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Samsung says "No Dice" on hybrid players while Toshiba pushes for a unified disc standard

There appears to be no end in sight for the HD DVD versus Blu-ray format war. Although there were previous rumblings that Samsung would help ease the tension a little by releasing a hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray player before the year is out, the company has issued a public statement contrary to those reports, "Samsung Electronics is fully committed to the Blu-ray format and currently only has plans to introduce a Blu-ray player to the market."

While having a hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray set-top player may seem like a quick and dirty fix to ease consumers into the next generation of high-definition content, it’s not a very efficient or cost-effective solution to the clashing formats. Toshiba, one of the biggest proponents of the HD DVD format, is still pushing to unify both standards in the near future. Doing so would dispense with the format clash that is looking remarkably similar to the VHS/Betamax showdown that we saw over 20 years ago. "We have not given up on a unified format. We would like to seek ways for unifying the standards if opportunities arise," remarked Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida.

Although a unified standard taking the best of HD DVD and Blu-ray sounds like an excellent proposition for consumers, it’s not likely that Sony is willing to reach a compromise anytime soon. The company has too much invested in its next generation DVD format and its PlayStation 3 will be the poster-child for Blu-ray technology. Blu-ray also has backing from a number of major movie studios including 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, MGM, Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers. On the other hand, HD DVD has support from Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers.

All in all, it would seem as though Toshiba is the only company pushing for a unified standard, even if the other companies will adopt hybrid players.

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Rather odd...
By killerroach on 6/28/2006 3:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
It almost makes me wonder why Toshiba's pushing so hard for a unified standard... after all, considering Sony's track record with proprietary formats, why not go for the win? Not to mention a unified format may end up leaving those early adopters of HD-DVD, which has an edge currently in release date and install base, out in the cold... I'm wondering if Toshiba's having problems in terms of their support from movie studios, leading them to want to seek a unified solution. Either Toshiba doesn't see this as a format "war", or the move for a common solution may be them admitting defeat. Not sure which it is.

RE: Rather odd...
By Trisped on 6/28/2006 3:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
It is a lot cheaper and easier to produce one type of movie player then two. It will also make buyers wary of buying anything because they don't want to get stuck with another "Beta" player.

RE: Rather odd...
By IMPoor on 6/28/2006 5:31:11 PM , Rating: 2
why are the pushing for a unified format?? Are you kidding me? Think about it guy: Sony sold like 500,000 PS2 systems on launch day. Lets be conservative and say then only release 100,000 PS3 systems on launch day. Thats 100,000 Blu-Ray players in home in one day! Way more than toshiba could ever hope for by the end of the year. And they have more studios backing them. And yes if they made 500k units they would still sell out on launch day. Even if they are selling for $500-$600. Turn on the news and you will see the jerkoffs camping out the night before. It will sell out!!

Does this mean they will win the format war? Not really because that will not be decided for years. Once the prices are reasonable the average joe will buy one. Thats when the format war will be fought. However the PS3 is a pretty smart way to grab early market share.

Sorry if I am being rude but I just can't stand the fact that Blu-Ray keeps getting compared to Betamax. It has alot of backing from companies other than Sony (Samsung released the first one). And I am not a Sony fanboy. I will not be buying a PS3, standalone Blu-Ray, or a HD-DVD player for at least a year or so. I buy the best I can afford. I don't care if it says sony, microsoft, toshiba, etc.

RE: Rather odd...
By clementlim on 6/28/2006 7:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with that. Although PS3 is rather expensive for a gaming console, it is rather cheap for a blu-ray player. Heck, you can even think of it as a primary blu-ray player that comes with a gaming console...hence the advertisement, "Psst, tell your mom/dad that it is a cheap blu-ray player ."

Blu-ray may fill a lot more homes when it comes out in the form of PS3, but think again, when Xbox360 comes out with HD-DVD drives...well, let's see what happens.

RE: Rather odd...
By lwright84 on 6/29/2006 7:38:31 AM , Rating: 2
it's not "rather expensive" for a gaming console though... take away blu-ray and you still have a high-end gaming machine with a built-in 60GB hard drive, true high-definition output w/ advanced technology (HDMI 1.3), free online gameplay, built-in wireless, and more industry support than any other console... that's worth $600 to me (especially since the PS3 still costs more than $600 to produce even w/out Blu-Ray). now consider that the PS2 launched at $299 -- assume a 7% inflation rate -- and it would roughly be about $450 if launched today.

the PS3 is at a great value period.. Blu-Ray is just a bonus.

RE: Rather odd...
By AnnihilatorX on 6/29/2006 7:42:25 AM , Rating: 2
Not at all

DVDs and CDs are different physically, yet DVD+CD player exist

The difference between DVD and CD is the same as HJD-DVD and BluRay. Namely the track pitch length, read laser wavelength. A blue laser would ought to read all format from BluRay to CD. It is the different implementation of DRM, and the track positioning mechanism when reading are the hard part

RE: Rather odd...
By Trisped on 6/29/2006 12:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
DVDs are an extension of CDs, HD DVDs are an extension of DVDs. Blue Ray is completely different. They use different depths, Lasers, coatings, and densities. It is like trying to run a Beta tape in a VCR. Sure, with some expensive R&D you can create a devices that plays both, but is it really worth the cost?

I think the hardware manufactures are seeing that if they release a hybrid drive, the format that will win is the one with the lowest price and best options. Since the options of Blue Ray are the same as HD DVD except more DRM and HD DVDs cost less, no Blue Ray backer is going to look for a hybrid drive.

As for why the Beta/Blue Ray comparison, if you look at it there is a big similarity. Beta was the superior device. It was compact, lasted longer, and had the best options. The problem was that it also cost more. In that war cost was the major factor. Here we see the same thing. Sony has gone off on its own and started a new format, when an already accepted one (DVD) had already been initiated (DVD was designed to be upgrade, so there was never any need for Blue Ray). They come out with a more expensive devices and system that requires additional expenses over the simple hardware upgrades required by the next DVD gen. They require complicated equipment that cost the end user twice as much (HD players are 500 vs 1000+ for Blue Ray). They own KEY patents, creating a possibility of monopoly latter.

If I could draw an analogy, it would be like the mayor of Los Angeles taking over the LA schools under the pretense of fixing them, but with the intention to make his friends rich.

RE: Rather odd...
By tallpaul on 6/29/2006 10:46:48 AM , Rating: 2
If the Blu-ray playback on the PS3 is as poor as the DVD playback on the PS2, then I suppose you get what you pay for if one considers 500+USD cheap.

The PS2 DVD play back was plagued with problems, and it was not even a new technology platform. Undoubtedly Sony will attempt to deliver a flawless Blu-ray player this time around with the PS3, to do anything else would be an enourmous disaster, both in the format race and in the console race.

Can't really compare to Betamax/VHS
By cochy on 6/28/2006 5:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
I may be wrong here and someone please correct me, but wasn't one of the main problems Sony had with Betamax related to the fact that they wanted to be the only ones producing the hardware? On the other hand JVC opened VHS up to all the other electronics companies.

This time around it seems Sony has learned and has quite the formidable alliance of heavy hitters on board with Blu-ray. These include: Hitachi, LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, Phillips, Samsung, HP, Dell and Apple. Some pretty big names there. On the other hand Toshiba only has: NEC, Microsoft and Sanyo. Not looking so good for Toshiba. Maybe that's why they are pushing for a unified format to save their skins.

RE: Can't really compare to Betamax/VHS
By TomZ on 6/28/2006 5:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, you're right; the Beta analogy is not a good one. It would only apply if Sony was the sole backer of Blu-ray.

By i2mfan on 6/28/2006 6:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
The "Beta analogy" is a good one.

Hardware player aside, it's still a stupid "format war". I remember going to rent a movie and it was only in Beta.

I may wait but I'm more incline to buy a PS3. Not a big "gamer" but it cost less than a regular BR player.

Thank's. I did not remember if others made beta hardware

RE: Can't really compare to Betamax/VHS
By griffynz on 6/28/2006 9:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
not too sure how up to date these supporter are but HD-DVD support includes:
Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo, Microsoft, Intel, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Studio Canal, The Weinstein Company.

Also some big names in there, hence the format war...

Also it should be noted that many of the Blu-ray supporters use Windows/Intel based systems, which support HD-DVD for Vista. So the war continues.
As an aside, last time I checked a Beta tape didn't fit in a VHS drive.

By jtesoro on 6/30/2006 4:51:46 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone knows what Intel brings to the table in the HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray war? The other companies have at least announced some products for HD-DVD, but I don't know what Intel has.

By Trisped on 6/29/2006 12:31:37 PM , Rating: 2
If a hybrid drive is created, HD DVD will win. It would remove all the competitive points down to 2, Price and interface. And as we learned from Windows, price is more important then nice interfaces.

Blue Ray's biggest advantages are the PS3, which plays games and BR, so they help each other and the consumer confusion. Almost all consumers believe that HD DVD does not support 1080p60, but it does (just not the first gen players). Everyone thinks BR is launching with 50GB disks, but they are only launching with 25, vs the 30GB available with HD DVD.

In the end, the only differences are price and content. With a hybrid player, it all comes down to price. I know where I would spend my money.

My plan
By jon1003 on 6/28/2006 4:02:17 PM , Rating: 3
I plan to sit around and wait for one to be victorious, or wait til a recorder drops below $100 and media is below $5 a pop.

RE: My plan
By killerroach on 6/28/2006 4:09:16 PM , Rating: 3
Mine's rather similar... it's basically to wait until one of them has an optical drive that I can put into my PC to play movies that costs me less than $150. That's what I did for purchasing a DVD-ROM drive, and I'll be willing to wait for a recorder for now (didn't get a DVD burner until this past fall, a $40 BenQ drive).

RE: My plan
By phatboye on 6/28/2006 5:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
I refused to buy into the DVD+/-R crap a few years ago until there where affordable hybrid drives, and I plan on doing the same with Blu-Ray HD-DVD. Either that or one format wins over the other.

This is my promise to both the Blu-Ray and to the HD-DVD camps, neither party will not get even $1 from me until they resove this BS. HD-DVD/Blu-Ray disk, dives and movies cost too much money. If I ever come out of my pocket and pay for a HiDef disk player it damn well better be able to play every kind of media that I stick into it. If not then I will not buy either.

The stupid thing about all of this is they really aren't giving customers a reason to upgrade to HD. Yes there is a picture and sound quality improvment over DVD quality movies but the difference in quality is not that much of an improvement like say the difference between VHS and DVD was. And on top of all of this they have the nerve to not have a universal format. I say the hell with HiDef it's not that important.

By rocchioo on 6/28/2006 5:10:44 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care which format wins, but Blu-Ray seems to have the edge now that Samsung is fully supporting it.

RE: .
By Topweasel on 6/28/2006 10:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
The Samsung Player? The most unreliale Optical drive company. Their Drive with less features, double the costs, and at least will the first wave of movies, lower PQ. Sorry But Blu-Ray only has Future Specs as an advantage now. BD50 is dream right now, current insider reports have it as being a handful out of a hundred for one good disc.

RE: .
By MacGuffin on 6/29/2006 11:30:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the review of the Samsung Blu-ray player on wasn't too great. They mentioned that the first wave of Blu-Ray discs will be limited to 25GB while HD-DVD are already at much for the 'BD has superior capacity' argument. God knows how long before the fabled 200GB (was it?) BDs show up. The reviewer was also pretty pissed about the fact that the first batch of BDs use (inferior) MPEG-2 encoding while HD-DVD used VC-1.

For now, both formats have way too many kinks to be ironed out before they represent REAL options. Most of us can go an year or more without bothering with any updates on what's new in the hi-def-disk wars.

Warner Bros' backing
By kitchme on 6/28/2006 6:10:17 PM , Rating: 2
Blu-ray also has backing from a number of major movie studios including 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, MGM, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers . On the other hand, HD DVD has support from Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers .

Warner Bros is covering both sides of the isle. Good for them (if this is true). Why cover only part of the market when you can cover 100%.

RE: Warner Bros' backing
By Brandon Hill on 6/28/2006 6:42:07 PM , Rating: 2
Parmount is as well

Waiting for a while anyways.
By AT39 on 6/28/2006 7:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
For me and my family, we won't be getting a High Def dvd player anytime soon, whether it is HD-DVD or Blu Ray.

We live in a farming community, so money is tight. I for one, have advised my family to be patient and wait. For us, once HDMI 1.3 is better established and we can get a decent 50" or larger tv for less than $3000 with this spec, it may be worth getting. We don't want to spend more than $6000 total on a High Def home theater setup. I know some people pay twice this for just their speakers, but hey, we're not as rich as some people ;)

By lemonadesoda on 6/28/2006 9:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
What kind of farming community can spend $6000 per family on home theatre? And you think you are tight. Perhaps you should ask for more agricultural subsidies?

Dont spend more money on the home theatre technology than what the movies are worth to watch! And movies are not worth that much watching. Use your DVD player and regular TV and be happy with it- Use the $6000 to enjoy life a little more with your family, invest it, and get decent education. Buy a motorbike. Or a trailer. See the world.

By phymon on 6/28/2006 8:07:20 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't Toshiba the one that didn't want to unified their format?? why the sudden change? why do u think Sony wont take Toshiba's offer? cuz to me it sounds a pretty good deal to make the PS3 with both formats available..

RE: Why?
By cochy on 6/28/2006 8:53:09 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't Toshiba the one that didn't want to unified their format?? why the sudden change? why do u think Sony wont take Toshiba's offer? cuz to me it sounds a pretty good deal to make the PS3 with both formats available..

Cause the PS3 is the poster boy for Blu-ray. They wouldn't do that in a million years.

Playing both sides?
By AncientPC on 6/28/2006 9:29:33 PM , Rating: 2
Article states that Warner Brothers supports both standards . . .

RE: Playing both sides?
By othercents on 6/29/2006 12:05:44 PM , Rating: 2
Both Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers support both standards. Universal Studios is the only one that supports HD DVD without supporting Blue Ray.


By bunnyfubbles on 6/28/2006 6:22:47 PM , Rating: 1
The fact that they want to unify the two seems like a copout to me. As things stand, it does appear that BluRay is going to win. Things would be a little different if there were a hybrid player (which seemed inevitable considering the past with DVD + and - R), but the fact that big names seem to be standing against it means the fight will be to the death...

RE: Toshiba
By cubby1223 on 6/28/2006 6:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
I see the exact opposite. I hardly see anything being sold on either side until there is a "winner". A format was is just plain stupid for both "sides", and a huge lose for us consumers.

The way I see it, though, if I'm going to buy either, I'm buying the $500 HD-DVD player. I can enjoy HD movies now, and in a year or two if HD-DVD is losing out, there will undoubtably be hybrid players for $200-$300. Certainly the better financial choice that shoving out $1000 for a blu-ray player.

By RMSistight on 6/28/2006 3:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
If the PS3 actually had a hybrid HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player, then the machine itself would be very attractive IMO.

dual rubbish!
By griffynz on 6/28/2006 8:51:28 PM , Rating: 2
lets see... if Blu-ray is so dear now, lets add more hardware etc to bump the cost up even futher? what rubbish!
Also they already share the same movie data effectively (mpeg2/mpeg4, dolby, dts etc etc etc)
So we have a player that plays both discs...der think about it!!! all the discs (except SONY MOVIES) would end up being HD-DVD as they are cheaper to produce and hold the film!!!
Who would bother producing Blu-ray movies at greater cost, unless you had money invested in the technology right!
The end result would probably be a twin dvd drive like the old home CD copiers, put one disk is this side another that side...throw in a HD for MP3 storage...

By kextyn on 6/28/2006 3:45:57 PM , Rating: 1
How do you unify Blu-Ray and HD-DVD into one standard? They're way too different physically. The only thing that needs to be unified is the DRM crap. The video format is already the same on both (just a difference of available space and DRM really.) I wish this format war would just end, but with the lack of available content and hardware and skeptical consumers it's here for the long haul.

I say either commit to one format and support it (as a consumer) because sitting around waiting for one to emerge victorious is not going to do anyone any good.

Just Wait for Next Tech
By porkster on 6/29/2006 1:45:05 PM , Rating: 1
Just wait for next tech as these don't offer much, plus they are infested with DRM limitations.

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