The latest two additions to the Blu-ray Disc Association, one side in the upcoming format battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, are Universal Music Group and Lions Gate Entertainment. One or the other of the formats is expected to be the successor to the DVD standard, and players compatible with the new formats will begin to appear in 2006.
An interesting rationale for the adoption of the Blu-ray Disc format came from Lions Gate president Steve Beeks: the format's inclusion in the upcoming PlayStation 3, due to be released in spring 2006, was one of the factors in the company's decision. The official press release from the firm specifically mentioned: "The studio says it was enticed by the expected impact on high definition packaged media from the upcoming launch of the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, and the prospect of having its catalog of titles available for the system."
The runaway success of the UMD movie format for Sony's PlayStation Portable may be indicating to Hollywood film producers that Sony has the power to launch a new format on its own strengths, and could possibly help to turn the tide in the Blu-ray's favor. However, Microsoft still appears to be leaning toward HD-DVD, most recently
announcing a formal alliance to develop HD-DVD technology and software together.
As for Universal's support of the Blu-ray format, the company's Larry Kenswil explained its decision to choose Blu-ray, saying "We recognize that Blu-ray Disc has the capacity, functionality and interactivity both artists and music fans demand. We intend to work closely with the BDA in order to represent the unique requirements of the music industry in the format creation process."
The Blu-ray Disc Association currently consists of technology companies including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson, and recently announced
its content protection plans.