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Europe demands Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD licensing details

Competition query?

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While the consumer electronics and content industries worry that the battle between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD will set company against company to the disadvantage of all, Europe's antitrust officials appear to fear that having two rival high-definition video disc formats isn't competition enough.

To whit, the European Commission has asked the consortia behind both technologies to detail their intellectual property licensing terms, the BBC reports.

The EC is seeking reassurances that neither group will restrict access to their technologies, either to hardware makers or to disc suppliers. Not that they're likely too - successfully winning the hearts and minds of consumers will largely depend on widening access to a given format as much as possible.

With the exception of an HD DVD-equipped notebook from Toshiba, neither next-generation optical disc format has yet to be launched in Europe, though that's likely to change before Christmas. At the very least, Sony will be pushing its PlayStation 3 as a Blu-ray player when the console launches in November.

In a statement, Sony said the EC gave it no indication that the organisation is investigation any complaint into the new formats, or that officials have any specific antitrust worries. ®

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