Toshiba and Microsoft have announced plans to form the "Advanced Interactivity Consortium" (AIC), that they describe as "an open forum aimed at the promotion of superior interactivity for a wide range of next-generation consumer devices, digital content and distribution scenarios".

Put a little more simply, this new organisation will aim to promote the interactivity (via HDi technology) and interoperability of HD DVD products.

Looking beyond HD DVD players and optical drives, the AIC will "focus attention" on ways to bring HD DVD, and its interactivity, to other services and platforms, including digital downloads to DVD players, PCs, TVs, cell phones, portable media players and game consoles.

"Creating attractive consumer experiences with advanced interactivity is critical to bringing digital home entertainment to the next level", said Hisatsugu Nonaka, corporate executive vice president at Toshiba.

"In order to create these ecosystems, we wanted to bring together a group of companies committed to extending these scenarios across a wide variety of platforms. The Advanced Interactivity Consortium will advocate for these platforms as well as help ensure interoperability of HD DVD players and services."

"The Advanced Interactivity Consortium has its roots in the work we’ve done with HDi and HD DVD, but is open to all companies interested in bringing a broader set of experiences to consumers on different platforms", said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft.

"We look forward to contributing to this effort with HDi, our implementation of HD DVD’s interactive layer, and to collaborate with AIC members on how to extend interactive compatibilities to the consumer electronics market. The goal is to ensure a high-quality experience not only through optical discs but also through new digital download services."

The Advanced Interactivity Consortium will also include the HD DVD backers in Hollywood - DreamWorks Animation SKG, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

The AIC founding member companies plan to formalise the organisation shortly and to extend additional partner invitations.