Microsoft's HD DVD drive will read and write DVD-video discs at a 5x playback speed, 5 times faster than the standard DVD version, but it will not play Blu-ray discs. Copying and authoring capabilities for HD DVD discs are not yet finalized, and there is almost no interest in HD DVD among developers, according to Microsoft. Nor is there widespread consumer demand for HD DVD devices. In all, the future of HD DVD is not looking good. One big irony: Sony paid for this technology to be developed, but Microsoft is now dumping it. They will be left to buy the technology from foreign competitors.
[The download service] will be launching in November in the US, UK, Japan, Canada, France and Germany. However, no release date has been set for Australia and other countries. The service will have most films and TV series such as current season episodes, new seasons, movies, and films. [AOL]
Hollywood content to be offered on the download service includes, for example, Sony Pictures, Lions Gate, MGM, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Walt Disney, Paramount, Turner, Universal, A&E, The Weinstein Company, and independent studios such as SXMedia. Also looking forward is an exclusive deal with the film distribution and production company Funimation, as well as a wide range of anime, Japanese animation, and video games. However, just because an anime series isn't available in HD DVD format doesn't mean it's excluded - the service will also offer current DVDs and other media for adult Japanese-language titles, as well as English-language films, US TV series, and foreign language film and TV series. d2c66b5586