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Sony

Toshiba Paid Off To Drop HD-DVD? 229

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the murky-dealings-of-international-business dept.
TripleP writes "Was Toshiba paid-off to concede the HD battle? There are some signs that may point to this as a direct result of the ended format war. Reuters has reported that Sony has agreed to sell its Cell and RSX fabrication plants in Japan to Toshiba. The WSJ is reporting that is is a joint venture in the form of 60% Toshiba,%20 Sony and %20 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc."
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Toshiba Paid Off To Drop HD-DVD?

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  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:01AM (#22526688) Homepage
    Blu-ray has higher storage and (I think) slightly more DRM, while HD-DVD has no region codes. I'm sure a lot of people won't be affected by region codes, but those of us who get international stuff would have prefered HD-DVD.
  • Surprised? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gr8Apes (679165) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:02AM (#22526698)
    This was known or rumored already for weeks and weeks, even prior to the WB announcement IIRC.

    Along with the $120M paid to Fox at the last minute to get them to stick with BD, and the reputed $400-500M WB received, I'm not shocked at all.

    Sony bought the win in the format war, and that alone would be enough of a reason to not buy into the inflated BD format. (Inflated as in cost)
  • money flow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MassiveForces (991813) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:03AM (#22526706)
    Toshiba was "paid off" by Toshiba deciding to buy a risky venture for $835 Million... what?
  • Re:Who cares (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:16AM (#22526784)
    Was HD-DVD really planned to stay region free? I read that region coding was being discussed, at least.

    Anyway, the Java-based scripting language is certainly a good thing for Blu-Ray, and I imagine there'll be a full featured open source HD-player a lot sooner because of it. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:23AM (#22526812)
    A few years back someone demonstrated a 200GB BluRay disc. It had many many layers (after some googling, it looks like it has 8 layers), so just like you I don't know if it was supported by all players, but it existed.

    This is why I've always favored BluRay. From my limited understanding of the subject, I can see that it is a little bit more modern of a technology, so it has higher potential.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:29AM (#22526844)
    The problem with the world is we've let the wrong people set the standards. Business should build to standards, not build standards to produce psuedo profits.

    What going around these days is crap, and it's come right back at us!
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:02AM (#22527052)
    The space is not meaningless. The Transformers HD-DVD ran out of space for a lossless audio track and was released without one.

  • by wronzki (989396) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:12AM (#22527124)
    Sony supposedly paid off Toshiba by making Toshiba pay $835 million for production facilities that Sony would still be able to use (as part of the joint venture)? I sure hope Sony never tries to pay me off for anything. Oh, and the deal was made in October (just the price was made public now). And TFA (yes, I read it) never even suggested there was a tie between this and the death of HD-DVD. It mentioned it to provide some context for the companies' current positions but never implied that there was a link.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:27AM (#22527244) Homepage
    Streaming has an uphill struggle simply because the infrastructure isn't there. And not just the last mile, the entire internet isn't set up for it.

    eg. I was just watching a programme on Hulu. I have an 8mb connection with a good ISP (can sustain about 7.1mb 24/7.. I pay for the privilege though) and still, given the really low resolution the hulu uses, every few minutes the programme would begin stuttering as it couldn't keep up. Their HD stuff is just unusable.

    99% of consumers are on cheap ISPs that have low sustainable bandwidth, 'fair use' caps, shaping, etc.. they'd have zero chance. That isn't going to change - in fact it's getting worse, as ISPs drop prices they're overselling their bandwidth more and more.

    For streaming even to be viable for the general population you'd have to be talking about sustaining about 8=12mb to every household at the same prices that the average consumer pays now. Which would in turn require massive ugrades to the infrastructure. The maths don't work - who's going to pay for this?

    What's happening is there's a building crisis. Apple in the US and the BBC in the US are increasing the ISPs costs at no cost to themselves. The bandwidth isn't there for these services to become too popular - and neither Apple nor the BBC are paying for it.. at some point it'll hit critical mass - either the ISPs will start throttling video services, or they'll split the accounts allowing video download on only higher priced tariffs (much like the mobile phone companies have done from the start), or worst case they'll cut them off altogether.

    That's without even considering HD.. the end users simply don't have the ability to download 20gb+ of HD data and won't for years (the apple thing is so compromised it only gets to be called HD on a technicality).
  • Re:Who cares (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:45AM (#22527364)
    Keep in mind that BD was developed to allow such high bitrates because it was originally only supposed to contain MPEG-2 data. Once the HD DVD forum announced that they were also supporting AVC and VC1 as optional codecs, the BD forum added support for those in a quick "Me Too" moment. Had it not been for HD DVD, BD would only support MPEG-2.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @12:13PM (#22527554) Homepage Journal

    There will never be an open source Blu-ray player legal for use in the US (though "legal" open source DVD and HD DVD players are of questionable usefulness given there were no HD DVDs shipped without DRM, and the vast majority of DVDs were shipped with DRM.) Blu-ray makes AACS mandatory on pressed blue-laser media, so the DMCA effectively prohibits it.

    I cannot fathom why DRM is mandatory, I know some Blu-ray partisans have even gone into a state of denial about it when I've brought it up before, but that's what the situation is.

    Our best hope, ironically, is Microsoft throwing their weight around a little. They have a lot of reasons to be pissed about the end results of the HD war. Vista was screwed up mostly because of the secure path initiative, probably the biggest thing to be fucked up as a result of Microsoft trying to get Hollywood on-side. If they were to omit secure path in Windows 7, the AACS LA would either have to liberalize the AACS license, or else see virtually everyone play Blu-ray discs using unauthorized players.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Znork (31774) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @01:04PM (#22527912)
    A few years back someone demonstrated a 200GB BluRay disc.

    I recently saw a 1000GB SATA-RAY disc demonstrated. Actually I even saw it for sale. Slightly thicker than the plastic, but I can live with that.

    Seriously tho, judging from the development, sale and prices of ordinary multilayer DVDs, I expect the new optical formats to remain permanently impractical and inferior as a storage medium as compared to simply buying more harddisks. They haven't been designed as data storage, they've been designed with the primary purpose of gathering shelf-dust in stores and at home. With the rapid spread and expansion of USB drives and memory sticks I doubt they'll manage to gather as extensive use as backup and transportation medium as the older optical formats.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @01:52PM (#22528278) Homepage Journal
    but the point is that I made my choice because HD was being price competitive to the old DVD format and Blu-Ray wasn't even trying.

    So now we have a standard. Big deal, Blu-Ray/Sony isn't trying to compete with DvD and unless other makers join in I doubt it will come down anytime soon. Plus as others have posted BluRay has all sorts of issues with drm/restrictions/etc...

    at least with HDDVD I could play the freaking movie when I wanted to...
  • by Enahs (1606) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @01:58PM (#22528326) Journal
    Well, you hit the nail on the head there; most movies just aren't high-def quality even if they're scanned in at a high resolution. Until studios start using HD equipment, or start springing for the process used for the classic Star Wars trilogy, people will feel a little ripped off.

    It's equivalent to early DVDs, though. Remember getting some of those early discs and seeing excessive film grain? That was the first thing I thought of when I got my HD DVD player. I've seen the same thing on other peoples' Blu-Ray players as well.

    If you're a movie junkie and have to have high def right away, by all means go right ahead. If you don't like staring at crappy transfers, though, you ought to wait.
  • by ovideon (634144) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @05:01PM (#22529624) Homepage
    I heard exactly the same reasons used as justification for why DVD players will never overtake VHS players.

    Price differences drop over time, especially when the only real differences are a laser and a bit of software.

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