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Toshiba Corp., a leading maker of consumer electronics, has said that it would continue to support a format that would unify competing Blu-ray and HD DVD format. Potentially, such a format would mean that neither Toshiba, nor Sony, the main pusher of the competing Blu-ray, have to spend additional resources on format popularization.

“We have not given up on a unified format. We would like to seek ways for unifying the standards if opportunities arise,” Toshiba president Atsutoshi Nishida is reported to have said at an annual shareholders' meeting.

Blu-ray and HD DVD formats compete for replacing the DVD standard. HD DVD discs can store up to 15GB on a single layer and up to 30GB on two layers. Its competitor, Blu-ray, can store up to 27GB per single layer and up to 50GB on two layers, but Blu-ray discs are more expensive to produce. The HD DVD is pushed aggressively by Toshiba and NEC as well as being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. Blu-ray is backed by Sony and Panasonic, which are among the world’s largest makers of electronics. Among Hollywood studios HD is supported by Warner Bros. Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, whereas Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox endorse Blu-ray.

Last year Blu-ray and HD DVD backers were not able  to propose a unified standard, even though, publicly both Sony and Toshiba vowed to do so.

Traditional single-layer DVDs allow consumers to watch movies in 720x480 (NTSC) or 720x576 (PAL) resolution with Dolby Digital audio. The blue-laser discs will provide consumers 1920x1080 resolution as well as DTS or Dolby Digital Plus audio along with some additional interactive features.

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