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Sony and Toshiba Give Up On Unified DVD Format 339

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hard-headed-hardware dept.
HoTiCE_ is one of several to let us know, Reuters is reporting Sony and Toshiba have apparently given up efforts to develop a unified format for next-generation DVDs. The two companies had opened up negotiations but they fell through due to time constraints on new products from both groups.
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Sony and Toshiba Give Up On Unified DVD Format

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  • My Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gotung (571984) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:15PM (#13384915)
    With the relatively low level of HDTVs out there, neither new format is going to catch on. People will just continue buying DVDs.
    • Re:My Prediction (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sik0fewl (561285)

      Yeah.. and DVD-Rs and DVD+Rs and DVD-RWs and DVD+RWs.

      You're right.. two competing formats out there at the same time will never work.

      • Re:My Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rogabean (741411) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:42PM (#13385143)
        Yes, but *most* current dvd players will read any of those formats.

        apples to oranges.
        • Re:My Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sik0fewl (561285) <xxdigitalhellxxNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:48PM (#13385187) Homepage

          Exactly my point. What's to stop manufacturers from including support for both standards?

          • I'm actually interested to see how that plays out. Will it be possible, or will the two formats be so crippled as to be fully incompatible with each other?

            • I'm sure it will be possible. You could even have two lasers, if necessary. I guess it will pan out to whether or not it's worth it. If Blu-ray just slaughters HD-DVD, then manufacturers won't bother supporting HD-DVD. On the other hand, what are the odds that one will slaughter the other? Blu-ray is going to be in PS3 and HD-DVD is apparently in Xbox 360. I wonder if it will get to the point that publishers have to sell both Bluray and HD-DVD version of movies because both formats are so popular.

              Like you

          • Re:My Prediction (Score:5, Informative)

            by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday August 24, 2005 @07:31AM (#13387868) Homepage
            What's to stop manufacturers from including support for both standards?

            Considerable technical differences. DVD-R and DVD+R are almost identical, as you can see by their identical capacity. While both Blue-Ray and HD-DVD work with blue lasers, they use different platters, different focus and so on. Personally I wish they could agree on a media-independent content structure (i.e. you can make a CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blue-Ray and the only difference was capacity), but no such luck.

            Kjella
    • Re:My Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ImaLamer (260199) <john DOT lamar AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:49PM (#13385190) Homepage Journal
      If VHS tapes are any indicator, people will be buy DVD's 8 years after either one of these formats hit the streets.

      A lot of retailers have dropped VHS, but Wal-Mart still caries them and they are the biggest retailer around. I even know a well-off kid with HDTV and all of the latest computer "toys" who still buys VHS movies for some stupid reason. Besides price I see no difference.

      Think about how long you (the collective you) were still buying tapes after CD's were released. Being that DVD players are being factory installed in some cars and are everywhere it will be a while before people get rid of DVD. Shit, DVD players are the fastest (or highest?) selling consumer device category of all time (For trivia purposes, I believe the original GameBoy still holds the record for highest selling electronic consumer product of all time).
      • Re:My Prediction (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Eightyford (893696)
        I even know a well-off kid with HDTV and all of the latest computer "toys" who still buys VHS movies for some stupid reason. Besides price I see no difference.

        Then wouldn't the stupid reason be the price? I still buy VHS because the movies are always cheaper, and with a good VCR there is little difference in quality.
      • Re:My Prediction (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SithGod (810139)
        What I still can't understand is why they will expect somebody to buy the Hi-Def version instead living with the DVD version of any movie that hasn't been made in the last couple of years. Up until that point, no movies were even made with a resolution higher than DVD. So unless there is someway to magically make pixels appear, how will the picture be any better than already released DVDs?
        • Re:My Prediction (Score:4, Informative)

          by angle_slam (623817) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @09:57PM (#13385626)
          Up until that point, no movies were even made with a resolution higher than DVD

          Even today, almost all major motion pictures are shot on film. Film is higher resolution than DVD. They just need to reconvert the film into HD.

          • Re:My Prediction (Score:2, Interesting)

            by admactanium (670209)

            Even today, almost all major motion pictures are shot on film. Film is higher resolution than DVD. They just need to reconvert the film into HD.

            film itself has a very high resolution. but most of the post-production work done on film is done at a specific resolution (2k). so it woud be more than trivial to convert a lot of these movies into high def. a lot of effects work is done by hand and rendered out to the highest resolution needed at the time. for instance, nearly all title sequences would have to

            • Re:My Prediction (Score:5, Informative)

              by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @10:34PM (#13385853) Homepage Journal
              "but most of the post-production work done on film is done at a specific resolution (2k). so it woud be more than trivial to convert a lot of these movies into high def."

              Um, 'hi def' isn't even 2k. It's 1920. Even if they produce a standard that's higher than that, they'll just upsample it. It'll be a little soft, but they won't re-do the effects or avoid it altogether.
            • Re:My Prediction (Score:3, Informative)

              by GoRK (10018)
              You seem to know an awful lot about film production not to know that digital effects done at 2K or 4K are still much higher resolutions than the top end of hdtv -- ie 1080p at 1920x1080. And even still, reworking them in a higher resolution would not necessarily be the huge challenge you suggest it is. Film is already edited digitally using lower resolution stand-in footage to proof before it's rendered out in full glory. Increasing the resolution might require recapturing the frames (at higher resolution)
      • Re:My Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @09:32PM (#13385484)
        I think people will buy DVDs much longer than 8 years after the new format.

        The questions consumers will ask is "What is the benefit over the old system and is it worth the $X00 to buy a new player for it?"

        DVDs had significant benefits - but the kicker probably was in the end the CD-like ability. No more long stretches of minutes spent fastforwarding nor rewinding - you can go to the scene you want as fast as you can access the menus. That and the space savings.

        But what is the obvious benefit of these new discs? Crippling DRM? High Definition when HDTVs are still the exception not the norm? Multiple movies on one disc for a lower price? (YEAH RIGHT!) What exactly?

        My prediction is that DVDs will probably be uncontested king till 2015 due to entrenchment and that the cool new next generation devices are struggling to hard to pander to the movie studios with absurd DRM schemes.

        My other prediction is that "next" medium will be delivered not by need for HD movies but by the demands of computer consumers needing a storage devices that saves more gigabytes than DVDs can possibly hope for.

        This device will be free of or have relatively easy DRM and HD movies will eventually be delivered in this format because the other formats companies try to make will be recieved like betamax/laserdisc.

        Movies will also start being offered officially over the internet way before then.
        • My other prediction is that "next" medium will be delivered not by need for HD movies but by the demands of computer consumers needing a storage devices that saves more gigabytes than DVDs can possibly hope for.

          Is there anything besides Blu Ray and HD-DVD on the horizon? I don't want to wait 5 years for something bigger than DVD.

          I can't figure out why dual-layer writable DVD media have been SO slow to come about. All the drives already support DL, yet no media. I don't know whether it's lack of dem

          • Re:My Prediction (Score:5, Informative)

            by ColaMan (37550) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @10:15PM (#13385732) Homepage Journal
            I can't figure out why dual-layer writable DVD media have been SO slow to come about.

            Dual layer (re)writeable media is a proper bitch to manufacture with (currently) a high failure rate, that's why. All the current manufacturers of DL media have struggled to get consistent batches.
            This is why they still cost a packet. If they can iron out the kinks and go to full mass production they'd be nearly as cheap as normal DVDs.
        • I think people will buy DVDs much longer than 8 years after the new format.

          Not if content owners like Sony stop selling them... but I just said 8 years because DVD-Video was introduced in 1997.

          DVDs had significant benefits - but the kicker probably was in the end the CD-like ability. No more long stretches of minutes spent fastforwarding nor rewinding - you can go to the scene you want as fast as you can access the menus. That and the space savings.

          I've got to admit though that I am started to get tired of
          • Re:My Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rolfwind (528248)
            "I think people will buy DVDs much longer than 8 years after the new format."

            Not if content owners like Sony stop selling them... but I just said 8 years because DVD-Video was introduced in 1997.


            Hmmm.... Sony would be missing out on an awfully big market if they just stop. More than one Wolf in the chicken coop^_^

            Also, it's not like a Video Game system - movies are easily sellable on the next-generation and current generation system.

            I imagine they stopped selling cassettes mainly because people stopped buy
    • Moreover, it was reported elsewhere [tinyurl.com] that the rival technologies have forced movie studios to take sides, as it would be prohibitively expensive to produce films for both formats.

      What in the world could that mean? Does the 35mm master-print lose its soul during an HD transfer?

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_should_be_working (720372) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:15PM (#13384916)
    I like competition. Maybe one of them won't be DRM'd up the ass.

    Wishfull thinking, I know...
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      unfortunately, both of them are.
    • DRM will kill them (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ad0gg (594412) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:32PM (#13385073)
      I'm an so called early adopter, had dvd player before they became common, had hdtv before the stations even started broadcasting. There's no way, i'm throwing out a $3000 tv to be able to watch hi def video disks. Thats absurb. Right now I can watch all my hdtv movies either on HD HBO or HD OnDemand all going threw component outs on my cable reciever. Thats good enough for me. I higly doubt my cable company is going to require HDMI or HDCP DVI anytime soon.
    • If someone came out with a reasonably priced player that played both HD-DVD and BluRay, that would let people choose their favorite format (if there was a choice from the studios) or play content no matter what format the studio decided to go with. I wonder how likely that will be to happen? (Especially the "reasonably priced" part.)

  • Whatever (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I bet that within two years we'll have drives that can read/write both HD-DVD and Blu-ray.
    • Re:Whatever (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:35PM (#13385096)
      > I bet that within two years we'll have drives that can read/write both HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

      And what are you going to display them on?

      You'll have one dual-format HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player. It'll have two outputs. One will pipe HDMI video to your Toshiba HDTV. The other will pipe HDMI video to your Sony HDTV.

      Why the second HDTV? Well, how else did you think you were going to watch any movies made by Sony Pictures? :)

      And why does Sony Pictures have the right to make sure that Sony's movies are only released on Sony-formatted DVDs that will decode correctly only on Sony HDMI screens? Well, they asked for the Betamax precedent to be overtu~`~~~
      Petard-hoisting error -- industry dumped

    • Re:Whatever (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MtViewGuy (197597)
      I bet that within two years we'll have drives that can read/write both HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

      I say earlier than that! Given how fast optical drive technology has advanced in the last few years a combo HD-DVD/Blu-Ray reader drive that uses either ATA-100 or Serial ATA interfaces could be out as early as late 2006, with recorder drives coming out soon afterwards.

      Why so early? Mostly because both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs can use the same drive tray system used by CD recorders and DVD+R/DVD-R recorders. It's only
  • Bad news for us (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quickdart (661016) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:17PM (#13384935)
    Great now we get a second formar war on out hands. The first with DVD +/- R was bad enough, but it only appllied to people with burners. Having to entirely seperate formats to the next generations of DVD's is going to piss people off to no end.
    • Re:Bad news for us (Score:4, Insightful)

      by slavemowgli (585321) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:29PM (#13385046) Homepage
      It happened before, though, with VHS vs. Beta, for example; and also, with the introduction of any new standard, there always is a period where content is available in both formats.

      So... content *will* be available in both formats, and it will make little difference what kind of device customers buy. However, the format war will slow the overall adoption of *both* formats. DVDs and CDs will still be around for a long while to come, and I wouldn't be surprised if, eventually, there'll be devices that simply handle both formats and thus avoid the incompatibility issues altogether (just like there's combined CD/DVD±R/W/RW readers/writers now, for example).

      That's all assuming that there'll be no major DRM goof-ups, of course. If either format makes it too difficult for people to access their legitimately-bought content, then it'll lose out big time, and the manufacturers know this. Considering that there's also pressure from the other side (the "content industry") to include as much DRM as possible, though, it's gonna be interesting to see how things turn out.
      • Re:Bad news for us (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Txiasaeia (581598)
        The difference between the VHS & Beta "war" and the upcoming Blu/HD war is the fact that, for the most part, there wasn't anything *like* a VCR before the two competing formats came out. Customers wanted a product that worked and weren't willing to wait until a single product had dominated the market place. This shortened the "war" significantly.

        On the other hand, as a self-professed media junkie, I could care less at this point whether or not there's a next-generation-DVD war. A DVD played on a pr

    • Re:Bad news for us (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VFVTHUNTER (66253)
      Actually, this is a good thing. Now we can sit back and wait for all of the DVD-Jon's of the world to get their hands on them, and then simply adopt the format whose DRM is broken first. The format with the better DRM will be the loser here.
    • Bad for us overall.

      2 competing and non compatible formats (unlike DVD + and - R which work in *most* stuff regardless). Perhaps some studios will release exclusively on one format, which means less titles to watch overall, no matter which you buy.

      Heavy DRM (since CSS has been broken on DVDs they've became extremely popular, well, that and cheap burners). That won't exactly lure people into buying either systems either. Even if it's not for pirating, the DRM will ensure you have basically no way of making us
    • It looked like the DVD+R/-R thing was going to be a big deal. But it't already not an issue. Every cheap-o drive on the market now reads and writes both kinds of media without a hitch. And as competiton continues, and old machines get junked, it'll be 100% real soon. It's just software. Every new device has both little algorithims in it. Same thing with that wireless (junk in my opinion, but...) stuff. every cheap-o Staples wireless device handles 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, etc. No biggie. I only w
  • ps3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:17PM (#13384936)
    Who cares, the ps3 all but makes it a moot argument. The adoption rate of that particular player makes HD-DVD a foregone conclusion.
  • Just flip a coin! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThatGeek (874983) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:18PM (#13384940) Homepage
    I often feel that it's better to have a mediocre standard than no standard at all. No one is going to buy until one format is dominant...

    If they had just done some kind of binding arbitration or even picked one format randomly, they'd be rolling in dough. Consumers would be "forced" to upgrade (yet again) to a new standard format.

    Instead, no one upgrades, and the companies miss out on potential profit.
    • You feel the need for a mediocre standard, when a good standard could be created through just a bit of comprimise? Ignorance.

      You see, even in this case, when it comes to not taking the standard (like in the DVD case), us consumers will have to pay for drives which reads both kinds of disks. Which means we have to fork out more money for those drives, and those companies manufacturing those drives lose profits, which make them raise prices even more.

      Competition is great, but in the media world, standar
      • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Wednesday August 24, 2005 @07:59AM (#13387974) Homepage

        You see, even in this case, when it comes to not taking the standard (like in the DVD case), us consumers will have to pay for drives which reads both kinds of disks. Which means we have to fork out more money for those drives, and those companies manufacturing those drives lose profits, which make them raise prices even more.

        Yeah, because I know my DVD burner I just bought that can burn DVD+-RW/DVD+-R/DVD-RAM/CD-RW (that's 6 formats BTW, not just two) was way over priced.

        I mean 40 dollars??? HELL it cost at least as much as an evenings dinner. How can anyone expect to pay that???

        </sarcasm>

  • by Alaren (682568) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:18PM (#13384943)

    Well, this is of course unsurprising, and the looming format war will be interesting to watch... after all, competition is good, right?

    But part of me feels like this the electronic equivalent of a U.S. Presidential Election. Which candidate will we choose? The one with restrictive DRM or the other one with restrictive DRM? It doesn't really matter who wins; the consumer has already lost this battle.

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:26PM (#13385017) Homepage
      Ah. But unlike a Presidential election (where you must choose a new president), we DO have a 3rd choice: DVD.

      Consumers can simply keep buying DVDs and ignore the new formats, thus sending a no-confidence vote. Now we have some time, because most people can't watch HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray discs because of their analog TVs. The picture looks exactly like that of a DVD (or maybe a Superbit DVD). So most people have no reason to buy one of those formats yet. This is the time to get the message out there about how crippled they are (remind people about the no fast-forwarding on DVDs as an example, no one likes that and EVERYONE has seen it).

      One the formats start to get real sales from normal people, the battle will be lost (except through the courts, which will probably be a no starter thanks to congress's "Lifetime + 30,000 years" copyright policy).

      For all the geek interest we have in the new formats, as a DVD replacement they are as significant as DVDs were in 1997/8: none.

      • As the parent poster so eloquently points out, format wars are inherently bad. One technology analyst on NPR said he estimates that format wars can reduce a potential market by "as much as 90%" - that is, the two formats combined sell up to 9 times fewer DVDs than if you only had one format.
      • we DO have a 3rd choice: DVD

        Not only that, we have a 3-1/2th choice: DVD+divx/mp4

        Next gen mp4 players will certainly be able to render in pseudo hi-def, which will be "good enough" for the large percentage of people who don't have HD sets compatible with the latest DRM. And since they'll be mass-produced in China for a fraction of the cost of Blu-Ray/HD-DVD, there's a chance those latter two formats will go the way of SACD/DVDA.

        • Who needs discs? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jonny_eh (765306)
          Better yet, who needs discs? Just as CDs don't need a succesor (DVD Audio? feh!), DVD's successor may be internet distributed content. This is where the xbox 360 or other set-top boxes come in handy, they can stream content from your computer to your TV. The 360 can even do HD content! Droool...
    • I think I'm going to vote for a third party!

    • "Which candidate will we choose? The one with restrictive DRM or the other one with restrictive DRM?"

      What do you expect from a Digital Restrictions Management system?
  • by Mindwarp (15738) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:18PM (#13384944) Homepage Journal
    I pick..... neither!
  • Dual format? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:18PM (#13384948)
    So I'm hoping someone will have the bright idea of making a "dual format" player, much like the DVD-R/DVD+R burners. Of course, we never had a dual format VCR (beta/vhs)...but then, at least the Blu-ray and HD DVD's will be the same physical size.
    • Re:Dual format? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NekoXP (67564) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:40PM (#13385131) Homepage
      Same laser wavelength too.

      I wonder actually what is so different between the two formats.. the way it's
      encoded on the disk, right? Isn't this a SOFTWARE issue (drive firmware) more
      than anything, or is there really some strangeness involved that I am missing.

      Maybe the dual-layer (and triple-layer) technologies use incompatible ways of
      focussing the laser; but isn't that also down to software and the use of another
      lens (like CDRW/DVD drives have already..)

      I dunno, really.. I don't have access to the specs. Who does? Who can make a
      really informed statement that dual-format drives will be possible?

      The trouble then is which format will the industry pick?

      I would say HD-DVD - because it's inherent cheapness (same disc layout as DVD,
      same manufacturing facilities and little changes to machinery will make it as cheap
      if not cheaper than DVD). Blu-Ray requires people to retool.

      Blu-Ray may end up being the custom format that runs the Playstation 3, like UMD
      is the custom format that runs the PSP, Matsushita's discs were the custom format that ran the Gamecube, and GD-ROM was the custom format that ran the Dreamcast.

      Besides Sony releasing their own movies in Blu-Ray format for the PS3 and a clutch of Sony & Samsung players, why would any cheap-ass (and we're all cheapasses at heart) bother with it? Remember in the VHS/Betamax war, Sony lost at the end of the day. They are not infallible and we shouldn't just think that because they have the Playstation that they will not lose again.

      Neko
  • by hashts (583541) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:23PM (#13384987)
    This issue is strinkingly similar to the Hi-Def Audio industry where you have two competing standards which are incompatible with each other.

    Everyone loses, esp. the consumers who backed either format. For everyone else, CD's are still good enough and market penetration for either of the new audio standards is VERY low. Same exact thing will happen here, DVD will be good enough for just about everyone, and only the Videophiles will be jumping on HD-DVD or Blu-ray.

    How sad when companies fail to understand history will repeat itself with the HD video market.
    • Blu-ray or other high density standards are not "a new format" perse, in the sense that they force people to get the same thing on a new medium. It will actually enhance the experience of the viewer through extra content, and in the future could add a promising new backup-solution for the home-user. Sure, the video quality won't get any better. But there are plenty of multiple-DVD packages out there that could use a nice 1-disc solution.
    • Wrongzz!! SACD Suckz0rs and DVD-A R00l3s j0u!!!!

      Actually, I am very gratified to see this development ... Now we have draconian DRM *AND* a format war. Nobody is going to buy these things.

      I was also thinking yesterday ... all the early adopter HDTV owners got BURNED, now they're supposed to early addopt an HDTV *AND* a expensive blueray player?

    • While it is a tad more complex than this, I hope another option is that players will read both standards like DVD writers do now. I mean, the difference between plus and dash weren't that huge, with benefits tilting slightly toward plus. This time, I think the benefits tilt a bit more strongly toward Blu-Ray, though as a recording format, it seems the HD-DVD group is fine with hobbling capacity to save a few cents per disc in replication costs.

      Anyway, on the similarity, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD both use the sam
    • The big difference with the high res audio formats is that you can buy a universal player that plays all current formats for under $100 already. It doesn't really matter what format you choose because the hardware obstacle doesn't exist. As to which format is better, that's a matter of personal opinion and the capability of your sound system... With video, they haven't even gotten over the hardware incompatibility problem.
    • by hattig (47930) on Wednesday August 24, 2005 @08:34AM (#13388137) Journal
      You know what irks me?

      The fact that even $50 DVD players have digital 5.1 audio out, yet can't play a bloody DVD Audio disc. It's only a matter of piping the bloody digital data from the disc to the outputs.

      Why? I bet it is licensing. DVD Audio would have been the outright winner by now if it had been included in standard DVD players. But no, I'm sure the audio market got all scared and said 'No' to that, so they could continue to sell their expensive dedicated players. Sadly, because of the format war, like someone else pointed out above, 90% of the market disappeared, so they made less money in the end. I also expect there is some DRM reason, if the audio was available in DRM-removed format on a 5.1 digital output, then it can easily be stolen!

      Maybe Sony or Toshiba should look at that and think how bad this is for their business. But no, they won't, it doesn't apply to them, they're too big for that, they're too proud to admit it. I'm hoping that because it happened once already, it will happen again. DVDs are good enough, except for the minor percentage of people that have 60"+ HDTVs that will notice the encoding blockiness.

      In the meantime, my local superstore is selling new DVDs from 97p each. Sure, the 97p DVDs aren't blockbuster films, but you can't go wrong with over an hour of classic cartoons and so on for that price.
  • by Fastball (91927) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:25PM (#13385007) Journal
    Sales of his Star Wars saga will be put on sale in both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD formats. Han will shoot first on one format while Greedo is quicker to the draw on the other. No word on which format will have it right, i.e. Han shooting first.
  • by zymano (581466)
    Whats going on with holographic storage ?

    Seems like there's news but no product to ship .
    http://news.google.com/news?q=holographic+storage& hl=en&hs=t42&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla: en-US:official&sa=N&tab=wn [google.com]
  • Lemmings... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And I predict that, much like all technology nowadays, the market leader will be the one that is not technologically superior (*cough* Mac v. Windows, Betamax v. VHS, etc. *cough*) but the one that one's neighbor has.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If there were a unified format, there would be nothing to stop the new DRM from taking a foothold. Remember the "self-destruct" feature to be implemented on all new players ? Strangely enough, this format war is good for consumers.
  • Giant Screwup (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:40PM (#13385129)
    With sales of HDTV's skyrocketing ( > 25% of all new TVs) the opportunity for HD fromat DVD is knocking.

    But what did we get? A mess. Many consumers will take one look at this and throw up their hands. The smarter consumers will even take it a step further and back off from buying regular format DVDs because they would rather wait for that new title in the higher definition format.

    This is a total foot-shot.

  • To pile on with all the rest, neither will dominant or do particularly well without decently priced home units.

    However, if I had to choose, blu-ray will slowly pick up steam as people who get the PS3 decide to toy with it.
  • HD is doomed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sjhwilkes (202568) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:54PM (#13385234)
    For a couple of years at least.

    Very few consumers are clamoring for it - there's low demand. Early adopters are already gonna be shafted because both new formats will require HDMI - and the HD sets sold before this summer didn't have that - and A/V receivers still don't have that. (yes except for 3 $3K and up models I'm aware of)

    HDCP and it's variants (and competitors) still aren't final, there's no guarantee anything HD purchased this year will interoperate, or play media from next year.

    The great American consumer is going to have major issues with their very expensive new toys not working - even if us geeks are OK with a couple of firmware upgrades on our consumer electronics per year, there's gonna be a lot of helpdesk calls...
  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @08:57PM (#13385253) Journal
    I hate wars like this blu-ray vs HD-DVD, I hate them a LOT.

    While both have their pros and cons, ultimately we the consumer are going to be the ones shafted until they get their shit together. (I don't even need to go into why we'll be shafted if there's 2 formats, readers of this comment will know already)

    Problem is, even when they DO get their shit together and decide on a single format, we will STILL get shafted!

    If it's not DRM for the files on the disc itself, it's these new rumours of no component HD support, since it can't effectively enforce DRM.
    In other words go and replace your "old" HDTV which is missing those plugs. (sorry guys buy my Toshiba 36" is 6 months old and I'm not upgrading)
    While you're at it, go replace that component receiver too, it doesn't have HDMI or DVI inputs....

    The manufactuers also seem to be thinking the uptake on blu-ray and HD-DVD is going to be quick, they are very very wrong.
    DVD took off well because it did SO MANY things better than VHS - on a huge huge level.
    The disc is (theoretically) stronger.
    You can fast fwd through 60 minutes instantly - no need to re-wind.
    They put cute little menu's and extra's on the disc.
    You can drop a second audio or third or fourth audio channel - giving you commentary or language options (easier for manufacturers convienience then too)
    Quality improvements in audio and video.

    Overall DVD, besides the convienience of easy recording is better than VHS in many many ways.

    The new HD formats however, they are not so simple, these suckers might have a better picture but the disc size / shape convienience is the same, the fast forward / rewind is the same, menu's will likely be similar or the same.
    Ultimately all they will do is either offer MORE content or better quality, which isn't a bad thing but it's no gargantuan leap like DVD to VHS

    So I've thought a lot about this and I've come to the decision of being a bit of a neathanderal and sticking with the "old" format so I'm sticking with DVD.

    DVD still offers a picture we've all been completely happy with for the past what 5? 8 years and a high definition, fine pitch set isn't going to do bad things for your DVD's.

    DVD still offers DDigital audio and DTS audio, both of which are quite damn good with decent quality speakers and HT gear.

    DVD is easily backed up, my neighbours have kids and trust me those disney dvd's DO get used a heck of a lot, sure you should teach your kids to look after stuff but saving your ass 20 or 30$ on a disney DVD from scratches = smart (and fair use as far as I'm concerned)

    DVD is fairly easy to author your own discs.

    DVD is small enough to backup a couple of movies on the laptop for that holiday, so you don't lose the discs AND save battery power only having the HDD working while playing them

    Infact the list goes on and on, but ultimately - I'm pretty darn happy with the quality of my movies on my TV from DVD's - and the majority of the ones I watch are DVD-shrunk'd so to speak, let alone originals making use of the full 8.5gb for better quality.
    Finally, although it might be just a placebo effect but running my DVD's through my modified Xbox in 1280x720 it kind of upsamples them and makes the old content look even better.

    Why on earth would I buy in to this DRM rubbish - I look forward to it sinking, I hope Sony, MS, Toshiba and the whole damn industry end up learning an expensive lesson.
    • "Why on earth would I buy in to this DRM rubbish - I look forward to it sinking, I hope Sony, MS, Toshiba and the whole damn industry end up learning an expensive lesson."

      DRM isn't going to sink this format. The vast majority of people buying DVDs have no clue how to author or copy them.

  • Ok. We all know that both Toshiba and Sony will be going ahead with their competing formats. We also all know that BluRay will win. I won't go into the reasons.

    If you don't already know that BluRay will win, go on not knowing it, please. I will need some suckers out there.

    However.

    For those of us who DO already know, such as myself, what can I do to make money off the coming media-format apocalypse? I'd think it's less simple than investing in Sony, as Sony is already worth quite a bit due to other reasons -
    • We also all know that BluRay will win.

      You may be right that BluRay will win. I certainly can't predict the future. However, history seems to have taught us one thing:

      When it comes to format wars, always bet against Sony.

  • I will buy discs that have DVD on one side and some sort of non-DRM'ed HD on the other side.

    Someday, when I have stuff that will let my non-tech wife play HD, and see HD on whatever random Costco TV I have at the time, that is what I'll buy.

    If the packaging is honest, and if it says you need equipment, then I'll say, you know what? I don't need to own that, besides, Fred, down the street, seems to have LOTS of media, of questionable origin, that plays just fine on my regular equipmment (PC, TV, etc.)

  • ...wait

    Seriously though, blue-ray wins all the way unless the price it wrong (er..high), it just sounds cooler. We've had these other ray hunks of stuff for way to long already.

    How many frappichino's is too many?
  • by E8086 (698978) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @10:20PM (#13385766)
    "if your working television sits on top of your non-working television you might be a redneck" -Jeff Foxworthy

    Now picture this: "if your working HD-DVD player sits on top of your other working, but less used, Blue-Ray DVD player which sits on top of your other working standard DVD player you might be a pissed off consumer."

    Having too many formats is just going to result in unhappy consumers and I'm going to get calls from the people who know I make things work because they bought a HD-DVD player but a movie on a BlueRay disk and BestBuy won't take it back because it's opened and since it's a DVD it can only be exchanged to exactly the same thing, not a different disk format.
  • by doctor_no (214917) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @10:28PM (#13385818)
    Out of all the coverage that has gone on about the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray battle something that has been seriously overlooked is the what this fight is really about. Toshiba and Time Warner makes an incredible amount of money from DVD 6C and other Toshiba/Sanyo/Warner ownened patents, they get a kick back from every DVD and DVD player that hits the market becaue they are the main beneficiaries of the 6C patents. And they are trying to keep these patents in place for the next-generation of high-definition media.

    Blu-ray is an effort to get around the 6C patents and Toshiba owned patents. When Sony and co. approached Toshiba/NEC/Warner in forming a unified format, one of the conditions that was put in place was to keep the 6C patents in place, and merely keep the software aspect of Blu-ray. This of course is why an agreement cannot be reached. Neither side has any reverance for the consumer.
    • Yeah, and Sony dont try and make (gouge) money out of their format patents.

      cough ***minidisk*** cough.

    • by adam31 (817930) <adam31 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 24, 2005 @01:18AM (#13386734)
      It's always struck me as very odd how the teams line up in this format war. Matsushita, Toshiba and IBM are all in 6C, yet Matsushita swapped teams and lined up with Sony on Blu-Ray. IBM jumped on with Sony for the PS3. Toshiba, of course, backs HD-DVD but they are also partnered with Sony to do production for the Cell processors going into the PS3-- whose support of BluRay is arguably HD-DVD's greatest threat!

      Really, I just don't get it. Is everyone (except Sony) playing both sides of the fence?

  • No problem! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Tuesday August 23, 2005 @11:21PM (#13386148)
    This just means I need to wait a bit to decide which format I will use to backup my torren^H^H^H^Hbuy my movies on.

    \ havn't seen the unix backspace thing in a while
    \\ slashies are fun on Fark, doing them here
    \\\ this thread is useless without pics
  • by jocknerd (29758) on Wednesday August 24, 2005 @08:36AM (#13388147)
    whichever one gets the support of the Porn industry.

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