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Hd-Dvd/Blu-Ray to Unite?

Old 03-24-05, 03:23 PM
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Hd-Dvd/Blu-Ray to Unite?

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After more than a year of touting Blu-ray as the best technology to replace DVD for storing high-definition video and winning proponents including Apple, a top executive at Sony Corp., one of Blu-ray's major backers, has opened the door to the possibility of unifying the format with its arch rival, HD-DVD.

"Listening to the voice of the consumers, having two rival formats is disappointing and we haven't totally given up on the possibility of integration or compromise," Ryoji Chubachi, Sony's president-elect, said at a news conference Thursday in which he discussed the company's performance and future strategy.

The statement may surprise backers of the rival camps, who have assembled consortiums of major electronics companies, disc makers and Hollywood studios to promote the formats in a battle that echoes one fought a quarter of a century ago between Betamax and VHS.

HD-DVD backers, which include NEC Corp. and Toshiba Corp., say HD-DVDs can be produced for about the same price as DVDs and are backward-compatible with DVDs and CDs, making the format more convenient for both consumers and the industry. HD-DVD movie titles, PC drives and players are all due out by the end of the year.

Sony has steadfastly promoted Blu-ray as a technology that has greater capacity, saying this makes the format more useful because more content can be stored on a disc. The technology also has wider support in the technology industry, although release dates for movie titles have not yet been announced.

Chubachi's comments mark the second time that a Sony executive has signalled the possibility of a compromise between the two camps. In January, Ken Kutaragi, executive deputy president of Sony, said a format war was not in the public interest and that Sony had not ruled out the possibility of uniting the formats.

Last edited by Premise; 03-24-05 at 03:30 PM. Reason: streamline
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Old 03-24-05, 03:56 PM
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This is good news, right? Or am I missing something?
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Old 03-24-05, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RocShemp
This is good news, right? Or am I missing something?
Yes

Maybe

Too soon to tell or worry about
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Old 03-24-05, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by RocShemp
This is good news, right? Or am I missing something?

We're missing just how they plan to unite these formats. I mean this was a worthless statement without anything to back it up. Seems rather careless.
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Old 03-24-05, 04:15 PM
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These are major corporations we're dealing with, not the cast of Sesame Street. One will buy out the other, and the loser will be bitter and leak dirty photos of the winner.
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Old 03-24-05, 04:54 PM
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What are you guys gonna do about the DVDs you already own that arent Blu-Ray or HD?
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Old 03-24-05, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesTisMe
What are you guys gonna do about the DVDs you already own that arent Blu-Ray or HD?
Continue to watch them for years to come. I intend to enjoy my collection, while they sort out buggy first generation players that will be way to expensive and a limited selection of media sure to bore me to tears.
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Old 03-24-05, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesTisMe
What are you guys gonna do about the DVDs you already own that arent Blu-Ray or HD?
Box them up and ship them to me. I'll take care of them for you.
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Old 03-24-05, 07:10 PM
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I guess I haven't been paying as close attention to all this as I thought, but in the statement in the article describing that HD-DVD is backwards compatible, does that imply that Blu-Ray is not?? Somewhere I got the impression that both formats were. To me, that would be a key point in which format I would want to support.
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Old 03-24-05, 07:11 PM
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Looks like some studio execs finally grew a brain...Now everyone be quiet...this brains needs space, nurture and silence to get to grow up and make a logic decision on behalf of all consumers
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Old 03-24-05, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DanishDVDfreak
Looks like some studio execs finally grew a brain...Now everyone be quiet...this brains needs space, nurture and silence to get to grow up and make a logic decision on behalf of all consumers
Pretty much. It's the first thing I've heard from either side that hasn't caused me to shake my head in disgust. I still think a new format is probably 3 to 5 years away from being adopted by the people who have moved to DVD and a format war is a sure way to make sure that arrival is DOA, so any early signs of pragmatism is something to be encouraged.
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Old 03-24-05, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bronkster
I guess I haven't been paying as close attention to all this as I thought, but in the statement in the article describing that HD-DVD is backwards compatible, does that imply that Blu-Ray is not?? Somewhere I got the impression that both formats were. To me, that would be a key point in which format I would want to support.
Blu-Ray technology itself isn't compatible but a player could be made compatible with the addition of a red laser. At least I think this is correct
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Old 03-24-05, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by hmurchison
We're missing just how they plan to unite these formats. I mean this was a worthless statement without anything to back it up. Seems rather careless.
I think this was calculated, rather than careless. I think this statement was the proverbial 'olive branch' -- the first step to opening talks for potentially averting the format war.

Video Business and the like have just started posting the results from polls about retailer opinions of High Definition DVD. There was a huge percentage (40-ish% if I recall...) that were not planning on carrying *either* format, because of the confusion it would cause consumers.

And they had some consumer information recently that a huge percentage of people who had HDTVs and DVD players thought that they *already* were watching HD-DVDs. A format war is the worst thing in the world when you have such a huge education curve to overcome.


I personally think that Sony is finally waking up to the fact that stores and customers are going to sit this out until the studios shake hands and play nice.
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Old 03-25-05, 12:22 AM
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So it is good news then. So what do you guys suppose will happen? Short of a format war, I don't see any side dropping there preffered format. A player that plays both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs as well as being backwards compatible with current DVDs? Sounds more like a nice dream....
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Old 03-25-05, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bronkster
I guess I haven't been paying as close attention to all this as I thought, but in the statement in the article describing that HD-DVD is backwards compatible, does that imply that Blu-Ray is not?? Somewhere I got the impression that both formats were. To me, that would be a key point in which format I would want to support.

Blu-Ray recorders that are currently on sale in Japan can definitely play current DVDs. It would be marketing suicide if they couldn't.
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Old 03-25-05, 02:40 AM
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The only thing that worries me about the possibility of some sort of compromise is Sony's PS3, or whatever they end up calling it. It is already locked in that it will be Blu-Ray, and I don't think Sony can change it now. I kinda doubt that they will release millions of Blu-Ray PS3's and then use something else for their stand-alone players. I'm not so sure a player that supports both formats is the best way to go either, simply because I can't see the movie studios being happy about still having 2 different formats to support.

Here is a quote from The Digital Bits story on this that I was kind of shocked to read:

"While Sony's technological and engineering base is sound, the company must ensure that its products are aligned with the wants of consumers, Chubachi said on Tuesday. Sony's engineers have traditionally been regarded within the company as heroes and the creators of new markets, but recently their ideas have not always led to products that matched consumers' needs, he said."

This is a huge understatement.
Let me see:
BetaMax- yeah, that really took off
Minidisk- has to be the shortest shelf life ever of an audio format
Memory Stick- successful, but really, did we need another flash memory type, and still one of the most expensive types of flash memory
UMD Movies- as much as I really like the idea of the PSP and the way the games are looking, do they really expect people to buy movie only disks, most of which are cropped to fit 1.66:1 AR, are only watchable on a PSP, and cost about as much as regular DVDs?

I think Sony has always been too enamored with creating their own product and trying to make everyone else conform to their ideas.
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Old 03-25-05, 11:49 AM
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I think Sony has always been too enamored with creating their own product and trying to make everyone else conform to their ideas.
Like Apple! and it nearly put them into bankruptcy not long ago! Sony needs to wake up or go extinct!
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Old 03-25-05, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Bronkster
I guess I haven't been paying as close attention to all this as I thought, but in the statement in the article describing that HD-DVD is backwards compatible, does that imply that Blu-Ray is not?? Somewhere I got the impression that both formats were. To me, that would be a key point in which format I would want to support.
Both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players will be backwards compatible with existing DVDs. This is 100% confirmed.
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Old 03-25-05, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by collven
Let me see:
BetaMax- yeah, that really took off
Minidisk- has to be the shortest shelf life ever of an audio format
Memory Stick- successful, but really, did we need another flash memory type, and still one of the most expensive types of flash memory
UMD Movies- as much as I really like the idea of the PSP and the way the games are looking, do they really expect people to buy movie only disks, most of which are cropped to fit 1.66:1 AR, are only watchable on a PSP, and cost about as much as regular DVDs?

I think Sony has always been too enamored with creating their own product and trying to make everyone else conform to their ideas.
I couldn't agree more. It always seems like whenever there is a format war, it doesn't take long to notice Sony is one of the biggest reasons the war exists in the first place.
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Old 03-25-05, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by collven
Minidisk- has to be the shortest shelf life ever of an audio format
Maybe in this country, but it was/is fairly successful in Japan, so it wasn't a total bust.
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Old 03-25-05, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rennervision
I couldn't agree more. It always seems like whenever there is a format war, it doesn't take long to notice Sony is one of the biggest reasons the war exists in the first place.
Well, in the case of videotape, Sony had invented both Beta and VHS...but sold VHS to JVC since it was inferior to Beta.

I don't remember Sony being involved with Laserdiscs. Weren't there 2 different but compatible laserdisc formats? (and an analog vinyl videodisc too)
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Old 03-25-05, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sracer
Well, in the case of videotape, Sony had invented both Beta and VHS...but sold VHS to JVC since it was inferior to Beta.
::blink:: Would you be so kind as to cite a source for that?

In any case, "invention" is too strong a term for either format. Both were simple adaptations of existing technology.

I don't remember Sony being involved with Laserdiscs. Weren't there 2 different but compatible laserdisc formats? (and an analog vinyl videodisc too)
What do you mean by "involved with"? They manufactured players, and they manufactured discs. They weren't involved in actually developing the format, if that's what you meant.

There were two different systems for formatting information on a Laserdisc -- CLV and CAV -- which yielded different running times and acess to features like still-frame. But this isn't analogous to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD; CLV was a later extension to the medium that allowed 60-minute sides at the expense of still-frame and a tiny bit of resolution.
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Old 03-25-05, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sracer
I don't remember Sony being involved with Laserdiscs. Weren't there 2 different but compatible laserdisc formats? (and an analog vinyl videodisc too)
The videodisc format was CED and I believe it was put out by RCA... if I remember correctly.
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Old 03-25-05, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by collven
BetaMax- yeah, that really took off
Beta wasn't popular with home users but was popular in industries like news broadcasting. The place I worked at a few years ago was still using it and there is a market for it, although not so much now as it's going more and more digital.

Originally Posted by collven
Minidisk- has to be the shortest shelf life ever of an audio format
Beaten, but it is still very popular in japan.
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Old 03-25-05, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rdclark
::blink:: Would you be so kind as to cite a source for that?

In any case, "invention" is too strong a term for either format. Both were simple adaptations of existing technology.
Invent, adapt, brought to the consumer market... whatever phrase you'd like to use. Regardless, at one point in time Sony owned the rights to both Beta and VHS.


Originally Posted by rdclark
There were two different systems for formatting information on a Laserdisc -- CLV and CAV -- which yielded different running times and acess to features like still-frame. But this isn't analogous to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD; CLV was a later extension to the medium that allowed 60-minute sides at the expense of still-frame and a tiny bit of resolution.
Yes, CLV and CAV was what I was referring to. And it is analogous to the extent that there were some players only capable of CAV playback.

I remember looking at all 3 (CAV, CLV, and RCA's Selectavision) when they first came out.... RCA Selectavision had a "talking dog" coolness factor (I found getting video playback from a vinyl record pretty interesting) but dismissed it as a shortlived medium. Then between CAV and CLV there was enough uncertainty for me to pass on it. I know that I wasn't alone in thinking that.
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