Thanks to a Samsung optical drive, Altech Computers has announced the release of the Maestro Pro 2 Blu-ray edition, staking an all-important first mover claim in the local high-definition DVD market.
Equipped with the capability to record and play high-definition Blu-ray DVDs, the Maestro Pro 2 Blu-ray is one of the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
Altech national sales manager, Kevin Hartin, said the company opted for Blu-ray over rival standard, HD-DVD technology, after attending the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the start of this year.
"If the hype in the US market is anything to go by, high definition will be the next major driver of new technology into the digital home," Hartin said. "I expect Blu-ray to win the HD war and being first to market is important."
Boasting more than 170 corporate backers - with Sony indicating it intends to use the technology in the next generation of its PlayStation console - Blu-ray (http://www.blu-raydisc.com) looks well positioned. But a glance at the website for rival standard HD-DVD (http://www.hddvdprg.com) reveals names such as Toshiba, Microsoft and HP.
Although Altech has taken the plunge, other local manufacturers are cautious.
Managing director of Pioneer Computers, Jeff Li, said the company was not yet prepared to back one standard over another. Its current plan was to produce devices in both camps until a clear winner is determined.
In a similar vein, the DVD distribution and rental industry is preparing to support both standards until one becomes clearly dominant.
Video Ezy CEO, Paul Uniacke, likened the imminent struggle to the VHS/Beta wars of the early '80s.
He said the entertainment industry was able to support rival standards for a period of time, if not indefinitely.
"We are in a much more mature market than in 1980," Uniacke said. "Just look today at the competing formats for the games console machines where PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox and Game Boy have all survived and flourished over a good many years without hurting the industry."