Hewlett-Packard (HP) has dropped its exclusive support for the Blu-ray high-definition DVD recording standard, pledging to support both Blu-ray Disc and a rival standard known as HD-DVD, the company announced Friday.

HP decided to support HD-DVD after the Blu-ray Disc Association declined to support a home networking technology that HP had advocated, the company said in a press release. In addition to pledging its support, HP has joined the HD-DVD Promotions Group.

The company wanted the Blu-ray association to include two standards, Mandatory Managed Copy and iHD, supported by HD-DVD. The association agreed to include Mandatory Managed Copy, which allows users to copy video, but declined to support iHD, HP said. The iHD technology improves the interactive qualities of future DVDs and simplifies the movement of video around a home network, it said.

A Blu-ray Disc spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Blu-ray Disc, backed by Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), and HD-DVD, backed by Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo, are competing to become the accepted standard for high-definition DVD recording. High-definition video takes up more storage space than DVD technology can easily support, which has led to the development of new technologies.

Intel and Microsoft recently pledged their support for HD-DVD, so it's not surprising that one of their biggest customers would eventually follow suit. Microsoft plans to support iHD in the upcoming release of Windows Vista, according to HP. HP rival Dell plans to support Blu-ray products, as does Apple.

Toshiba is expected to launch the first HD-DVD recorder in Japan sometime next year, a delay from its previous expectations that the product would be out in 2005. A U.S. launch is expected by the first quarter of 2006.