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Toshiba launches HD DVD consortium

To promote the format where the DVD Forum fears to tread?

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Toshiba, Sanyo, NEC and Memory Tech yesterday formally opened the doors for the HD DVD Promotion Group, positioning the consortium head to head with the Blu-ray Disc Association in the battle for the hearts and minds of content providers, hardware suppliers and consumers.

As the developers of the format, the presence of Toshiba and NEC was always to be expected. But while Toshiba has been vigorous in pitching the next-generation DVD standard, NEC has so far taken a back seat. Memory Tech was co-developer of the dual-format DVD/HD DVD disc that Toshiba unveiled last month.

The PG's role, it says, is to "promote the HD DVD format established by the DVD Forum, enhance the development of content and hardware made in compliance with the HD DVD format, and establish and expand the market for such products".

You would have thought, of course, that HD DVD would be well supported by the 230-member DVD Forum, the medium's governing body. But clearly Toshiba and co. feel HD DVD needs more promotion if it's to compete with the Sony-backed Blu-ray Disc. In May 2004, the Sony-led Blu-ray Disc Founders organisation formed a broader alliance of BD backers, the Blu-ray Disc Association. It too seeks to encourage content providers and hardware suppliers to support its format.

According to reports in the Japanese press, representatives from over 100 companies were on hand for the HD DVD PG's formal launch, but today the organisation's web site lists no members beyond the founding four. ®

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