According to The Hollywood Reporter, more electronics companies have joined talks between Japan's Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. to develop a common format for next-generation DVDs and end a fierce battle, industry sources said on Friday. Other key companies involved in the format war, including Matsushita's Panasonic and Netherlands-based Philips are also studying ways to end the three-year stand-off that is threatening to stifle the industry's growth. But sources close to the electronics companies said it was still early days, and that the discussions would take a long time, while adding that a positive outcome was not guaranteed.

"Discussions are taking place, but it's very complex, both in terms of technology but also because so many companies have a stake in this," one source told Reuters.

At the core of both formats are blue lasers, which have a shorter wavelength than the red lasers used in current DVD equipment, enabling thinner lines and higher density of information on a single 12 centimeter disc. Higher storage DVDs are needed for high-definition movies and television. The companies which contribute to the next DVD standard can expect hundreds of millions, or even billions of euros (dollars) in royalty income over coming decades.

Brian B.