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Japan's JVC joins Blu-ray group

The consumer electronics company backs a technology lauded by Sony and others, as the DVD format battle heats up.

Japanese consumer electronics company JVC is lining up behind a blue-laser optical disc technology backed by Sony and others, the latest development in a simmering DVD format battle.

JVC on Monday said it joined the Blu-ray Disc Association, an industry consortium that hopes to make the Blu-ray disc a widely accepted format for high-definition optical storage.

Using blue lasers, Blue-ray discs can store a lot more data compared with today's DVDs, which rely on red-laser technology. The Blue-ray format is backed by a group of 13 companies, including founders Sony, Sharp, Hitachi and LG Electronics. PC behemoths Hewlett-Packard and Dell joined the fold in January of this year, with JVC now becoming the group's newest member.

Another format, which is called HD DVD and is backed by companies such as Sanyo, NEC and Toshiba, is also battling to replace the modern-day DVD. The two competing formats are currently incompatible.

"We joined the Blu-ray Disc Association because Blu-ray Disc is the better technology for content owners and consumers," Masahiko Tsurata, JVC's associate director of corporate research and development, said in a statement.

"And if you look at the number of companies supporting Blu-ray Disc, and who they are, it's also clear the consumer electronics industry is firmly behind the Blu-ray disc format," he added.

The Blu-ray Association also announced last week at the Ceatec conference that it will develop a standard for a disc with a diameter of 8 centimeters that will fit into camcorders. Sony and Panasonic are members of the association, but representatives of both companies declined to discuss product plans. Some sources said a camera could come out as early as next year.