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NEC recently said it would mass supply its HD DVD optical drive that can read various types of discs as early as in October, 2005. The new drive packs numerous features and may catalyze some users to transit to HD DVD already this year, despite of the fact that availability dates of high-definition content for the device are unclear.

NEC HD DVD Multireader HR-1100A can read HD DVDs at 2x speed, DVD+/- at 8x speed, DVD RAMs at 5x speed as well as CDs at 32x speed. According to the manufacturer, allowing the drive to recognize various media types was possible due to a new optical head that was developed by NEC which can read blue, red and ultra-violet light.

NEC has indicated that numerous leading entertainment industry enterprises had announced that they plan to market films on HD DVD. According to a statement by the company, almost 100 films have now been selected for HD DVD format, such as “Batman Begins”, “Million Dollar Baby”, “Alexander”, “Ocean’s Twelve” and “The Bourne Supremacy”. Classic movies such as “12 Monkeys”, “Forrest Gump” and “Harry Potter” are also among the chosen films.

It is unclear, however, when the movies in HD DVD format are available on the market. It is expected that some Taiwanese makers of optical media will release their HD DVDs late in 2005.

HD DVD is the next generation DVD format being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. HD DVD can store up to 15GB of data on one layer. HD DVD players and HD DVD video software are expected to come to market in late 2005. The development of HD DVD is headed by NEC and Toshiba.

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