Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Media Movies Technology

DVD Truce Between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD? 255

Posted by Zonk
from the put-down-your-guns dept.
An anonymous reader writes " Reuters is reporting that Toshiba and Sony are in talks about reconciling the two next-generation DVD formats. Ideas floated in the article include a unified DVD arch which could use "Blu-ray's disc structure and HD DVD software technology" (Sony's idea) or "HD DVD disc structure and employing Sony's multi-layer data-recording technology" (Toshiba's idea)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DVD Truce Between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD?

Comments Filter:
  • by pholower (739868) * <<moc.oohay> <ta> <liartdoowgnol>> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @12:59PM (#12303648) Homepage Journal
    This article although informative, didn't do the best job in technical explanations, that is when I spotted the following line... A PC maker, for example, would not have to equip its computers with hard drives compatible with both formats.

    I didn't realize the hard drive had to be made to be compatible. I guess speed could somehow come into play, but no, never mind, they don't know what they are talking about.

    "It could take both camps some time to develop products based on a new standard, which leaves the risk of development delays for Sony's next-generation game console," Goldman Sachs analyst Yuji Fujimori wrote in a note to clients.

    Does this really matter? Couldn't Sony still release their next PlayStation with BlueRay discs as their format? I mean, they did use UMD for the PSP, and they isn't a common format. If you know more about this let me know, but this to me would mean it could prevent more illegal copying of game discs.

    • by grungebox (578982) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:02PM (#12303676) Homepage
      Does this really matter? Couldn't Sony still release their next PlayStation with BlueRay discs as their format? I mean, they did use UMD for the PSP, and they isn't a common format. If you know more about this let me know, but this to me would mean it could prevent more illegal copying of game discs.

      My guess would be that they want a BlueRay more widely accepted for their broader media goals, like movies and music and so forth. UMD doesn't really have that much market potential in those areas, I guess. This is pure speculation, but it's a possible answer to your question.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:03PM (#12303682) Homepage Journal
      Sony wants their console to be compatible with popular media formats so they can sell more of them. Also, the PS2 helped expand the installed base of DVD players among gamers; The PS3 can help expand the installed base of (insert next-generation video standard here) among gamers, as well. That helps the format succeed. Also, it helps the PS3 succeed, because people who might not have bought one will buy it because it's a video player AND a game console - just like the PS2.

      Too bad they didn't put VideoCD support in the PS, although I hear that you can get a plug-in module to do that (and play mp3s.)

      • I seem to remember that there was a white PS that was released in Asia later (not the initial shipment) that could play Video CDs because they were popular, but it was never released in the states (can you blame them? I've almost NEVER seen video CDs here in the US).

        While this is a good thing, frankly if I were Toshiba (and the rest of the HD-DVD group) I'd be scared. Just the PS3 should give Blu-Ray enough installed base to be something to content with, ignoring the fact that Apple (big media production c

    • by ackthpt (218170) *
      "...A PC maker, for example, would not have to equip its computers with hard drives compatible with both formats."

      I didn't realize the hard drive had to be made to be compatible. I guess speed could somehow come into play, but no, never mind, they don't know what they are talking about.

      Since when does that stop anyone from doing a thorough analysis? Unless they're implying, to allow PC's to have a DVD drive would require the installation, on the HD, of some DRM thingy, which would sit not at all well

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This matters very much for Sony. The PS2 wasn't such a big deal in North America because we mostly owned DVD players when it came out. Not so in Asia where DVD penetration was very low before the PS2. Then Sony came out with a top-notch game machine that was also a DVD player for the same price as a DVD player. They immediately had penetration in most Asian households.

      They want to repeat this success, but this time they want to rule North America as well. So it is of absolutely critical importance to them
    • I bought my PS2 because at the time, PSones were $100 and DVD players were $200. I wanted a DVD player and hadn't had a PlayStation in a little while (my first-gen PSX broke and I was in the Dreamcast camp).

      I would buy a PS3 solely if it played PS2 games and had HD DVD support.

    • by ILikeRed (141848)

      It is a poor article. I think the real sticking point is over software controls, and whether the systems will be running Java, as Sony wants, or MSTV system, designed by Microsoft.

      A better article is here from the EETimes [eet.com].

      I'm not sure I am excited by either prospect, but I worry more about the Microsoft licensing.
    • I am terrified of having to tiptoe around with my blu-rays in bubble wrap because I am sick of losing optical discs to a few scratches. Why can't they enclose them in something that isn't so damn fragile? The psp approach is far better in this regard. I hope to heaven that this blu-ray coalition will realize that these media shouldn't be disposable. And if I'm not mistaken, smaller resolution for the data means that even more minute scratches will ruin everything. Bring back the minidisc casing, that s
    • This article although informative, didn't do the best job in technical explanations, that is when I spotted the following line... "A PC maker, for example, would not have to equip its computers with hard drives compatible with both formats".

      [I added double quotes to the quote from the article]

      Some people I know refer to the PC case as the "hard drive". If that was the sense in which hard drive was used in this article, then it translates to saying that this merger would avoid PCs having to have multiple

  • smart move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackomegax (807080) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @12:59PM (#12303654) Journal
    well, it looks like they got smart all of a sudden, because, unlike dvd+ and dvd- R and RW...bluray and HDdvd are so far apart you practically need 2 drives for total support..

    not to mention the COST of bluray media...yeouch.
  • by kc01 (772943) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @12:59PM (#12303656)
    Good deal- Perhaps Sony's learned lessons from "Beta" and "Memory Stick".

    Without standards, there's no volume.

    • Perhaps Sony's learned lessons from "Beta" and "Memory Stick".

      Beta, yes. Memory Stick? Last I heard they were sticking to their guns, mostly because I think their memory-stick-requiring products like digital cameras, digital video cameras, and the PSP, use them. Doesn't mean memory sticks don't suck, just that Sony hasn't backtracked on the memory stick yet.
      • by Hadlock (143607)
        I think memory sticks are a moot point; the non volitile memory card market has been fragmented for a couple of years now, with many standards. The readers are unbelivably cheap ($25 for a 8 or 9 in one reader) that it doesn't really matter. Most digital cameras (sans Canons) act as a USB keychain drive when attached via a usb cable anyways, and ( i think ) that's how most people transfer their files. My guess is that every major camera company could come up with their own memory stick standard and nobody w
        • Most digital cameras (sans Canons) act as a USB keychain drive when attached via a usb cable anyways,

          FYI Canons too act as a USB Keychain drive too, at least my Digital Rebel does, as does my sister's Powershot A85.
          • Hunh, that must be a new feature. I was reading an article about a device that allows you to transfer your pics on the camera to your iPod or thumb drive without the use of a computer. The reviewer said somthing along the lines of "all modern digital cameras but Canons will work with this, as they support ____ usb thumbdrive standard". Also, my Powershot A80 (half a generation behind your sister's, released in early 2004 I think) doesn't act as one.
    • Don't forget about MinDisc...
    • I doubt it, considering that they're still "Full steam ahead!" on UMD...
  • It's about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ghingy (877502) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:00PM (#12303659)
    Finally these guys have decided to put their egos aside and work on a compromise. If they had thought about this in the first place, imagine how much money these corporation would save on wasted R&D.
    • Wasted R&D? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PornMaster (749461) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:06PM (#12303707) Homepage
      Even if they end up using a hybrid of the two, the R&D isn't wasted. Along the way, both companies have learned a lot, including finding out a lot of things that *didn't* work.

      A lot of R&D is failing and figuring out why.

      It's not like we're talking about Xerox PARC, where Corporate wasted the opporunity to commercialize the wonderful things which were developed. A compromise on the new DVD format will still bring both companies/consortia licensing revenue.

      Which, of course, begs the obvious question -- if they're both contributing IP, will they both be charging royalties and price the technology too high?
      • Which, of course, begs the obvious question -- if they're both contributing IP, will they both be charging royalties and price the technology too high?

        If they both contribute to the standard, they'll probably setup a consortium or holding company (I don't know the exact term) that collects royalties on their behalf.
    • That wasted R&D, as you put it, might seem like a waste now, but who knows, they may have come up with something unusable currently, but invaluable in the future... R&D doesn't have to apply to the exact product you are currently working on... I'm reaping the benefits of R&D done for a product not even related to what I'm currently working on... It's not wasted... AND it remains the property of the respective company. Plus it's a tax writeoff (at least in Canada).
    • Finally these guys have decided to put their egos aside and work on a compromise. If they had thought about this in the first place, imagine how much money these corporation would save on wasted R&D.

      I doubt it had anything to do with ego as Toshiba is planning on debuting their technology at the end of the year anyway in PCs.

      Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it... Sony probably realized that it was going to lose the battle if Toshiba got their stuff to market in 2005 and it was succes
    • The BBC also has an article [bbc.co.uk] about this.

      Do you think that perhaps "HD-DVD software technology" includes this ghastly mechanism of rendering chosen player models/brands useless? I hope they haven't teamed up to ensure that such a disgraceful system isn't pushed onto us.

      Then again, perhaps this collaboration will present some of the companies coming up with the decision that it isn't such a good idea.

      We can only hope not. If a DRM system like that gets pushed onto us, I'm not going to be happy.
  • by rmarll (161697) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:02PM (#12303675) Journal
    You got your chocolate in my peanutbutter.

    You got your peanutbutter on my chocolate.
  • Too late? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrRay720 (874710) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:02PM (#12303679)
    So they've got to:

    Sort out the details
    Get out a new spec
    Prototypes
    Verification
    etc. etc.
    All before the impending releases of if nothing else the PS3 and XBox2, never mind the PC & TV players?

    Why do I get the feeling that this is a token gesture never intended to resolve the disputes, but instead to allow them to look back later and say "well we TRIED to get a common format but everyone else was in too much of a hurry!" If they were really serious about a common format, they would have done it long before now.

    Deceipt at it's best!
    • Re:Too late? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mandoric (55703)
      XBox 2's already confirmed for plain DVD-ROM; given Sony's insistence on Blu-Ray hardware with HD-DVD software for any compromise, one can assume that the PS3 will ship with the physical drive it's always been planned for, and differ only in firmware and player app if a deal is made.

      Of course, given that the XBox 2 will begin its lifespan with multiple versions (with hard drive and without) and Sony chose a new CEO from the evil^Wmusic side of the business while simultaneously demoting Kutaragi, it's possi
    • One rumor that's going around is that Toshiba will kill HD-DVD, Blu-ray will be renamed HD-DVD, and Toshiba will get a cut of the royalties on the "converged" format. This would require no technical changes.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:03PM (#12303683) Homepage Journal
    FrankenDVD... it was born on a cold slab of stone, when Drs. Sony and Toshiba concurred. Hundreds knew better, thousands said it was unnatural and against nature, millions didn't care as long as they could watch Star Wars: Episode VII, Revenge of the Return of the Imperial Jedi Sith...

    See villagers...

    See Torches...

    See lightning flash and hear thunder roll...

    See the monster fill a small screen near you

    Scream in terror as you re-purchase all your DVD collection, while in a dark sinister lab, the next format is considered...

    RATED: R

  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:04PM (#12303690) Homepage
    I clearly do not fully understand how anti-monopoly laws work, but aren't competing companies prohibited from doing exactly this? Instead of each company selling it's product and letting the market decide which is better, they're working together to restrain the industry and keeping products that might benefit the consumer off the market. Isn't that collusion? Isn't it illegal?

    Someone please explain why it's not, I really would appreciate it (not kidding here, genuinely cuious).

    • Working together to create a standard definatly isn't collusion. Working together to set prices is.
    • Your not allowed to price fix.

      Your allowed to share, or develop technology together.
    • by ekuns (695444) * on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:15PM (#12303793) Journal

      Collusion is illegal when companies are working together to keep another company's product off the market by predatory pricing, for example. But when two companies (or consortiums) work together to choose a common standard, that is just plain good sense. The companies are wisely (I hope) seeing that the market will not welcome competing standards, and that the market (and thus their pocketbooks) are bettered by there being exactly one new DVD standard. There is no illegal activity here because no-one is being prevented from doing anything and they are not controlling prices by choosing to implement a common standard. There is no anti-competitive behavior.

      Now, if the companies fixed the pricing of this standard and refused to allow anyone to undercut the pricing and used their size in the marketplace to control the availability and cost of the new DVD players, that could be collusion. If they were somehow working together (like a cartel) to prevent another company from competing in the marketspace, that might be collusion. (Depending on the tactics, etc.) However, just agreeing on a common standard does not collusion make.

      • "However, just agreeing on a common standard does not collusion make."

        Right. The first step is to hammer out the details of the DVD format.

        Fixing the prices on the DVDs will have to wait until next year.
    • I can't speak athouratatively (IANAL, etc.), and most certainly not about non-US laws, but as I understand it monopolies are allowed (in some cases at least), they just fall under much tighter rules and such when they occure.
      Microsoft didn't get in trouble for being a monopoly, but doing illeagle things with thier monopoly derived powers.
      Plus I don't think this is a monopoly situation in any case, it's more of a standard format that everyone can compete under. For example no-one seriously complains
  • The best hybrid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by silid (733394)
    why not just use Blu-Ray technolgy and HD-DVD name (silid's idea)

    Lets have one technology and an agreed royalty share - an effective buy-out. At least this way it will save millions in marketing in a format war, and both groups get a degree of guarenteed success.

    and more importantly will allow me to enjoy the format sooner as i won't have to wait for winner.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:09PM (#12303738) Homepage
    Let's have representatives from each side to fight it out to the death! I haven't seen a good death match in a very long time.
  • by w.p.richardson (218394) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:10PM (#12303753) Homepage
    These new disc formats are all dead in the long run.

    Perhaps not immediately, but within a few years a system will exist which will allow the streaming of any movie ever made via broadband instantly. Why would you want to bother keeping an anachronistic collection of shiny discs, when you could have anything you want, instantly.

    These format wars will all look quaint in a few years when the bandwidth for home delivery of such a system is widely available.

    • In order to download a movie "instantly", you need a lot of bandwidth. To download a 1Gb movie in 1 second requires an 8Gbps connection. This is not going to be available affordably to the average person within the next 10 years, at least. As is, it costs maybe $20 a month to get an 8 megabit per second connection, and everyone knows it takes a very very long time to overhaul data transmission infrastructure.
      • Wow, you are pretty impatient if you need the movie to be there in 1 second!

        Seeing as the movie is at least an hour long, why are you in such a rush? If movies could download in 1 minute, I'd be pretty satisfied. Thats only about 133 Gbps if I did my math correct for 1 GB of data.

        But in reality, who needs it to be there in a minute anyway. As long as the system is decent enough to stream starting at any point in the movie you choose, you really only need to be able to download 1GB in 45 minutes (a litt

        • I don't EVER want to see this just when the movie is getting really good: ...buffering 20% ...buffering 22% .........
        • ISP's are notorious for overselling bandwidth though. An application like video on demand would have a lot larger userbase than the current Bittorrent downloaders do. The current ISP's will gripe and moan to no end if you constantly max out the 3Mbps connection. Imagine the situation if at least a quarter of their customers were using that much bandwidth. The infrastructure could never handle it.

          By that token, we are many years away from being able to reliably do video-on-demand to a large customer bas
      • I agree with your conclusion, but take issue with how you define "instantly". From a practical perspective, the tipping point is likely where you can reliably (99.9% of the time) download a movie reasonably faster than you can watch it (1.5X to 2X real speed). This allows you to pause, even fast forward to a degree without a problem.

        From a deployment perspective, this is already happening with optical networks in some communitites. This is a problem in communities without pre-deployed fiber, as some co

    • And this bandwidth will come from where?
      And more importantly, cost how much?
    • by JadeNB (784349) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:22PM (#12303854) Homepage
      Perhaps not immediately, but within a few years a system will exist which will allow the streaming of any movie ever made via broadband instantly. Why would you want to bother keeping an anachronistic collection of shiny discs, when you could have anything you want, instantly.
      Because, as we've seen, the trend in streaming media is towards temporary ownership. Sure, with DVDs, my ownership options are (supposed to be) limited -- I can't copy it, &c. -- but at least I have it forever (or at least as long as the media lasts). I'm sure still more restrictions will be in place with these new discs, but, judging from the previous market failure of `temporary discs', at least I will still have them forever.

      With streaming media, it seems likely that we'd see a `pay-per-view' set-up. Besides that, what about out-of-print movies? If I buy a DVD and the manufacturer stops printing those DVDs, I can still watch it -- but what if I want to stream a DVD no one wants to host? We could lose a lot of important movies this way.

    • but for the remaining 90% of the planet, its a big deal because they won't have to be limited (or sold an unplayable disk,) by the manufacturers.

      Your argument doesn't cut any ice apart from those lucky enough to have been born in the right place.

      Ever try to use an appliance bought in Europe (220 volts) in America (110 volts)? How about, ever had to suport two Vvltage standards?

      That's a problem for the Chinese and everybody else who works in a global marketplace. Its ineffficient and leads to duplication
    • Why would you want to bother keeping an anachronistic collection of shiny discs, when you could have anything you want, instantly. Because I can watch that shiny disc practically as many times as I want without incurring any additional cost, wheras I'm sure the RIAA will find a way to ding me every time I download that movie again? To say nothing of the fact that fedexing a box of discs will probably always have more bandwidth and cheaper cost per bit than any "pipe" that streams bits to my home?
      • Well, I'd imagine it would be the MPAA and not the RIAA charging you for the movie. Also, are you going to watch the entire box of discs instantly or in super fast forward? If not, a pipe with enough bandwidth to support the data rate of the disc would be fine.
        • I dunno, what's more likely to fail in the middle of watching a movie... that shiny disc, or my cable connection? (Hint: I have Comcast. It craps out all the time.) Perhaps some of us would rather know we can finish watching a movie before we start. (You're obviously right about MPAA instead of RIAA, I should have said "*AA" instead.)
          • I dunno, what's more likely to fail in the middle of watching a movie... that shiny disc, or my cable connection? (Hint: I have Comcast. It craps out all the time.) Perhaps some of us would rather know we can finish watching a movie before we start.

            More likely to fail in the middle? (Hint: My cable connection doesn't stop playing from scratches and smudges all over it.)

            By the way, I'm not actually in favor of the streaming method because of the repeating charge of a pay-per-view type of system; I was just

    • ...and also in a few (more) years longhorn will be out and be so bloated it'll require the new formats to distribute it.
    • online content (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:29PM (#12303930)
      When you get your content, or your applications, online, you are then at the mercy of:

      1) He who controls where the content or apps are stored, controls YOU.
      2) Your connetion (being up or down, or slow, or high latency)
      3) Security issues

      But, if you like all that, feel free to check out the Phantom gaming system; you'd probably like it. :)
  • Vizzini: Inconceivable!
  • Whilst I welcome this news, isn't it a bit late?

    I can just imagine a last-minute solution that aims to keep the suits happy in all companies involved (so that they save face). This compromise could result in a poorly thought out and badly designed standard.

    A little later, someone will release another (better) standard and we will be back to square one of having two similar but incompatible standards.

  • Color me skeptical (Score:5, Interesting)

    by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:15PM (#12303796) Homepage Journal
    They're each talking about keeping their own core hardware and layering the other's controllers and software on top of them. But of course it's the hardware that's the key piece. If they use the same core technology it doesn't matter much what the rest is: they could easily produce a dual-format drive with the rest of the differences fudged in firmware.

    So it sounds like they're both saying "Be reasonable, do it my way".
  • This can only mean one thing.. They've decided to join forces against their common enemy -- the consumer..
  • Blu-Ray wins! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @01:51PM (#12304118) Journal
    While I could care less what "data format" is used, the Blu-Ray disc itself is far superior in capacity and data rate, and I'm glad it won.

    With a paltry 15mbit per second, HD-DVD's disc would not have a high enough data rate to encode 1080p video in MPEG4 (or any other codec) at any reasonable quality, essentially crippling HD until the next generation. (For comparison, the highest bitrate allowed in DVD video is 10mbit. D-VHS allows 30 mbit, Blu-Ray allows over 50mbit (section 3, bottom of page 5) [blu-raydisc.com])

    Of course, more space per disc is always nice. Whether you're just trying to cram the Janitor's Commentary track into the extras, or providing Star Trek with a Klingon subtitle track, every little bit helps. More space also allows for movies to use that 50mbps data rate for longer periods of time. Fans of superbit DVDs would drool all over the promise of superbit Blu-Ray discs.
  • by faust2097 (137829) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:14PM (#12304373)
    I'm still not convinced that we even need a next-generation format. HDTV is insanely scarce outside of the US [and most "HDTV" units already in the US are 480P EDTV anyway and most of the ones that actually are HD are rear projection units sitting in sunny rooms with the factory settings intact] and DVD is the most successful format in history. Obviously Hollywood wouldn't mind due to what I'm sure is much stronger DRM on new formats but we currently have two superior formats to CD and for consumers the convenience of lower-quality sound from digital files is winning out. Only a tiny percentage of audio nerds [and it's even a fraction of them because many audiophiles are terrified of any digital equipment] have bought into the new formats and they're people who ahve no problems with rebuying their favorite music over and over. The same may happen with movies.

    Look at Laserdisc - far better picture and sound than VHS, no rewinding and pretty good studio support for a while but the cost, convenience and durability advantages of tapes won out in the end.
    • This is what I was getting at above, by I guess my shorthand description wasn't wordy enough. PGP, CRT, VHS and MP3 are all proof that a certain point of quality is "good enough" for most people, and most people is the target market. Some technically superior but expensive alternative to the sufficient quality good enough for most people will fail because there is no market for it - or at best it is a very small market.

      Duh.
    • I'm still not convinced that we even need a next-generation format. HDTV is insanely scarce outside of the US

      Not here in Japan. I'm not sure whether I want to say "mainstream" quite yet, but the vast majority of TVs being sold these days are HD, and all the major networks have HD channels up and running. In fact, analog signals are scheduled to be phased out by 2010 (or 2011, don't recall which).

      Whether that will translate into a desire for HDTV videos remains to be seen, but given the Japanese fasci

  • Could Sony be doing this to delay the XBox360 release? Microsoft has been gaining a ton of momentum with software developers of late, something it never had with the current xbox.

    Microsoft will most definately hold off releaseing the next xbox if the new DVD standard's release is impending. That'll give Sony a nice window to get caught up.

    It's a bold move, but I think it could help Sony immensely if the timing is right.
  • by ryanvm (247662) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:11PM (#12305008)
    Fuck the drives - I want one of these blue lasers.
  • "We both profit more if we cooperate."
  • Waiting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:39PM (#12305318) Homepage
    Until a true 1080p TV costs less then a car, and the next generation media is under a dollar... why should I care exactly?

    99% of the 10% of humans that even have a computer, don't care about any of this until it's AFFORDABLE. By which time, the margins will be so low that none of this battle will matter. And I'd bet backups to IDE will still be cheaper TCO-wise.

    Also, a system with 10x the storage will be out in a year.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

Working...