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Found this report. Looks like the gloves are coming off.

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The U.S. Department of Justice has begun a preliminary investigation into the activities of the group of companies developing and promoting the Blu-ray Disc format, according to a report in Sunday's online edition of the Wall Street Journal newspaper.


The investigation is into whether the group's members may have acted together to impede the technical progress of a rival standard being developed by the DVD Forum, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed source close to the DVD Forum.


Two of the largest companies backing the Blu-ray Disc format, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) and Sony Corp., declined comment on the report Monday morning. A Sony spokesman said the company had not seen the report, while a Matsushita spokesman said it was looking into the newspaper story. "This came out the of the blue for us," the spokesman said.


The battle between the Blu-ray group and DVD Forum is pitting some of the largest names in consumer electronics and computing against each other over the format for next-generation optical discs. The discs can store between four and six times as much data as today's DVD discs because they use more advanced blue laser technology, as opposed to red lasers used in DVDs.


The Blu-ray Disc Founders (BDF) group is made up of Hitachi Ltd., LG Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Philips Electronics NV, Panasonic, Pioneer Electronics Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., Sony and Thomson Multimedia SA.


A rewritable version of the format has already been standardized and Sony is selling a consumer video recorder based on the format in Japan. The group also recently received the endorsement of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and Dell Inc. for a read-only version, which is expected on the market sometime in 2005.


A rival format, called High Definition/High Density DVD (HD-DVD), is currently being developed by NEC Corp. and Toshiba Corp. under the DVD Forum, which is the standards body that created the DVD format. Many of the Blu-ray Disc backers are also members of the DVD Forum, having played a part in the development of current DVD standards.
 

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Quote:
"This came out the of the blue for us," the spokesman said.
That is funny, he should have said:


"This came out of the BLU for us"................


:D
 

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I just came across this story myself, on a news site. Unf#$%&ing believable. The DvdForum itself is far more guilty of stunting the growth of any new generation HD-DVD technology. This is the revenge of the DVDForum through their lackey`s at the DOJ because now nobody is considering a low-bitrate highly-compressed solution using the same old red laser. The general public should be grateful of what Sony, Matsushita, others have created. Now the Dvdforum see the real benefits of blu-ray over the last-minute choice of the Toshiba version. And they have chosen to fight dirty, rather than on the merits of their technology. Because they had to be such controlling, power freaks, the forum has essentially been the cause of its own demise. These other companies chose to form their own rival Blu-Ray group back when the DvdForum was still dragging its feet, proposing to go with the now defunct (thank you, blu-ray group) Warner-backed low bitrate Mp4 red laser solution. In this day and age of federal budget cuts, etc. somone ought to come along and explain this to a higher-up at DOJ for what it is, that they are being used.
 

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I used to fear a future format that used a red laser.


Now I know better. MPEG-2 is just too antiquated, and the storage of BLU-RAY cannot make up for it.


I hope to see BLU-RAY fail, by any means.


Unless they switch and use an advanced codec.
 

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I think it is good the DOJ is starting to look into how standards bodies sometimes hold up technology. Standards bodies often represent the interests of the major existing players in an industry and there is often an opportunity for mischief at the expense of progress. And certainly I think the BLU Ray group deserves this, though the DVD Forum could probably use some scrutiny also.


What I'm really hoping is for all this to shed some light on how Hollywood has used a filibuster in the copy protection standards process to hold up ALL high resolution multimedia advancement.


- Tom
 

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We should be moving on from two-layer max semi-transmissive/reflective optical discs for the next gen anyway. One huge potential format that promised to have backwards compatible players and the support of authoring stalwarts like Sonic Solutions was FMD (fluorescent multilayer disc). It had theoretical limits of over a terabyte of storage on a single disc with blue-laser implementation, well superceding anything out of the forum member bodies. Widescreen Review even did a big spread on them a while back before they apparently dropped off the radar screens...as to why, lets just hazard a guess, shall we?


I was very excited by FMD technology when it was killed midstride by the 2001 bubble burst and (I suspect) some help from the 'big boys' of consumer electronics. The whole thing reeked of the corporate stifling of upstart and truly revolutionary technology. Constellation 3D may rise again and FMD might just see the light of day in a few years...here's hoping.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael St. Clair
I used to fear a future format that used a red laser.


Now I know better. MPEG-2 is just too antiquated, and the storage of BLU-RAY cannot make up for it.


I hope to see BLU-RAY fail, by any means.


Unless they switch and use an advanced codec.
We don't need any new codec. MPEG2 is the standard for broadcast HDTV/ CABLE and Sat transmission. Voom even uses MPEG2 for HDTV, they use MPEG4 for SD transmission.


Apparently you don't care about the right to time-shift or arkive any programming. I have that right and I want to protect it. I will only buy digital recording system that uses MPEG2 codec.
 

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I would not stick with MPEG-2 just so a few legacy firewire devices don't break. That's silly.


- Tom
 

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I also wouldn't jump ship to the MP9 miracle cures Redmond offers...nothing like jumping from one tech-stifling monopoly to another. Compression alone is not the answer, we should be looking for a real leap forward in the underlying capacity of the medium with no low-hanging ceilings in sight, the only way to promote true innovation in the next HD phase of home media and applications we can't even imagine yet. Its stupid to keep trying to squeeze more into similar sized cans, that means we're only inching along the status quo--which is what the conservative suits want. We need a Tucker to their GM. MPEG-2/DD/DTS done right is fine if the disc can hold enough at a sufficiently high bitrate...a disc with terabyte capability could hold an entire film SERIES plus an encyclopedia of extras with interactivity like we've never seen before.
 

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Staying with MPEG-2 is assnine as MPEG-4 (no not DiVX either but real MPEG-4) is not only much more efficient but yields better image quality. Why stay in the past as others have said for a few legacy devices. Part of technology as anyone who own's a computer knows is that hey guess what whatever you've got will be obsolete by years end. Deal with it!
 

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HD-DVD should be MPEG4 or WM9 or some such new and superior codec. HD recordable DVD should be MPEG2 for obvious reasons.


But I do not like what I am seeing from the DVD forum. I like what I see from Sony more. Only time will tell who is better.


The DOJ thing is a joke. They need to investigate the DVD Forum.
 

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Quote:
Apparently you don't care about the right to time-shift or arkive any programming. I have that right and I want to protect it. I will only buy digital recording system that uses MPEG2 codec.
That is a total red herring. Many machines support multiple codecs, and there is no reason for an advanced-codec recorder to not support legacy datastreams for timeshifting.
 

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I agree that more advanced codecs (i.e. MPEG-4) should be considered...but only if the quality and usability and backwards compatibility issues remain a constant.


The point being everyone's freaking out about how to get the HD data onto today's disc standard or some slight advancement thereof. The entire standard for high-definition/next generation disc technology needs to be pushed to the next level, but everyone's consumed/distracted with inches over miles here. CES conglomerates want control and wide margins without much change/allowing newcomers w/ fresh ideas to get a foothold. That's asinine, IMHO.


Do you realize that the underlying technology of CD/DVD is well over twenty years old (think Atari-era)? To parallel things, most folks seem to forget that US auto manufacturers had fuel cell prototypes in the mid-1970s, yet they swallow their lines that we won't see those cars for another 10-20 years because it's "too new". Just a matter of motivation and the old money likes to 'milk the same cow' factors, I guess. In short, sure, put highly compressed HD onto a red-laser disc as a novelty now, but if that becomes our "visionary" standard...that's utterly pathetic.
 

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The firewire standard provides for more advanced codecs and does not mandate MPEG-2. It is just the current implementations that have only MPEG-2 support, mostly because nothing else was available in silicon when they were made.


So the firewire folks can decide to tie themselves to the few legacy devices that now exist or they can allow improvements others with new codecs that certainly will exist. But they have no call to try to cripple anything else.


Frankly, building decoders into a connectivity standard was probably not a very good idea to begin with. There will almost certainly be a firewire successor that can optionally just send uncompressed HD video when needed. But they didn't have the bandwidth on the first try.


- Tom
 

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You're correct. You can pump any kind of data over firewire. Its just high-speed serial bus. Firewire hard drives, scanners, etc. are familiar to us all.


So, it's just up to folks to create the software/drivers for new codec implementation. They fabricate ROMs to go in devices with said software and bingo... I mean, how tough can it be? They made DV/satellite work way back in the ancient 90s! ;)


We have Firewire 800 right now that theoretically has enough overhead for HD and the underlying IEE1394 spec allows for even faster transfer rates in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if there were announcements on this front at NAB.
 
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