HP and Dell have announced support for the Blu-ray Disc format currently being standardised by a group of 10 companies. The Blu-ray Disc Founders (BDF) group also announced they expect the first products based on a read-only version of the format to be available in around two years.
As its name suggests, Blu-ray Disc is based on blue-laser technology. This means it can store on a 12cm disc about six times the amount of data that can be recorded using DVD.
A rewritable version of the format, called BD-RE, has already been standardised and Sony has been selling a consumer recorder in Japan targeted at high-definition television use since early 2003. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week LG Electronics was also showing a Blu-ray Disc recorder that it plans to put on sale in the US during 2004.
A read-only version of the format, called BD-ROM, is expected to be finalised in early 2004 and a record-once version, called BD-R in mid-2004. As a result the first BD-ROM devices are expected in late 2005.
BDF is made up of Hitachi, LG, Matsushita (Panasonic), Mitsubishi, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Thomson Multimedia.
The announcement by HP and Dell will likely come as a blow to NEC and Toshiba, which are jointly developing the High Definition/High Density DVD (HD-DVD) format.
Development of the alternative format, which also uses blue-lasers and offers similar improvement in data storage capacity, has reached version 0.9 in the DVD-Forum and the version 1.0 specification is expected later in 2004.
Toshiba used CES to show a prototype video recorder based on the HD-DVD system.