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Sony to acquire HD-DVD know-how through joint-venture with NEC...and more


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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Ryan Peddle

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Posted March 03 2006 - 03:13 AM

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Tokyo (Japan) - While Sony maintains its support for Blu-ray and the company cannot be expected to change its position in the foreseeable future, the company has laid the foundation to have access to the competing HD-DVD format as well. An optical disc drive joint-venture with NEC, one of the leading developers of such drives, could become a safety net for Sony - just in case Blu-ray fails. Tokyo (Japan) - While Sony maintains its support for Blu-ray and the company cannot be expected to change its position in the foreseeable future, the company has laid the foundation to have access to the competing HD-DVD format as well. An optical disc drive joint-venture with NEC, one of the leading developers of such drives, could become a safety net for Sony - just in case Blu-ray fails.

Sony's announcement comes just about a month after we learned that Toshiba, the main proponent behind HD-DVD could have access to Blu-ray through a joint-venture with Samsung: TSST (Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology) is currently developing a Blu-ray drive for Samsung, which is scheduled to announce the device in the US sometime in Q2 of this year.


The new manufacturing company to be founded on 3 April of this year will be named "Sony NEC Optiarc" and will be developing, producing and marketing "optical disc drive products" for NEC and Sony. According to the parent companies, Sony will hold 55% of the firm, NEC the remaining 45%. Sony NEC Optiarc is estimated to hit about $1.9 billion in sales in its first year of operation.

Sony representatives did not return our inquiries, whether Sony will be actually marketing and selling HD-DVD drives. However, we can speculate, that Sony may have similar intentions with Sony NEC Optiarc as does Toshiba with TSST, in which Toshiba holds a 51% share. Last month a Toshiba spokeswoman told us that "at this moment Toshiba has no commercialization plan of Blu-ray products."

While both Sony and Toshiba have not left the HD disc battlefield and maintain their support for their respective technology, both companies appear to be covering their bases at this time.



This whole war just gets more and more confusing. I am so very interested in and HD media but with so much speculation over the format it makes me a bit affraid that I will be throwing money away.

But at the same time I was a very early adopter of DVD and it paid off in enjoyment for me heavily.

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Ryan Peddle

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Posted March 03 2006 - 03:14 AM

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Toshiba may be far from giving up its battle with Sony to establish the successor of the DVD. But just in case Blu-ray may come out on top, Toshiba has an ace in its backhand: A joint-venture the company has founded with Samsung will be producing Blu-ray drives for delivery in the second quarter.

Samsung yesterday announced that it will begin selling its first Blu-ray recorder for PC in the second quarter of this year. However, that drive is not developed by Samsung itself, but rather by TSST Korea. The name TSST is fairly unknown in the industry, however, if one splits up this abbreviation - Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology - it is apparent that this manufacturer isn't your typical backyard company.


With Toshiba being the primary promoter of the HD DVD in the battle against Sony's Blu-ray technology, TSST could be key for Toshiba to stay in touch with the competing standard and offer such drives, if necessary.

TSST was founded in March of 2004 by Toshiba and Samsung as a joint venture. Toshiba holds 51% of the business, Samsung the remaining 49%. TSST Korea was founded in April of 2004 as a subsidiary of TSST.

TSST's first drive was a DVD-ROM drive and shipped in August of 2004. Since then, TSST has been a supplier of CD-ROM and DVD-ROM as well as CD writer and DVD burner drives for Toshiba and Samsung. Toshiba today appears to leverage TSST as one of its main disc drive developers and manufacturers and as a tool to access new trends, such as HP's LightScribe technology. At this time, Toshiba offers at least four drives that are being manufactured by TSST.

Asked about Toshiba's relationship with TSST, spokeswoman Junko Furuta told TG Daily that TSST is an "independent company" that Toshiba understands as developer of both formats in a "neutral position." But so far, TSST has been focused on products that were in line especially with Toshiba's product strategy: For example, the company announced a slim HD DVD drive last September. Even if TSST Korea seems to be focused on Samsung's needs, Toshiba may not run into serious problems to access the technology, if it ever came across demand for Blu-ray technology.

Furuta said that "at this moment Toshiba has no commercialization plan of Blu-ray products," but the neutrality of TSST could turn out as an unexpected trump. Just in case.

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   FrancisP

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Posted March 03 2006 - 03:42 AM

Why is anyone surprised? Everybody is hedging their bets. That's what any smart business would do.

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Ryan Peddle

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Posted March 03 2006 - 04:05 AM

Agreed. It would stupid for either side not to at least investigate and prepare for the opposition to win.