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DVD Insider: Optical Storage Update

Blue laser fight rages on -- who wins? By Miles Weston

(6/27/05) We have actually been keeping score on which Hollywood studio and which content owner "signed up" for the HD- (HD-DVD) and Blu-ray Disc (BD) camps.  We actually wondered which wanted to limit their creativity with 15GB (HD) or expand their horizons with 25GB (single layer) and 50GB (double layer) capacity for their fantastic next generation video content and extras.
We thought about all the TV folks planning fantastic entertainment what they can beam to our digital TV sets with thrilling effects we can time-shift, copy and enjoy anywhere in the house or on the road.
We studied the HD and BD format approaches and tried to see how Hollywood and the TV folks could force the two parties to the table and hammer out a compromise.
As we slowly stepped back from our hours of research and stared at the papers strewn across the floor we had an epiphany: Those folks not only don't care which blue write-once and rewritable technology the industry delivers?they don't want either one!
All they want is a high definition ROM a disc you can buy, rent or borrow that allows you to view their movie, their TV series, their music audio and not copy. 

Does the consumer care?  Sure, eventually.  But at the present time a next-generation storage device/medium is low on his and her priority list because they need/want to buy new DTV sets, new cam-phones, new game systems, new PCs (Fig 1).  Then they need to struggle to interconnect them to share devices/content?even if it is the use of the printer.

Fig. 1

While consumers want all this content movement without wires (Fig 2), the reality is that today and for the near future the easiest way to accomplish this is with wire -- over coax or through your powerline.

Now that the FCC has mandated that consumers will have DTV sets by 2008, the consumer electronics industry is rushing to meet the demand.  Why the rush?  Well, digital signals require less bandwidth than analog signals, so this means the government can take back all of that wasted and unused bandwidth and sell it to someone else. Trust us, the way the U.S. is amassing its debt, the country can use all the money it can get!
As a result, the penetration curve for DTV will almost be as steep as DVD, which was the most rapidly accepted technology in our history (Fig 3).  How fast we "accept" the new enhanced TV is up for debate.  According to In-Stat's recent report more than 15.5 million HDTV sets will be sold this year worldwide and by 2009 that number will increase to 52 million. 

Fig. 3

On the other hand, Informa Media Group indicates that there were about 144.1 million Digital TV households worldwide and that by 2010 there will be roughly 369.8 million (Fig 4).

Fig. 4

That's enough to make the collective hearts of accountants beat faster at Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Mitsubishi and the rest of the plasma, LCD and projection TV suppliers.  Of course, that 2010 number is only roughly equal to the population of the U.S., so there will still be a lot of people left behind. 

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Related Keywords:Storage, next-generation DVD, Miles Weston, DVD formats, Hollywood studios, content owners, HD-DVD, Blu-ray Disc, BD, high-definition ROM


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