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Talks at standstill in DVD race?
Newspaper report says impasse a severe setback in efforts to avoid a full-scale format war.
May 16, 2005: 8:29 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Talks to unify next-generation DVD formats have stalled, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Backers of two next-generation formats -- Blu-ray from Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and HD DVD from Toshiba Corp. -- have been in intense discussions in an attempt to unify the two before some discs go into production, the newspaper said.

At the core of both formats are blue lasers, which have a shorter wavelength than the red lasers used in current DVD equipment, allowing discs to store data at the higher densities needed for high-definition movies and television. But the two discs are built in different ways, meaning one would have to be chosen as the base for a unified format.

According to the report, further progress is unlikely and is complicated by the fact that Sony owns a movie studio. The impasse is a severe setback for what has been seen as a last attempt to avert a full-scale format war.

Hollywood relies on sales of DVDs for a large portion of its revenue, and it is hoping the new discs will extend those sales. The worry is that if two competing disc formats come out, consumers will not buy either.

A format war could also hurt Sony's next-generation PlayStation videogame machine, which executives have said will use Blu-ray discs, the newspaper said.

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