High-definition televisions are expected to be hot sellers this holiday season, but consumers are likely to have a tough time sorting out the newest-generation video discs and the players that go with them. The culprit: two competing high-definition DVD formats and no sign of a clear winner.
In one corner are Sony, most movie studios and a number of consumer electronics makers pitching a technology called Blu-ray. In the other corner, with the HD-DVD format, sit Microsoft and Intel along with their allied studios and consumer products companies. Both formats provide larger storage capacity than the current generation of DVDs and can store high-definition, full-length movies. And both sides are well funded and unlikely to cave in. In the middle are a few consumer electronics makers hoping to create players that can play both formats at a reasonable cost.