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Apple Computer announced its join of Blu-ray Disc Association and also said it would support competing standard HD DVD. The move confirms that the company will try to support both standards at least initially.

“Apple has a long history of technical innovation around DVD hardware and software, and their support of the Blu-ray Disc format is a testament to their commitment of ongoing innovation… We’re thrilled about Apple joining our 16-member board, and we look forward to working with them on the development and promotion of the Blu-ray Disc format,” said Maureen Weber, chief BDA spokesperson and general manager of HP’s Optical Storage Solutions Business.

Additionally the next release of Apple’s QuickTime software, QuickTime 7, will feature the MPEG developed H.264 Advanced Video Codec (AVC) which has been adopted for high definition DVDs. Apple will release QuickTime 7 in conjunction with the release of Mac OS X version 10.4 “Tiger,” the fifth major version of Mac OS X that will ship in the first half of 2005.

Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD) is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by thirteen leading consumer electronics and PC companies, such as Dell, Hitachi, HP, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson. The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition television (HDTV). Blu-ray makes it possible to record over 2 hours of HDTV, or more than 13 hours of SDTV on a 27GB disc. There are also plans for higher capacity discs that are expected to hold up to 54GB of data, according to Blu-Ray.com web-site.

The Blu-ray Disc Founders approved the BD-ROM physical specification in August, 2004, providing disc manufacturers with the information they need to prepare their BD-ROM (Blu-Ray Discs Read Only Memory) disc production lines.

The first BD-ROM has already been announced.

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