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Early Peeks Possible For DVD

Warner consortium’s response to the Philips/Sony disclosure of development came much quicker than industry analysts predicted; last month the Toshiba consortium announced plans to bring a double-sided DVD to the market by first quarter 1996.

While a Philips showing of its DVD at CeBIT might look like a preemptive strike in the format wars, a compromise may be in the offing. The company has been pushing for one standard to emerge and seems to have been offering an olive branch to Toshiba to come up with some sort of jointly developed format. Every public statement the company has made about the digital video format has referred to the need for some industrywide standard.

But Sony president Norio Ohga appears to be taking a harder line. At a Jan. 26 press conference in Tokyo, he said Sony “was not considering participation” in the Time Warner/Toshiba alliance. Launching HDCD at CeBIT could prove advantageous to Philips and Sony. CeBIT is one of the world’s largest tradeshows, last year attracting more than 600,000 visitors. In previous years, CeBIT had beeb concentrating on computers and telecommunications, but recently it has become something of a hotbed of convergent technologies. European companies such as Siemens and Olivetti will be showing convergent wares alongside more familiar names such as Sony, Matsushita, Motorola, Apple and IBM.

Rex Weiner in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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