Hewlett-Packard, a major backer of the Blu-ray high-definition DVD format, is urging that it be more consumer-friendly in a bid to forestall...
LOS ANGELES — Hewlett-Packard, a major backer of the Blu-ray high-definition DVD format, is urging that it be more consumer-friendly in a bid to forestall a lengthy and costly war with a competing standard.
The appeal came on the same day Forrester Research predicted that Blu-ray would eventually win the war, but that consumers, hungry for digital content, would look elsewhere for video and take longer to embrace high-definition DVDs.
Hewlett-Packard, the nation’s second-largest PC maker, yesterday asked the Blu-ray Disc Association to make it easier for consumers to transfer movies from a DVD to a home network, an option seen as essential to consumer adoption of any high-definition DVD format.
Blu-ray’s rival format HD DVD, which is backed by Microsoft, Intel and Toshiba, among others, features a standard known as “mandatory Managed Copy,” which will allow a consumer to make a legal copy of their DVD and store the digital file on a home network.
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Blu-ray has much stricter content-protection rules that allow studios to lock their movies to the disc, preventing any copying.
That stricter standard is favored by Hollywood studios, which are afraid of piracy. But companies such as Microsoft, Intel and HP are marketing hardware and software that enable home networking, a feature believed to be desired by most consumers.
“It’s critical that we have the ability to move content around the home,” said Maureen Weber, HP’s general manager of personal storage.
The possibility of a format war between Blu-Ray and HD DVD was heightened last month when Microsoft and Intel threw their support behind the HD DVD format.
Weber said yesterday that it was “critical” that PCs running Microsoft’s operating system support Blu-ray drives.
“We were hopeful there wouldn’t be a format war,” Weber said. “With Microsoft and Intel announcing support and with Chinese manufacturers allowing low-cost players in the market, we know there will be a format war. We’re trying to broker an olive branch here.”
A format war is also feared by Hollywood studios, which make most of their profits from home-video sales.
But consumer adoption of high-definition DVD could be slower than studios and PC makers want.
The Forrester report concludes that consumers may be moving beyond DVDs.
Neither next-generation DVD format will succeed unless it gives consumers the option to move video around a home network, the report concluded.