Piracy Restrictions Could Stall Next-Gen DVD

The Blu-ray and HD-DVD next-generation DVD formats will start arriving in stores over the next three months, but, in addition to incompatibility between the two, both will require a rare connector, called HDMI, to display the image in full high-definition quality. Movie studios made the move to restrict piracy of their content.

BusinessWeek reporter Cliff Edwards quoted an analyst at the research firm Envisioneering as saying: "Itis crazy. The sticker on your new player promises the equivalent of a high-performance car, but the fine print says you may be buying an Edsel instead." Mr. Edwards noted that only 1 in 20 HDTV sets sold over the past few years has an HDMI port, and only 15% of the sets sold this year will have it.

While Sony, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Universal and Paramount wonit use the copy protection on movies sold this year, Mr. Edwards referred to sources within Warner Bros. who said that studio will include it on "at least some" of the 20 releases it has scheduled for next month. With the word out among early adopters and consumers in general already confused by the format war, however, Blu-ray and HD-DVD may have to wait and see if the next-generation videogame consoles provide enough incentive to boost the new formats.