Blu-ray and HD-DVD; Will we see a unified next generation DVD format?

Nearly all important magazines and websites are reporting about the talks between Sony and Toshiba. Both of the sides, Blu-ray and HD-DVD, are not interested in a format war like in the past and of course, no one wants the other format to become dominant.

The logical (or not) solution is a hybrid format which contains technology from both. But, when we consider that HD-DVD intends to start by the end of the year and when we compare both of the formats, then we’ll see that it is not easy to combine the formats and that such a “development” should happen very quick.

Of course, most of us would prefer one standard, but will this really happen? Will we see a unified next generation DVD format?

I’m still of the opinion that if reason prevails. HD-DVD will be the chosen format. It’s WAY cheaper to implement and produce and will have fewer problems. If the BD camp is even willing to discuss some unification, it’s because they are realizing they have problems.

I doubt they will come to an agreement in the few months that they realistically have left.

If they do arrive at a common format, I would personally like to see Blu-ray error-correcting structure adopted rather than HD-DVD’s (which is identical to DVD error correction). It’s a shame that nobody made use of Reed-Solomon’s erasure correction capability yet, that’s something that Blue-ray got right.

As far as physical disc structure, I can live with two 0.6 mm layers of HD-DVD (and their associated limitations on pit density), for the sake of disc costs.

In a sane world, track/pit layouts would be adopted from the Blue-ray spec as well, but with slightly lower density (for the reason above). HD-DVD’s lack of multilayer recordable spec and their rewriteable spec with pit lengths varying by zone are frankly appalling.

I guess we will see both formats. I think movies will hit on this darn HD-DVD and then we will see recorders for Blu-ray, that won’t play the HD-DVD movies. :frowning:

Grimes is probably right about the money issue. But I just wish for once, the superior tech would come out on top…Blu-ray! I don’t see why an initial investment should be the cause to accept an inferior format. After all, it is the consumer that pays for the production lines when it is all said and done in the form of profit from purchased product. It does not come out of the companies pocket once the capital is repaid. In fact, they can write off the expenditure as a tax break for years. This is all about royalties.

If they take Blu-ray as the format, it seems this will carry us farther into the future. They bettter think hard on this. As it is my feeling that the blue laser is gonna be around a long time.

I just don’t think it’s realistic to expect to see all new media plants and hardware being built to support a new format when one already exists that is compatable. At best, BD will be very expensive and hard to find. In 5 years, things might change again and both formats will be dead, who knows.

If they are having talks this must indicate that none of them are very confident of coming out on top …
Or as said before maybe its a money thing…

I hope the two camps are thinking in this direction: HD-DVD physical disc structure and pit sizes with Blue-ray layouts and coding. That would make a reasonable compromise because the common format would have none of the high disc manufacturing costs of Blu-ray and none of the ugliness of the HD-DVD layouts.
Unfortunately, I am pretty certain the negotiations (or at least private discussions) are not centered on technical merits or expected lifetimes of the formats, but rather on how the royalties will be divided, based on each side’s contribution to the common format, if one is in the cards.

P.S. I have a message for these people. MAKE UP YOUR MINDS. This is not rocket science. Take the DVD format. Take the 405 nm laser. Reduce track pitch by 45%. Reduce pit length by 45-55%, depending on the number of layers. Allow MPEG-4 video instead of MPEG-2. That’s it. You have 17-19 GB/layer and enough bitrate for HD video. You are done. We’ll even pay you an extra 1 cent/disc on top of regular DVD royalties for this “invention,” if we can get this thing settled before 2007 rolls around, dammit. :a

New article on

Sony, Toshiba to agree on new DVD format
Plan would resolve long battle over next-generation standards

SEATTLE - Japan’s Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are close to finalizing a plan to develop a common standard for next-generation DVDs to resolve a three-year-long battle over formats that threatened the industry’s growth, a Japanese newspaper reported Monday.

A detailed plan could be unveiled ahead of a key meeting of manufacturers involved in the manufacture of next-generation DVDs scheduled for May 16, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

Sony, along with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., maker of Panasonic brand products, had been pushing for the standard it calls Blu-ray, while Toshiba, with NEC Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., has been promoting a technology called HD DVD.

Both sides have indicated that a new, unified format will use Sony’s technology for recording information onto an optical disk while Toshiba will supply software that will handle efficient data transfer and copyright protection.

Looks like we’ll be getting the higher capacity version.

Thank you for the update. Would be a good move if they go they combine the formats in this way. Let’s hope that we know more soon.

to sum it up here the answer from Toshiba

OKYO—A press report was released on May 10 regarding the potential unification of next generation HD formats. The following is Toshiba’s comment on the report.

Toshiba believes a single format for next generation DVD is most beneficial for consumers, and we are actively participating in talks towards format unification. At this point however, nothing has been decided, and absolutely no decision has been made for unification on any basis. The indication that a unification agreement on the basis of a 0.1mm disc system is imminent is unfounded and erroneous. Given this, Toshiba does not intend to make any proposal on unification to the members of the HD DVD Promotion Group.

[b]We recognize that the key factors for a unified format are large capacity, reasonable cost, and backward compatibility with DVD that maximizes consumer benefit.

Toshiba will present a new higher capacity HD DVD-ROM disc at Media-Tech Expo 2005 in Las Vegas, USA, the optical disc manufacturing industry’s leading annual trade show.[/b]

Toshiba will continue to be engaged in the dialogue on format unification.

Here is the latest from the HD-DVD camp according to Mac World. They came out with the announcement that they now have 45 gig HD-DVD discs. It is a 3 layer disc with the plain vanilla 15 gig a layer format. Then, they also announced a new hybrid 5 layer Dual disc with a DVD on the back.

I see that press releases are flying again.

This whole thing is quite a soap opera. Let’s hope there isn’t a second season of it in 2006. :Z

Blu-Ray/HD-DVD farce is storm in a tea cup

Toshiba recently dashed hopes of any compromise with rival Sony to bridge the gap between the technologies and, more worryingly, the chasm now separating the leading players in the movie, games, consumer electronics and computing worlds. Now, Toshiba could be lying because - apparently, and personally I don’t believe it - big companies sometimes tell lies. Shocking but true, allegedly. […] More than the technical hurdles, it may well come down to who will be viewed as the winner and who will take one for the team. After all, this is just another stupid format farce. Anyone with a Betamax video buried in the attic can tell you that we’ve been here before. It was dumb then and it’s even dumber now.

Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Toshiba and Sony may actually be seeing sense, and the obscene amount of cash to made, from a single technology. Toshiba was first out of the gate to quash these reports as unfounded - but did admit that it is in talks. In my experience, the one that shouts ‘It’s not true’ first and loudest is the one most likely to pull the short straw in any outcome.

[…] Before this goes any further though, it should be made clear that all of the companies supporting each format have shareholders. This means they are a slave to the green. Which in turn means they have the loyalty of Judas and if there’s silver up for grabs they will betray, stab and string-up whomever they need to get it. Right now the whole market is posturing. The DVD equivalent of gibbering, rival football fans making lewd hand gestures to each other and shouting ‘Na-nana-na-na-na -my disc’s bigger than yours.’ It’s easy to pick a team before the technology is actually available and the depth of customers’ pockets has not yet been tested.

[…] it is likely that some form of compromise will be reached because no one wants confused customers. Confused customers = no sale.

I personally think Toshiba/NEC HD-DVD is easier and better for post-DVD standard for HDTV until something much better and more practical appears. If applications want size and multi-layer options so much, better use HDDs like DVDs right now. Seagate has 2.5-inch 120GB HDDs already. Samsung will probably soon start producing 16GB and 32GB flash memory products.