The Blu-ray Disc Association strengthened its ranks at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas after Electronic Arts, Vivendi Universal Games, Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments pledged their allegiance to the recordable DVD standard.

The move turns up the heat in the bitter war against the rival HD DVD group over which will become the de facto standard for next-generation DVDs.

Blu-ray offers up to 50Gb of capacity while HD DVD will not go beyond 30Gb. HD DVD, however, seems to be ahead of Blu-ray in getting products to market.

But Andy Parsons, senior vice president of the industrial solutions group at Pioneer, and a representative of the Blu-ray Disc Association, told vnunet.com that the additional capacity Blu-ray offers is worth the wait.

"It is short sighted to concede the path of least resistance now," he said.

The extra capacity will be needed for future applications, explained Parsons, adding that most movies today already ship with a second disk for bonus features.

The conflict will come down to a confrontation, with one of the two eventually dying, according to Parsons. "There is no middle ground," he warned.

However, Kinichi Sugimoto, a principal researcher with NEC, and spokesman for the HD-DVD Consortium, sees an opportunity for both standards to co-exist. HD DVD could end up owning the consumer market, while Blu-ray could focus on enterprise storage.

Pointing out that HD DVD disks are less expensive, Sugimoto predicted that it will become the standard for the cost conscious consumer market.

After consumers have standardised on HD DVD players for their movies, they will stick to it when they start burning disks. "The Rom market will deliver us the rewritable market," he told vnunet.com.

Paramount HD-DVD

New Titles - The Manchurian Candidate, Spongebob Squarepants, Elizabethtown, Coach Carter, The Italian Job, School of Rock, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Catalog Titles - Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Ghost, Grease, Mission Impossible 2, Black Rain, Save the Last Dance, Sleepy Hollow, U2: Rattle and Hum, Vanilla Sky, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Star Trek: First Contact, We Were Soldiers

Universal HD-DVD

New Titles - The Bourne Supremacy, The Chronicles of Riddick, Van Helsing

Catalog Titles - Apollo 13, U-571, 12 Monkeys, Dune, The Thing, End of Days, Backdraft, Waterworld, The Bone Collector, Spy Game, Pitch Black, Conan the Barbarian, Dante's Peak

Warner Bros/HBO/New Line HD-DVD

New & Catalog Titles - Above the Law, Alexander, Angels in America (HBO), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (New Line), Batman Begins, Blade (New Line), Catwoman, Contact, Constantine, Charley and the Chocolate Factory, Dark City (New Line), The Dukes of Hazzard, Eraser, Executive Decision, Final Destination (New Line), Friday (New Line), From the Earth to the Moon (HBO), The Fugitive, Gothika, Hard to Kill, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, House of Wax (2005), The Last Samurai, The Mask (New Line), The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Maverick, Million Dollar Baby, The Music Man, Mystic River, Next of Kin, North by Northwest, Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, Passenger 57, The Perfect Storm, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), The Player (New Line), The Polar Express, Red Planet, Rush Hour (New Line), Se7en (New Line), Soldier, The Sopranos (HBO), Spawn (New Line), Swordfish, Troy, Under Siege, U.S. Marshals, Wild Wild West