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Unified Next-Gen DVD Format Unlikely

It seems as if the promise of a unified next-generation DVD format may be dead for the near future. This comes after comments from Toshiba president Tadashi Okamura to a group of Japanese business leaders that seemed to indicate that the two sides were far from any kind of agreement.

Sony, however, seemed to hold out hope while at the same time stipulating that any agreement must be in its format's favor. The inability to compromise is the key reason why the two sides cannot seem to work out their differences.

"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," Ken Kutaragi, the creator of Sony's PlayStation game console told a group of reporters. PlayStation 3 is expected to use Blu-ray as its primary disc format.

Toshiba is the creator of the HD-DVD disc, which it has touted as the superior of the two formats for its backward compatibility. HD-DVD discs actually have two layers of data that would allow the discs to still play on older players.

Sony's Blu-ray, on the other hand, has the backing of many computer manufacturers. Apple Computer signed on as a Blu-ray supporter earlier this year.

Toshiba's Okamura said that he realizes that a format war is not what the industry wants. "We may actually have a situation where merchandise from both sides is put on store shelves. But the market would not allow that situation to last very long," he said.

Industry leaders had hoped to avoid a format war much like the VHS-Beta battle over two decades ago. However, this week's comments seem to indicate that at least for a little while, consumers will be forced to choose one technology over the other.

Toshiba plans to have HD-DVD players available by the holiday season, with Sony expecting to debut Blu-ray early next year.

I think we have a unified next-gen DVD format now since Toshiba has dropped its HD-DVD format. BluRay is now the winner. Since Sony owns so much in the media market, it is hard for anyone to compete with them.

I had hoped HD-DVD would win since the players were about half the cost of BluRay players.
But comparing the technical Specs, BluRay is much better than HD-DVD.... It got more storage capacity and longer life time than HD-DVDs.... I find no problem in spending some extra bucks for technology that is superior than a technology that is compatible with old systems...

That said, It would've been great if BluRay discs are compatible with older players... But I understand that can't happen since BluRay requires a different Laser...
The next step is just waiting till the prices on blu-ray discs, players and burners drop sufficiently for them to become commonplace (and for me to start buying them). The capacity of blu-ray is what interests me: the amount of standard definition material a single-layer disc could hold is quite substantial. Dual-layer or triple-layer discs should be able to hold an entire season of a standard-definition TV show.
Sony has no reason to drop the price now. Their competition is gone now.

It will be interesting to see what the next generation format is from Toshiba. They are supposedly already working on it.
Blu-ray won because the major Hollywood studios support it.
The decisive blow was Warner's announcement in January that they intend to drop support of HD-DVD in June 2008.

Now let's hope that the next war will be a shorter one!
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