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***Official Blue Laser Software Disc. Thread*** (f/k/a "Hi-Def DVDs by Christmas?")

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#1 of 151 Peter Kline

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Posted February 18 2002 - 11:21 PM

Electronics Firms Unify Blue-Laser DVD Standards
Tue Feb 19, 6:48 AM ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - Nine consumer electronics makers including Japanese giants Sony Corp (news - web sites). and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. said on Tuesday they agreed to uniform standards for next-generation blue-laser DVDs.

The pact aims to avoid the fragmentation of standards for DVD (digital versatile disc) recorders that has plagued the current line-up of red-laser products, which feature three separate formats.

Blue-laser light, with a shorter wavelength than the red variety, can be honed into a finer beam, enabling it to read and write more bits of information on a given area of disc space.

"We are not so far away from producing (blue-laser DVDs) in mass quantities," Jan Oosterveld, a member of Philips Electronics NV's group management committee, told a news conference.

He said the consortium's agreement was intended "to end speculation on what we wanted to do with blue laser and to show a uniform face."

The new blue-laser format, which could appear in products as early as next year, will feature up to 27 gigabytes of memory on one side of a single 12-cm disc, nearly six times the capacity of current 4.7 gigabyte disks, and store more than two hours of digital high-definition motion pictures.

Also agreeing to the format were Japan's Hitachi Ltd. , Pioneer Corp. and Sharp Corp. , South Korea (news - web sites)'s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc. , and France's Thomson Multimedia .

Licensing of the new DVD format will begin in the spring.

Company officials repeatedly ducked questions on when they might launch new blue-laser products, although they are widely expected to appear in tandem with the introduction of digital high-definition broadcasting.

Japan is likely to launch land-based digital broadcasting in 2003 and steadily shift away from analog over the next several years.

Matsushita, owner of the Panasonic brand, and other DVD manufacturers are also developing dual-layer technology using semi-transparent materials to store 50 gigabytes of data on one side of a disc, or about four hours of high-definition video.

Electronics industry officials, eager for a hot new product to help pull them out of the info-tech slump, hope the development of high-capacity DVDs and the move to digital high-definition TV and video -- with their voracious appetite for memory -- will spur a switch to DVDs from video cassettes.

Company officials added it would be technically possible for manufacturers to develop blue-laser systems that are compatible with existing red-laser products, although it would be up to each company to decide its own strategy on compatibility.

#2 of 151 Peter Kline

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Posted February 18 2002 - 11:40 PM

Blue Laser Technology is standardized.

Post edited and link removed to reflect the merger of two threads on the same topic. Title modified to show up in any searches for titles referring to "Blue Laser".

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#3 of 151 Artur Meinild

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Posted February 19 2002 - 12:08 AM

I think it's great that the technology is ready and standardized for future usage. But still HD-DVD is a couple of years away at least.
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#4 of 151 Peter Kline

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Posted February 19 2002 - 12:13 AM

Read the press release. It's just around the corner not 2 or 3 years away. Of course you'll need a new player. Look for them at Christmas in Japan and U.S. early next year. Remember HD-VHS is coming shortly and the DVD consortium wants to get in on the action as well as soon as possible.

#5 of 151 Stephen Orr

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Posted February 19 2002 - 12:41 AM

Let's just hope that the new machines will also be able to play existing DVDs....

#6 of 151 Daniel L

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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:07 AM

Just becausethe technology is ready, doesn't mean it will show up immediately. Remember it took years for DVD to show up.

The development of the blue laser has been around since the mid-90's, and was originally going to be combined with laser disc to provide high-definition content.

The key problems to HD-DVD showing up any time soon are the following:

Limited storage capacity: Let's be honest, 44 Gigs of storage space is still a hell of a lot more than 27 Gigs, which is proposed for a single layer HD-DVD. One assumes there will be some variation of the DVD-9 (Dual layer disc), but you know what they say about assuming...

Consumer confusion: You think Warner & Sony have been worried about D-VHS confusing the consumer? Imagine what the hell will happen when the average consumer get a whiff that there are two versions of DVD. Many of them still can't get past the "annoying black bars." They're learning, but most newbies into DVD are as aware as a potted plant.

Studio resistance: Hmmm, let's see why the studios don't want HD-DVD...

First up would be the issue of our good old friend copy protection, which has torqued every studio off since day one. They never were happy about it on standard DVD, so what do you think their demands will be for a superior standard, especially since someone cracked it. (An inevitable reality, but a reality none the less.)

Fear of pre-maturely killing the "standard" DVD market, becasue right now every studio is in a panic about profits and the bottom line. DVD seems to be the only source of revenue for certain studios (MGM?) that should have filed for chapter 11 years ago.

Fear of another "non-degradable" playback format. While Warner and Sony will try to play off their objection to D-VHS as a competitor to DVD, and now HD-DVD, you know every studio would rather have a format that dies after a few years. Re-selling product is the key to their survival, and as Universal and Columbia have proven with their Ultimate and Superbit lines, people are getting tired of re-buying films every six months, let along every couple of years.

Cost: Don't fool yourselves about the manufacturing cost differences between D-VHS and HD-DVD, DVD is cooler and HD-DVD will be priced accordingly, with respect to D-VHS. I wouldn't be stunned if the first HD-DVD's show up priced between $50 to $60.

Low penetration of high defintion televisions: Self-explanitory.

The benefits to releasing HD-DVD within the next year?

There are only two benefits I can think of. Another source of income of the studio and the opportunity to milk the high-end community (including me) that's willing to fork out tons of money every year on new toys. But with today's economics, will the studios want to create a niche market which is what D-VHS and HD-DVD would be for years.

These are just some of the factors to consider before HD-DVD becomes a reality.

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#7 of 151 Rolando



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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:38 AM

yeah, what he said... Posted Image
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#8 of 151 Peter Kline

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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:38 AM

I don't think there's any question that they will play current DVDs plus CD's, MP3s, DVD Audio et al. All they need do is have a red laser along with the blue one inside.

#9 of 151 Peter Kline

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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:45 AM

You're right, blue laser technolgy has been around for several years. It took all this time to get the various companies to agree on a standard. When DVD's were introduced it took 5 years to come to market from the time it was"invented" but only 1 year after all the different standards were combined and agreed upon between Sony and Toshiba. So based on this history the HiDef DVD is only about a year away from initial introduction unless something unforseen happens. Since this is not new technoogy per se, but a variation on an excisting one it will come pretty fast in to the marketplace I believe. Be positive! Posted Image

#10 of 151 John Berggren

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Posted February 19 2002 - 02:07 AM

I'm looking at hopefully getting a 16x9 HDTV system within 12 months (I'd like a larger direct-view picture tube for a nicer price) Another 12 months for a healthy install base & software availability, and I'd be happy to upgrade to HD-DVD. I just hope a standard is completed without too much variation.
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#11 of 151 DaViD Boulet

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Posted February 19 2002 - 02:17 AM

an sell-through HD format would be a big incentive for the HDTV display market.

More HD content...especially films you could buy...would drive the hi-def display sales.

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#12 of 151 PhilipG



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Posted February 19 2002 - 02:29 AM

27 Gigs per layer? Not enough. Posted Image

Ideally I'd like to see >50Gigs per layer. Why not make the disc a little bigger, say 7" in diameter?

#13 of 151 Daniel L

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Posted February 19 2002 - 02:41 AM

Damned "Chicken and the Egg" deliema. Posted Image

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#14 of 151 Yohan Pamudji

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Posted February 19 2002 - 02:51 AM

Holy cow! They came together a lot quicker than I thought they would. Blue laser products by 2003? That's huge news!!!

Now if they would come out with a unit that can also record HDTV and analog broadcasts onto those new discs at a reasonable price it'll finally be the end of VHS.
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#15 of 151 Brennan Hill

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Posted February 19 2002 - 03:29 AM

The new blue-laser format, which could appear in products as early as next year, will feature up to 27 gigabytes of memory on one side of a single 12-cm disc, nearly six times the capacity of current 4.7 gigabyte disks, and store more than two hours of digital high-definition motion pictures.

Only 2 hours...you've got to be kidding me! Am I missing something here? That seems insanely limiting when taken in context with how much material is currently jammed into a DVD. Later on the article talks about dual-layer technology being developed as well with the capacity for 4 hours of high-defintion material. Even that seems too little to me. Are they planning on constantly re-releasing titles then as the storage capacity is increased?

Or even another format on the heels of this one?
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#16 of 151 John Tillman

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Posted February 19 2002 - 03:30 AM

DVD is still young in the life cycle to be pushed aside for a better technology. Additionally, will the studios really want to give us 1080i on disc?

That said, I viewed IJ Raiders & Temple of Doom over the weekend in OAR, 1080i & 5.1. Not on disc, but for free over the airwaves. Go figure, I guess there is hope.

#17 of 151 Mike Miskulin

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Posted February 19 2002 - 03:53 AM

Why not make the disc a little bigger, say 7" in diameter?

Amen. Obviously 'standard' DVD is selling like hotcakes now and will continue to be the format of choice for years to come. HD-DVD will be a niche product for some time. Cost will be more and titles may not come out as frequently as DVD now. Why not make it stand out a little more with a slightly larger disc that can store more info? Not laserdisc large, but slightly larger to aid the storage capacity. Backward compatiblitiy would sitll be possible with a smaller 'indented' tray inside the larger HD-DVD tray. I think this wouldn't be a bad thing...it'd be a good thing! Posted Image

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#18 of 151 Jack Briggs

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Posted February 19 2002 - 04:09 AM

DaViD Boulet hasn't contributed to this thread yet? Posted Image

Oh, HD-DVD would be wonderful. And lo, the studios know how many lust for it: hi-def optical copies of their precious intellectual content. May as well sell prints. I can see the studios really going for that.

The studios will fight this to the end.

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#19 of 151 RobertR


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Posted February 19 2002 - 04:18 AM

It doesn't make economic sense for the studios to introduce HDDVD now. Why should they, when they're making a LOT of money off DVD? Why divert dollars away from the cash cow? Look at the history of formats. CD wasn't introduced until LP sales had leveled off, and even started to decline. Same thing with LD. That isn't CLOSE to happening with DVD, and won't happen for a good long time. Add Jack's point about studios not wanting us to have a close-to-film, archive copy that would kill any reason to ever spend ANY more money to see that film in ANY other venue ever again, and I don't see the incentive.

#20 of 151 Joseph Goodman

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Posted February 19 2002 - 04:23 AM

Wouldn't it be possible to have one side of the disc be standard DVD media, and the other side HD-DVD media? Such things have been done before, with DVD discs featuring a DVD side *and* a standard CD side.

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