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A group of companies headed up by Toshiba and Matsushita has said it will extend recording time for DVD audio from just over 64 minutes to nearly eighty minutes. The DVD consortium, the Audio Working Group, which has 39 companies supporting it, are attempting to replace existing sound CDs with their own standard and are set to release specifications in the near future. But the group faces stiff opposition from a rival camp, headed by Sony, and backed by Sharp and by Dutch company Philips. Their specification, called the Super Audio CD format, are close to completion and the companies will release working machines and formats in the first quarter of next year. That is also the date the Audio Working Group has set as their deadline to release products using the extended specification. Most observers agree that battles between the large consumer companies over the DVD format have set back its acceptance by both industry and consumers. ®

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