Several U.S. movie studios announced plans to release a handful of films on high-definition DVD in Europe, continuing the slow rollout of the new format worldwide.
The Blu-ray Disc Association, which supports one of the two rival and incompatible high-def DVD formats, also announced that Sun Microsystems Inc., the creator of the Java technology, would join its board. Blu-ray uses Java to create interactive features.
Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., Sony Corp's Sony Pictures Entertainment and News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox said they would release several current and older titles this fall to coincide with the availability of Blu-ray players in various European countries. Sony's game console, Playstation3, will also include a Blu-ray DVD drive when it goes on sale later this year, according to an AP report.
Earlier this week, more than a dozen Hollywood studios announced that some 75 movie titles, including "The Da Vinci Code" and "Chicken Little," will go on sale in Japan later this year using the Blu-ray format.
Studios have been slowly releasing titles in the U.S. since the first Toshiba HD DVD player went on sale in March and the Samsung Blu-ray player followed in July. Fox said it would release its first titles in November as well as distribute MGM titles such as "Rocky."
Blu-ray is backed by a consortium led by Sony Corp. It is fighting for dominance with HD DVD, a format backed by Toshiba Corp.
Both formats deliver sharper pictures and crisper sound and hold several times the data that standard definition DVDs contain. High-def DVDs also promise interactive features such as games and menus that display while the film is playing.
Blu-ray discs can hold more data, but HD DVD is more similar to regular DVDs, which simplifies production, according to its backers. The HD DVD camp also has the slight advantage of coming to market first.
Most of the major studios have said they will release titles in Blu-ray. Several has said they would release in both formats.
Universal Studios is the only studio backing HD DVD exclusively. Fox and Sony have said they intend to only back the Blu-ray format
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