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The Almighty Buck Technology

Tech Titans Prepare to Battle Over Next DVD Format 453

Posted by Hemos
from the battle-royale-over-billions dept.
securitas writes "The New York Times Technology has an excellent feature by Ken Belson about the coming battle over the next-generation DVD format that consumer electronics and technology giants are already preparing for. The article covers the (high-definition) HD DVD group, led by Toshiba and NEC, and the Blu-ray Group, led by Sony and Matsushita (Panasonic/JVC). Mass production is expected to begin in 2005, but both sides are expected to show prototypes and aggresively pursue partners at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week. Add to the mix a nine-company Chinese faction that says it will develop its own DVD format because - fearing their technology could be used by Chinese rivals - the Japanese manufacturers haven't shared much information, even within the DVD Forum. Finally, Disney, Microsoft, IBM and Intel have yet to weigh in. The worst thing that could happen would be another Betamax/VHS-type war. In that case, 'Everyone is a loser, particularly Hollywood studios, the retailer community and, most importantly, the consumer,' says Warren N. Lieberfarb, developer of the original DVD format."
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Tech Titans Prepare to Battle Over Next DVD Format

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  • It costs next to nothing to stamp out a DVD. If they remove region encoding from these formats, there's actually less different dvd's to press.
    • by saden1 (581102) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:21AM (#7827268)
      Everyone is a loser ass the article said, especially the studios. Not only do they have to pay royalties to both factions but they bare the cost of supporting two format (3 if you add the chines). I mean, they'll be looking at having three difference partners producing different types of media disks instead of one.

      In reality the big problem is the fact that all these factions want to make money on royalties so they have not incentive to work together. All these companies see is their bottom line and they definitely want their format adopted. I really would love to see royalty free DVDs and it seems the Chinese want the same thing to. If I was a studio executive or a some manufacturer I'd support the Chinese.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:16AM (#7827548) Homepage Journal
      Region encoding on current DVDs is optional. If the media companies thought it was in their best interests to press just one DVD, they'd do it.

      Unfortunately, they don't think it's in the best interests. Now, to me, that's plain idiotic because leaving aside any stuff about just pressing one DVD (which isn't actually that practical as someone else points out - you'd want slightly different DVDs for different markets because of language and censorship differences), there's the not-insignificant issue that region encoding promotes piracy: because someone can't get the movie they want, or version of the movie they want, in their region, they're more likely to get a pirate copy that's region-free.

      But MPAA, etc, members have never been terribly bright on the issue. Given the choice between screwing their own customers, and reducing piracy, they'd rather go for the former.

      My family sent me a BBC DVD of "Have I got News for You" this Christmas, which I watched on my de-regioned PowerBook. I'm still trying to work out the logic of region encoding it - this is a disc of no interest whatsoever to people outside of Britain other than ex-pats, and ex-pats are not a large enough market to make it remotely likely a foreign publisher would see any value in buying their region's rights. So instead of the BBC making money from ex-pat sales, they're basicly ensuring that, beyond a few technically orientated people like me, nobody will be able to watch the DVD who wasn't able to see it on TV in the first place.

      Mindless. Utterly stunningly mindless.

  • by Lonesome Squash (676652) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:50AM (#7827123)
    I must admit I'm rooting for the Chinese faction. I want a digital standard that's NOT written by the content owners. If they can make a next-gen DVD that's cheap and recordable, and it gets into enough homes, then maybe it will be to the studios' advantage to release content for it, even if they can't have complete control over it.
    • If your use of those media are storage only, it's allright with Chinese makers, but you will never see LOTR come out on such media without cooperation with copyright owners, and media player manufacturers can't sell their hardware with no software around (as you see in game consoles).
  • Great News! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:50AM (#7827125) Homepage
    I hear the Blu-Ray group is appearing at the Bellagio next year!
  • Redundancy (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    In that case, 'Everyone is a loser, particularly Hollywood studios, the retailer community and, most importantly, the consumer. Umm, so ... Everyone is a loser. Particularly...everyone. This guy must run the department of redundancy department.
  • Too late. (Score:2, Funny)

    by i_am_syco (694486)
    I still think they should go back to Beta, myself...
  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:52AM (#7827132) Journal
    If the new DVD formats being recommended aren't as 'open', and do not present a sizeable improvement over the current resolution of existing DVDs, I don't think that one conglomerate will be able to 'force' the market place into accepting a new tech.

    Lucas and Speilberg weren't able to make their DVD alternative fly, and given their back catalogue of movies held in reserve, they had strong leverage over the marketplace.

    Given that DVDs have an indefinite shelf life (okay, greater than 20 years) and better than broadcast resolution , I don't think people will see a compelling reason to upgrade. Maybe when HDTV becomes ubiquitous, but even then a really good DVD rig comes close to the HD broadcasts I've seen.

    Let the industry duke it out...I won't need to worry for ~ 10 years.

    • Let the industry duke it out...I won't need to worry for ~ 10 years.


      Unless they stop releasing movies on the current DVD format, it may sound crazy but I wouldn't put it past the studio's.
      • It's not so far fetched. The number of new releases on VHS continues to dwindle in preference of DVD.
        • I suspect that the new HD-DVD players will be able to downconvert the signal to standard def internally to be compatible with existing systems.

          Big studios are really keen on replacing DVDs with something with much better encryption/copy protection - the shift to HD is incidental.

          So they release new players that can handle HD as well as SD and can output to either type of monitor - let the price drop for a few years until it's in the $300-500 range, then completely stop producing regular DVDs to force peop
    • Well then I wish you well on your ~ 6 year sojourn into entertainmentless wilderness, because as I recall it only took about 4 years before a lot of movies started only coming out on DVD and not on VHS. This despite VHS having 15 years of momentum behind it.
      • by budhaboy (717823) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:23AM (#7827282)
        yeah, but the DVD had "a sizeable improvement over the current resolution of existing [VHS format]" They also offered WAY more content that a VHS, as well as longevity that a VHS had, not to mention more favorable licensing to lower the price... It was a complete no-brainer that the DVD would smoke the VHS.

        His point is, what more could a new DVD offer over existing? Certainly not enough to cause people to drop their current Players, and titles.
    • If the new DVD formats being recommended aren't as 'open', and do not present a sizeable improvement over the current resolution of existing DVDs, I don't think that one conglomerate will be able to 'force' the market place into accepting a new tech.

      The market is just beginning to buy into HDTV in any significant quantity. The NY Times had an article on 12/24 about the intense demand for DLP and LCD RP televisions this season; stores simply cannot keep these in stock. And these sets all do 720p quit
      • I can get a whopping 6 channels of HD with digital cable here, and about 1/3 of it would be even halfway interesting to me (ie, no sports).

        Cable is not delivering nearly enough HD at the moment. The satellite companies, on the other hand, are doing quite a bit better (and have been ahead of the curve for some time). In my area (Portland, OR), on my system (DishNetwork), I can get eight satellite HDTV channels and seven local EDTV/HDTV channels (networks are showing most hours of broadcasting in 480p wit

        • Technically speaking, my cable provider can give me 12 HD stations:

          NBC, Public TV, CBS, Discovery HD Theater, INHD, INHD2, HDNet, HDNet Movies, HBO HD East, HBO HD West, Showtime HD East, Showtime HD West.

          I only count that as 9 channels, as a couple are just timeshifted duplicates. It's far less programming than it sounds when you consider that not every channel is true (telecined) HD content or content that's not repeated ad nauseum.

          From my perspective, only HBO HD and HDNet Movies are of any interest
    • You make it sound like HDTV isn't in the process of being adopted when in truth the prices have come down at a fairly rapid pace over the last year to the point that you can buy a direct-view CRT HDTV for $500. In addition, virtually every rear-projection big-screen TV is now an HDTV (the ones that aren't are barely worth considering with the narrow price difference), which benefit the most from a higher resolution signal - try watching an NTSC signal blown up to 50+ inches without some decent line-multipl
    • When did Lucas and Spielberg have their own video format?
      • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:38AM (#7827367) Journal
        Speilberg and Lucas were big supporters of DIVX, a closed proprietary alternative to DVDs. They were keen on the 'limited viewing' feature, for example paying $5 to watch the DVD for 48 hours, then you dispose of the disc. It was ugly, people stayed away in droves.

        But until recently Lucasfilm and Amblin entertainment wouldn't release titles on DVD. Hell, its only this Christmas that Indiana Jones has finally been release.
        • But they didn't authorize their movies to be released on Divx either. Spielberg claimed he was waiting to release films on DVD until support for the format was greater (presumably so they wouldn't release buggy discs that need to be re-released two years later -- how many underwelming releases of The Usual Suspects did we need?). Lucas just doesn't want to release his films on DVD, because the format is too permanent. As long as a permanent copy of his movies don't exist, he can continue to change them w
    • > and better than broadcast resolution

      Depends what you consider broadcast resolution.

      Broadcast can be much better than dvd, try looking at a good analogue signal or a decent digital one.

      Unfortunatly the tv companies have decided that 95% of people are too thick to notice a crap picture and this the bandwisth on ditial goes down and down. I fully expect them to start putting the sinal through an ascii converter sometime soon and broadcast that to scrape space for a few more channels of crap.
    • If the new DVD formats being recommended aren't as 'open', and do not present a sizeable improvement over the current resolution of existing DVDs, I don't think that one conglomerate will be able to 'force' the market place into accepting a new tech.

      I didn't think most consumers cared much about anything other than price, picture quality and sound quality. All the non-geeks I've spoken to haven't even heard of different regions and don't know which DVD region they live in, let alone care about price fix

  • by Darth23 (720385) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:54AM (#7827143) Journal
    Whatever format I buy, it will turn out to be the betamax format.
  • FWIW (Score:5, Informative)

    by bschmitt (653202) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:57AM (#7827150)
    For those unfamiliar with the techs, the spec set forth by Toshiba/Nec is backward compatible with the now current tech. The blu-ray is not backwards compatible.

    I would like see the next-gen players be able to play both disks, I have ALOT! I also happen to favor Toshiba they make one of the better players out there for picture/sound.
    • Re:FWIW (Score:3, Informative)

      by GizmoToy (450886)
      If you had read the article you would have seen that the Blu-Ray format IS backwards compatible. NEC's solution combines the red and blue lasers into one lens assembly, while the Blu-Ray system uses two separate laser assemblies. Both will be capable of playing current-generation DVDs and CDs.
    • Uh.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      The compatibility mostly works into the pressing plant's advantage. Players can have an extra reader laser, which I suppose would cost a bit more.

      I really don't buy the compatibility argument. VCD isn't necessarily compatible with DVD, but most players have it. CD-R/RW isn't compatible with DVD lasers, but most DVD players can read them now because the makers put in an extra laser of the right wavelength. I highly doubt any next-generation hardware player would drop DVD.
  • How About (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PakProtector (115173) <cevkivNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:57AM (#7827153) Journal
    Instead of choosing a format for the discs, we all agree on a common method of storing the data instead of the medium so I can plug my XYZ Toilet Paper Tube Reader into my computer and read off the 10 gigs of data it holds with the same codec as I use for that latest game release on the 'Finger in the Nose' reader?
    • you're dealing with corperate power here, not petty OSS junkies! Making actual sense is not allowed!

      And actually, most of us think your correct, but we don't really have a say in the matter do we! My own idea would be to use firewire for everything...it's got SCSI like features,and a standard data format as well as device-to-device, device-controls-device formats...Then you could put many different types of devices out there and have them talk uniformly...but you still have to have a common media to play

  • *sigh* (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:07AM (#7827191) Journal
    Isn't this why organizations with a commercial interest shouldn't be involved in deciding upon standards? Because they will obviously want to get what they want, and there's usually more than one will involved. It isn't a constructive battle for a format either, and the best format isn't necessarily victorious.

    I wonder what the purpose of the DVD Forum was again?

    1. To establish a single format for each DVD application product, including revisions, improvements and enhancements for the benefit of consumers and users

    2. To promote broad acceptance of DVD products on a worldwide basis, including the entertainment, consumer electronics and IT industries as well as the general public.


    Ooh, I see... :-P
  • by gabe (6734) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:07AM (#7827198) Homepage Journal
    I'd heard about Fluorescent Multilayer Discs [sysopt.com] years ago, but what's happened to them since? They were supposed to hold almost 20 times as much data as a 4.7GB DVD. So, where are they?

    Not that I really want a new format or anything. I just think FMDs are cool. DVDs are a-ok for me, and I just bought a DVD burner (which supports all the damned various formats), so why are they making something new, again. Can we just have some media technology that lasts for more than 10 years?
    • Same thing that happened to mountains of other vaporware. Bubble memory, digital paper, holographic storage, carbon nanotubes, etc, etc, etc.
    • if technology is moving too fast, you're too old
    • We have such a technology. It is called the 3.5" Floppy Disk.

      It can store a whopping 1.38MB data. That is enough for 1 minute of audio, 1 photograph, or 2 seconds of video.
    • by Salamander (33735) <jeffNO@SPAMpl.atyp.us> on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:16AM (#7827544) Homepage Journal

      The company (Constellation 3D) working on it finally failed several months ago. The problem didn't seem to be with the basic technology, which actually did work (so I wouldn't really call it vaporware), but with issues such as manufacturing the lens assemblies and the disks themselves for reasonable cost. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the idea reappears after materials and manufacturing technologies have advanced a bit to make real-world products feasible. Or perhaps the manufacturing problems were truly intractable. It's really hard to tell, but I wouldn't write the whole idea off just yet. We may yet see LEP/OLED or iridescence displays too; it's just the nature of bleeding-edge technology that you have to try a couple of times before you know whether the second- and third-order problems are solvable.

  • I think we're already in a Betamax/VHS type war with DVD-R and DVD+R, adding another playback format with HD-DVD is just asking for trouble, especially now that DVD has pretty much supplanted VHS.

    Personally I think it's foolish of these companies to try to create their own proprietory formats to make more money as it's usually always the case that the cheapest most open format wins. e.g. VHS, x86 etc. And you have consumers upset that their purchase has become obsolete who won't necessarily have the cash
    • The difference is that all content is released in the same format; ie, there's no question right now what format a purchased DVD is in or if it will be released for your player. The only dispute is over recordable formats.

      On the PC side, the battle over formats is essentially moot due to the availability of multiformat recorders capable of doing all formats. There were no multiformat VCRs during Beta/VHS.

      The only place where there is "conflict" is in the market for set-top DVD recorders. In this arena,
  • I reckon whatever method ends up being used should have a) smaller discs and b) protective casing.

    Although there good in the way they hold lots and lots of quite quick to access information, I think CD's and DVD's are some of the crappiest pieces of technology about. There clunky, just to big to hold easily in your hand (escpecially if your female) and get scratched so, so easy its pathetic. What percentage of your games/music CD's from say 6 years ago isn't scratched?

    The best format for holding such data
    • "What percentage of your games/music CD's from say 6 years ago isn't scratched?"

      Er, 0%. Maybe I'm atypical. I agree it's a moronic, crappy design, though. Should be a cartridge. Lord knows there is plenty of profit margin in CDs and software to pay a few cents extra per disc to have it in a cartridge a la DVD-RAM.

      Out of curiosity, how many of your scratched discs won't play any more?
    • a) smaller discs

      I don't see this happening anytime soon. We've just had a big media upheaval whereby we've switched almost all our audio/video/computer media to the 12cm shiny disc. If it was one media type, I could maybe see it happening, but I think people are getting very accustomed to the interchangeable media situation to take that either - I know I am. It may have its drawbacks, but being too bulky and prone to scratches aren't ones that I've had, and my three year old niece seems to be able to

    • FYI, DVD-RAM Type 2(?) comes in a protective casing and you can get 8cm DVDs if you're really desperate. Prepare to shop around though.

      In my opinion, pure optical solutions are just plain awful. I remember when I was 12 and 128MB MO drives hit the market. They took the best of magnetic storage and the best of optical and turned it into a super format.

      Almost impossible to destroy the data under normal conditions (unaffected by magnetic fields), able to withstand hundreds of thousands (even millions) of rew
    • I think CD's and DVD's are some of the crappiest pieces of technology about. There clunky, just to big to hold easily in your hand (escpecially if your female)

      I disagree on the size issue. Smaller discs would get lost more easily, and have less room for booklets etc. More importantly, they would probably end up stuffed into pockets, where they would get stratched and bent/broken easily. The size is just big enough to provide some indirect protection, but also small enough to be convenient (compared to vin

  • What's the point for movies? We can watch all but the most weirdly long movies without changing DVDs. Is it supposed to be better quality? Many movies on just one disc? Or only good for, say, distributing software and what not?
    • RTFA. High Definition TV. HTH.
      • RTFA. High Definition TV. HTH.

        Mea culpa, Indeed I shoulda RTFA.

        On the other hand...I don't see the point of HDTV. Seriously. Then again, what do I know, except when I try to pause it, I still find a movie on humble VHS tape to be pretty watchable. I really think its pause and random access that are the big sells of DVDs and CDs over their tape-based cousins, not the clarity, so a format that only offers 'yet more clarity!!!' is going to be tough to market...case in point, DVD Audio still seems to be a n
  • How does the consumer become a loser in this situation?

    If someone decides to buy a product that isn't standardized and becomes obsolete within a year or two, then it's their own fault. The average consumer won't purchase the technology until it has been proven in the market and can readily be found and purchased at a reasonable price.

    If big corporations keep fighting over the new media format, I only see THEM as the losers... spending so much time/money/effort for something that the average consumer will
  • DVD Demystified (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:14AM (#7827242)
    DVD Demystified [dvddemystified.com] is an interesting website with a very informative book behind it. It contains a history of the original DVD wars 1994 - 1997 and explains how the format only came about as a result of unprecedented cooperation between the big ten companies.

    Will we see that kind of cooperation again? Probably not. There's too much incentive to play dirty, after the massive success of DVD.

    FWIW the book also contains far, far more tech background on the DVD format, MPEG-4, visual theory, etc. than anybody except Slashdotters will ever want to absorb.

  • by at_18 (224304) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:15AM (#7827249) Journal
    Everyone is a loser, particularly Hollywood studios, the retailer community and, most importantly, the consumer,

    The consumer has already lost when he's called a consumer instead of a citizen. This mindset speaks volumes.
    • A "consumer" may well not be a citizen, which is a legal definition.

      I prefer customer. It's the correct word for the transaction, bearing implicitly the true nature of the business relationship.

      Indeed the term consumer was coined to obfuscate this fact, making it easy to view the customer as a faceless statistic and a mark to be fleeced, rather than the power holder to be courted and served.

      And the term is just as insulting as mark, pigeon or rube.

      KFG
  • I'm hoping for pay per view version of this where I never have to return the disc, and yet, I don't have own it! Perhaps modem in my player will periodically dial into HQ and submitting my viewing details and I will be billed accordingly.
  • They're doing this at the wrong time. If this is meant to compliment DVD, fair enough, but if its a replacement, then this is stupid. The public is only now embracing DVD big time, buying a DVD player for every TV and replacing their Video collection with DVDs, and now the major companies are going to dump a new format on us? How about backward compatability? I thought the DVD standard was pretty good as was, and I'm pretty fussy about these things.
    • If you're right (and I think you are) and a new standard comes out, expect it to be ignored by the general population. If we're not ready, it'll be like the laser disc fiasco: used by elite technophiles, but not by the masses.

      And if they try to ram the format down our throats, expect piracy to pick up (either on the DVD format or something else such as VCD). Consumers have repeatedly proven their resourcefulness and it just keeps getting easier.

  • by JFMulder (59706) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:30AM (#7827321)
    I know there's more to DVDs than movies, but face it, the #1 use of DVDs are for movies.

    First of all, make DTS-ES a standard. The only reason why movies that include DTS soundtracks also include Dolby Digital sountrack is because DTS is not standard. DTS is better than DD, so let's make it standard and forget about DD for movies. (audio commentaries should still be in DD though)

    Second, make sure there's a lot of storage, cause every movie has to be encoded at least in 1080P (no, not 1080i) and mpeg4. Make sure the standard has room to grow and accept higher-resolution, while making sure players can keep up with every resolutions. The stream also has to include 4:3 fullscreen cropping coordinates so we can stop having fullscreen editions DVDs for folks that watch their DVDs on 4:3 telivisions.

    Lastly, forget about the Internet-enabled DVDs and players. I want my content ON THE DISC, not on some remote server.
    • First of all, make DTS-ES a standard. The only reason why movies that include DTS soundtracks also include Dolby Digital sountrack is because DTS is not standard. DTS is better than DD, so let's make it standard and forget about DD for movies. (audio commentaries should still be in DD though)

      I like the idea, but then I had a thought. A normal CD stores around 700Mb of data and 80 minutes of audio. That means well over two hours of two channel, high-resolution, audio can be stored in less than 1G. Five ch

      • These new discs aren't hundreds of times bigger than DVDs, just 4x or so. Having audio uncompressed would mean FAR, FAR less space for video. Since video needs much more bits to look good (versus audio sounding great at ~64K/channel) that would be a terrible trade-off.

        Besides, what's the point? I have yet to hear anyone complain that they can hear artifacts in high bitrate AC3 streams (in fact I often hear people wanting to reduce the bitrate to make more room for video) so if people can't hear the diff
      • Yeah, but clever use of VBR encoding at high bit-rates reduces audio to about 1/6th of the size and is still studio-quality sound, so why not take advantage of that? Same thing with the video. Uses VBR encoding at high-bit rates and you'll have a "perfect" picture and sound at a fraction of the uncompressed data.
    • Second, make sure there's a lot of storage

      Not actually required.

      The best thing about digital video formats, is that they regularly improve without loosing compatibility. Where SVCDs were (recently) designed for 1800k video bitrates, about 1200 or so is more than adequate now. VCDs are an even more dramatic example, since they've been around longer.

      What I would say is far more important than lots of space to accomodate high bitrates, is a standard that is very flexible so that it can adapt to improving

      • every movie has to be encoded at least in 1080P

        Why is that? The new HDTVs (that haven't even caught-on yet) don't support it, and it's not like TV standards change every week.

        Well, I see it this way : people right now don't see the point to buy a HDTV because so little content is in the HD format right now.

        If the DVDs were already in 1080P or say, 2048P (I'm not sure it's a real HD resolution though), everyone who would have DVDs would have a use for HDTV2 TV sets when they come out in 5-10 years. Also,
  • Here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:35AM (#7827348) Homepage Journal
    Hollywood is pushing both technical groups to come up with new security measures to protect their movies. Neither group has developed a prototype that satisfies the movie industry - a major impediment to a commercial launch.

    *sigh* Here we go again, for another round of macrovision, region coding and suchlike rubbish. I confidently predict(1) that the new measures will not make any difference to large-scale pirates or warez d00ds, but will make everyone else's life difficult.

    1): What do I know about it? not much.
  • One of the best things the MPAA and these groups arguing over the next gen DVD specs can do is agree that DVD copying needs to be stopped. To that end if I were involved in this planning I would recommmend a media size change. Make the disc size just large enough so that the drive would not be able to be fit into a standard 5 1/4" computer case drive slot. Take this another step and block any development & production of any play/burner with a computer interface. No computer players, no computer burners
    • Never underestimate the ability of the marketplace to fill people's desire to screw around with stuff. The first simple solution would be external writing devices. From a marketing standpoint, a new media format that is larger would be a hard sell. Progress tends to dictate that electronics get smaller, faster and increase in capacity (or at least two of the three).
    • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:02PM (#7827843)
      I never understood why they didn't simply build decoding circiutry in to PC dvd players to start with! Then the drive could "show" the movie to the PC as a firewire video input? [obviously downsampled!] and be "remote controlled" by the PC without the actual movie data ever being "in" the PC. I never understood why consumer electronics wasn't more PC friendly in that department...if I could control my DVD player as a firewire or USB device and simply patch the video directly into my monitor most users that simply want to watch movies on a computer would be more than happy...and much of the "piracy" issues would be convienently "forgotten" about!

      On another note, a similar idea is the BIOS level CD/DVD players some media PCs shiped with earlier this year...great idea to let consumers watch movies and music, but keep it "seperate" from the actual PC! And very Linux friendly for both sides!

      • DVDs were designed to be generic RO media for storing various data, not just for use in set-top video players. Thus the choice for what IS an entirely PC-friendly format. (UDF layout, MPEG2 video, ATAPI-friendly data rates)

        Something has to do the decoding. Cost-wise, it makes sense for the PC's hardware to do that work. No one would buy $200 worth of extra equipment to use a PC monitor to watch a movie. They want to use the fancy hardware they already bought.
  • The worst thing that could happen would be another Betamax/VHS-type war. In that case, 'Everyone is a loser, particularly Hollywood studios, the retailer community and, most importantly, the consumer,' says Warren N. Lieberfarb, developer of the original DVD format."

    Is he saying competition is bad? Only in a socialist government is this true. Competition is always better. Why? Because in the case of VHS/Betamax, the cheaper solution reigned supreme. Why not have both solutions (or all 3 or 4 or whate
  • they are able to fit much much more information on a DVD. That means no popping in a secon disc to see special features, no switching discs on long movies (like Once Upon A Time In America, which has an actualy intermission in the movie, but it's not where the movie cuts off from one disc to the next). Just think, if Peter Jackson approves it, there could be a nine or 12 hour continuous lord of the rings movie with no breaks between sections, and no need to switch discs.
    • AS long as such a movie includes a half dozen cathaters! It's not like you'll be allowed to pause the movie...the movie will self destruct 8 hours after being inserted in the player...how would that work...13hour movie...8 hour lifespan?
  • Is this a problem of the patent system getting in the way of progress? Each faction wants the new "standard" to be thier own so they can collect money for each device sold weather they make it or not. Obviously customers want:

    1) High capacity
    2) Reliability
    3) Backward compatibility (at least for reading)
    4) Low cost, but this comes with time regardless

    I bet 2 and 3 are possible for all formats, which would make the decision obvious. Only a political agenda or "IP" concerns could be slowing this down.

  • 'Everyone is a loser, particularly Hollywood studios, the retailer community and, most importantly, the consumer,' says Warren N. Lieberfarb, developer of the original DVD format.'

    Yes... with the original DVD format, only the consumer is the loser.... ;-)

  • In future DVD media (whatever name it ends up having) I sincerely hope that creating menus and such is vastly simpler than it is with the DVD format we have today. Honestly, it should be as simple as HTML with some minor scripting thrown into the mix to navigate the actual movies placed onto the disc. It's dumb that you have to have this convoluted and unnecessary IFO commands. Would the resultant menu be a mess of files (.html, .png, .jpg, etc) ala an HTML webpage? No. It could be compiled into a sing
  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CarrionBird (589738)
    Only a tiny fraction has a TV high end enough to take advantage of current DVDs (progrsssive scan). How many people out there are gonna drop the cash for 1. a HDTV 2. a DVD2 player 3. A new moive collection.

    It's like SACD, I' sure you can tell the differnce if you really try (on better speakers than most people have), but the advantge is so negligable that it's not worth buying for the 80%+ of people who aren't shopping on the uber high end area.

    Makes me miss Laserdisc; it had near DVD quality, there was

  • by Chordonblue (585047) on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:53AM (#7827798) Journal
    Will be something like this:

    - A more technologically advanced format (and more expensive). I deem this to be Blu-Ray since the discs need casing and it needs a dual head assembly for compatability.

    Versus

    - A less technologically advanced standard (but less expensive). This would probably be HD-DVD.

    You've seen this movie before haven't you? I know I have. Guess who usually wins? I would bet on HD-DVD at this point. Blu-Ray might find a niche in data backups and the like however.

    At any rate, you Slashdotters out there, for one reason or another, will probably champion one of these formats. It's kind of like that +R/-R DVD argument (tastes great/less filling), except that there are far less differences between those formats than these new HD DVDs.

  • by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Monday December 29, 2003 @01:14PM (#7828342) Homepage
    The consumers didn't lose out in the Betamax/VHS wars. They didn't lose out in the DVD/Divx wars. They didn't lose out in the DVD +/- wars. And they won't lose out in the new DVD format wars.

    Betamax sold some 30,000 units total. Today, DVD player sales easily exceed that number per month. Did the consumer lose in the DVD/Divx wars? Not at all. Have they lost in the +/- wars? Nope. Why? Simple. By the time the *average* consumer gets around to buying the product, market forces have already decided a winner.

    In the case of Divx vs DVD, half the "prosumers", the early adopters, lost out when they chose Divx. The other half made what turned out to be the right decision. For the average consumer, the bulk of the market, the decision need not be made, it's already been decided for them.

    Ditto with the DVD +/- market. The prosumers jumped on the first available DVD writers, and half of them may end up with useless writers. The vast majority of consumers will start buying DVD writers sometime this year (if ever), when technology has made the arguement moot with dual format writers.

    It happens in almost every market, with every technology. Yes, the prosumers sometimes lose, but that's the price they pay for buying into the cutting edge of technology. The average consumers don't lose, by the time they're ready to accept the technology it's all been sorted out for them.

    So new DVD format wars won't make any difference to consumers. If the format that wins the prosumer market isn't backwards compatible, by the time it reaches the consumer market, manufacturers will produce multi-format devices that are.

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

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