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Toshiba sees a unified blue laser future - eventually

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 26 May 2005 10:24 User comments (18)

Toshiba sees a unified blue laser future - eventually The president of Toshiba Corp. said that next generation optical recording formats, the HD-DVD and Blu-ray, will eventually unify into one format. However, products based on two competing formats will be around, at least for some time. The Playstation 3 will play an important role in this format war, especially because the Xbox settled with already aging DVD technology.
The head of Sony Corp's game unit seemed to agree with the idea that there will be two formats in the market, saying he planned to launch Sony's next-generation game console next spring based on its own optical disc standard.
But Ken Kutaragi, known as the father of the PlayStation, also suggested on Thursday there was a still window of opportunity for a unified format.

"The only hope is if we can reach an agreement in a week or two on a new format that is not that different from Blu-ray physically," Kutargai told reporters at a gathering of business executives when asked if there were still time to agree on a unified format and have that incorporated in the PlayStation 3.
Source: Reuters

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18 user comments

126.5.2005 16:20

Sony has brought about any future "format war" upon itself by implementing Blu-Ray in the POS3 before it is formalised in these meetings... The same thing is happening with Belkin commercialising Pre-N wireless networking gear (for which I hear MIMO is being dropped in the formal 802.11n specs, but Belkin has adopted). Both companies have done something really stupid, and people are just jumping on the bandwagon thinking that because they are the first in the market they must be the best in the field. /me waits for the flames to start pouring in...

227.5.2005 1:52

I don't think Sony has been stupid at all. 1) It has an immediate edge over Xbox 360, which setteled with aging DVD technology 2) It will make copying games a bit harder, as long as BR becomes mainstream - Xbox360 will be ripped & copied on the day they are released (or very soon after) 3) PS3 alone guarantees a huge amount of BR enabled players, making it appealing to content producers and movie studios.

327.5.2005 6:20

Does anyone remember Beta-max? Does anyone remember mini-disc? Sony is on its third strike.

427.5.2005 7:21

What they should do is release blu-ray now and have them forward-compatible with whatever new format they agree on. All the drive would need is, say, a firmware update. Same goes with hd-dvd. No doubt, it'll take them forever to "negotiate" a new format. Sony seems to like the physical form of their blu-ray tech. I think that's the major hurdle here. Get the physical layer decided first. Then release both formats until they figure out the rest.

527.5.2005 7:40

It wasn't Sony's fault that VHS prevailed over Beta-Max, and minidisc was actually quite popular until portable mp3 players took over. Sony is an excellent company moving technology forward.

627.5.2005 12:17

Have you guys heard of other Formats that could be in the future as well. Many people think that Blu ray and HD-DVD are the only advancing formats to arrive but you also have Holographic disks that are theorectically able to store 300-500gb of files per side.

727.5.2005 12:25

Sony is not on its third strike. First of all sony has always wanted its own proprietary formats anyway. Look at the PSP with UMD and they are very popular. Hollywood has already adopted it and is bringing out media for the PSP. Plus Sony PS3 isn't schedule to be released for almost another year. A lot can happen between now and then. IF sony does decide to support both the blu ray and HD-dvd then that makes it even more of advantage over Microsoft(to a certain extent). Remember that Sony was the first to bring out a dual format dvd burner to support both - and+ formats with its DRU drives. Now t he reason I said that PS3 will have an advantage to a certain extent is because I really don't think Microsoft is stupid. I would be suprised that they already support HD-Dvd and you may have to download a firmware to activate it. Plus about 4 or 5 months ago there was rumors that Microsoft would release 3 different versions of the Xbox 2 (Now called Xbox360) so how knows what the future holds. If Microsoft doesn't support a new format then by the time the PS4 is released, there will be no other consoles out there.

828.5.2005 1:24

Does anyone remember mini-disc?
And minidisk is hardly a dead format, just because you donīt use it...

930.5.2005 11:21

beta is dead now that digital is out, but it was far from dead after the vcr came out.. just not for home use. the quality was much better and it was used in a lot of tv applications. sony is genius,.. not only does their disc hold 6 times as much as the dvd xbox will use, but it holds 20gigs more than hd.. why would anyone want less? these games will be hard to burn but, i cant wait for blue ray to become the standard. there is no format war.. Sony wins. toshiba already knows it

1030.5.2005 11:25

Get over it. Minidisc is pretty much useless now. Though some people argue that atrac3(compression algorithim that minidiscs use) is a cleaner compression method than mp3, mp3 is argueably more widespread and has been popular for much longer than atrac3. Maybe if you have an old minidisc player lying around it'd be useful for recording class lectures or something, but other than that it's a dead format.

1130.5.2005 16:07

Uh, no. Sony has developed HD minidiscs which hold over 1GB of data, and accepts atrac3, mp3, and other compressed formats. minidisc is not a dead format. It was out years before mp3s were developed. Then mp3 players became popular. Just because a newer form of audio compression is popular doesn't mean that older types of media is dead. Look at audio tapes. Who actually BUYS new audio tapes? hardly anybody. Yet cars STILL come with tape decks. If they were dead they would be smart enough to stop developing them.

1230.5.2005 20:04

Umm... The very reason VHS won over BETA is that good enough is good enough, and the price was better. Can probably say exactly the same of the minidisc. Isn't 9GB enough for a game or movie? As I've said in another forum, the next thing we'll be hearing is people bitching about load times for their excessively pretty 50GB games, but hey, don't say you didn't ask for it. The quality of the DVD format is good enough as it is, so why re-invent the wheel now? Why don't we keep all of our DVD collections and keep all of our DVD manufacturing plants and look to the DISTANT future, rather than working in small steps and trying to revolutionise things every decade.

1330.5.2005 20:36

I agree that DVD video and computer technology in general we have right now is impressive, and definately adequate for day to day use, you can't stop the progression of new technology. Its moores law. There's no such thing as big steps. That would be too big of a gap to adjust to. Small steps are the only way consumers can adjust to new technology. Do you think people could have gone from vinyl in the 60s to SACDs and DVD-Audio in the 00s? Nope, it had to go in small stages. 8 track, audio cassette, CD, minidisc, and so on.

1431.5.2005 5:34

Get over it. Minidisc is pretty much useless now.
Get over what? Your claim that Minidisc is dead? No problem, Iīm walking all over that little insight. Minidisc is not dead, people still use the format. I know because I have most of my albums on minidiscs for sake of convenience. I have friends who have recently bought minidisc players. At least a few years back MD was one of the most used mediums among the youth in Japan and the rest of the east asian region. MP3 is much more popular today, I wonīt deny that. But some people just prefer MD. A few years back I made a decission to go with minidisc as my main format instead of buying an MP3-player. That decission was based on the market situation at the time, and I canīt really say that Iīve ever regretted it. MP3 and players today have some very clear positive sides to them, but MD has itīs advantages - such as being designed to fit in the home rather than on the computer. And another thing people often get wrong. MP3 doesnīt in any way exclude the use of minidisc. They are compatible formats and the union has been made easier over the years with technical advantages from the companies that produce MD equipment, Sony being one of them.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 31 May 2005 @ 5:36

1531.5.2005 10:32

I only stated that sony isn't on its third strike just because it chose to develop and support the Blue ray format. Even if Bluray doesn't become standard(which I believe it won't) it will have a gaming format that will be somewhat difficult to create back up copies and it will have many games that Xbox can't even dream of. I mean can you imagine having a game that has over 20gb of space on the disk? THink about the expansive and more interactive enviroments, extra and improved AI and other enhancements. Think about the power that the PS3 will create and then the disk space blu-ray provides-Can you say more realistic interacting fans in Madden 06. This is why I am not totally convinced that the Xbox 360 will only support dual layer dvd format. I still remember reading that Xbox 360 was going to support HD Dvd months ago and that they was going to come out with three different version of the Xbox 360-all with different features such as larger harddrive and such.

162.6.2005 13:06

Yes betamax failed. Minidisc is bigger than flash/harddrive mp3 players in japan and almost is as popular in alot of Europe, just because it didn't make it where you live doesn't mean you can talk about something you don't have facts on. Wtf, guess what, Sony only has a single format failure. I doubt they will be unified, look at it this way, your listening to toshiba's statement when Sony owns blu-ray. HD-DVD is going to lose and now the companies that were at first against blu-ray are now trying to get a piece of the action without looking dumb. Face it, Sony is genius, looking out for itself and the consumer. Microsoft games, i'm not buying one, i'll rent them for $3 and make a copy on a dual layer dvd (not all games will even come close to the full 10GB) or HD-DVD when those burners come out. SOny's blu-ray will help against copyright infirgment and allows consumers more versatility with storage.

178.6.2005 5:10

I just have to say that this is a very exciting story to watch -- it's remarkable really, that people are actually talking about working together instead of competing. I really hope it works out, because the very thought of a format war makes me want to crawl under a rock, and I'm sure I won't be alone under there. I have to grudgingly admit that I'm impressed with Sony's bold moves to make their format the winner. The video gaming industry is bigger than Hollywood, and PS3 is looking to be better than X360, therefore the format that wins will be Blu-ray; thus the war ends. I am now a supporter of Blu-ray too, and Toshiba will "join us or die.." And just one thing to say about minidisk ... it really is almost nonexistent here in North America (as far as I can tell) so please forgive us for not knowing much about the things. The first one I saw was brought over from the U.K., and the girl who owned it was shocked at how nobody else seemed to have them here.

188.6.2005 7:46

Yeah MD might be a bit more common in certain parts of Europe, and of course Japan. Hi-MD could really help popularize minidisc as format, if only Sony did at least some marketting for the format.

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