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Microsoft, Universal Pictures collaborate on VC-1 HD DVD discs

Posted: 27 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Microsoft? Universal Pictures? HD DVD? VC-1?

Microsoft Corp. and Universal Pictures announced at the National Association of Broadcasters convention (NAB2006) their collaboration on the release of next-generation HD DVD discs using VC-1.

One of the mandatory codecs in the HD DVD specification, VC-1 is the video compression standard recently approved by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Universal will also use iHD for the interactive features of the new titles.

Given the lower bitrate required with VC-1 to deliver 1080p, high-definition movies, Universal will have room to spare within HD DVD's 30Gbyte capacity for interactive features and other extras. With iHD, said the press release, the studio is offering interactive menus that are overlaid on top of the movie and accessible without interrupting playback. Additional features include user-defined bookmarks that stay with the title, picture-in-picture commentaries, and network access to download new features and HD movies trailers, all access standard HD DVD features.

"Universal looked for the ideal format for the delivery of high-definition content and found VC-1 to offer the quality that we needed for our titles," said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios home entertainment. "With plans to release a wide range of HD DVD titles, Universal also needed a flexible interactive layer that can scale to accommodate new features. This is a scenario where VC-1 and iHD came out far ahead of other technologies."

"As a technology and platform provider, Microsoft views Universal's commitment to VC-1, iHD and HD DVD as critical to delivering a consistent consumer experience across the consumer electronics and PC ecosystem," commented Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media, Content & Partner Strategy Group at Microsoft. "We share Universal's passion to offer the highest video quality and deliver amazing extras for this new format."

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