Industry Insiders Master Q&A thread IV: ONLY Questions to Insiders - Page 142 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #4231 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by wuffzack View Post

Makes sense, although small publishers who cannot afford the AACS licensing can't publish in high definition. As a loophole, would it be possible to master a BD-ROM with BDAV format without AACS, or is only BDMV with AACS allowed on read only discs?

I don't think so - I think the requirement is that any replicated BD25/BD50 must have AACS. Otherwise pirates could presumably reauthor BDMV as BDAV and stamp out discs without a certification trail leading back to the replicator.
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Oh, I never heard of AACS on DVD media. Can you provide a link with additional information? I googled but could not find much information. In Wikipedia I found:

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray...i-Blu-ray_Disc

This suggests AACS is optional for BD9. Any more insights or pointers to additional information are highly appreciated. Thank you!

I haven't looked at BD-9 in detail, so this might well be the case.

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post #4232 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mukha View Post

Are there currently any individual or collaborative efforts by authoring studios to develop advanced content online (in "the cloud" for Amir ) that is persistent across titles and not neccessarily title specific such as the Cars CarFinder game? An Xbox Live for dvd players so to speak. It could be a gathering place for all movie watchers regardless of the movie that would be in the player at the time.

Yes, the interactivity shown in the Sony booth at CES does this - a "Now Playing" screen which is very similar to the Playstation Store on the PS3, where you can see new trailers, access ringtones or other content, etc. Also Lionsgate's "MoLog" (movie blog) debuting on Saw IV in a couple of weeks is a generic feature which can be applied across multiple titles.
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Is any one aware of a 3rd party software developer working on such a software solution to either be licensed to studios to be included on all discs or to CE manufactures to include it in firmware updates?

Something along these lines was announced by ArcSoft and RCDB here. Excerpt:
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ArcSoft Unveils TotalMedia Extreme With BD Magic
Mon Jan 7, 2008 9:00am EST
New Connected Blu-ray Player Experience Debuts at CES
FREMONT, Calif.--(Business Wire)--ArcSoft, Inc. and Related Content Database Inc. (RCDB) will present an exclusive demonstration this week at CES of ArcSoft TotalMedia(TM) Extreme with BD Magic(TM), a new connected Blu-ray user experience for BD-Live players. CES attendees will get a first look at this new feature January 7-10 at ArcSoft's display in the Blu-ray Disc Association Pavilion LVVC, South Hall 2, Booth #26102.

BD Magic is an optional Blu-ray player feature that adds both a network content delivery channel and a powerful on-screen personal media library. BD Magic featured players receive updated Blu-ray trailers, Blu-ray sample scenes, and exclusive high-definition content direct to the Blu-ray player.

...


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post #4233 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Rigby Reardon View Post

This brings me to my questions to Talkstr8t:

Why are the BD+ specifications kept secret, considering that there is wide agreement among security experts that "security by obscurity" doesn't work?

I don't have any visibility into SPDC's (now Macrovision's) strategy, sorry.
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Do you think there is a way to make at least parts of the relevant specifications publicly available, just like most of the AACS specs are? This could alleviate concerns such as the ones voiced by the previous poster (if they are in fact unwarranted).

I doubt it. I'm confident, however, that if a BD+ implementation actually stepped "outside its sandbox" on a PC this would be immediately noticed by enough security experts that it would result in immediate and highly-negative publicity.

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post #4234 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

The future of HDM?

Comcast & Panasonic Unveil Portable HD DVR

The device will allow shows to be played anywhere.

http://www.tvpredictions.com/comcast010708.htm

Note that this device is a "tru2way" device. tru2way is the new consumer name for the OpenCable Platform, or OCAP, which is based on the same Java platform as BD-J. In other words BD-J content can easily be retargeted to run on a tru2way device, meaning the BD-J features on a Blu-ray release could be supported by televisions, set-top boxes, and DVR's supporting tru2way. The cable industry has committed to transition wholly to tru2way over the next eighteen months, so I expect to see Blu-ray features widely available on cable in the coming years.

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post #4235 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:23 PM
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Talk

Ive tested to author disc for both formats. And its very hard to find a good solution.

What would be the best rout to go if you have a master that is

1080/25P - 5.1 16/48

?
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post #4236 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Cinema View Post

This is for Talkstr8

My Panasonic BD30 is a great machine, but with java enable discs, it does seem to struggle with it. Menu selection is a bit sluggish and load times can seem long.

Will the upcoming BD Live 2.0 players be able to handle these discs better because of the additional local storage?

Will firmware updates help 1.1 players handle the java discs better?

Local storage doesn't really impact this (it's generally used for A/V storage), but upcoming players will run on increasingly powerful chips and will benefit from ongoing BD-J optimization. Firmware updates can also help with existing players.

- Talk

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post #4237 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

There were dreams 10 years back for a multicast enabled internet. Those dreams have long been dead. At least I have heard a thing for 5-6 years. Only Walled Garden type systems can deploy and take advantage of them now.

Take a look at this recent column from Robert X. Cringely (the PBS one, not the Infoworld one): The Once and Future King: Multicast looks to (finally) be the future of television.It has a great explanation of why multicast has not been used to-date and his prediction for why this will change.

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post #4238 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

For A BD Insider . . .

What can you tell us about BD profile 3.0. The Audio Only profile?

I don't know much about it, but as I understand it it's aimed at players which would not have to support video, just audio (presumably taking advantage of the advanced codecs and storage capacity).

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post #4239 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxpower1987 View Post

If you are referencing the Lik-Sang case, then Sony were well within their rights to get the court injunction.

That is my final say on the matter.

Actually I was thinking more of more expensive optical disc players/manufacturers/online sellers (or just consumer electronics/software in general).
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post #4240 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

Why do you see this being an issue? Is there something wrong with a single CEM providing players? Pioneer was very successful at it for years with LD.

"Very successful" is a relative term; laserdisc certainly never achieved widespread adoption, it remained a niche format. Presumably Toshiba has far higher aspirations for adoption of HD DVD.

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post #4241 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

Note that this device is a "tru2way" device. tru2way is the new consumer name for the OpenCable Platform, or OCAP, which is based on the same Java platform as BD-J. In other words BD-J content can easily be retargeted to run on a tru2way device, meaning the BD-J features on a Blu-ray release could be supported by televisions, set-top boxes, and DVR's supporting tru2way. The cable industry has committed to transition wholly to tru2way over the next eighteen months, so I expect to see Blu-ray features widely available on cable in the coming years.

This sounds intersting. Can you provide an example of what can be done (specially with the cable industry)?
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post #4242 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Helvetian View Post

Do you have any insight as to why WB has decided to slap HD DVD consumers in the face with delayed releases? I suspect Sony put that into their contract either in ink or verbally. And why didn't they wait until May to announce it?

Warner's reason for going exclusive Blu-ray is to try to accelerate adoption of high-def media. The strategy of delaying HD DVD releases relative to DVD and Blu-ray provides additional incentive for consumers to jump on-board (and presumably for current HD DVD owners to transition to Blu-ray sooner rather than later).

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post #4243 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

Why aren't all special features of HD-DVD that were filmed in high definition also on the HD-DVD in high definition (eg. in some of Universal's titles, the alternate/deleted scenes are on the HD-DVD in standard definition, even though they were originally filmed with the same resolution as the main film, and they appear on screen with huge black bars on all 4 sides of the screen).

In some cases (i.e. Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix) it's presumably due to capacity constraints (i.e. 30GB didn't provide enough room).

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post #4244 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:40 PM
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Just curious but if Blu-ray audio discs are ever released would they play on current Blu-ray players?
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post #4245 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

A few pennies in higher replication costs can be more-than-offset by value-added content taking advantage of the extra capacity. For instance, putting an iPod version of the movie or a PC or PS3 game on the disc would result in higher sales (or perhaps a higher list price), greatly overcoming any marginally higher replication costs.

So we're talking about raising the prices of discs instead of lowering them? Are there that many people that would be willing to pay more for a disc because it has an iPod Version or PSP version of the movie? Is there any survey data on this? The reason I ask is because it seems that although there is great value in getting the SD version of a movie as a Combo in HD DVD, most people refused to pay more for the disc and there was enough public outcry that Studio's shifted their stance.

Also, today we're talking about replication being higher in terms of dollars, not pennies. Is the technology curve expected to shift rapidly enough in the next year to increase yields and drop costs to where we're talking pennies?

Why is the cost so high today? Is it due to poor yields, longer replication cycles, hardcoat, or a combination of some/all of these? Or is there something else here that is part of manufacturing that increases the cost?

For HD DVD Insiders:

Wouldn't it also be expected that HD DVD replication costs drop over the next year as well? Or have they already hit some sort of floor?

Also, using Talks example of a PSP/iPod version of a movie taking less than 850MB, wouldn't it be relatively easy for this to be included on most if not all movies via an HD30?
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post #4246 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

In some cases (i.e. Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix) it's presumably due to capacity constraints (i.e. 30GB didn't provide enough room).

If so, why don't they put the bonus features on a second disc (it shouldn't cost them hardly anything extra)?
(PS: I was thinking of another Universal picture. I shouldn't complain too much cos at least it had bonus material but I really think these should be on disc in HD when they were recorded in HD (35mm film))
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post #4247 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dargo View Post

given that Sony alone can produce the 50GB BD and demand well out stripping supply

I've seen no indication whatsoever existing production facility for BD50 is insufficient to meet demand. Have you seen something to the contrary?

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post #4248 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PRO-630HD View Post

Max can you please explain then why the player profiles were not finalized at launch? The word from the BDA is secondary audio and video encoder, an ethernet port and 1gb of persisitent storage were left out to keep the cost of the players down. Players that were $1,000 to $1,500 at launch. While the competition had all this for $500. Why would you even implement a plan for multiple player configurations when the competition had all this out of the gate for 1/2 to 1/3 the price?

The profiles had nothing to do with cost. Secondary video was added fairly late in the specification process, and required newer silicon than was currently available from the chipset vendors. It takes time (in some cases years) to go from specification to final product; you need silicon, software, tests, and content, and it's difficult or impossible to progress to the next stage until you have everything from the previous one (i.e. you can't write much of the software to support secondary video until you have chipsets that enable it). Holding off the launch of Blu-ray for a year or more beyond the launch of HD DVD wasn't considered a viable option; spotting that much of a headstart to a competing format would be very difficult to overcome in the marketplace. Further, it's always a slower process to gain consensus from a large group of major CE vendors and studios than a smaller group (i.e. you have to get Sony, Panasonic, Philips, and others to agree to support for a given capability where Toshiba as the only major CE vendor on the HD DVD might be able to decide unilaterally).

As a result, launching with a grace period profile and a Final Standard Profile isn't an ideal solution, but it's preferable to the alternative of never launching the format at all. Given that none of the CE vendors switched formats, it would appear that the long-term benefits of Blu-ray were considered more compelling than the short-term negatives of a phased rollout.

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post #4249 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Now in other news….. Friday was my last day at Microsoft! Yes, that darn ice cream really got to me .

I must say this is a difficult departure. I love the company and the people I worked with from folks at the lowest ranks all the way up to Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. Having worked at half a dozen companies over my 30 year career, Microsoft ranks at the top of class with unbelievably high percentage of smart, passionate and driven individuals. Fortunately, the departure is very much amicable on both sides.

As a way of background, I came to Microsoft as part of a start-up we sold to the company some 11 years ago. Having worked non-stop for over a decade, when the last set of re-orgs came about, I thought maybe it is time to take a step back and take a new perspective on life. My oldest son is already in college and the other two are a couple of years away. Making a long story short, I decided to pass on being part of the new structure and managing a large organization again.

So I spent the last three months thinking of new things and came up with two product ideas that most of us here would kill for. Alas, while they are very exciting to us enthusiasts, I’m not sure they are the kinds of businesses that Microsoft should be in. Boy do I wish sometimes that there were a lot more of us than there are. So I decided to take the ideas with me into retirement. And here I am.

I must stay it was great fun brainstorming and not worrying about managing multi-hundred person teams. The joys of the start-up came back after a decade of working for a big public company!

Of course, no sooner than I let people know that I am leaving Microsoft that folks started to approach me left and right with other opportunities on the outside. So who knows how long this will last. But for now, I am going to try to catch up on personal projects piling up like unpacking the Vudu ( ), completing the audio testing, finishing the woodworking projects frozen in time in my shop, going on a few photo trips, firing up the computer controlled smoker to make some great BBQ, and of course, spending more time with the family.

Now I know a lot of you are surprised by this news. But don’t say I didn’t provide some breadcrumbs that this was coming . Did anyone notice that my signature says “retired?” And that it does not mention Microsoft? Likewise, when I talked about our new vacation home, in reality that is our retirement home that we are remodeling. Can’t wait to send the kids off and move there permanently and pick up fishing and farming full-time! NOT OK, so I am lousy in providing hints like this .

So there it is. My life an open book on AVS! Don’t say I ever hide anything from you!

Congrats Amir on your retirement -- I definitely understand your mixed feelings on this transition. I know that you will retain a certain level of loyalty to Microsoft but I must ask what your feelings are on Steve Jobs' announcement today? This could eventually be very serious competition to Microsoft in the field of downloaded entertainment media.

https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=977973
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post #4250 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Paul View Post

Just curious but if Blu-ray audio discs are ever released would they play on current Blu-ray players?

I was going to ask that same question. I figured that it would simply use the advanced audio codecs that the players could read but just have no video stream, or simple still images, etc.

Can any insider clear this up?

David Forbes

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post #4251 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jdg345 View Post

Can you explain how repplication subsidies fit into the scheme of things? If replication/software costs are currently artifically low for Blu-ray today, how are they [Sony] expecting to make profits?

The industry believes that process improvements will drive Blu-ray replication costs to be highly competitive with DVD (and perhaps even cheaper). Everything about high-def optical is an investment - no one has made a penny of profit yet in high-def media (either format) given the investments it has required. If Sony needs to subsidize replications costs until process improvements and scale bring costs to profitable levels it's just another form of investing in future profitability.
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Also, you mentioned that the launch HD DVD players were subsidized. Were the latter Gen2 and Gen3 units also subsidized? It seems that the A3 at least was not, so why don't we see Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players for $299? Or is 70-100% margin what CE's are looking for at this stage of the game? Is that normal for new products?

The Blu-ray vendors' strategies suggest that driving player costs down prematurely only devalues the format and leaves revenue "on the table". From an individual consumer's standpoint cheaper may be better, but from the standpoint of economic theory, brand equity, and consumer adoption behavior there's a price curve which maximizes return on investment for the vendors and provides the best chance at ultimately creating a sustainable marketplace.

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post #4252 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:17 PM
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Referencing Talks' profile explanation

To paraphrase the former Secretary of Defense McNamara then "sometimes you have to go to war with the army you have instead of the army you would like to have."

Thanks for an explanation that makes perfect sense.
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post #4253 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Technicolor View Post

Simple question to insiders...

1) Will we ever see Region-free Blu-ray players as easy as we see Region-free DVD players? Is there anything on Blu ray to prevent this from happening?

The only reason we see region-free DVD players is lax enforcement of player requirements. I don't expect to see the same widespread flaunting of requirements on the Blu-ray side.
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2) Will we ever see cheap chinese Blu-ray players WITH profile 2.0 as easy and widespread as we see cheap chinese DVD players? Is there any difference (between BD and DVD formats) on what profile certain manufacturers will be able to use?

Few believe that Blu-ray will ever be as ubiquitous as DVD, so players may not become the commodity which entry-level DVD has. Nonetheless, in a few years I'd certainly expect to see widespread availability of players, both mainstream and premium from first-tier vendors and entry-level (many or most with BD Live support) from the second- and third-tier vendors (many Chinese).
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3) Will I ever be able to put a BD movie on my computer and be able to capture screenshots of it?

Certainly with a good camera! I dunno about pressing a key...
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Imagining Blu-ray's victory... ten years from now, will all BD players still play DVDs? OR... will we see more and more players (who do not play DVD) in order to push the format?

I'd never expect to see a player which didn't support DVD. VideoCD was a niche format with infinitesimal adoption in most of the world, yet most DVD players still support it.

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post #4254 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Everdog View Post

What about all the problems Samsung and LG are having with BD-Java? It is my understanding that Samsung still has a player that will not play some Fox titles, and people are patiently waiting for FW.

Processes are underway to improve compatibility of titles prior to release. Nonetheless, a few titles have required firmware updates, and some vendors release firmware updates more promptly than others. Several HD DVD titles have required the same, but with only two platform vendors (Toshiba and Microsoft) it's easier to get the firmware updates out.
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Also, I noticed on my latest Disney disc that a disclaimer appears that says it may take 2-3 minutes for the disc to load, and that this is perfectly normal. That doesn't seem very well thought out to me. Did the CEs know that they were going to have issues with BD-Java, but created the players anyway?

A lot of things are happening "under the covers" during the loading time. Some of those won't be required on future titles due to platform improvements (which can be delivered through firmware updates). Increased player performance will also help, as will authoring optimization. So I'd consider the "2-3 minutes" a worst case scenario, with delays greatly improving over time.

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post #4255 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by eurotrance View Post

In light of the new Toshiba press release, can any insider explain to us why there has not been any single HD/SD SKU release of a blockbuster title ? Isn't that a weapon of atomic proportions in the current format war ?

The added cost is probably manageable (perhaps on the order of a few million, assuming $1/disc premium to do combo vs standard), given someone's willingness to subsidize that. There are other considerations, however, including replication capacity, consumer confusion (and resistance to dual-sided discs), higher return rates, etc. The question is whether the benefits outweigh the downside...

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post #4256 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jdg345 View Post

Based on this then, do you feel that CE players could be subsidized at the beginning (1st Generation that sells very few units anyways) and yet the company subsidizing them could make decent profits over the long term as well?

All the initial players are subsidized if you factor in R&D costs, even a $2K Marantz. The trick is managing the price curve such that as economies of scale kick in and production costs drop you can retain enough margin to eventually repay that R&D investment and earn the stockholders an acceptable ROI. Blu-ray companies generally contend that Toshiba's pricing, whether or not it covers the bill of materials, certainly doesn't provide enough margin to cover the R&D.

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post #4257 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by William View Post

BD/HD DVD max data rates is are listed as 53.95Mbps/36.55Mbps and 48Mbps/30.24Mbps (audio+video). What does the overhead of 5.95Mbps/6.31Mbps represent or used for?

It can be used for interactive assets (i.e. BD-J or HDi applications, images, menus, and subtitles, etc.).

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post #4258 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

First, we need to agree that building these players is difficult. It takes a lot of R&D and Toshiba is on a very fast upgrade cycles with three generations on two years.

Second, Toshiba has significant component advantages due to super high volume they do in players under their own brand, laptops, and devices they supply to us. Given how scarce blue lasers are, if you are not one their usual customers, you may have a hard time getting volume and good pricing.

So yes, it is challenging for other companies to attempt to compete on price with Toshiba. And even more so if you trying to build the player yourself.

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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Did you know that once the price of DVD players dipped below $99 every brand name company was losing money on them?

Given this, how can Toshiba possibly profit on a $99 HD DVD player requiring a vastly higher bill of materials, patent burden, and R&D, than does the production of a legacy DVD player?

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post #4259 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rod2467 View Post

China Adopts New HD Disc Standard

HD-DVD and CH-DVD are compatible, which means HD-DVD players (with additional software) can read CH-DVD, and vice versa.

This isn't true - the CH-DVD players don't have codec support for MPEG-2, VC-1, and AVC (they support the Chinese AVS codec instead), so they wouldn't be able to play HD DVD content. Conversely, HD DVD players don't have support for AVS, so they wouldn't be able to play CH DVD content.

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post #4260 of 4687 Old 01-15-2008, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

But I am sure that telling us who is producing BD 50's is not going to get you into hot water.

We know that Sony DACD is and we have just learned that these people will also:

http://www.marubenidisc.com/Azul_fil...e%20051507.pdf

So who else is pressing BD 50's?

With both Singular and Oerlikon now having BD50 replication equipment available we can presume that the replication industry will enable BD50 capability as the market requires.

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