Microsoft Sides With HD DVD
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With hopes of a unified high definition DVD format all but dashed, Microsoft has finally fallen off the fence.

The company announced an agreement with Toshiba to share hardware and software technologies between the two companies. Key to the announcement is an agreement to “investigate” the development of HD DVD players using Microsoft Windows CE.

The companies also plan to strengthen their collaboration on iHD, the DVD Forum’s latest interactivity format.

Though the two companies signed an intellectual property cross-licensing agreement back in April this latest announcement is the clearest indication that Microsoft is siding with the HD DVD format for next generation DVD.

The commitment to HD DVD could see its introduction in Microsoft’s next generation Xbox offering due to be released in the US later this year. Though no announcement was made there has been much speculation that the Xbox 360 would be permanently nobbled if it used the old generation optical drive technology as indicated when the company announced the Xbox specifications before E3 last month.
Toshiba is also one of the three intellectual property rights holders in the Cell processor which it developed in cooperation with IBM and Sony.  Sony’s next generation games console, the PlayStation3 will use Sony’s Blu-ray HD DVD format and the Cell processor and is widely considered the higher spec’d of the two next generation consoles.