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HD DVD to come to Europe this year, hints studio

Studio Canal spills beans

CES HD DVD will come to Europe in 2006, it has emerged. France's Studio Canal, part of the Canal Plus media combine, this week said it will ship 30 titles on the next-generation optical disc format this year.

While the announcement was made at event predominantly pitching HD DVD's US debut, Studio Canal said that its HD DVD content library would be made available in five European countries, including the UK, France and Germany.

So far, Studio Canal's statement is the only clear indication of a timeframe for the format's launch in Europe beyond the fact it will happen at some point. Had HD DVD launched in the US late 2005, a Christmas 2006 launch in Europe seemed a likely outcome. But the decision to put back the US debut to late Q1 2006 could similarly have delayed the European launch. Fortunately, that now seems not to be the case.

Studio Canal didn't say what titles it will offer out of its 5000-strong library, but it did say they will be encoded using Microsoft's VC-1 HD codec, which is also part of the Blu-ray Disc spec. ®

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