AfterDawn: Tech news

Toshiba introduces slim HD DVD writer

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 04 Sep 2007 8:28 User comments (25)

Toshiba introduces slim HD DVD writer At the IFA show in berlin, Toshiba unveiled its latest external HD DVD writer and Super-Multi drives for the PC. As of now, the drives are lacking of interesting names and are known only as HD DVD-Writer and HD DVD Super-Multi.
With the exception of the names, the drives are actually pretty impressive. They are very slim, 128 by 126 by just 13mm, and the "HD DVD-Writer supports CD, DVD+/-RW, HD DVD-ROM, and single and double-layer HD DVD-R formats. The HD DVD Super-Multi supports all of the above except HD DVD-R."

Each of the drives can easily connect to your PC or laptop and can upscale standard definition DVDs. They are currently available in the UK for 200.

Source:
CNet

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25 user comments

14.9.2007 8:30

Man Toshiba is all over the HD market...I love it! Something new every week!

24.9.2007 9:01

YEAH a new slim AOD Player. Fix the over heat problems right Now.

34.9.2007 9:20

Finally, my DVD writer is having problems ripping movies to my HDD and I been looking all over for and HD-DVD upgrade. Toshiba has been having a hell of week and are now addressing the only real advantage BD ever had.

44.9.2007 11:42
hughjars
Inactive

200 for an HD DVD burner.

Nice.

Less than half the price of a Blu-ray buurner and HD DVD stand-alones will play HD DVD -R discs.

This is in stark contrast to Blu-ray stand-alones which don't.....and if you don't believe me go look up the pdf manual for the Sony S300 Blu-ray stand-alone which clearly states it cannot play BD -R & BD -RE discs.

54.9.2007 12:02
camaro17
Inactive

this wont matter that much(dont get me wrong its still a big jump)...blu-ray had this technology a while ago blu-ray will win the format war it already is outselling hd dvd 4-1 sorry microsoft and all hd dvd supporters but sony and samsung(along with many other companies) worked hard on blu-ray and its gonna pay off

64.9.2007 12:03
camaro17
Inactive

this wont matter that much(dont get me wrong its still a big jump)...blu-ray had this technology a while ago blu-ray will win the format war it already is outselling hd dvd 4-1 sorry microsoft and all hd dvd supporters but sony and samsung(along with many other companies) worked hard on blu-ray and its gonna pay off

74.9.2007 14:22
flyingv
Inactive

The idea of a slim recorder is nice but I wish the would focus on lowering the prices on what they already have on the market.

84.9.2007 14:46
hughjars
Inactive

Originally posted by camaro17:
blu-ray will win the format war it already is outselling hd dvd 4-1
- Er, 4 - 1 of what exactly?

The problem those who rely on such ratios and percentages have to face is that 100% more of almost nothing is still almost nothing.

Neither high def format is selling in huge numbers yet so sweeping claims that one has already won are absurd.

.....and just out of interest what are you claiming Blu-ray 'leads' by 4 to 1?
Cos if it's movie sales you're wrong and the gap has been closing lately.

Hence Viacom/Paramount dumping Blu-ray.

Originally posted by camaro17:
sorry microsoft and all hd dvd supporters but sony and samsung(along with many other companies) worked hard on blu-ray and its gonna pay off
- Er, you do know that Samsung abandoned it's former 'Blu-ray exclusive' stance as a hardware manufacturer and now is about to release a dual format player?
....or that they already sell HD DVD laptop/notepads?

Blu-ray is very far from 'paying off' - especially since it cost it's backers an absolute fortune in investment R&D and manufacturing plant costs.

Happily for HD DVD it cost relatively speaking almost nothing being based more closely on existing DVD technology.

Who wants to spend over twice as much on a Blu-ray burner when the HD DVD burner costs so much less and does everything just as well?

We'll even get a little more capacity with HD DVD when the 51gb discs arrive.

.....and if BD -R & BD -RE discs won't play in a Blu-ray stand-alone what are they for anyways?
(check page 6 of the Sony S300 Blu-ray stand-alone's pdf manual, it won't play BD -R or BD -RE discs)

Besides copying high def movies what on earth does anyone imagine there will be a great demand for these for anyways (given that DVD9 didn't exactly set the world alight in sales numbers)?

Even ripping Blu-ray movies won't be a problem for the 30gb dual layer HD DVD discs as, rather ironically given the PR & spin, the truth is that the majority of Blu-ray releases to date are on single layer 25gb discs!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Sep 2007 @ 14:53

94.9.2007 14:49

Originally posted by camaro17:
this wont matter that much(dont get me wrong its still a big jump)...blu-ray had this technology a while ago blu-ray will win the format war it already is outselling hd dvd 4-1 sorry microsoft and all hd dvd supporters but sony and samsung(along with many other companies) worked hard on blu-ray and its gonna pay off
At this point in the game your opinion has no merit. The bottom line is...who ever can get their products out the cheapest, stands a much better chance of winning. The general public are not audio/videophiles and the masses want the latest technology as cheap as possible. This general way of thinking is why Walmart has done so well. The only reason i got into HD-DVD is because I scored the amazon $211 shipped deal. other wise I would still just be rocking a Upconverter. Sony needs to quickly get some cheap players/burners out before too many people jump on the HD-DVD bandwagon. As for us A/V nuts out here we can just sit back and enjoy the ride! MUWAHAHA

104.9.2007 15:05

With this new HD DVD writer , HD DVD will definitely win. I own a ps3 and watched some blu ray movies and there great but at my friends house when we saw some HD DVD movies , there is alot of differnce : 1 ) Cheaper players and xbox
2 ) Movies are cheaper
3 ) Burners are cheaper
4 ) More exclusive special features
5 ) Picture quality is a bit better ( imp )
I was stupid buying a ps3 , cos really blu ray is already a dead format. Now i hv 2 save up for the elite :)

114.9.2007 16:20
camaro17
Inactive

@hughjars i heard personally that its outselling hd dvd 2-1 but someone on this site said that they asked a guy at best buy and he said 4-1 and im not calling you a liar but where did you hear that there's gonna be a 51gb hd dvd because i think that they would make more than 1 gb bigger than blu-ray because sony could make a 52 gb disc and that would be better and is the 51 single or dual layer? and when i say pay off i mean if it wins the format war.......and there are alot more blu-ray exclusives and didnt disney go blu-ray?(tell me if wrong)

124.9.2007 17:12
hughjars
Inactive

Originally posted by camaro17:
@hughjars i heard personally that its outselling hd dvd 2-1 but someone on this site said that they asked a guy at best buy and he said 4-1
- "someone in a shop said" isn't usually the best grounds to be making that kind of claim.

The truth is that since inception (well over 1 year ago) Blu-ray has sold approx 2.2 million retail movie discs to HD DVD's 1.5 million movie discs.

.....and if I say that regular DVD sold 750 million movie discs last year alone maybe you'll see what I was getting at when I said 100% more of almost nothing is still almost nothing?

Originally posted by camaro17:
and im not calling you a liar
- Thanks for that! :P

Originally posted by camaro17:
but where did you hear that there's gonna be a 51gb hd dvd
- The 51gb triple layer disc has been common knwoledge for quite some time now.
Originally the design was based on 15gb layers and there was a 45gb triple layer disc demonstrated.

Obviously it's a handy marketing stat but the 51gb comes from a refinement in the HD DVD design allowing 17gb layers.

The interesting thing is that the 17gb layered design & 51gb discs have now been formally submitted to the DVD Forum (they must approve the design as meeting the formally laid down industry standard before it goes out to production & sale).

Originally posted by camaro17:
because i think that they would make more than 1 gb bigger than blu-ray because sony could make a 52 gb disc
- No it doesn't work like that, it's about the amount of information each layer can cope with.

Perhaps you've forgotten Blu-ray once claimed they could go to 100gb discs (4 x their 25gb layers)? Or a double-sided 200gb flipper?

Unfortunately for them they can't get decent yields out of their dual layer 50gb discs (yields as low as 10% have been mentioned) and the 50gb disc remains enormously expensive - see what Viacom/Paramount had to say about BD production costs when they dumped Blu-ray.

Originally posted by camaro17:
and that would be better and is the 51 single or dual layer?
- It's going to be 17gb per layer so dual layer will be 34gb & triple layer 51gb.

HD DVD being based much more heavily on existing DVD tech has so many less problems as the tech is so much better known.

Mind you, some guy has claimed to have a way of cramming 10 layers on either format and another lab claimed to be able to cram 1tb on a disc.....but that's nothing like the same as saying they would be suitable for real-time video playback.

Originally posted by camaro17:
and when i say pay off i mean if it wins the format war.
- It's just far too soon to say that.
In fact after the Viacom/Paramount move to be HD DVD exclusive the one thing we can say about this IMO is that Blu-ray probably cannot now win.

But in fairness it also is true to say that HD DVD might not actually 'win' either (tho I think this is much less likely an outcome).
But it could be that people will prefer to stick with their regular SD DVD and have it upscaled on their HD TVs and get their HD content from downloads, satellite, cable or free-to-air TV.

Originally posted by camaro17:
.....and there are alot more blu-ray exclusives and didnt disney go blu-ray?(tell me if wrong)
- You're wrong. :)

Before Paramounts announcement a Blu-Ray supporter had access to 62% of all available HiDef titles, while a HD DVD supporter had access to 61%.

After the Viacom/Paramount/Dreamworks/MTV Film/Nickelodeon announcement the HD DVD supporter still has 61% - that hasn't changed, but the Blu-Ray supporter now has only 55%.

This does not take imports into account or disks distributed in other countries (HD DVD's Studio Canal releases aren't there in those stats for instance). The figures are based on:

http://www.blu-raystats.com/index.php

http://hddvdstats.com/index.php

Which cover American releases only.

Neither owner gives up on half of all available titles.

The HD DVD supporter misses out on 39% while the Blu-Ray owner now misses out on 45%.

But if you take into account that 60 of those supposedly 'exclusive' Blu-ray titles are in fact available on HD DVD internationally (which thanks to HD DVD being region-free everytime you can buy without worry) it turns out Blu-ray currently has in fact only 124 or so exclusive titles (and that was before this move by Viacom/Paramount. MTV Film/Dreamworks/Nickelodeon).

Now that they have decided so decisively Paramount will begin to ramp up production which will actually end up making a much bigger difference than before or is visible in those numbers too
(and offsetting the return of Fox to Blu-ray disc production.......cos they were nowhere to be seen until their announcement the day after Paramount spoke - and have yet to deliver into the market anything tangible).

In the USA there are 292 HD DVD movies available according to this site here -
http://hddvdstats.com/index.php

this compares to Blu-ray's 297 according to the stats here -
http://www.blu-raystats.com/index.php

These sites also currently show
(and remember this is pre-the Viacom/Paramount move)
Blu-ray with 184 exclusive movies and HD DVD with 179.

But as mentioned earlier this is not true.

Those numbers only apply to movies sourced within the USA; in fact the Blu-ray total is approx 60 less 'exclusive movies' than claimed; so Blu-ray actually has only 124 or so genuinely 'exclusive movies' to HD DVD's 179 exclusive films.

That's thanks to different publishing and distribution deals in other parts of the world
(and thanks to HD DVD being region-free everytime)
so you can source over 60 of those supposedly 'Blu-ray exclusive' movies internationally on HD DVD because they are actually only 'Blu-ray exclusive' in the USA.

These sites show you which and how; there are lists of over 60 of those movies here -
http://areahd.dvdtiefpreise.com/?p=109
and here
http://forums.highdefdigest.com/show...5960#post45960

So in fact HD DVD has just over 60 additional discs to add to the total available claimed at this site (292 + 60 = ) 352 in total currently available HD DVD movies to Blu-ray's total of 297, giving HD DVD a significantly larger amount of available content.

Just in from CEDIA 2007

Warner, Universal, Paramount, Dreamworks and Dreamworks Animation to release 125 new titles by the end of '07.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Sep 2007 @ 8:39

134.9.2007 18:07
camaro17
Inactive

is blu-ray region free?

145.9.2007 5:52
hughjars
Inactive

Originally posted by camaro17:
is blu-ray region free?
- No.

HD DVD is region free every time.

Both formats are supposed to be region-locked for SD DVD
(but I'm sure I've read of a crack for some of the Toshiba HD DVD players).

Blu-ray high def movies are region locked although some studios choose not to use that at present on some older movies.

But if you live in the USA I'd forget about it, I think it's only some of the 'Euro' Blu-ray movies that come without regional coding.

The region coding on the high def discs would bother me (cos it gives HD DVD that extra movie content for a start) but I wouldn't worry too much about the SD DVD locking, you're probably going to have your SD DVD player hanging around for a couple of years yet......sadly it's going to be a long time until we have a complete 'one box' solution whatever happens.
I can see no sign of anyone including Divx/Xvid SD DVD playback in their high def players, there are a couple of DVD-Audio capable units and IIRC 1 or 2 of the Sonys can do SACD.
But none of them combine everything yet.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Sep 2007 @ 5:57

155.9.2007 10:32

Region coding is so dumb. I kind see how it was maybe needed in the pass due to PAL/NTSC/Secam but HD is HD. Also hughjar the 34 GB disc are a done deal so thats great because the average TrueHD soundtrack is about 4 GB.

165.9.2007 17:32
hughjars
Inactive

Originally posted by plutonash:
Region coding is so dumb.
- So true. Another relic they seem determined to cling on to of how business used to be done now long since over-taken by technology.

Originally posted by plutonash:
Also hughjar the 34 GB disc are a done deal so thats great because the average TrueHD soundtrack is about 4 GB.
- This is true (having actual working discs helps enormously with approval from the DVD Forum......and the fact that 17gb & 34gb discs will work with all existing HD DVD players is a big hurdle overcome).

It'll be interesting to see how they go with the TL 51gb discs.
It may be that the 3rd layer can only be used & read by these latest PC drives and only the very latest gen 3 players.

On the other hand there is absolutely no sign of the industry demanding the big disc and as you rightly say
(and as we can see from the Euro release of the long King Kong movie - the Euro version came with HD audio)
30gb is/was plenty sufficent; the 34gb discs will just provide that little extra headroom
(which ought to silence those who pretend HD DVD can't do that tiny fraction of movies like LOTR the extended editions).
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Sep 2007 @ 17:33

175.9.2007 18:35
dblbogey7
Inactive

Originally posted by hughjars:
.and the fact that 17gb & 34gb discs will work with all existing HD DVD players is a big hurdle overcome).
hughjars: I'd appreciate a link for this preferably an actual statement from Toshiba or maybe amirm or another insider - just for reference. I haven't been keeping up with the latest from amirm.

Quote:
and as we can see from the Euro release of the long King Kong movie - the Euro version came with HD audio.
I'd also appreciate a link to either a review or a vendor that gives the soundtrack specs on the Euro version of King Kong. I don't have the US HD DVD of this film yet but if the EU version has Dolby True HD or DTS HD Master Audio then I would consider importing it - especially if it has the same VC-1 encode as the US version.

According to this thread the EU version of King Kong has DD+ like the US version and not Dolby True HD :

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=822245

Quote:
EU King Kong (2005)
Codec - VC-1
Length - 3:07:05
Movie Size - 28,711,675,904*~
Disc Size - 29,628,739,665
Total Bitrate - 20.46
Calculated Video Bitrate - 16.36
Main Audio Track - DDPlus 5.1 1536Kbps


BUT if you have proof that the EU version has lossless True HD audio then like I said I would probably import it.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Sep 2007 @ 18:51

186.9.2007 5:30
hughjars
Inactive

Originally posted by dblbogey7:
hughjars: I'd appreciate a link for this preferably an actual statement from Toshiba or maybe amirm or another insider - just for reference. I haven't been keeping up with the latest from amirm.
- I'll get back to you on this.

I believe the technically minded can see it in the original specs spin & read speed specs......which is how come people knew to ask questions about the 3rd layer on gen 1 & 2 players.

Mind you I have seen it said that going from 15gb - 17gb per layer will probably be about as difficult as it was for CD players to go from 650MB to 700MB.

Originally posted by dblbogey7:
I'd also appreciate a link to either a review or a vendor that gives the soundtrack specs on the Euro version of King Kong.
- Here I have to hold my hands up and apologise for my mistake, I was wrong.
It was something I'd misread and not what I said it was.

The truth is that the European release of King Kong has quite a few audio tracks on it.
If you figure out their total size, it's easy to see that a TrueHD track could have fitted on the same title.

I admit that's not the point I was trying to make, but it's not a million miles off of it either.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Sep 2007 @ 5:55

196.9.2007 6:25

Originally posted by hughjars:
- I'll get back to you on this.
I'm also interested in an official announcement from Toshiba on this one.

Someone correct me on this but AFAIK the 15 GB per layer discs need read speeds of 1x, 2x, 4x etc with max raw data transfers of 36.55 Mbps. OTOH the 17 GB per layer discs would require read speeds of 1.5x, 3x, 4.5x etc with max raw data transfers of about 54 Mbps.

208.9.2007 16:20
hughjars
Inactive

Breaking news, more to follow.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScreenDigest
DVD Forum approves 'bigger than Blu-ray' HD DVD
07 Sep 07
Country: China, USA
Source: Online Services/Intelligence/Video and DVD/Updates

The DVD Forum, the international DVD standards authority, has approved a 51 GB single-sided triple-layer HD DVD disc for production. Extension to the HD DVD standard, which was submitted by Toshiba in April, received approval on 31 August 2007. Other recent developments include:

A single-sided triple-layer HD DVD/DVD hybrid (combi) disc, the DVD layer of which would be playable by legacy DVD players, is expected to be approved before the year end.

The Forum has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China's Optical Memory National Engineering Research Centre (OMNERC) regarding licensing of the HD DVD-ROM China (formerly HD DVD-ROM China-only) format, specification for which was approved earlier this year. The only difference between the latter and the standard HD DVD format is the modulation scheme: the optical pickup in HD DVD China player will be able to play standard HD DVD discs, although Chinese discs will not be playable in standard HD DVD drives. According to the Forum, the Chinese government is keen to introduce the format domestically before the Olympic Games in August 2008. Large-scale integrates (LSIs) are already under development by manufacturers and use of AACS for the format is currently under negotiation.


Our take...
The approval of Toshiba's 51 GB disc is good news for the HD DVD camp, allowing it to compete directly with rival Blu-ray Disc's (BD) dual-layer 50 GB disc. As with the BD50, it is likely to take some time for production yields to reach a commercially viable level. However, once this has been achieved it will arguably eliminate one of the principle reasons behind some studios' support of Blu-ray over HD DVD, thus potentially making it easier for Disney or Fox to adopt a format-agnostic position without losing face. Meanwhile, the development of a triple-layer single-sided hybrid HD DVD/DVD disc will also be welcomed by HD DVD supporters. Both Warner and Universal have been releasing double-sided hybrids in the US for some time but they have yet to use this approach in Europe. Single-sided hybrids (sometimes called 'twin format' discs) offer the same space for promotional printing as traditional optical discs and do not require the consumer to think about which way to put them into the player. Anime title Freedom was released in the US as a single-sided hybrid in June but its capacity (15 GB HD DVD and 4.7 GB DVD) was not sufficient for a major studio release. The approval by the Forum of a triple-layer hybrid might arguably encourage some studios to release certain titles only on HD DVD/DVD hybrids, which could in turn lead to some DVD buyers building up a library of HD DVD titles by default, before making the decision to upgrade to a hi-def video player. So far there have been no indications that the BD camp plans to support hybrid discs.
http://www.screendigest.com/online_s...60907-ec3/show

218.9.2007 16:54
dblbogey7
Inactive

The TL51 development is being discussed quite extensively here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=905046&page=2

Apparently there is still doubt as to the backward compatibility of TL51 and TL Twin discs with Gen 1 drives as pointed out by a tech consultant for Scandinavian film distributors. He was at the DVD Forum Conference in Berlin on the 3rd of September where this was discussed.

Quote:
Regardless, reflectivity is still an issue, especially when trying to read data from the bottom layer. That is why working groups are still studying spherical aberration compensation, which (afaik) is quite essential for successfull TL51 and TL Twin reading. It's also the reason G1 players will probably be unable to read TL discs, as the hardware apparently doesn't contain SAC functionality.

This question was posed to a panel during the European Conference. The answer was quite non-committal and long winded, but I guess the meat of it was "1G players, probably not. 2G and newer... maybe" and that depended on a certain feature the drives needed to have. It was most likely to do with the spherical aberration compensation again, which needs more study.

Bottom line is we still have to wait for further developments.

228.9.2007 18:05
hughjars
Inactive

Claims and counter claims, I agree we'll just have to wait and see but Ive heard a few interesting things about CEDIA including this -

Quote:
And also the word from CEDIA is that ALL players even 1st generation are all backwards compatible for the new TL51's
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthrea...68#post11565068

A well respected member of avs is saying we have to wait 30days for official news and that movies are coming on the 51gb disc - which IMO weighs more towards the backward compatibility being fine.

So ok, now work out which movies are due to be announced for disc release by the HD DVD studios in 30 days, mmmmmmm, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Keeping those thoughts at 'Bay' huh? :D

(......and here's an unsubstantiated one from a source I wil not name, make of it what you will -

I saw at the Digital Projection demo room, they were running a demo of POTC: At Worlds End with a Live Free or Die Hard segment that was being choreographed for use with D-Box.
The player was stashed at the back of the room being run from a Crestron touch panel with a pre-programmed macro.

What was interesting is they went out of their way to hide the player so no one could see it, yet it was a Toshiba XA2 running 1080p.
You could see the native resolution tag for the OSD when the demo ended.
Now, is it my imagination or does Disney and Fox support BD exclusively?
)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Sep 2007 @ 18:23

238.9.2007 18:47

It's probably appropriate to quote amirm's exact words here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm
Testing is going to start soon. Until then, there is no answer.

Please keep in mind that just because the format gets approved, it doesn't mean it gets used. So if TL-51 is not compatible with current players, the studios may choose to not adopt it and its applications will remain for specialized situations where this doesn't matter.

Then there are in between scenarios such as getting 34 gigabyte HD DVDs (two layers out of three in TL-51). Or having two layers compatible and the third layer holding things that don't matter (PC software, portable video, etc.).

Last but not least, let me say that the interest in forums around TL-51 is about 100X of the people in the HD DVD industry . Of course, if TL-51 proves fully compatible, this may change. But for most of us, TL-51 is a non-event. No different than how an Honda owner thinks wrt to Honda racing. It is cool if Toshiba can pull it off. But nothing in our strategy relies on it existing.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=905046&page=5

249.9.2007 4:06
dblbogey7
Inactive

error5: I spoke to my A/V dealer about the TL51 issue and the impression he got while at CEDIA was similar to what amir said in that quote you posted: There's a possibility that the gen 1 drives will be able to read the 1st 2 layers (or the 1st 34 gigs) of a TL51 disc. The third layer could be reserved for non-essential extras if there's doubt that the gen 1 drives would have problems reading the third layer. Hopefully the tests will have good results.

2510.9.2007 15:39

This is all well and good but what are the burn speeds??

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