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Friday, March 16, 2007, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Blu-ray looks to replace DVDs within three years

The Blu-ray disc association said Thursday that it's aiming to replace the traditional DVD storage format within the next three years.

"Within three years it will just be Blu-ray," said Frank Simonis, the Blu-ray Disc Association's European chairman, speaking at the CeBIT technology trade show.

Blu-ray, which offers five times more storage capacity than DVDs for storing high definition films and other content, will first have to reign supreme over the rival HD-DVD format, which is similarly fighting to emerge as the successor to DVD.

According to Reuters, Blu-ray has recently established a commanding lead over HD-DVD in the number of available players on the market, thanks largely to sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 video games console which come with a built-in Blu-ray player. The format has also garnered the exclusive support of five out of eight major Hollywood studios while just one studio, Universal, has thrown its weight behind HD-DVD.

Blu-ray backers such as 20th Century Fox also claim that weekly sales of its discs are outpacing HD-DVD titles by more than three times. "If you look at the top 25 selling DVDs last year, 23 were released on Blu-ray," Fox's Steve Feldstein told the New York Post. "Just two were exclusive to HD DVD."

HD-DVD supporters, however, have yet to concede. They are encouraging consumers to not only focus on the big blockbuster title releases from Hollywood, but also those from regional film houses in Europe and Asia which plan to deliver their titles on HD-DVD because it is cheaper and simpler.

Still, some experts are ready to call the bout and recommend that consumers buy Blu-ray players. Alison Casey, who analyzes consumer trends for London-based Understanding & Solutions, told the Post that she expects retailers to pull the plug on HD-DVD sometime next year.

For its part, Apple sits on the Blu-ray Disc Association Board but has thus far deferred on committing exclusively to either format when it comes to hardware support in its Mac line of personal computers. The Cupertino-based company seems content in allowing the battle to run its course and is rumored to offer support both formats through its software in the interim.