Friday, October 5, 2007

Microsoft and Toshiba to Form Advanced Interactivity Consortium

In a bid to popularize HD DVD in particular and interactive XML-based technologies for consumer electronics in general Microsoft Corp., Toshiba and a number of studios announced late on Thursday intention to form the so-called Advanced Interactivity Consortium (AIC), an open forum aimed at the promotion of interactivity for a wide range of next-generation applications.

“Creating attractive consumer experiences with advanced interactivity is critical to bringing digital home entertainment to the next level. In order to create these ecosystems, we wanted to bring together a group of companies committed to extending these scenarios across a wide variety of platforms. The AIC will advocate for these platforms as well as help ensure interoperability of HD DVD players and services,” said Hisatsugu Nonaka, corporate executive vice president at Toshiba.

The new organization will focus attention on ways to bring advanced interactivity scenarios to other services and platforms, including digital downloads to DVD players, PCs, TVs, cell phones, portable media players and game consoles.

In addition to Microsoft and Toshiba the Advanced Interactivity Consortium will also include major Hollywood studios DreamWorks Animation SKG, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros., which have given their commitment to these advanced scenarios and experience bringing new features to consumers. Each studio currently distributes or will distribute HD DVD titles with HDi-enabled features, from advanced in-movie navigation, bookmarking and picture-in-picture, to Web-enabled communities, content downloads and e-commerce stores.

“The AIC has its roots in the work we’ve done with HDi and HD DVD, but is open to all companies interested in bringing a broader set of experiences to consumers on different platforms. We look forward to contributing to this effort with HDi, our implementation of HD DVD’s interactive layer, and to collaborate with AIC members on how to extend interactive compatibilities to the consumer electronics market. The goal is to ensure a high-quality experience not only through optical discs but also through new digital download services,” said Robbie Bach, president of the entertainment and devices division at Microsoft.

The AIC founding member companies plan to formalize the organization shortly and to extend additional partner invitations.

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