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Blu-ray set for Spring 06 debut

Format's supporters to say more next month

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) will formally roll-out its next-generation optical disc format in Spring 2006, the organisation confirmed yesterday.

The announcement came as BDA member companies start gearing up to make their own product plans known at next month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

CES is similarly expected to play host to product announcements from supporters of Blu-ray Disc rival HD DVD. The Toshiba-led format was originally planned to launch in the US in Q4 2005, but a Q1 2006 debut is now more likely, and its backers will be looking to make a big impression at CES.

Absent from yesterday's event was Blu-ray backer HP, which has voiced criticism of some of the technologies the BD format will incorporate. It wants the format to support Microsoft's Windows Vista-friendly interactivity tool, iHD, in addition to Java, already part of the BD specification.

HP also wants BD to support 'Mandatory Managed Copy' (MMC), a feature that allows controlled copies to be made of disc content primarily to allow, say, the disc to be played on one machine but viewed on another, distant device, connected by a wired or wireless network.

Yesterday, the BDA said MMC would eventually be part of the BD specification. In the past, it has said it will consider HP's request to add Microsoft's iHD but will not delay the format's launch to ensure iHD is present from the start. ®

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