CeBIT's high-definition disc wars have begun with the HD DVD Promotions Group using its press conference to hype the technical and economical benefits of its slant on the next-generation DVD battle.

Jordi Ribas, senior director of HD DVD consumer media technology at Microsoft, said the format beat rival Blu-ray in every category that users care about.

“It's the logical format for everyone, not only because it's cheaper. It also provides better audio, better video and better interactivity,” said Ribas.

“Maybe some of you will go to another event later today where you'll hear more about great studio support,” he added, referring to this evening's Blu-ray conference, “but we have more titles and more studios than anyone else. We also have the technical benefits, including combo discs, which you can play in HD DVD players and older DVD players. This is a unique benefit for HD DVD.”

Ribas said Europe's leading laptop makers have also backed HD DVD – with Toshiba, HP, Acer, Samsung and Asus all supporting the format. That means five of the top six laptop brands in Europe offer HD DVD compatible systems.

Furthermore, Ribas revealed that the HD DVD attachment for the Xbox 360 has been a huge success - it's already the best-selling $100+ accessory ever for the console.

But Europe remains some way behind the US in terms of next-generation DVD adoption. Universal Studios executive vice president Ken Graffeo said that in the US “we're already seeing HD DVD moving from early adopters to the early majority”. Around 40 percent of US HD DVD households buy a new disc every week, he added.

And while the launch of the PlayStation 3 gives Blu-ray a five-to-one hardware advantage over HD DVD in the US, Graffeo said HD DVD backers are extremely confident that the latter standard will win out.

“While it's too early to predict victory, we're confident HD DVD will do as well in Europe as in the US.”

By the end of Q1 2007, more than 100 HD DVD titles will be available in Europe. That figure is expected to reach 300 by the end of the year.

Blu-ray claims bragging rights