacturers, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
Intel and Microsoft believe weighing in on the HD DVD side will be enough to tip the balance. "We have a high expectation of having a single format, and that format is HD DVD," said Intel spokesman Bill Kircos.
There are several reasons the two companies went with HD DVD, said Richard Doherty, Microsoft's program manager for media entertainment convergence. Among them: HD DVD requires that movies be copied to a consumer's hard drive, making it easier for people to send movies around home networks; the format supports regular DVD recordings on the flip side of the disc, letting people sell hybrid discs to consumers who have DVD players today but fear their discs will be obsolete; and the format offers more capacity.
Obviously, this spells big trouble for Sony and their PS3. The PS3 will feature a Blu-Ray drive. Sony has already rallied some support in the movie industry. But without Microsoft and Intel, what good is that? Perhaps Microsoft supports HD-DVD also to strike a blow at the PS3. Either way, this could be the decisive point in HD-DVD´s favour. And if so, the PS3 will almost definitely be delayed. Sony will have to seriously reconsider including Blu-Ray in their console, because the format may be dead by the time the console is meant to come out.