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DVD Insider: Singing the Blu's

It's not over until the fat congressman sings By Miles Weston

Everyone is waiting for the Next Big Thing in storage, with too many people convinced that: a) it’s Blu-ray; b) it will be here shortly and c) it’s going to give you huge/cheap/high-quality video storage. But the DVD Insider sees a wrench in the works. Since content owners don’t like what the courts say about the color of their [broadcast] flag they have begun singing the blues to those fearless leaders they know will always act in Americans’ best interest: Congress. (?)

Remember…spin is a good thing!

Blue disk technology (either BD or HD) is good.  It will give you storage capacity of 25GB single layer, 50GB double layer.  Folks in Japan and other areas of the Pacific Basin have been buying BD recorders for about two years and have not only paid dearly for the hardware but also the cartridge discs.

Just don’t visit blu-raydisc.com for a listing of units you can buy anywhere else.

Lots of folks say that the two technology approaches are holding things up from getting burners, recorders and media to the market and making it hugely successful.  But that runs counter to logic since the organizations are working really hard to see how they can make the units—profitably—for sale under $1,000 and to make media that is priced under $35 per disc.

The word that Sony and Toshiba are now in discussions to develop one standard has been heralded as the definitive breakthrough and we can expect a “new” solution shortly.  Of course, they want a single standard as long as it incorporates “their” royalty-producing technology. The latest word is that these discussions have broken down. Big surprise!

While all of those with vested interests joined in the discussions, Matsushita (better known as Panasonic) has said they’ll let the key parties hammer out the details.  Of course Nakamura-San the company’s president was quick to add, “We cannot compromise on the point of the 0.1 mm [cover layer].”

Want to guess whose technology revenue stream that is? 

Compromise Is Really Hard, Everyone
Studios, hardware folks, software developers, media producers and retailers—all want a compromise.  It just makes good business sense.

Hollywood wants to cut its “piracy” losses.  New disc technology will mean people will have to throw out existing players and recorders.  Obviously the technology revenue stream is a lot more than an accounting rounding error.

By upgrading DVDs with Hi-Def content and interactive features it’s something they all hope you just gotta have!

Engineers on both sides of the aisle have spent years on their formats and compromising their technical children will be a hard pill to swallow.  Each side has convinced him/herself that they are the best solution. The two formats’ discs are made very differently. HD DVDs put the data layer in the middle. Blu-ray discs store data close to the surface and add a thin protective coating on the top.

A true compromise would send the engineers back to the drawing board. It will add years to the timetable.

Merging the formats will mean one side’s format is adopted, with a few compensating bones thrown in to satisfy the losers.   That will require a helluva sales/spin job!!! Common logic says that with the manufacturers and content owners involved it will take four to six months to hammer out the details of the compromise.  Then they have to develop, verify, test and fine-tune the specs.  Then the firms have to develop the prototype hardware, firmware and media so we’re really looking at 2008 before we see serious new products at retail.

Problem is a few of the folks in Japan just watched the great old movie remake starring James Dean “East of Eden”  and yes, they bought the authorized studio version.  They are about to play the deadly game of chicken (they are already in their cars and the starter has raised her arms).  Neither side is willing to budge and that just extends the uncertainty of when blue-ray technology will be available and which one will be victorious.  Putting both in a burner as was done with DVD is certainly possible as Sony did in the last race.  This time it won’t be as easy, technically or philosophically.

That’s making IDC’s projections that Blue technology will only have about 1% of the DVD burner sales by 2010 look dramatically optimistic… 

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Related Keywords:storage, Blu-ray, high-quality video storage, DVD Insider, content owners, flag, best interest, Congress

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  • DVD Insider: Singing the Blu's by DMN Editorial at May 23, 2005 10:02 pm gmt (Rec'd 4)

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