According to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple joined the Sony-backed Blu-ray Disc Association's board of directors Thursday and now is expected to provide high-definition disc-authoring software in both Toshiba-backed HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats to consumers and professionals alike. Blu-ray and HD-DVD are competing hi-def DVD disc technologies that have been battling it out for the next-generation DVD market. Both formats are expected to hit retail shelves with consumer play-back consoles and disc burners by year's end, ramping up sales and marketing efforts during the first and second quarters of next year, according to both Blu-ray and HD-DVD camps.

The Blu-ray disc format offers up to 50 gigabytes of storage, while the competing HD-DVD has a 30 gigabyte capacity. However, HD-DVD is cheaper for disc replicators to manufacture. HD-DVD backers cite disc-replication costs as their advantage to content suppliers, while Blu-ray's backers say that higher disc capacity and additional copy protection offered through a new disc-manufacturing process makes Blu-ray's next-generation DVD format the superior product.