DVD Forum mandates Microsoft for HD disc spec

All your HD DVD belong to us


The governing body behind the DVD specification has provisionally approved the incorporation of Microsoft's Windows Media 9 technology as a "mandatory" component of HD DVD.

The DVD Forum yesterday said it has granted "provisional approval of MPEG 2, Microsoft-developed Windows Media 9 and H.264 as mandatory for the upcoming High Definition (HD) DVD video specification".

So potentially the Beast of Redmond will take a cut from all future HD DVD players sold, in addition to what it makes out of the sale of all those PCs. Actually, since Intel and Microsoft believe future DVD players will be PCs in all but name, this may not make such a difference. Certainly, Microsoft's HD codec requires some hefty processing resources to run at a frame rate suitable for consumer electronics use.

But whether DVD players become PCs or not, anyone who writes a DVD player app for another platform will need to licence Microsoft technology, if the Forum codifies its recent decision.

It may not do so. The DVD Forum also said yesterday that the provisional approval is "subject to an update in 60 days regarding licensing terms and conditions, and a presentation by each of the respective licensing bodies at the next steering committee". In other words, it all depends on what terms Microsoft is willing to license Windows Media 9 under. Almost all standards require some degree of intellectual property licensing, what matters is how easy Microsoft makes that process.

If those terms prove sufficiently inflexible, the Forum's rules allow for the "possible elimination of any of the above codecs" at the next steering committee meeting. Indeed, it is believed that the consumer electronics industry favours the more open MPEG 2 and H.264 standards.

Meanwhile, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) is meeting this week and is expected to discuss Microsoft's submission, made last autumn, of Windows Media 9 as a potential future digital TV standard. ®

Related Stories

DVD Forum 'approves' rewriteable HD-DVD spec
Toshiba blue laser tech chosen for HD DVD spec.
Next DVD spec. to offer Net access not more capacity
China unveils 'DVD killer' video disk format


Other stories you might like

  • World’s smallest remote-controlled robots are smaller than a flea
    So small, you can't feel it crawl

    Video Robot boffins have revealed they've created a half-millimeter wide remote-controlled walking robot that resembles a crab, and hope it will one day perform tasks in tiny crevices.

    In a paper published in the journal Science Robotics , the boffins said they had in mind applications like minimally invasive surgery or manipulation of cells or tissue in biological research.

    With a round tick-like body and 10 protruding legs, the smaller-than-a-flea robot crab can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn and even jump. The machines can move at an average speed of half their body length per second - a huge challenge at such a small scale, said the boffins.

    Continue reading
  • IBM-powered Mayflower robo-ship once again tries to cross Atlantic
    Whaddayaknow? It's made it more than halfway to America

    The autonomous Mayflower ship is making another attempt at a transatlantic journey from the UK to the US, after engineers hauled the vessel to port and fixed a technical glitch. 

    Built by ProMare, a non-profit organization focused on marine research, and IBM, the Mayflower set sail on April 28, beginning its over 3,000-mile voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. But after less than two weeks, the crewless ship broke down and was brought back to port in Horta in the Azores, 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, for engineers to inspect.

    With no humans onboard, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) can only rely on its numerous cameras, sensors, equipment controllers, and various bits of hardware running machine-learning algorithms to survive. The computer-vision software helps it navigate through choppy waters and avoid objects that may be in its path.

    Continue reading
  • Revealed: The semi-secret list of techs Beijing really really wishes it didn't have to import
    I think we can all agree that China is not alone in wishing it had an alternative to Microsoft Windows

    China has identified "chokepoints" that leave it dependent on foreign countries for key technologies, and the US-based Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) claims to have translated and published key document that name the technologies about which Beijing is most worried.

    CSET considered 35 articles published in Science and Technology Daily from April until July 2018. Each story detailed a different “chokepoint” or tech import dependency that China faces. The pieces are complete with insights from Chinese academics, industry insiders and other experts.

    CSET said the items, which offer a rare admission of economic and technological vulnerability , have hitherto “largely unnoticed in the non-Chinese speaking world.”

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022