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Avoiding the high-def movie format war

Kyle Orland

While Microsoft and Sony are obviously hoping their respective high-definition movie support will give them an edge in the console wars, other companies are busy trying to find a way around the format war brewing between HD-DVD and Blu-ray. First, Warner Bros. announced a new layered disc format that would allow all three DVD standards to reside on one disc. Now NEC has announced " two new low cost chips" that will allow standalone players to more easily support all formats starting in April '07.

These efforts could cast the proprietary format support of the console manufacturers into a new light. On the one hand, gamers might use their game system of choice as a low-cost entry into the high-def movie market, supporting one format over the other by default. On the other hand, wary movie fans might hold off on locking in to any standard (through a game system or a standalone player) if they know the option for easily supporting both is just around the corner. With all the confusion, it's hard to blame the movie studios for mostly "sitting on the fence and hedging their bets until the technology waters become clearer," as iTWire puts it.

Perhaps those considering which side of the format war to support should take their advice from the 1983 movie WarGames: "The only winning move is not to play."

(Thanks Prof-KOS)

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