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Toshiba blue laser tech chosen for HD DVD spec.

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The DVD Forum, the industry body responsible for defining and maintaining the DVD standard, has approved Toshiba and NEC's suggestion for a version of the format that will support HDTV.

The proposed specification is based on a blue laser optical system, yielding a disc capacity of 15-20GB per side. The format uses the same disc structure as today's DVDs.

However, while the Forum voted 8:6 to support the Toshiba/NEC format, it only agreed to use the read-only implementation. The two companies also offered a rewritable version, but that failed to gain a majority vote.

Technically, neither did the ROM format, EE Times reports. The victory was achieved only through new voting rules that ignore abstentions. In two past ballots, based on previous regulations, the Toshiba/NEC format did not achieve a majority vote.

Crucially, the Toshiba/NEC format offers backward compatibility with the current DVD standard. However, it's up against a powerful consortium of key consumer electronics players, including Sony, Philips, Matsushita and Samsung, who back the incompatible Blu-Ray format.

As we've seen with DVD-R/-RW and DVD+R/+RW, the two formats are likely to go head to head in the market, despite the Forum's support for a particular technology. Blu-Ray has not been offered to the Forum as the basis of a future DVD spec., but it will be offered to the market as the next generation of write-once/rewritable optical storage technology.

Sony began shipping Blu-Ray based storage product this month. ®

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