Sony Corp., Matsushita, Samsung and 10 other technology firms have created a new organization to promote the next-generation Blu-ray optical disc format, according to an industry group representing th

Sony Corp., Matsushita, Samsung and 10 other technology firms have created a new organization to promote the next-generation Blu-ray optical disc format, according to an industry group representing the firms.

The new group, the Blu-ray Disc Association, will invite more firms from a wider range of industries, including content providers, to establish the Blu-ray Disc as the standard for next-generation large-capacity optical storage media, a Sony spokesman said today (May 19). With the format specifications likely to be set this year, "we are entering the next stage to expand the use" of the Blu-ray Disc, the spokesman said.

The 13 firms already make up an industry group know as the Blu-ray Disc Founders, which will be incorporated into the new association. The Blu-ray Disc Association plans to hold its first meeting this fall.

The move may intensify industry competition in efforts to standardize a next-generation optical disc format. Toshiba and NEC are also promoting the HD, or high-definition, DVD -- a new optical disc format that they jointly developed. The HD DVD has been endorsed by the DVD Forum, a global industry standardization group.

A Blu-ray Disc can hold up to 25 gigabytes of data on a single-layer disc and up to 50 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc. A current DVD disc can store up to 4.7 gigabytes of data on a single-layer disc and up to 8.5 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc.

As previously reported, Blu-Ray DVD players are scheduled to hit the U.S. market in late 2005 or early 2006. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is expected to release the first Blu-ray discs.

Other members of the Blu-ray Disc Founders include Royal Philips Electronics, Sharp, Hitachi, Pioneer, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.


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