At the InfoComm show this week held in Las Vegas, NV, various manufacturers unveiled new and exciting display products in both front and rear projection permeations. JVC Professional Products, however, showed something entirely different -namely an HD Pro DVD player. What is an HD Pro DVD player you ask? It's a red laser model that uses Windows Media 9 software in lieu of other proposed blue laser high-definition DVD schemes WM9 is simply an extension of the current format. Unfortunately, there's virtually no software for this seemingly high-definition format, which could only be played back on Windows Media PCs right now. At present, there are about three titles " T2, a surfing movie, and one on Motown " plus some travelogues. Period. On top of that, none of the major studios have really committed to WM9. So, the question to ask is why? Hmm.
Next week, Microsoft will be meeting with the press to talk about next-generation products. Clearly, the 2005 Windows Media Center will be discussed as well as Xbox360. The question arises if WM9 will be the HD format of choice on Xbox360 instead of either the Toshiba HD DVD player format or the Sony Blu-ray format. And, if WM9 is favored for Xbox360, will there be any additional movie titles that will become available, or will it simply be for simply games? We don't know.
On the Blue laser front, it clearly seems like we are headed for a "Format War." Talks between the competing formats are more off than they have been on. And, if there were to be a comprised/combined high-definition DVD format, it would have to be finalized in May for a November/December 2005 launch. And, unfortunately, there's nothing to report on that front according to Toshiba (as of late May).
Sony has been relatively quiet of late. At its line show in February in Las Vegas, there was virtually no mention of Blu-ray. At E3, the company introduced PS3, which will support Blu-ray; but PS3 will not be available till March 2006 " a long time off. Toshiba, on the other hand, showed the press at their line show held May 19, 2005 at the Hyatt Tamaya the high-definition player that will be introduced in November. At that time, it will probably include version 0.9 of the "Media Key Block" for is AACS DRM. At this meeting, a representative from Warner Home Video reiterated that there will be approximately 89 firm titles at launch from Warner, Universal, Paramount, NewLine, and HBO Films. He noted that there will be two types of discs that will be used at launch. HD DVD discs will be employed for catalog titles only that were previously released on DVD such as "Phantom of the Opera.". New titles such as "Batman Begins," for example, will be available on a new hybrid disc that will include the HD DVD version on one side of the disc, and a standard DVD version on the flip side of the disc.