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November 29, 2005

Developments in the Format Wars for the Next Generation DVDs

In an interesting story from GameIndustry.biz, there is a report that the DVD Forum has given the go ahead for a study to determine if a China-only HD format was feasible.  The Chinese government had announced earlier that it intended to develop its own format rather than pay licensing fees to use either HD DVD or Blu-Ray.  What is most interesting in the story is the mention of a demonstration of the next-next-gen format, a holographic disc capable of holding 1.6 terabytes.  Of the two competing blue laser formats, the best capacity is around 50 gigabytes. 

Blue ray technology was developed to market high definition videeo content, which required muxh more disc space for the higher resolution.  However, other reports indicate that the first releases on the new format may not require much more than 9 gigabytes, slightly larger than current DVDs.  Sony indicated that they would continue to use the mpeg 2 codec rather than move to mpeg 4 or use a Microsoft format.  Sony claims that advanced compression doesn't always mean improved picture quality.  Sony is the developer of the Blu-ray disc while Toshiba and others developed the HD DVD disc.  As both formats come to market, costs are starting emerge as an issue with the industry gearing up for mass manufacturing and marketing.  Price comparisons with each other and the existing model rely on uncertainties.  Blu-ray is different from existing DVDs and thus start up costs for replicators will be higher.  This means potentially higher prices for consumers initially.  HD DVD can be adapted from existing duplicating lines.  Blu-ray, however, has the support of a wide coalition of content providers and equipment manufacturers.

For more on the Chinese DVD format, go here.  For more on content for the next format, go here.  For more information on development costs, go here.

November 29, 2005 | Permalink

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