Software, hardware releases expected Q1 2006.

Universal Music Group joined the Blu-ray Disc Association today (Aug. 16) as a contributing member. UMG follows Sony BMG as the next major music company to contribute to the new high definition Blu-ray DVD format.

Blu-ray hardware and software is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2006. Home video companies that will release titles on Blu-ray include Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The competing HD DVD format is still scheduled for a fourth quarter debut, and will be supported by Warner Home Video, New Line Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

It is unknown what the first HD DVD or Blu-ray music releases will be.