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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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Am I the only one?
By jazzboy on 7/13/2006 4:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
Am I the only person who's thinking of skipping both Blu-ray and HD-DVD and going for the generation after? This whole format war has put me off buying both, let alone the fact that I just don't see the point in either anyway for me.

I really just don't see how all of a sudden, DVD isn't good enough. I'm sure it's time that people just got back to enjoying films and stopped fussing so much over being able to get HD.

RE: Am I the only one?
By PrinceGaz on 7/13/2006 5:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
What "generation after"? Bill Gates believes the future lies in on-demand downloaded/streaming content, not distribution on discs. I'm sure the movie studios would also favour the "rent, not buy" pricing model where you never actually own a copy of anything.

I also fail to see what possible advantage a disc with even more capacity could offer over HD-DVD and BluRay. HD-DVD already offers high-quality 1080p content and that is more than enough for a domestic environment. The size of screen you'd need to see any advantage from something like 1620p wouldn't fit into the average room!

RE: Am I the only one?
By Visual on 7/14/2006 11:09:27 AM , Rating: 2
higher resolution might not make much sense for normal movies like we're used to, but there are areas where it'll be useful

for example, larger screens or ones that are intended to be viewed from a closer distance, for panoramic or virtual reality viewing. this could get as extreme as complete surround-video on oled wallpaper screens :p

even if our screens remain toppin out at 1080 rows, content at higher resolution will still have benefits - mainly the ability to zoom in areas of your chosing, while still keeping significant detail. the same goes for framerate - we might not need anything above 24fps, but if the content is higher you can run it in slow motion and still keep it going fluently.

also bandwitdh and capacity usage can increase even without increasing resolution or framerate - stereoscopic video (different images for left or right eye) will double up the requirements for example. including multiple camera angles and viewpoints is another thing that could be sweet to have.

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken
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