The Blu-ray Disc group, which aims to set the standard for next-generation DVDs, says it will not adopt a proposal from Hewlett-Packard by the launch of the technology, leading the PC maker to say it may back a rival in the looming, multibillion-dollar war.
To recap – HP has been a long time BD supporter. A few weeks ago, just after MS and Intel came out in support of HD-DVD, HP met with MS and then turned around and made a request to the BDA that two features from HD-DVD be added to BD – mandatory managed copy and iHD. Yesterday the BDA agreed to adopt mandatory managed copy for launch – which is a good thing. It should also gain Intel’s support of BD since they were on record as saying the one sticking point preventing them from backing BD was the lack of mandatory managed copy.
However, at the same time, the BDA said they will not adopt iHD for launch. They did not say they wouldn’t adopt it, period, but that they are seriously considering it – however, they don’t want to delay the product launch by taking the time to incorporate it now. So it sounds like iHD may be added to the spec, but it may not be part of the spec at launch. The problem with that, of course, is that products could make it to consumers that don’t do iHD. Then if it is added later, discs that rely on it for the menus, etc, would not work in those players. That is bad for early adopters, and also bad for studios who’d want to use iHD instead of BD-J – effectively it severely lowers the value of iHD if it is added later. Since BD machines will be fairly powerful to start, perhaps it could be added as a firmware update later, but it is still a risk.
I’m happy to see mandatory managed copy in BD, that was an issue for others in addition to Intel – Microsoft was sticking on that and iHD too, for example, but I’m torn on iHD. I understand not wanting to delay BD to add iHD, but at the same time, adding iHD could kill HD-DVD support entirely by winning more people over to supporting BD.
Even if the BDA stated that they intended to add iHD to the next revision, or something like that, vendors could incorporate iHD support into their products, or at least ensure upgradability, with confidence.