By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: The European Commission has turned its attention towards licensing terms of the rival next generation DVD formats, HD-DVD and Blu-ray, exploring whether the terms violate EU competition rules.

“We sent a letter earlier this month to the makers of HD-DVD and Blu-ray to request information about licensing,” said a Commission spokesman.

With the investigation still at an informal stage, should the commission decide that licensing terms do in fact breach EU competition law, a formal inquiry could be launched.

The European Commission will investigate the conditions under which licensees are bound, such as the supposed barring of Blu-ray licensees from manufacturing hybrid players, as planned by companies such as Samsung and LG.

Samsung has gone on the record as saying that they will only release a hybrid device should the HD-DVD format prove successful.

While the hybrid HD-DVD/Blu-ray device previously planned for release by LG may not yet see the light of day, with several technology writers claiming LG has scrapped its plans to release the device, instead opting to focus purely on Blu-ray.

Suggestions as to the reasons behind the supposed change of heart are not yet known, however licensing laws could have played a part, potentially forcing LG into making a choice between the rival formats.

Interestingly, LG has already commenced manufacture of a HD-DVD device and also showcased its own device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

LG Electronics Australia was contacted by but the company is unable to comment on the issue at this stage.