HP Butting Heads With Blu-ray Group Over Standards
Mandatory managed copy is essentially a guarantee that consumers will be allowed to copy next generation discs to a home computer connected to a home network. Next generation Microsoft and Intel products will be heavily geared to home networking with Media PCs serving digital entertainment content that will stream throughout consumers' homes. It's key to both companies' vision that the next generation disc format support this level of interactivity, and since HP is in the business of selling Intel-driven PCs running Microsoft's operating systems the computer manufacturer had been pressuring the Blu-ray group to officially commit to guaranteed managed copy.
iHD is the protocol layer of HD DVD that empowers the format's enhanced features and computer/Internet interactivity. iHD is regarded as being less complex and less expensive to implement than Blu-ray's Java-driven interactivity solution. Java was developed by Microsoft rival, Sun Microsystems. Microsoft is currently claiming it will build iHD support into its next generation Vista operating system, which will be released some time next year. Building support for only HD DVD into Microsoft's operating system would mean that third-party drivers and perhaps other software tools would need to be installed on PCs for Vista users to play Blu-ray discs.
In an interview with Reuters the Blu-ray group's Andy Parsons said that iHD is still being considered, but that the Blu-ray group is "not willing to delay the (spring 2006) launch and are going to go forward with the Java-type option."
According to Reuters, HP had in October said it would consider switching allegiance to HD DVD if both PC-friendly technologies weren't adopted into Blu-ray's specifications. Following Wednesday's announcement, Reuters quoted HP's Maureen Weber as saying that if Blu-ray remains intransigent on iHD that the computer company could support both formats: "If they are unable to incorporate technologies we think are critical for the PC architecture, we'll be more neutral. Potentially, we could support both HD DVD and Blu-ray."