Sony might Compromise with HD-DVD? - AVS Forum
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Sony May Unite Blu-ray Disc, HD-DVD

Top exec says the two competing formats may come together.

Paul Kallender, IDG News Service
Thursday, March 24, 2005
After more than a year of touting Blu-ray Disc as the best technology to replace DVD for storing high-definition video, a top executive at Sony, one of Blu-ray's major backers, has opened the door to the possibility of unifying the format with its arch rival, HD-DVD

"Listening to the voice of the consumers, having two rival formats is disappointing and we haven't totally given up on the possibility of integration or compromise," Ryoji Chubachi, Sony's president-elect, said at a news conference Thursday in which he discussed the company's performance and future strategy.

The statement may surprise backers of the rival camps, who have assembled consortiums of major electronics companies, disc makers, and Hollywood studios to promote the formats in a battle that echoes one fought a quarter of a century ago between Betamax and VHS.

HD-DVD backers, which include NEC and Toshiba, say HD-DVDs can be produced for about the same price as DVDs and are backward-compatible with DVDs and CDs, making the format more convenient for both consumers and the industry. HD-DVD movie titles, PC drives, and players are all due out by the end of the year.

Sony has steadfastly promoted Blu-ray as a technology that has greater capacity, saying this makes the format more useful because more content can be stored on a disc. The technology also has wider support in the technology industry, although release dates for movie titles have not yet been announced.


Reaching a Compromise
Chubachi's comments mark the second time that a Sony executive has signaled the possibility of a compromise between the two camps. In January, Ken Kutaragi, executive deputy president of Sony, said a format war was not in the public interest and that Sony had not ruled out the possibility of uniting the formats.

As Sony's future president, Chubachi's remarks Thursday may carry more weight. Currently head of Sony's electronic components and manufacturing businesses, he will replace Kunitake Ando as Sony president on June 22 following the recent shake-up of Sony's top management. That shake-up saw Kutaragi step down from Sony's board, although he still heads its important gaming business.

Kutaragi also admitted in January that Sony, by supporting its proprietary audio encoding system and not the widely-supported MP3 format, had lost ground to competitors such as Apple Computer in the portable music player market, which Sony had once dominated with the Walkman.

While Sony's technological and engineering base is sound, the company must ensure that its products are aligned with the wants of consumers, Chubachi said. Sony's engineers have traditionally been regarded within the company as heroes and the creators of new markets, but recently their ideas have not always led to products that matched consumers' needs, he said.
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:49 PM
 
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Oh please,please unite! and I wonder how they could unite? I suppose Sony would want HD-DVD to adopt some of the things BLU-ray has to offer right? Anyway Sony really is just a giant pain in the ass. Can't they get onboard for the sake of the consumers who suffer through these "format wars". J.H.
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:52 PM
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How dare them unite the formats! What would we argue, I mean discuss on this forum without the furmat war?;)

In real life I am Dot Mongur champion of the International Pacman Federation. I don't play the game, I operate it.....no dot is safe from me....

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Old 03-24-2005, 05:45 PM
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This would be amazing if it happens. :)

Great ISF Job by Chad B.
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Old 03-25-2005, 05:38 AM
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Odd. Why does Sony suddenly back down from this fight?... they've never done that before.

It seemed to me that they had some momentum too.
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:25 AM
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"Odd. Why does Sony suddenly back down from this fight?... they've never done that before."

It seemed to me that they had some momentum too.

It is not odd they could not afford another bath in red ink so half a loaf is better than no loaf . The consumer is the winner as it will be the cheaper of the 2 formats HD-DVD that will first come out of the box and at the last minute announced they has a dual layer version this was the lynch pin is Sony's decision to blink .

They can still develop the higher capacity for computer storage market later on.

This must make all those healthy people a little nuts :)
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:57 AM
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Yes, I could see it is a big risk for Sony, and they have a lousy track record in these situations. Just seemed they had a better shot at the brass ring this time.

Assuming Sony does drop/merge Blu-ray, I wonder if this will keep HD-DVD movie prices artificially high... like CDs used to be. The price of movie discs won't be forced down the way it would in a format war.

I would hope the companies wouldn't use a unified, copy-protected format to gouge the public. Nah, they wouldn't do that, would they?

Hmmm. Is it wrong for me to hope the hackers can defeat the copy protection ASAP?
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:02 AM
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My first thought when I read this was that maybe Sony would continue fighting as hard as possible behind the scenes, but were saying this publicly so they wouldn't look like the bad guys. However, I don't think there is a lot of reason to do that at this point. Now I'm thinking maybe they are serious. If they aren't then I think going with these lines could be a bad move from a motivation standpoint to the people working on getting this stuff out on time. And I don't see how comments like these would help get new partners to sign up.

And for those who hate people at Warner for not just backing down to Sony, if Sony does end up giving in then I would say those people would have been successful at doing the jobs they get a paycheck to do, instead of just being negligent in their responsiblities as some think they should have done to deserve any respect.

If it does start to look like Sony will give in it will also be interesting to see if those who have seemed to indicate that the most important thing to them is no format war will be happy that they got that wish.

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Old 03-25-2005, 09:42 AM
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My take on this.

1) nothing new, that same gesture was done multiple times before, it just makes sense that no one wants a war.

2) I don't think it is a tech thing. Too late for that, I think it's one side trying to buy out one or more of the major players on the other side with a share in royalties

3) It does not say who will compromise with what. I don't see where it says Sony is throwing in the towel. It might be a way of letting an HD-DVD player to save face while joining BR

4) If it really meant anything it would have come up at some major show instead of macworld

5)Darin, it will be better news then the war and that will make me happy, it would be worst news then BR wins and that will make me sad. So a bit of mixed emotions and better then nothing
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:28 AM
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Supposedly at the end of March 2005 Sony will make final announcements on the PS3 and it's capabilities. Should be interesting.


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Old 03-25-2005, 10:31 AM
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I really don't know what to make of it.

If it really is to avoid a format war... I'm OK with that, as long as the interested parties are coming together in order to increase the chances of mass acceptance... which would increase economies of scale... which would drive down prices (media)... more sales, more scale... this benefits everyone.

If the goal is to unify and protect the format, in order to inflate prices (media)... that stinks. I guess if the price is too high, everyone will just keep buying regular DVDs... then no one wins... so they wouldn't want to do that.

Hmmm.
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:48 AM
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It'll be very interesting to see how the PS3 announcement goes.
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:09 AM
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I think Sony/Blu-Ray has the most to gain from a combined format. It allows for the economic efficiencies of HD-DVD movies, eliminates consumer confusion, and still introduces the core Blu-Ray recording technology.

Any compromise would be effectively a Blu-Ray recorder with HD-DVD reading capability.

There would be no point to compromise on the recording formats. The Blu-Ray ones are obviously superior. And I think it would take too long to redefine the specs.

But, if the savings for manufacturing HD-DVD movies are as significant as some claim, the consumer would be able to have HD-DVD as a base/transition movie format.

And Columbia, et al, could release "Superbit" style videophile releases on BD-ROM. Taking advantage of the 20GB more storage for lossless audio, and maximized video bitrates.

Toshiba has and will reject the overtures because the compromise is not going to be Sony abandoning Blu-Ray for HD-DVD.

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Old 03-25-2005, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AnthonyP
My take on this.

1) nothing new, that same gesture was done multiple times before, it just makes sense that no one wants a war.

2) I don't think it is a tech thing. Too late for that, I think it's one side trying to buy out one or more of the major players on the other side with a share in royalties

3) It does not say who will compromise with what. I don't see where it says Sony is throwing in the towel. It might be a way of letting an HD-DVD player to save face while joining BR

4) If it really meant anything it would have come up at some major show instead of macworld

5)Darin, it will be better news then the war and that will make me happy, it would be worst news then BR wins and that will make me sad. So a bit of mixed emotions and better then nothing
I agree with you on this, it doesn't say they are giving up on blue-ray at all it just says they want to try and come up with some compromise to help the consumers out. This whole article didn't make a whole lot of sense when i read it cause there are no details at all on what they want to do. Sony's might have the idea in their mind that a compromise is that HD-DVD goes away and everyone picks up BR. The article is incredibly unclear.
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Old 03-25-2005, 02:22 PM
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Originally posted by dialog_gvf
I think Sony/Blu-Ray has the most to gain from a combined format. It allows for the economic efficiencies of HD-DVD movies, eliminates consumer confusion, and still introduces the core Blu-Ray recording technology.

Any compromise would be effectively a Blu-Ray recorder with HD-DVD reading capability.

There would be no point to compromise on the recording formats. The Blu-Ray ones are obviously superior. And I think it would take too long to redefine the specs.

But, if the savings for manufacturing HD-DVD movies are as significant as some claim, the consumer would be able to have HD-DVD as a base/transition movie format.

And Columbia, et al, could release "Superbit" style videophile releases on BD-ROM. Taking advantage of the 20GB more storage for lossless audio, and maximized video bitrates.

Toshiba has and will reject the overtures because the compromise is not going to be Sony abandoning Blu-Ray for HD-DVD.

Gary
I think you have a good point, what you just said sounds like it could work well, using hd-dvd as a spring board for blue-ray, giving hd-dvd the majority of initial sales and then blue-ray getting sales later, allowing both to get some good sales. All of this while making it easy for consumers.
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Old 03-25-2005, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by spikemike
I think you have a good point, what you just said sounds like it could work well, using hd-dvd as a spring board for blue-ray, giving hd-dvd the majority of initial sales and then blue-ray getting sales later, allowing both to get some good sales. All of this while making it easy for consumers.
This makes sense to me as well. I just don't know if its techically doable before these discs are set to ship; and as was mentioned, I don't know if the HD-DVD guys would go for that kind of comprimise. You would think that they would; but these guys are kind of hard to predict.

Hal
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Old 03-26-2005, 08:34 PM
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It only matters if you have an HDTV that has a DVI or HDMI connector. For the majority of HDTV owners, we don't have those interfaces. We are the ones getting screwed. The best thing that will ever happen is that they unify under one camp, use one encryption technology, it gets hacked and we can play the movies on machines that use Component Video connectors.
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Old 03-27-2005, 01:47 PM
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So does this mean that Blu-ray would play on a HD-DVD Machine and HD-DVD On a Blu-ray Machine?
Thanks for any help
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Old 03-27-2005, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kevinuk
So does this mean that Blu-ray would play on a HD-DVD Machine and HD-DVD On a Blu-ray Machine?
Thanks for any help
Well, *IF* (a big if) there is a compromise, we would see one format come out which would be the same for all machines. There wouldn't be specifically Blu-Ray or HD-DVD machines.

So, whatever the compromise was (e.g. Blu-Ray recording, BD-ROM, and HD-DVD-ROM) would be available on all machines.

It clearly would be the best for the consumer. But, I don't think Toshiba will go for it.

The problem is, it WOULD delay introduction (a la DVD).

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Old 03-27-2005, 08:37 PM
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The best possible compromise IMHO will be to accept the Ble Ray format, but under the name HD-DVD. Every HD-DVD disc, starting from the first release should be the propsed by JVC Blue Ray layer over a normal DVD layer. All new HD releases will be playable in all existing DVD players, but those equipped with the new players will benefit the most. Huge marketing opportuinity.
That will be the fastest way for public acceptance of the new format. Sales will be huge and even Toshiba/NEC will be comensated well enough for giving up all those years of research and development just by giving the new format the strong HD-DVD brand name and gettng a fair share of the increased (compared to war scenario) royalties.
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Old 03-27-2005, 09:27 PM
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Lets hope blu-Ray's advantages like larger capacity, 1080/24p support and H.264 High Profile encoding will be kept whatever happens.

I really hate compromises that reduce the quality of the end product for no real gain.
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Old 03-27-2005, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Carled
Lets hope blu-Ray's advantages like larger capacity, 1080/24p support and H.264 High Profile encoding will be kept whatever happens.

I really hate compromises that reduce the quality of the end product for no real gain.
I don't see a compromise happening since Toshiba has a lot to gain if HD-DVD succeeds. Even if HD-DVD only has a 10% chance of success I think Toshiba would still release it. Sony has tried to make a deal before and this is actually the second time they have asked. What I find a little amusing is that some Sony bashers like REWJR think this is an indication that HD-DVD is doing well. Actually Sony sees they are in the better position which is why they are publically making the offer. Truth is the deal of the offer is probably not that good but personally I would advise the HD-DVD backers to accept it.
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Old 03-28-2005, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveInBerlinNJ
Odd. Why does Sony suddenly back down from this fight?... they've never done that before.

It seemed to me that they had some momentum too.
Sony is now under new management. It is possible that these new managers are more pragmatic than those they replaced. Sony has never won a format war. The best they have managed is a stalemate. Given that track record, another format war does not seem to be in their interests.
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:58 AM
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"Sony is now under new management. It is possible that these new managers are more pragmatic than those they replaced. Sony has never won a format war. The best they have managed is a stalemate. Given that track record, another format war does not seem to be in their interests."

Here Here .. A Spiderman franchise and PS3 will only stem the bleeding for so long as the cost of purchasing a studio and fighting this format war could be to much and in the end money talks ...
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Old 03-28-2005, 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by ADGrant
Sony has never won a format war. The best they have managed is a stalemate.
Not true at all.

- Minidisc beat DCC, the chief competitor
- Playstation, Playstation 2 have both trounced the competition in the game world
- Beta (professional) became the defacto standard for broadcast. It's still the standard today.
- Compact discs. 'nuff said

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Old 03-28-2005, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ADGrant
Sony is now under new management. It is possible that these new managers are more pragmatic than those they replaced. Sony has never won a format war. The best they have managed is a stalemate. Given that track record, another format war does not seem to be in their interests.
Wasn't Betamax mostly because Sony was unwilling to (reasonably) licence the
technology to other companies ? Does not seem to be the same this time 'round.

I want HDTV 'cause I'm nearsighted !
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:54 PM
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Yes. Sony made a stupid decision not allowing others to license their Betamax technology, until it was too late.

The three reasons often quoted for Betamax failing as a home format were selection, price and recording time (2 hours for VHS v. 1 hour for Betamax)

The situation is clearly very different this time.

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Old 03-29-2005, 10:57 AM
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Originally posted by bwiklem
Not true at all.

- Minidisc beat DCC, the chief competitor
- Playstation, Playstation 2 have both trounced the competition in the game world
- Beta (professional) became the defacto standard for broadcast. It's still the standard today.
- Compact discs. 'nuff said
Minidisc failed in the market. The fact that another format failed also does not change that fact..

The Playstation did not win a format war since their was no format war in that case. No one expects there to be just one video game console or all the video game consoles to paly the same games. Video games machines are so cheap you can buy several if you want and they become obsolete and are replaced on a regualr basis.

Beta (professional) is not used to deliver movies or music direct to consumers so no format war there either.

Compact discs. Again there was no format war with CDs and they were a huge success. The format war was for CD's replacement DVD-Audio or SACD. Like Minidisc and DCC both formats are failures. I really hope taht the HD_DVD and Blu-Ray format war does not result in a simlar situation.

There have been two successful audio formats since the 33rpm LP. Compact cassette (ugh) and CD.

There have been two successful video formats, VHS (ugh) and DVD. LaserDisc was able to co-exist as a niche because VHS sucks so bad. DVD killed it off though.

The problem is that DVD is such a good format it is going to be tough to replace. Fragmenting the relatively small market for Hi-Def is going to make success very difficult.
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Old 03-29-2005, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ADGrant
Minidisc failed in the market. The fact that another format failed also does not change that fact..

I don't think that really applies. There was not a competing format that killed Minidisc.
The existing CD standard was essentially unmoved by Minidisc, and the CD players
biggest problem, size, was solved by a completely different technology, cheap flash
and small hard disc players.

Quote:
Compact discs. Again there was no format war with CDs and they were a huge success. The format war was for CD's replacement DVD-Audio or SACD. Like Minidisc and DCC both formats are failures. I really hope taht the HD_DVD and Blu-Ray format war does not result in a simlar situation.
Certainly possible that people may yawn at HD formats in general. And having a
"videophile" market does not necessarily save a market, as per the laser disc format,
which never caught on widely enough to be a breakout format.
Quote:
The problem is that DVD is such a good format it is going to be tough to replace. Fragmenting the relatively small market for Hi-Def is going to make success very difficult.
I agree, but there is a major difference in the market now than before. The electronics
costs are cheaper, and the physical format is the same, which tends to argue that even
if HD were to become a nitche format, it would morph into a funny logo appearing on
standard DVD players. I.e., the extra cost would decline to the point where it could
simply be a checkbox on the players capabilities list.

The one thing I think everyone here can agree on is that the takeup for any HD
format is going to be slow, since it cannot go any faster than the take up for HDTVs,
which are not moving particularly fast, either.

I don't think there is a possibility that an HD format will be rejected by the market.
The difference between an HD and standard DVD format is much more apparent
than between DVD-audio and CD formats, and Fox already failed with a "DVD like"
TV signal vs. HDTV. The stage is well set for this next adventure.

I want HDTV 'cause I'm nearsighted !
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Old 03-29-2005, 01:53 PM
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The one thing I think everyone here can agree on is that the takeup for any HD
format is going to be slow, since it cannot go any faster than the take up for HDTVs,
which are not moving particularly fast, either.
no

1) with laptops going 16:9 an BR or HD-DVD should be better
2) unless players need HDMI, higher resolution at any part is better. So someone could buy a 2g player for latter use or buy a second 2g player for the room with a TV just in case they want to see the movie in the othe room and so that they don't need two copies of a movie. (if you have 10-20 movies in 2g is it better to get a second player for the other room or buy all those 10-20 movies in DVD format

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I agree, but there is a major difference in the market now than before. The electronics
costs are cheaper, and the physical format is the same, which tends to argue that even
if HD were to become a nitche format, it would morph into a funny logo appearing on
standard DVD players.
agree, and said it many times if BR (or HD-DVD) penerate enough of the market and the price falls enough DVD players will become obsolete
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