The DVD Forum's consideration of Corona is unnerving to Japanese consumer electronics vendors, some of whom are interested in exploiting the blue laser technology they've invested in for years. While a blue laser could use MPEG-2 encoding to cram 9 Gbytes of high-definition content onto a two-layer DVD, Corona could accomplish as much without a shift to blue laser technology.
One Hollywood studio executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that some DVD Forum members would like to see MPEG-2 continue, but that a complete switch to blue laser technology would involve a "very costly" overhaul of disk manufacturing and result in more expensive disks.
"Our view is that encoding improvements could deliver an HD-DVD visual experience on a DVD-9 [dual-layer DVD with a 9-Gbyte capacity]," the same executive said. "We have been encouraging Microsoft and a few others [including some MPEG-4 codec players] to attain these encoding goals."
Industry sources from both the Hollywood studios and the consumer electronics industry agreed, but said they see Corona as another effort by Microsoft to establish a strong position in the consumer electronics market. "The question you'd have to ask yourself is whether you want to lock yourself into one solution — whether a coding scheme or a digital management system — offered by Microsoft, forever," one source said.
Rob Koenen, president of the MPEG-4 Industry Forum, said that different profiles of MPEG-4 can provide 1,920 x 1,080 resolution for both progressive and interlaced video at up to 60 frames/s. "These profiles are geared towards HD applications," he said.
And the recent decision to incorporate H.26L into the spec will greatly improve MPEG-4's coding efficiency, sources said.