The world’s top nine electronics companies have agreed on a single standard for a recordable-DVD format that uses a blue laser that can read and write more bits of information than the current red laser, because of its shorter wavelength. The new machines can store up to 27 gigabytes on each side of a disc, almost six times more than current DVDs (4.7 gigabytes). The blue-laser DVD players will store 13 hours of broadcast TV or two hours of high-definition video. Pioneer says it will use the new format as soon as 2005.

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