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Laser Shortage to Stall High-Def Disc War? 148

An anonymous reader writes "DigiTimes reports that several major vendors, including Sony and Matsushita, have suspended shipments of the blue laser diodes that drive both high-def disc formats. The rumored laser shortage could result in shipment delays for new models of Blu-ray and HD DVD players and drives past the upcoming holiday season, cooling the next-gen DVD format war until 2007."
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Laser Shortage to Stall High-Def Disc War?

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  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:26PM (#16003267) Homepage Journal
    Won't ANYBODY think of the sharks!

    They are driving themselves insane out at sea, they were all psyched to go into battle with some kick ass frikkin laser beams on their heads now they have to continue practicing with mop-handles tied on.

    Shame on you Sony.
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) *

      They are driving themselves insane out at sea, they were all psyched to go into battle with some kick ass frikkin laser beams on their heads now they have to continue practicing with mop-handles tied on.

      I think it's detente

      Blame all those pacifists in the pacific!

      none for me, none for you

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Everyone knows they use red lasers for the sharks.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:47PM (#16003712)
        I have had ENOUGH of these motherfucking lasers on these motherfucking sharks!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by gbobeck ( 926553 )
        Everyone knows they use red lasers for the sharks.

        Red lasers for sharks are so 1997, just like ill tempered mutated sea bass. All sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads want to look cool, and therefore only use blue lasers.
    • by curunir ( 98273 ) *
      Dude...what do you think caused the shortage in the first place???

      Clearly there is an army of sharks (and few dolphins, for good measure) off the coast of California that are being fitted with the entire world's supply of blue lasers. We have to believe an attack is coming any day now. While our government has spent the past few months keeping people from bringing bottled water onto airplanes, they've completely ignored the possibility of an army of trained marine life using the latest advances in weaponr
  • Sharks! (Score:4, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:26PM (#16003272) Journal
    I KNEW we were using too many on those damn sharks.
  • by topham ( 32406 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:28PM (#16003282) Homepage
    Wouldn't happen to be intended to delay the adoption of the new players until next year would it, by which time maybe they will figure out how to actually sell a usable product...
    • Argh! (Score:3, Funny)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) *

      Illegal collusion to fix the market - Wouldn't happen to be intended to delay the adoption of the new players until next year would it, by which time maybe they will figure out how to actually sell a usable product...

      There was no way in heck I was going to get one of these damn things anyway.

      But now, now I feel I must have one! Aaarrrggghhhhh!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by li'l opie ( 908801 )
      Delay is a great strategy. Next generation DVD will be the first format to be obsolete before it even launches.
    • by Fred_A ( 10934 )
      But in the meantime, someone could come up with a UV laser and 500E [wikipedia.org]B discs and seize the market from under their nose !

      This is a risky strategy.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:28PM (#16003286)
    Just get those green laser pointers over Thinkgeek and rename the product "green ray". Really, blue is cute, but green is okay too...
    • Well, at least it'll attract the hippie crowd. Mention anything 'green' and they're all over it.
  • by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:28PM (#16003289) Homepage Journal
    meanwhile somewhere on the outskirts of Tokyo, the head of Microsoft's XBOX division and the head of Nintendo's Wii division are shaking hands whilst laughing as their lackeys bolt the doors on a warehouse full to the roof with blue laser diodes.
    • Re:meanwhile... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:45PM (#16003390)
      my thoughts exactly.. MS doesn't have to have the blue lasers.. the 360 doesn't need them.. just the add on hd drive which they havn't released yet.. ps3 needs them and i am sure sony will either not sell to others till they have what they need or run short them selves.

      if they run short they are just putting salt in the wound where they shot them selves in the foot.

      if they are just stopping sale to out side people so that they will have what they need for the ps3 they are going to piss their partners off even more.. because they can't stop selling to hd-dvd people and not blue-ray people... that would be anti competive

      should be intresting to see how the next 6 months role out..

      as for the big N - they have nothing to fear, as always
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by MufasaZX ( 790614 )
        It's a REALLY short article, is it really that hard to read? "Utilizing BD drives in its own PS3 game consoles, Sony suspended shipments of blue laser diodes to other customers, the makers indicated, adding that only Nichia, Sharp and Sanyo continue shipping the diodes."
        • by Amouth ( 879122 )
          i did read it.. and i still find my comment fine.. as

          Nichia, Sharp and Sanyo != Sony
        • by interiot ( 50685 )

          Utilizing BD drives in its own PS3 game consoles, Sony suspended shipments of blue laser diodes to other customers

          Which means the effective cost of PS3 is higher. Sony is eating the opportunity cost of selling the blue lasers to other customers, who would certainly pay higher-than-otherwise prices due to decreased supply.

          Capitalism is set up to encourage people to allocate scarce resources as efficiently as possible. Sony, on the other hand, is allocating scarce resources to 8-year-old Johnny who onl

    • You do realize part of why there are shortages right? As the article says, Sony is holding back most of them - can you imagine why that might be?

      Freaking 360 fanbois.
      • by DingerX ( 847589 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @04:20AM (#16005703) Journal
        ...because Sony wants the PS3 with Blu-Ray to copy the success of the PSP with UMD, but on a bigger scale?
        • Because Sony wants the PS3 with Blu-Ray to copy the success of the PSP with UMD, but on a bigger scale?

          No, because Sony wants the PS3 which includes Blu-Ray (a technology endorsed by a huge range of studios and other companies including Dell and Apple) to succeed and not be in terribly short supply.

          As noted those with a bent toward conspiracy would say an additional reason would be to keep the number of HD-DVD players low while Blu-Ray in the PS3 fills the market.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fred_A ( 10934 )
        Because they found out what blue lasers did to the local critters [wikipedia.org] and they are desperately trying to find a way to do some damage control before the press finds out where all those tsunamis in the indian ocean really come from ?
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:32PM (#16003315)
    First they do the two-format-thing all over again. Then they keep all kinds of crap that pissed people off with DVDs such as the Regional Code. After that, they tell us that there will be draconian DRM. The prices are simply sick. And in the end, the added quality just doesn't change my life. Cool, yes, impressive with computer generated films, of course, but worth the price, the loss of control and the hassle? No way.

    This is turning out to be all stuff and nonsense, and I think I'll just skip HD-DVD and Blu-ray one and wait for the next next generation, when maybe somebody with half a brain is involved. DVD is perfectly good enough for me, thank you very much.

    • But, can it play these old DivX DVDs I got at a discount at Circuit City? -true backward compatabilty!
    • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:55PM (#16003449) Homepage
      This is turning out to be all stuff and nonsense, and I think I'll just skip HD-DVD and Blu-ray one and wait for the next next generation, when maybe somebody with half a brain is involved. DVD is perfectly good enough for me, thank you very much.

      Agree with the sentiment.

      It is quite unlikely for there to ever be a next generation, though. The lead time is, oh, ten years or so, and by that time it seems more than likely that using a physical carrier for video is not going to be a mainstream technology anymore. There's going to be physical data carriers, of course, but not aimed at selling video.

      What might happen, though, is that these two formats both end up stillborn - laser discs of the 21st century - and pushes the major manufacturers to quickly (as in within a year or two) replace them with a common format that avoids the most egregious mistakes of these two. But that would be replacement, not a generation shift.
      • by Threni ( 635302 )
        > There's going to be physical data carriers, of course, but not aimed at selling video.

        By then there could well be wifi (or something similar) *everywhere*. Your player - be it portable (such as a phone/psp etc), or a box by the TV - will receive data from the net via wireless technology, and you'd subscribe to Fox/Sony/Microsoft/HBO and get your stuff from them direct. Your flat rate subscription, entitling you to play/listen to whatever you wanted whenever you wanted would mean there would be no point
      • carrier for video is not going to be a mainstream technology anymore.

        I'm not so sure about that. There is a lot to be said for the "impulse" buy and all the fancy packaging. While my entire music collection is on my computer/iPod I'm certainly in a minority and I've had to fight tooth and nail to get my fiance to follow suit. Perhaps we will instead of little ram drives that contain the movie which is downloaded to our players? I'm also not sure that a subscription service will really work for movies as I

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by calethix ( 537786 )
          taken from howstuffworks [howstuffworks.com]:

          But three important differences allow them to hold quite a bit more information than DVDs:
          * They use 405 nanometer blue-violet lasers rather than 650 nanometer red lasers.
          * The pits are smaller and the tracks are closer together.
          * They use more efficient compression to cut down the size of the files they store.
      • Laserdiscs of the 21st century?

        You do know Laserdiscs had a successful 20 year run in the videophile market, only usurped by DVDs less than ten years ago?

        A 20 year run for a technology is pretty good, even if joe six pack doesn't use it.
      • by inKubus ( 199753 )
        Yeah, it's called movielink.com [movielink.com] and cinemanow.com [cinemanow.com]. When one of these companies or viacom or whatever makes a box that I plug into my TV and internet connection, with an easy remote and under $200 pricetag, I will never rent or buy a movie again. Dude, renting ONE FUCKING VIDEO usually costs me $15-20 because I forget to return them and get the late fees. Plus just going to the video store PISSES me off, because they don't have many videos.

        Cinemanow and Movielink do not have very many videos either, but t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have 3 HD TVs, (1 Projection gotten early 2001, 1 LCD and 1 Plasma - both this year) and I can attest that I won't be moving from DVD soon. The leap of VCR->DVD style improvements (CD like control) just isn't there. The DVD was backwards in some respects like regional encoding (please don't tell me that lack of regional coding on VHS tapes made it easier for pirates) and forcing you to watch the FBI warning and promos and the extra resolution isn't worth it if it gets worse than this.

      And you are righ
    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )
      Some of us are perfectly happy with VCD.. or even vhs ( prefer beta over vhs tho and vinyl over cd )
    • by Ankou ( 261125 )
      How bout something like this [inphase-technologies.com] instead.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@wo[ ]net ['rf.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @11:53PM (#16004826)
      First they do the two-format-thing all over again. Then they keep all kinds of crap that pissed people off with DVDs such as the Regional Code. After that, they tell us that there will be draconian DRM. The prices are simply sick. And in the end, the added quality just doesn't change my life. Cool, yes, impressive with computer generated films, of course, but worth the price, the loss of control and the hassle? No way.


      Actually, Blu-Ray sucks worse in the protection department than HD-DVD. I believe HD-DVD has eliminated the region coding as everyone disliked it and it never worked that well anyhow. HD-DVD players still have a region, but that's for DVDs. I believe the box of the HD-DVD player I saw said "DVD only region" with the region mark, and I don't recall any mark on the HD-DVD discs themselves. Even the HD-DVD/DVD combo discs have a region code marked with "DVD Only". So it looks like HD-DVD has no region coding at all.

      At the very least, the DVD Forum learned something for their next-gen format. Too bad Sony didn't, and not only kept region coding, but added additional protections over what HD-DVD has (they both have ICT and AACS, and Blu-Ray adds to that, too).
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )
      This is turning out to be all stuff and nonsense, and I think I'll just skip HD-DVD and Blu-ray one and wait for the next next generation,

      Well, quality-wise I doubt you'll get anything better... 1080p is for normal TV distances beyond human vision everywhere but the small field dead center in your vision, and even then you need to be have 20-20 sight and sit fairly close to the screen. If you do the math sitting right next to a computer montior then the limit would be about 2160p though.

      If the Blu-Ray tools
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        everywhere but the small field dead center in your vision

        Due to the way human vision works, the resolution in the center of the field of vision *is* the resolution of human vision. The only way you could take advantage of the lower edge resolution would be if you could predict, with certanty, exactly where the viewer would be looking all the time.

  • by PhakeDC ( 932887 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:35PM (#16003329)
    ..are doomed to repeat it!
  • That does it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:37PM (#16003339) Homepage
    DigiTimes reports that several major vendors, including Sony and Matsushita, have suspended shipments of the blue laser diodes that drive both high-def disc formats.

    Bad enough that Sony is shoving an over-priced PS3 down consumers throats. Now they're throttling the market for other players. The Sony monopoly must die!

    Or, at least, cut the damn prices on the PS3.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    <nelson> ha ha! </nelson>
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:42PM (#16003366)
    Clearly this is very bad news for Sony.

    Because... you know, everything is, somehow.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You're right. I don't see how a shortage of lasers for Blu-Ray drives affects Sony and the PS3 at all. No connection what so ever. All sarcasm aside, this may not affect the PS3 much. If they haven't started manufacturing them yet then they won't be able to produce that many by years end. I doubt the laser component will cause PS3, sorry PLAYSTATION 3/PS3[R], manufacturing much at all.
  • Has anyone checked to see if any sharks and/or snakes are missing?
  • The blues (Score:1, Redundant)

    by MECC ( 8478 ) *
    Sounds like BlueRay has a bad case of the blues...

  • by ProppaT ( 557551 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:59PM (#16003469) Homepage
    I don't exactly see anyone chomping at the bit to buy into HD video at this point, especially seeing that the movie selection is low and most DVD afficienado's already have a very large collection of discs at this point. This war is being aimed towards gear heads and gadget collectors. There is no real compelling reason to switch formats, especially if it means paying more for media. I think DVD is good enough for the population now and that people realize that. Especially seeing that the adoption rate for HD is well under where everyone speculated it would be years ago. This "war" is going the same way the surround sound cd war went. No where. No one really felt like investing money rebuying cd's, which sound good enough. On top of that, the music nuts that would normally be into this kinda thing have invested enough money in their "stereo" rig where they don't always want to invest twice again that much money in a surround sound system. It's very rare that you'd get a chance to listen to music in your livingroom (where your surround system is probably set up to begin with) with family around anyway. I guess the point to this rant (and common theme throughout this rant) is the word "enough." I think society as a whole is suffering technology burnout. Things change so quickly that the general population wants to sit on the sideline, see where all these rapid advances eventually take us, and then buy in. Then again, seeing our current political situation, maybe war is the right term for this. A fight that no one wants but big brother insists on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )
      and most DVD afficienado's already have a very large collection of discs at this point.

      Plain and simple FUD. HD-DVD and Blu-ray players will play all your current DVDs just fine. Implying that you have to go rebuy your collection is unbelivably stupid.

      I think society as a whole is suffering technology burnout.

      And the whole basis for this belief of yours is...?
      • I think society as a whole is suffering technology burnout.

        And the whole basis for this belief of yours is...?


        He read it on the internet over a high-speed wireless connection on a high-resolution multi-color display on a personal digital device nonexistant 20 years ago and that cost relative pennies compared to the delivery of information in yesteryear, and thought to himself, "Self ... I don't think this technology stuff is going to catch on ...".
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hardburn ( 141468 )

        Plain and simple FUD. HD-DVD and Blu-ray players will play all your current DVDs just fine. Implying that you have to go rebuy your collection is unbelivably stupid.

        Why would I buy a next-gen player to play my old DVDs?

        If I bother to buy a next-gen player, I want as many movies in that new format as I can. Movies in next-gen formats are going to take time to get here, and the quality difference from DVDs -> HD-DVD/Blu-ray isn't as great (certainly not as much as VHS -> DVD), so I have less incen

        • Why would I buy a next-gen player to play my old DVDs?

          Because you can buy highdef DVDs in the future, instead of more standard DVDs. There is absolutely no reason you need to re-buy the DVDs you already have.

          and the quality difference from DVDs -> HD-DVD/Blu-ray isn't as great (certainly not as much as VHS -> DVD),

          Completely, totally, factually, WRONG.

          VHS to DVD was a 3X improvement at BEST... DVD to hi-def (1080) is a 6X improvement.

  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:03PM (#16003491) Homepage
    The rumored laser shortage could result in shipment delays for new models of Blu-ray and HD DVD players and drives past the upcoming holiday season, cooling the next-gen DVD format war until 2007.

    Great! That's just in time for me to NOT BUY ONE.
  • Pioneer has suspended shipments of Sony-compatible pixels for its high-definition displays.
  • Sharks? Losers. How about:

    Does this mean I can no longer buy all their playsets and toys?!

    -Peter
  • by monopole ( 44023 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:19PM (#16003583)
    1. Increase PS3 and Blu-Ray drive costs.
    2. Declare ultimate hardware DRM system (no lasers) ensuring that drives cannot read or write any discs.
    3. Openly fret that prices are too low.
    4. ???
    5. Profit!
  • One Format to rule them all, One Format to find them, One Format to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
  • hmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by p!ssa ( 660270 ) *
    I wonder how much of this is a shortage of lasers vs. sonys desire to keep HD-DVD products off the shelf util they can get a price matching (or as near as they can get) competing products to market. Maybe I need a tin foil hat but I've seen similar tactics used in the businesses I've worked for.
  • Buy and Torrent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Paul Slocum ( 598127 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @08:23PM (#16003882) Homepage Journal
    I'm thinking if there's anything on HD that I really want to see, I'll just buy it and then download it. Then I'm supporting the movie or show I like, I don't have to buy either player, and I have it in the format I prefer -- MPEG4 on my hard drive.
  • I wonder how this will affect the launch of the PS3... specifically, since it was intended to launch about the same time as the Wii. So instead we might have the Wii launching earlier, for less. I wonder what kind of effect it would have, but I bet it wouldn't be good for Sony.
  • 30% yield? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kclittle ( 625128 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:53PM (#16004279)
    Nichia, which currently holds 80% of the global blue laser diode supply, reported that its yield rate for blue laser diodes reached 30%

    Could some knowledgable person briefly explain why a 30% yield for blue laser diodes is something to crow about? What, exactly, keeps yields so low for such a "fundamental" device? They fab chips with millions of elements and get better yields...

    -k
  • Lets see, both systems have players delayed until next year meaning low sales this year.

    Except one system, Blu-Ray, gets millions of players out thanks to the PS3 (who Sony is holding the diodes in reserve for). What happens when you have two sides and one of them has a few orders of magnitude more consumers buying media for it?

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