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Sony CEO: format war in 'stalemate'

We were winning until Paramount got off the fence...

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The two next-gen optical disc formats - Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD - are running neck and neck, Sony CEO Howard Stringer has conceded. And he admitted yesterday that Paramount's move to favour HD DVD has hindered Blu-ray's pitch.

"We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides," Stringer said last night at a meeting in Manhattan, Associated Press reports.

In July, Paramount and Warner were the only major movie distributors supporting both formats. The following month, Paramount said it would no longer offer Blu-ray movies.

"It's a difficult fight," he said and admitted the battle had reached a "stalemate".

More to the point, he admitted the argument was largely symbolic - the two sides are fighting for the prestige of winning rather than because of any significant technological superiority.

Indeed, both formats have pros, both have cons. HD DVD has the DVD brand, lower manufacturing costs, higher physical resilience and a more complete standard. Blu-ray has lead in capacity, the bigger installed base and a better established recordable and re-writeable formats.

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