Microsoft Gets Blu-ray Endorsement

Gretchen Gallen
LOS ANGELES – Microsoft received a formal endorsement Wednesday of its video compression standard from the technology consortium Blu-ray, a 13-member group vying to take the lead in offering next-generation, high-definition DVD technology.

Microsoft's compression standard, VC-1, joins other Blu-ray choices, MPEG-4 AVS and MPEG-2, for the use in advanced DVD formats that offer consumers and content producers considerably more data space than current DVD technology allows.

Blu-ray is in direct competition to take over this emerging sector with High Definition/High Density-DVD, and both technology consortiums are backed by impressive lists of leading electronic manufacturers, each with major monetary stakes in which side reaches the finish line first.

The Blu-ray format was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Founders, which includes Hitachi, Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Pioneer Corp., Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Sharp Corp., Sony Corp., TDK Corp. and Thomson Multimedia.

The group is currently re-incorporating itself into the Blu-ray Disc Association, which will be open to companies that wish to help develop, promote and establish Blu-ray as an industry standard for high-definition DVD storage, the company said.

The HD-DVD group is led by Toshiba and NEC and is using the technological differences between the two formats as the basis for its argument that HD-DVD has more appeal to the entertainment industry.

According to both consortiums, the battle to win the high-definition DVD market is completely contingent on support of movie studios and entertainment companies.

While HD-DVD offers a lower data storage capacity than Blu-ray Disc, HD-DVD can store more high-definition programming.

According to Microsoft, there is still no guarantee that its compression standard will be included in the making of next-generation DVDs, but the software giant took the Blu-ray endorsement as a major validation of its move into other emerging business sectors.

According to reports, a Blu-ray disc can fit 23.3GB, 25GB or 27GB and a dual-layer disc can fit 46.6GB, 50GB or 54GB.

There is currently research underway to develop a disc that can handle 100GB in quad-layer discs.