Suspicious Battle Dept.

In Asian back alleys, the Blu-ray disc and HD-DVD standards duke it out.

The Blu-ray disc standard continues to battle with the HD-DVD standards in the back alleys of Asia. The final spec for HD-DVD should appear early next year. Though the Blu-ray group has a final standard, they are now adding to it. This process of creating constant additional standards within standards makes a mockery of the concept of standards.

This problem is rampant in the current crop of DVD players—in case you havent noticed. These incorporate different sound standards and playback schemes, and some DVD players can read writable discs while others cannot. Its amazing that these things manage to work at all. Most work poorly. The latest twist with Blu-ray is that it has now incorporated Microsofts VC-1 video codec. There is some scheme afoot here. I sense that all of this will unfold slower than anyone wants to imagine. The blank media itself is part of the problem for both systems, too.

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