Lions Gate launches Blu-ray DVD format

Lions Gate Home Entertainment on Wednesday said it plans to release movies in the new high definition digital format called Blu-ray, becoming the latest DVD distributor to endorse the technology.

The decision by the home video unit of independent film and television studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. means Lions Gate joins a group of studios backing Blu-ray over a rival called HD-DVD as the two vie to dominate the new form of DVD.

"Blu-ray's storage capacity along with the level of copyright protection the format offers, the demonstrated manufacturability and acceptable cost proposition, made it the perfect choice for Lions Gate at this time," Steve Beeks, President of Lions Gate Entertainment, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Universal's roster of artists and bands is considerable, and the company will undoubtedly be looking to leverage its catalogue of music video content on BD.

The range of content available on BD will be central to whether the format steals the market from the other would-be next-generation optical disc standard, HD DVD. Ironically, Universal Pictures - despite the name, unconnected to Universal Music - is backing HD DVD, according to register.

BD is expected to make its market debut after HD DVD, which is expected to launch in the US later this year.

BenQ said this week it will ship BD-ROM drives during the first half of 2006. For now it has no plans to support HD DVD, comments made by company associate VP Alpha Tsai - and reported by DigiTimes - suggest.

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