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Microsoft moves to own DVD format

Moves to make Media Player the new standard
Thu May 01 2003, 16:42
THERE ARE PLENTY of people who think that the MPAA is bad but, as the phrase goes, they ain't seen nuthin' yet. Microsoft had been floating around on the horizon off the California coastline watching Hollywood with interest. Now the Vole has parked a whacking great big battleship just offshore. It has announced its own DVD format and has backing from some insiders.

Artisan Home Entertainment is going to be releasing the first wave of Microsoft's bid to control Hollywood. It has two films lined up for special treatment, the first is "Shadows of Motown" and the second is a new release of "Terminator 2: Judgement Day." Both films come with an extra DVD that is playable on a PC using Media Player 9.

The big selling point is that the Media Player 9 disks are higher resolution. And, wait for the slight of hand, the format is called HD-DVD even though Microsoft is stressing that the resolution is far below "high definition" in the sense of HDTV.

The new format has not been approved by the DVD Forum and may never be. It's not like Microsoft to care if it gets approval anyway. It has spotted a nice fat revenue stream and wants to put up a dam on it so that everyone has to pay the Vole if they want to keep on drinking.

So, give it a four or five years and you'll be able to look back on the era of the MPAA with affection. There's a new player in town and it makes them look very easy going in comparison. The only hope is that Blu-Ray might manage to stop the Vole from slowly taking over yet another part of everyone's lives. µ


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