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Blu-ray secures Universal Music backing

Sony's would-be standard endorsed by BenQ too

Universal Music Group is backing Blu-ray Disc, the company said this week.

And Taiwanese hardware company BenQ has also said it will back the next-generation optical format.

Universal - the world's largest music recording company, according to trade body IFPI - will join the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), and while it didn't make a formal commitment to release content on the format, its BDA membership suggests that that will happen once BD players hit the market.

Universal's roster of artists and bands is considerable, and the company will undoubtedly be looking to leverage its catalogue of music video content on BD.

The range of content available on BD will be central to whether the format steals the market from the other would-be next-generation optical disc standard, HD DVD. Ironically, Universal Pictures - despite the name, unconnected to Universal Music - is backing HD DVD.

BD is expected to make its market debut after HD DVD, which is expected to launch in the US later this year.

BenQ said this week it will ship BD-ROM drives during the first half of 2006. For now it has no plans to support HD DVD, comments made by company associate VP Alpha Tsai - and reported by DigiTimes - suggest. ®

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