Technology giants Microsoft and Intel have officially and jointly announced that they have joined up as members of the HD DVD Promotion Group, formally putting their collective weight behind the Toshiba-designed next-generation movie and game storage format. In the process, the companies have significantly increased momentum for HD-DVD compared to Sony's rival Blu-ray disc format, which is already confirmed to debut in the PlayStation 3 console next year.
In a statement released by the duo, they jointly commented: "After extensive review, both companies determined that the HD DVD format developed by the DVD Forum meets important criteria and delivers unique advantages, including PC and connected device interoperability and an easy, affordable transition to high definition for consumers."
Microsoft had already formally announced
a formal alliance with Toshiba to develop HD-DVD technology and software together, although Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates commented at the time that his company remains neutral in the disc format battle, playing down reports that HD-DVD would eventually be integrated into the Xbox 360. However, the joint statement has seen Microsoft formally taking one side of the argument, with Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group at Microsoft commenting: "HD DVD offers the highest quality, and is the most affordable and highly flexible solution available", as well as listing advantages such as DRM-related 'managed copy' technology, the availability of DVD and HD-DVD hybrid discs which will play on both formats, and superior capacity compared to Blu-ray discs.
The statement ends with an important statement on any future agreements on next-gen disc convergence: "As longtime leaders in the development of new industry specifications, Intel and Microsoft believe a single optical disc format is an ideal solution that would drive rapid consumer adoption. Although the companies have determined that HD DVD is the only viable solution at this time, each remains committed to working toward one format that meets consumer and industry requirements."