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One multi-format... player... to rule them all

It looks like another manufacturer of optical media players will be launching multi-format devices which will play and record to both Blu-ray and HD-DVD as well as standard DVD and CD formats.

Ricoh has just announced at Interopto 2006 that it is developing a set top Blu-ray and HD-DVD hybrid player which we should expect to see on store shelves by the end of 2007 followed by a recording device.

There aren't many details on the final products themselves besides some snapshots of information on the optics Ricoh will be using in the players and drives which are capable of reading BD, HD-DVD, DVD, and CD optical media formats.

Recently Ricoh also announced that it had developed a component which would allow devices to read both types of high-density media which would lead to the development of hybrid Blu-ray/HD-DVD players.

Ricoh is not the first to announce a hybrid product for the new high-density media formats though. Many companies have decided to form joint ventures to combine Blu-ray and HD-DVD technologies to produce products which will allow consumers to play content off both formats which will eliminate costly purchases on the consumer side. LG Electronics has also dropped plans for a standalone Blu-ray player in hopes of unifying both standards in a single package. Technical and pricing information for Ricoh's upcoming product has not yet been announced but we will keep you updated as it becomes available.

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RE: By the end of...2007?
By dagamer34 on 7/12/2006 6:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
Higher capacity is moot for movies when they use a codec that takes up more space anyway.

RE: By the end of...2007?
By mushi799 on 7/12/2006 7:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
My roommate DL a season of the TV show 24, it was 14 gigs and the quality was OK, you can tell it was degraded to save space.

RE: By the end of...2007?
By PrinceGaz on 7/13/2006 5:08:17 AM , Rating: 2
My roommate DL a season of the TV show 24, it was 14 gigs and the quality was OK, you can tell it was degraded to save space.

Yes, but a season of 24 consists of 24 episodes each about 40-45 mins long. In other words about 17 hours of content. Of course there was some quality degradation to fit that much material into 14GB, especially if it was encoded with a codec other than H.264 (MPEG4 AVC). Most downloaded content uses the inferior MPEG4 ASP (XviD and DivX) which gives lower quality for a given bitrate, or even worse MPEG2 (especially TV shows captured using a TV-tuner card).

14GB is plenty for an HD movie with extras using H.264 encoding. Most (all?) movies are a lot shorter than 17 hours in length, and for the longer ones they can always use a dual-layer HD-DVD which has 30GB available.

RE: By the end of...2007?
By i2mfan on 7/12/2006 7:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
But if they use an higher bitrate for encoding the movie, then the higher capacity will make sense. How much? That would have to be seen unless they are limited in that matter. More extra or additional sountrack(commentaries, language...) can be added. Often, french track is in stereo on DVD's and not 5.1.

Anyway, first gen of both format will not be optimized in that regards(codec)like it was with the first gen DVDs. At least, they got some practiced. :D

End of 2007 is a looonnnng time to wait. Unless someone step up to the plate first and what price?

When the PS3 is launched, you will be able to get both format for around $1000 total. Paying more than $1000 for a BR player is way too much compare to HD-DVD($500) and PS3($500) but it will mean more cables :(

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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