Thursday, June 17, 2004

Dvd Forum approves HD-DVD-ROM specs

DVD Forum approves HD-DVD-ROM spec

By Wolfgang Gruener, Senior Editor

June 11, 2004 - 12:36 EST

Chicago (IL) - A steering committee of the DVD Forum has approved the final specification of one potential successor of today's DVD. The HD-DVD-ROM will carry one or two data layers with a total capacity of up to 30 GByte. First drives are expected within the next twelve months.

The approval of the Specification 1.0 of the HD-DVD-ROM format marks a significant step forward for NEC and Toshiba, the two main backers of the technology, to bring their technology to the market. As the competing Blue-ray format, which is pushed by Sony and a industry group including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, HD-DVD is based blue lasers. As opposed to red lasers, the technology usea a shorter wavelength and can increase the density of data stored on media.

According to the Forum, the 12-centimeter HD-DVDs discs will be available with single and dual data layers offering 15 or 30 GByte capacity. Compared to Blue-ray, NEC and Toshiba, believe that HD-DVDs can be manufactured cheaper since the discs use the same layer height as common DVDs. The firms believe that read-only HD-DVDs as well as HD-DVD drives will be available as early as the beginning of 2005.

The DVD Forum also voted on the provisional approval of the codecs MPEG2, WM9 (VC-9) and MPEG4 AVC(H.264) set at the committee's last February. The meeting resolution is unclear, if the provisional status in fact was removed, but denied the motion to retain the provisional status "until the level of information concerning the licensing terms for VC-9 is the same as the level of information concerning the licensing terms for AVC/H.264."

According to Microsoft, the provisional status was removed and WM9 received mandatory status for HD-DVD.

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