Latest High-Def Format Volleys

After all the craziness of Paramount’s switching to the HD-DVD only camp the other month, things have quietened down on the format war front with little talk about anything going on, short of New Line’s decision to go dual format (albeit more a pro Blu-ray stance).

Little bits of news however have been popping up, and here’s a look at what’s been going on in the last month:

A new report by Netflix indicates that although only a tiny percentage of Netflix users are high-def early adopters, among them HD DVD appears to be favored over Blu-ray by a factor of more than two-to-one.

Matsushita (Panasonic) has revealed that their forthcoming Blu-ray Disc recorder – due to be launched in Japan in November – can record up to 18 hours of full HD programing on a single dual-layered disc. The model is equipped with a one-terabyte hard drive as well, allowing it to store 381 hours of HD programming.

The DVD Forum has approved, or is close to approving, Toshiba’s 51GB, triple-layer, single-sided HD DVD, which was first announced at the CES show this year. Storing 17GB on each of the three layers, the new HD DVD, if used in production, would surpass Blu-ray Disc’s 50GB.

Hitachi says it has developed a Blu-ray disc with twice the storage capacity of a BD-50 disc. Hitachi’s new four layer disc is believed to require only a firmware update to be compatible with existing drives.

Finally, Samsung’s BD-U5000, the first proper dual-format Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD player (LG’s lacked many HD-DVD features), may have been delayed. Separate reports point to a December release in the US, with the European debut taking place early in 2008.