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Hybrid players due early next year

With no foreseeable happy ending to the HD-DVD/Blu-ray format war, NEC has done us all a favor today by shipping a chip that is compatible with both formats.

According to Reuters, "the chips go on sale for 10,000 yen ($84), roughly the same price as NEC Electronics' chips which read only Blu-ray or only HD DVD formats." Players incorporating the new chip will be available sometime early 2007, reports AkibaNews.

While we now have silicon to rule both formats, the optical pick-up lens capable of reading both HD-DVD and Blu-ray is still currently in development. Until such a hybrid pick-up becomes reality, dual-players must utilize two separate lenses, which no doubt drives up costs.

A NEC spokesperson commented that a hybrid chip and optical pick-up would likely make up more than half of the cost of a player.

Developments to bridge the gap between the two warring formats isn't exclusive to hardware. Warner recently filed a patent outlining plans of a hybrid-disc that will be compatible with both HD-DVD and Blu-ray by means of layering one format on top of the other.

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RE: I knew it would come to this
By TacticalTrading on 10/11/2006 9:12:48 AM , Rating: 2
Does anyone remember the Sony Betamax?

Better format than VHS, the end. Broadcast went betamax, but consumers went VHS, why? Because it cost less.

Yea the idea behind the better format is quality, but I see this as a 780p vs 1080i type issue.
For most people the difference isn't that much, give me the less expensive alternative.

HD DVD wins. Getting out of the gate first helps too

By UserDoesNotExist on 10/11/2006 9:39:56 AM , Rating: 2
What won the race for VHS was that it had a much better selection than Betamax. Hence the reason why both camps are touting their movie studio promoters this time around.

I just want to know which one will be better for data storage, that's all I really care about. HD-DVD and Blu-ray have roughly the same storage space in their best configuration, so that's not an issue.

RE: I knew it would come to this
By michal1980 on 10/11/2006 10:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
you say cheapest alternative.

I say a ps3 with blue ray. Standard box 500 bucks. Same has the HD-DVD player.

sure it will sell out and you have to wait.

but its not like toshiba is selling hundreds of thosands of hd-dvd players ethier. (more like in the tens of thosands)

RE: I knew it would come to this
By kitchme on 10/11/2006 11:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
I think that cheapest alternative was not the only factor before with betamax, nor now with BR vs. HD-DVD. Both will be cheap enough in a year or two, so probably what will decide is who gets readily available sooner. If they take market share equally (well, somewhat), both are here to stay, like DVD-r/+r. As a matter of fact, you can already see signs of it, now that we're seeing hybrid players/recorders and multi-format discs.

RE: I knew it would come to this
By mrEvil on 10/11/2006 1:05:15 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly the whole story, but it's been repeated enough in the electronics industry that you think people would know better by now.

Anyway, Sony sued EVERYONE who were making Betamax machines and shut them all down, leaving Sony as the sole maker of any machine that could play Betamax tapes. Thus dooming the consumer market as everyone starting flooding the market with VHS tapes.

If you want another example of stupid, look at IBM and their MCA-bus architecture for computers. Superior to the PCI bus (and out before it) but IBM only licensed it to NEC. Smart move....notice how many consumer machines came out with MCA architecture.

Also, no one is going to "win" the market this Xmas. Heck, it may not even be Xmas 2007. The DVD market has just reached the saturation point and consumers are just now starting to really buy HD TV's. Why buy a product you cannot utilize?

We're not going to see $100 HD-DVD burners next year. Maybe in 2-3 years they will be near that.

Personally, my DVD collection is just fine. I do not feel the need to put my money on the roulette wheel and hope I guess right. The technology itself is not going anywhere...I just hope this time that the best technology wins, not the cheapest price.

RE: I knew it would come to this
By stevecat002 on 10/11/2006 1:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
Just to go back to the betamax vs. vhs format war....people back in the 80's did not have HiDef TV's or care about the technology as much - they wanted a solution to play videos on when they wanted - VHS did that for less, yes. So it won.

Today, people are spending upwards of $5000 on their TV and they are becoming more and more technically literate. Why would they then choose the lesser of two formats. It costs a little more than HD-DVD (in fact, possibly twice as much), but when you've just dropped $5000 for a TV - why cheap out for your video player? It makes no sense.

I think that the betamax / vhs format war cannot be compared to the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD format war simply because the TV's that display the image WILL take advantage of a higher resolution - in the 80's there was one resolution and one type of TV, video was in its early years - it was a BRAND new concept - to play videos on your TV at the touch of a button. Today, that is not the case, we have had 20 years of getting used to playing movies off of VHS, VCD and DVD. Something that further defines teh Blu-Ray / HD-DVD battle.

Further to point out - why did DVD become the popular format as VCD fell to the wayside? I can guarantee you that CD's were cheaper to produce than DVD's when the DVD came out and yet, DVD became the popular format - an example of the more expensive format winning (because of QUALITY). See a parallel there? I do.

Just some food for thought.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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