tomsTom's Hardware DVD has become the format of choice for movies and other applications, but is quickly reaching its limits. Two new standards, Blu-ray and HD-DVD, are vying for DVD's crown. We take a look at both the technical details and the marketing issues surrounding these two contenders. The consumer electronics market has traditionally been a little slower at imposing planned obsolescence on its customers than the computing industry, but it violated that rule with the work on the next-generation DVD. Before DVD even hit the market in 1997, consumer electronics manufacturers were already at work on the next iteration of the standard. Word about these new technologies began to trickle out in early 2002, with demo units making their debut at the January 2003 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Sony made a great deal of noise with its Blu-ray format and had considerable support from other OEMs. Toshiba and NEC seemed like a dark horse with their Advanced Optical Disc (AOD). Given this, a lot of people were shocked in 2003 when the DVD Forum, the trade association that shepherded the DVD format from spec to market, adopted AOD as the official, Forum-endorsed next-generation format. It was felt that Sony's Blu-ray had the edge in every way, but the Forum picked AOD, which was renamed HD-DVD. read more...

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