Int'l b'casters get earful on high-def woes

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Amsterdam — The hot-button topic of Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD helped kick off the conference portion of the 2007 International Broadcasting Convention here Thursday.

Jim Bottoms, co-founder of media research firm Understanding & Solutions, told his audience that consumer confusion and the high-definition DVD format war were the biggest obstacles in industry adoption of an HD format. "We will not have a successful market for packaged media until this confusion is resolved, as well as the format war," he said.

Bottoms encouraged education for consumers so that they have a better understanding of new home entertainment formats and services.

As to the format war, Bottoms suggested that the weight of the industry is leaning toward Blu-ray and that before Paramount and DreamWorks' recent decision to support HD DVD, he was predicting that consumer confusion on this topic would likely resolve itself by the end of the year.

"The Paramount announcement prolonged that," he added.

Addressing those who still question whether an HD packaged-media format is needed when consumers seem to be happy with today's DVD, he emphasized that a high-def media is required. "The world is going HD," he said, citing broadcasting, TV sets, online services and games. "(An HD format) is a piece of the jigsaw."
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