Warner embraces Blu-ray

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    Warner embraces Blu-ray

    Her vil det sannsynlig komme mer info i løpet av natten.


    Espen

    ===


    http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6276046.html

    Warner embraces Blu-ray
    Universal now only studio solely in HD DVD camp
    By Scott Hettrick and Paul Sweeting -- Video Business, 10/19/2005
    OCT. 19 | In the biggest victory yet for Sony and the backers of Blu-ray in the war over the next-gen high-def DVD, Warner Home Video is expected to announce Thursday that the studio is embracing its rival’s platform.

    Warner has been the primary studio backer of Toshiba’s so-called HD DVD format, which is incompatible with Blu-ray.

    The studio, which will continue to support HD DVD, has been threatening to release movies in both formats since last month (VideoBusiness.com, 10-2)


    One of the two other major studios in the HD DVD camp, Paramount Home Entertainment, became the first studio to hedge its exclusivity with HD camp when it announced earlier this month that it would also publish movies on Blu-ray.

    Warner was holding out for concessions by the Blu-ray group on a number of issues, particularly increased safeguards against unauthorized copying. Sources say the Blu-ray board voted at 5 p.m. Wednesday to approve revisions requested by Warner.

    "This is something the HD DVD camp cannot recover from," said one executive close to the negotiations.

    But Toshiba, which has been aware of Warner's impending decision, is planning to go forward with the introduction next year of its competing high-def DVD.

    "The studios have decided to allow consumers to decide, and that's a shame," said one top studio exec.

    Industry observers believe Warner and Paramount are hedging their bets with their moves on the chance that Sony will not be able to deliver as robust a product as they say in the timeframe they promise -- mid-2006 either slightly before or after the introduction of Sony's PlayStation 3, which will incorporate Blu-ray as well.

    If Sony delivers, many studio execs say that Warner and Paramount will likely abandon the HD DVD platform. If not, media companies are under such pressure to deliver a new product to revive double-digit growth of pre-recorded movies, that they will go ahead with Toshiba's format.

    One studio exec says that engineers re-evaluated the Blu-ray technology as recently as this week and concluded that it will not be ready to offer everything Sony promises for two more years.

    With Warner's announcement, Universal Studios Home Entertainment is the lone studio solely in the HD DVD camp. Although the studio is not commenting officially, sources say Universal has no motivation to follow the lead of Warner and Paramount and will likely wait at least a few weeks and maybe much longer before making any announcements of its own.

    Aligned solely with Sony on Blu-ray are Disney, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Sony's own studio and its co-owned MGM Home Entertainment and Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

    Ironically, Warner's decision came on the same day that Blu-ray board member Hewlett-Packard tried to bring the two sides closer together by announcing that it would ask the Blu-ray Assn. to consider adding two key HD DVD technologies to the Blu-ray format, a mandatory "managed copy" system and "iHD," both enthusiastically supported by Warner.

    Managed copy allows consumers to make legitimate copies of their high-def movies and play them anywhere around the world.

    iHD, an interactive layer developed by Microsoft and Disney, enables new interactivity with standards-based development tools and technologies.

    Sources said while H-P's efforts were in the direction Warner was already asking the Blu-ray group to move, the announcement had little, if any bearing on Warner's decision.

  2. #2
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    Tipper det er noen som begynner å få kalde føtter nå.. F.eks. Universal..

    Man kan snart avblåse formatkrigen. Det er snart ingen igjen på HD-DVD's side. Enten sier de både og, eller så støttes kun BD. Godt jobbet Sony, så får vi se om forbrukerne vil ha formatet.

    Edit: Tittet litt på itavisen: http://www.itavisen.no/showArticle.p...icleId=1307414

    "Blu-Ray vinner kampen"

    De to gruppene konkurrerer om kontrollen over høydefinisjons DVD-formater som skal lanseres våren 2006. Etter et langt og vanskelig løp fram til lansering er det nå klart for Forrester at Sonys Blu-ray-format vil vinne, heter det i en fersk rapport fra byrået.

    Filmselskapene avgjør
    Årsaken til denne bastante konklusjonen er at stadig flere filmselskaper går for Blu-ray. Sist ut er Paramount, som tidligere gikk for Toshibas konkurrerende format HD-DVD.

    Jokeren i spillet er likevel Microsoft, som sammen med Intel går inn for HD-DVD.

    Strid om kopisikring
    Bill Gates gikk denne uka kraftig ut mot Blu-ray, som han mener har en forbrukerfiendtlig kopisikring. Tidligere har hans erkerival Steve Jobs i Apple uttalt at HD-DVD vil ødelegge for filmbransjen på grunn av for dårlig kopisikring....

    Mvh

  3. #3
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    Sitat Opprinnelig postet av Esp1
    Her vil det sannsynlig komme mer info i løpet av natten.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051019/...u_ray_dvd_dc_3

    "Blu-Ray winner in DVD war: industry group By Sue Zeidler
    Wed Oct 19, 4:44 PM ET



    Technology group Forrester Research on Wednesday declared Blu-Ray, a new DVD format backed by electronics makers led by Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news) as the winner in a heated battle over next-generation DVD technology.

    "Two groups are competing for control of high-definition DVD formats to be launched in the spring of 2006. After a long and tedious run up to launch, it is now clear to Forrester that the Sony-led Blu-Ray format will win," said Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler in a report.

    For years the Sony group and a rival set of companies led by Toshiba Corp which back HD DVD technology have been locked in a heated battle over whose standards will be used to make a new generation of DVD players that promise consumers sharper pictures and manufacturers new revenues.

    A key to which technology wins has been the support of Hollywood's major film studios, which until only recently had been split evenly with three majors supporting Blu-Ray and three behind HD-DVD. Both formats deliver movies in sharp high-definition and store more data than traditional DVDs, enabling them to offer interactive features such as games.

    Earlier this month, however, Paramount Home Entertainment said it would release digital movies in the Blu-Ray format, becoming the first major studio to support both rival formats.

    Paramount, owned by Viacom Inc., had previously said it would release titles in HD DVD. Paramount's support of Blu-Ray was prompted by the failure of the two factions to join forces before the new high-definition DVD players went on sale, industry sources have said.

    HD DVD supporter Warner Bros. has declined to comment on reports it may soon follow Paramount's lead by endorsing both.

    FORMAT WAR, BAD IDEA

    The formats are incompatible, which Hollywood fears will lead to consumer confusion. Industry watchers believe one format will ultimately win like in the case of the high-stakes home video battle between VHS and Betamax in the 1980s.

    Schadler of Forrester said in his report that Sony learned from its painful Betamax loss that the format with the most industry support will win, and it set out years ago to assemble an "impregnable lineup of partners."

    He said a format battle would be risky for both sides. "Unless the HD DVD group abandons the field, it will be another two years before consumers are confident enough of the winner to think about buying a new format DVD player. In the meantime, they will expand their video on-demand, downloadable video, and Internet viewing habits," he said.

    Sony and Toshiba held high-level talks earlier this year to try to unify their formats and avoid an all-out standards war, but those discussions broke down.

    Backers of HD DVD were not immediately available to comment on the Forrester report, but in an interview earlier this week, HD DVD spokesman Mark Knox said he believes two formats will ultimately reach the market but that HD DVD remains hopeful a unified format will be agreed upon.

    "Our position has not changed. We're always open to finding a way to unify the format, but we want to make sure every parameter is available for discussion, whether its on the disc structure, file format," and other issues, he said.

    "Let's lay everything on the table and do our due diligence. Unfortunately some of the replies we have received, are that some of the parameters, particularly on the disc structure, are not up for discussion," he said. "

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    http://www.homemediaretailing.com/ne...rticle_id=8150

    "Another Victory for Blu-ray Camp
    Author: THOMAS K. ARNOLD
    tarnold@questex.com
    Posted: October 20, 2005
    Email this Story to Friend
    The scale continues to tip in Blu-ray Disc’s favor.

    Warner Home Video has officially joined the Blu-ray Disc Association, becoming the fifth of the six major studios to back the Sony-developed next-generation optical disc format.

    The Blu-ray Disc Association’s board Wednesday night formally approved Warner’s admission, sources report.

    A statement of software support, in which Warner will formally announce its intent to release movies and other content on the high-definition disc format, is expected sometime today.

    Like Paramount Home Entertainment, however, Warner has yet to repudiate the competing HD DVD format, developed by Toshiba, its partner in standard DVD.

    That somewhat dampens the enthusiasm of the Blu-ray camp, said Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Hollywood’s de facto spokesman for Blu-ray Disc.

    “The strategy that any supplier would release on both Blu-ray and HD DVD is highly dubious,” Feingold said. “It will only lead to market confusion and consumer disappointment.”

    Of the six majors, only Universal Studios Home Entertainment has not come out in support of Blu-ray, sticking with its original statement of releasing software only on the HD DVD format. A high-ranking Universal executive said it’s “too expensive” to release on both formats, while sources say Universal is sticking with HD DVD because of the cozy relationship between Toshiba and its corporate parent, General Electric.

    Last month, Toshiba announced a strategic alliance with Universal Pictures for a promotional campaign around King Kong, which opens theatrically Dec. 14. Toshiba will use the film to promote its branded audio-visual products around the world, primarily in the United States and Japan.

    The Warner move is the latest in a series of victories that have pushed the next-gen needle firmly into Blu-ray territory. <b>A Toshiba spokesman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, conceded the HD DVD camp’s only hope at this point would be for the coalition of consumer electronics firms backing Blu-ray to fall apart prior to launch.</b>

    Such a scenario could happen, he predicts, if Sony releases its PlayStation 3 in April at a likely list price of $499, about half the expected out-of-the-gate price of dedicated first-generation Blu-ray Disc playback decks from other manufacturers.

    “What consumer would buy a playback-only deck for $1,000 when they can buy a machine that plays back movies and also lets them play games for half that amount?” he asks. “Other manufacturers are going to balk at producing playback-only decks, and their only other option is to make high-end combo decks with recording capabilities — which is a market already taken care of by cable and satellite with built-in decoders.” "

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    http://today.reuters.com/news/newsAr...archived=False

    "Warner Bros. joins Blu-ray camp

    By Sue Zeidler

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Scoring another point for Sony Corp (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) in a war over new DVD formats, Warner Bros. Entertainment on Thursday said it would release high-definition movies in the Blu-ray format backed by a group led by Sony.

    The move by Warner, a film studio owned by Time Warner Inc (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research), gives Sony further ammunition against a rival format called HD DVD, which is endorsed by a consortium of electronics makers including Toshiba Corp (6502.T: Quote, Profile, Research).

    Warner had previously said it would release titles in HD DVD and will continue to support that format. Warner's move to also support Blu-ray was prompted by the failure of both sides to agree on a unified format before players went on sale.

    The formats are incompatible, and Hollywood executives fear that will lead to consumer confusion. Industry watchers compare the standoff to the battle between VHS and Betamax in the 1980s.

    Earlier this week, technology group Forrester Research declared Blu-ray as the winner due to its growing support, but the battle is far from over since neither technology is available for the mass market.

    The support of Hollywood's six major film studios -- seen as the key factor to determine which technology will win -- had been split evenly until recently.

    Warner's move follows a similar move this month by Paramount Home Entertainment, owned by Viacom Inc. (VIAb.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which said it would release digital movies in the Blu-ray format, becoming the first major studio to support both.

    Representatives from both the Blu-ray and HD DVD groups were not available late Thursday.

    HD DVD representatives have said, however, that they believe they have an advantage because they will get to the market earlier with their players and their discs, targeting to be in the United States by about February or March next year.

    Toshiba said in a statement late on Thursday that it was still working with Warner Bros. on the commercial launch of HD DVD and that it is "more than confident (Warner's support of Blu-ray) will not affect timely introduction of HD DVD content to the market."

    Blu-ray has not given a launch date, but Sony's PlayStation 3, which will incorporate Blu-ray, is due out in the spring.

    Also this week, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) raised the stakes in the battle by asking the makers of Blu-ray to include two technologies in its specifications now supported by HD-DVD that are important to PC makers and users.

    (Additional reporting by Sinead Carew in New York)"

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    Full pressemelding fra Blu-Ray Disc Association er nå tilgjnegelig:

    "Warner Bros. Joins Blu-ray Disc Association and Will Release Its Films on Next Generation Blu-ray High Definition Optical Media Disc"

    http://www.blu-raydisc.com/assets/do...ment-13097.pdf

    "Warner Bros. Joins Blu-ray Disc Association and Will Release Its Films on Next Generation Blu-ray High Definition Optical Media Disc

    BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 20, 2005--Warner Bros. Entertainment and its home entertainment division Warner Home Video, which distributes the largest film library of any studio, today announced it has joined the board of directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association and will release its films on the Blu-ray format.

    Warner Home Video will release titles on the Blu-ray format to support the launch of Blu-ray players in North America, Japan and Europe, giving consumers the ability to enjoy a wide range of new releases and selections from Warner Bros.' vast library and that of New Line and HBO on the Blu-ray format.

    Blu-ray Disc is a next generation optical disc format developed for high-definition video and high capacity software applications. A single layer Blu-ray Disc will hold up to 25 gigabytes of data and a dual layer Blu-ray Disc will hold up to 50 gigabytes of data. This greater storage capacity enables the Blu-ray Disc to store up to five times the amount of content than is possible with current DVDs.

    "Consumers will soon be able to enjoy a large selection of catalogue favorites and contemporary hits from Warner's vast library on the Blu-ray format," said Jim Cardwell, President, Warner Home Video.

    With operations in 90 international territories, Warner Home Video commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures Inc., Turner Entertainment Company, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.

    About the Blu-ray Disc Association
    The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is responsible for establishing format standards and promoting and further developing business opportunities for Blu-ray Disc -- the next-generation optical disc for storing high-definition movies, games, photos and other digital content. The BDA has over 150 members. Its Board of Directors consists of Dell Inc.; Hewlett Packard Company; Hitachi, Ltd.; LG Electronics Inc.; Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; Panasonic (Matsushita Electric); Pioneer Corporation; Royal Philips Electronics; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Sharp Corporation; Sony Corporation; TDK Corporation; Thomson; Twentieth Century Fox; Walt Disney Pictures and Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment."

  7. #7
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    Kommentar fra Toshiba ifølge Digital Bits:

    ""Toshiba and Warner Bros. continue to collaborate closely toward the commercial launch of HD DVD. We understand Warner Bros. continues to strongly support HD DVD, due to its outstanding features, cost structures, and market readiness. We recognize Warner Bros's participation in the Blu-ray Disc Association represents the studio's understandable commitment to listen to broad array of opinions and to continue to make technical evaluations of each format, and we are more than confident this will not affect timely introduction of HD DVD content to the market. The fact that new voices from within the Blu-ray camp have recently called for adoption of key features already in HD DVD - iHD for its superb PC interoperability and Mandatory Managed Copy to allow for secure DVD ripping - shows the level of technical balance achieved by the HD DVD format. HD DVD offers already-verified volume disc production and substantial superiority in terms of recordable disc cost. It also integrates a series of advanced technologies, including AACS for robust content protection system, and VC-1, a highly efficient video compression technology, for enhanced storage capacity. Toshiba strongly believes the HD DVD format will eventually win broad support as the more superior format, and in cooperation with our partners, we are committed to bringing HD DVD products first to market early next year in the U.S..""

    Latterlige påstander IMO. Når alle studioer utgir filmerpå Blu-Ray plater, noen få HD-DVD og Toshiba er den eneste større produsenten som vil lage HD-DVD-set-top spillere - da har man ikke en formatkrig; men et tafat forsøk på å redde ansiktet...

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    At Warner nå støtter Blu-ray er ikke mindre enn sensasjonellt! Jeg ville aldri ha trodd at denne meldingen ville komme så tidlig. Som det kan leses mellom linjene av artiklene over - dette er et slag i ansikte for Toshiba - og nok en spiker i kista for HD-DVD.

    Filmselskapene sitter på store filmbiblioteker som forlengst er konvertert til HD-vennlige "master"-formater - og det er bare "vaffelpressene" som setter en begrensning på hvor mange plater som kan pushes inn i HD-markedet når sluesene åpnes. Bare tenk hvor mye enklere det er for Hollywood å få ut en masse titler tidlig i forhold til situasjonen ved lansering av DVD! Man må nok regne med at det blir bye "vanilla" utgivelser av storfilmer i starten - men antall titler vil i løpet av de første 12 mnd. sikkert være 10x-20x i forhold til ved DVD-lanseringen (eller for å fremstille det litt mer folkelig: mer titler enn du greier å fordøye...).

    Xbox360 vil sikkert bli en dundrende suksess, og bremser nok salget av blu-ray kapable PS3 en god del. Sony PS3 har potensialet til å være en grei inngangsbilett for de som ønsker en HD-filmmaskin (2xHDMI er jo lovet). Som det pekes på i artiklene over så blir nok stand-alone spillere ihvertfall ikke noe særlig rimligere enn PS3.

    At Intel og Microsoft ønsker HD DVD har vel begrenset signaleffekt. Som Valebrokk sa: Content is King (and Telenor is King Kong)!

    Det som blir interessant å se er hvordan "Ola Dunk" reagerer på HD-filmformatet. DVD kan se veldig bra ut på 70", og Hollywood vil garantert gå på en blemme i starten med overprisede HD-filmer. Norske distributører vil ikke skjønne en tøddel i starten, så her blir det storveis privatimport i lang tid for oss entusiaster. O. Dunk har kjøpt mye +32 inch det siste året, og den trenden fortsetter til himmelen. Litt av problemet - som dere alle vet - er at en for stor andel av TV-apparatmarkedet er std. def. flatskjermer uten HD-kapabilitet. Derfor er det ikke sikkert at utbredelsen av flatskjerms-TVer genererer det ønskede startmomentet for salg av HD-filmmaskiner.

  9. #9
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    Mer fra Video Business:

    http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6276046.html

    Warner joins Blu-ray camp
    Still also backs HD DVD
    By Scott Hettrick and Paul Sweeting -- Video Business, 10/21/2005
    OCT. 21 | Minutes after a decision ensuring a continued battle over high-definition formats, Warner Home Video president Jim Cardwell acknowledged, “The cost of a format war will likely be significant.”

    Cardwell announced Thursday that Warner will release movies in the Blu-ray Disc format, the rival of competing platform HD DVD. Warner has been, and remains, the biggest studio proponent of the HD DVD platform.

    Warner execs feel they did all they could to avert a format war by working to unify the two camps before it ultimately opted to join the board of the Blu-ray Disc Assn. and release all its programming, as well as that of distributed labels New Line Home Entertainment and HBO Video on Blu-ray as well as HD DVD next year.

    “We made a decision to support HD DVD. We tried to bring the two sides together,” said Marsha King, executive VP new business development. “We were unable to do so.”

    When it became clear that Blu-ray was launching at the very least as a component of PlayStation 3 regardless of the plans or support for HD DVD, Warner execs decided they wanted to have input into Blu-ray.

    They got that through a couple of important concessions from Blu-ray. The format will now include a low-cost red-laser option that will allow studios to create a Blu-ray version of the DVD-9, a “BD9.” Cardwell said that since the costs of manufacturing blue-laser-based Blu-ray discs “are unknown to us,” Warner wanted to ensure there was some level of expenses the studio could more accurately project.

    The option is essentially the same one Warner proposed to both the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps more than three years ago, but which Blu-ray previously rejected.

    The studio plans to use the red-laser option for shorter programs that don’t require all the storage capacity of a blue-laser disc or for budget-priced titles that might not justify the higher costs.

    Warner also received assurancesthat Blu-ray’s additional layers of copy protection would not compromise the basic AACS copy-protection standard that the studio plans to use.

    “This gives us more options,” said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Ben Feingold of the concessions. “And options are good.”

    King said Warner would still love to see unification of the formats, but Cardwell was firm in the studio’s resolve to release product also for Toshiba’s HD DVD format. Toshiba, which has been aware of Warner’s impending decision for more than a month, is planning to go forward with its launch.

    Cardwell denied industry speculation that Warner and Paramount Home Entertainment, the latter of which announced earlier this month that the studio would also publish in both formats, are simply keeping a foot in the HD DVD camp in case Sony cannot deliver on its promises. One studio exec said that engineers re-evaluated the Blu-ray technology as recently as this week and concluded that it will not be ready to offer everything Sony promises for two more years.

    “We’re committed to HD DVD,” Cardwell said.

    King said Warner has not decided that one format is better than the other.

    “We feel the market will decide. Both will be incredibly good products.”

    Said one studio exec when he heard the news, “The studios have decided to allow consumers to decide, and that’s a shame.”

    Feingold said it makes no sense to release two incompatible platforms and estimates such a scenario could slow overall sales by 60% as the situation confuses consumers and retailers.

    Suppliers must pick one format, he said: “This is not dating. There are real issues at retail in terms of shelf space.” He also said consumers are far less likely to buy either of two formats for fear that the one they pick could become obsolete.

    Many still believe that only one product will come to market, and that Blu-ray clearly has the stronger position.

    “This is something the HD [DVD] camp cannot recover from,” said one executive close to the negotiations.

    Toshiba isn’t backing down yet, however. Last week, the company said it had begun licensing Chinese manufacturers to begin producing HD DVD players for the export market.

    The move seemed designed to ensure that relatively inexpensive players would be available in volume at the time of the format’s launch as part of a strategy to put price pressure on the Blu-ray camp.

    Blu-ray players are expected to be more expensive than HD DVD players because the Sony format incorporates more new technologies.

    “We recognize Warner Bros.’ participation in the Blu-ray Disc Assn. represents the studio’s understandable commitment to listen to broad array of opinions and to continue to make technical evaluations of each format, and we are more than confident this will not affect timely introduction of HD DVD content to the market,” Toshiba said in a statement. “Toshiba strongly believes the HD DVD format will eventually win broad support as the more superior format, and in cooperation with our partners, we are committed to bringing HD DVD products first to market early next year in the U.S.”

    Top brass at Blu-ray soloists Buena Vista Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment issued statements saying Warner’s decision will lead to a single standard.

    “The continued dramatic momentum toward Blu-ray makes us more optimistic than ever that a format war can be avoided,” said Buena Vista Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek.

    “These latest developments are the categorical shift needed to avoid a format war and ensure the successful launch of Blu-ray and secure the future of high-definition pre-recorded media,” said 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn.

    Ironically, Warner’s decision came on the same day that Blu-ray board member Hewlett-Packard tried to bring the two formats closer together by announcing it would ask the Blu-ray Assn. to consider adding two key HD DVD technologies to the Blu-ray format, a mandatory “managed copy” system and “iHD,” both enthusiastically supported by Warner. Managed copy allows consumers to make legitimate copies of their high-def movies and play them anywhere around the world.

    iHD, an interactive layer developed by Microsoft and Disney, enables new interactivity with standards-based development tools and technologies.

    Sources said it is highly unlikely that Blu-ray will agree to H-P’s requests and that H-P knew that in advance but wanted to make a gesture to appease Microsoft.

    H-P said that if its proposal is rejected, the computer maker “may have to seek alternatives” to Blu-ray.


    E-mail Scott Hettrick and Paul Sweeting

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    High Definition Pork

    http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6279022.html

    "High-definition pork


    OCT. 28 | The Blu-ray Disc Assn. is starting to resemble the U.S. Congress when there’s a highway bill to pass.

    To get the votes for passage, every state and district gets its pound of pork--sometimes two pounds, depending on where its member ranks on the Transportation Committee.

    In the BDA, the pork-barreling began with the interactive layer.

    The original plan was to use a system based on the Java programming language that has become known as BD-Java. Once Microsoft, in conjunction with Disney, came up with iHD, however, which is expected to be easier and cheaper to implement than Java, most BDA companies actually preferred iHD.

    However, BD-J was already part of the spec and had the support of Fox, which the Blu-ray camp was ardently trying to woo. When it came time to choose, a majority of BDA board members actually voted in favor of iHD. But eight companies abstained, denying iHD the supermajority it needed under BDA bylaws.

    So BD-J stayed in, and Fox stayed on board.

    Fox was also the driving force behind Blu-ray’s adoption of the BD+ and BD-ROM Mark copy-protection layers, despite concerns they could potentially interfere with the operation of the basic AACS layer.

    In an effort to make everyone happy, BD+ and ROM Mark were made mandatory in the Blu-ray hardware spec--meaning player manufacturers must include the capability to respond to them--but are optional in the software spec--meaning studios don’t have to use them if they don’t want.

    So far, Fox is the only studio to say publicly it plans to use them.

    Warner was next into the bacon, insisting in exchange for defecting from the HD DVD-only camp that Blu-ray incorporate a lower-cost red-laser-based option using a standard DVD for shorter programs.

    The Blu-ray spec will now include red-laser BD-9.

    Meanwhile, BDA board member Hewlett-Packard is now demanding that managed copy be made mandatory for all Blu-ray discs and wants to revisit the iHD/BD-J question.

    Apart from its unwieldiness, the current free-for-all in the Blu-ray Disc spec could end up undermining the very goal of format supremacy it’s meant to achieve.

    Although H-P’s new demands initially got a frosty reception from other members of the BDA board, Warner has made it clear it would be very happy to see iHD included in the Blu-ray spec, either in addition to or instead of BD-J.

    As a co-developer of iHD, Disney also, presumably, would be happy enough to see it used for Blu-ray. Even Sony voted yea on iHD when it first came up before the BDA board.

    With H-P threatening outright defection and studio pressure building, it would be no great surprise to see iHD added to Blu-ray. Should that happen, the hardware companies are going to be very unhappy about having to license and implement BD-J when only one studio plans to use it. At that point, BD-J could get forced out of the spec after all.

    Similar pressure could build on BD+ and ROM Mark, which again, only one studio plans to use. Acceding to H-P’s demand for mandatory managed copy, in fact, might require eliminating BD+ if it’s true that, as many in the computer industry fear, the extra layer of copy protection is just a sneaky way to disable managed copy.

    By the time all the horse trading is done, it’s possible that the important features of both HD DVD and Blu-ray will be essentially the same: the same logical layer, the same copy protection, the same policies on managed copy. With commercially viable dual-layer Blu-ray discs likely still two or more years off, even the formats’ capacities will be similar: 30 GB for HD DVD vs. 25 GB for Blu-ray.

    At that point, the battle will have come full circle, back to a dispute over the physical specifications of the disc and the costs of manufacturing them. And that’s not good ground for Blu-ray to fight on."

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    Making a Franken-DVD

    http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6276970.html

    Making a Franken-DVD


    OCT. 21 | With last week’s high-definition maneuverings by Warner Home Video and Hewlett-Packard, the rough contours of the much-hoped-for compromise between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD are becoming clearer.

    Interests in both camps seem to be converging on a plan to adopt the Blu-ray physical spec, combined with the logic and application layers from HD DVD.

    That is, a Blu-ray Disc with an iHD interactive layer instead of the more complicated BD-Java platform, and guaranteed managed copy regardless of any additional layers of copy-protection added to the basic Advanced Access Content System.

    Blu-ray Disc Assn. board member H-P—perhaps under pressure from HD DVD supporter Microsoft—proposed exactly that in formally asking the group to drop BD-Java in favor of iHD and commit to mandatory managed copy.

    Warner’s price for endorsing Blu-ray was not immediately disclosed, but the studio certainly would endorse H-P’s proposal, given its long support for managed copy and the cost savings the studios would enjoy from using iHD compared to BD-Java. Warner’s other demands likely focused on incorporating some of the studio’s old DVD patents into a proposed hybrid DVD/Blu-ray Disc that could carry both a standard-def and high-def movie versions.

    If such a chimera were to emerge, it would represent an ironic reversal of fortunes from the first DVD format battle. Back then, the eventual “compromise” involved adopting the Toshiba/Warner physical spec, and the file format developed by Sony and Phillips for their Multimedia CD standard.

    From Sony and Phillips’ point of view, that compromise turned out to be nothing of the sort. The real value in the DVD patent pool concerned the format’s physical spec, which was controlled by Toshiba and Warner, not in the logic layer developed by Sony.

    In setting out to develop Blu-ray, Sony was determined never to let that happen again.

    Whether the same sort of compromise can work this time, however, even with the shoes on the other feet, is far from clear.

    For one thing, Blu-ray’s physical spec is at the heart of the uncertainty surrounding the format’s viability.

    The new disc structure developed for Blu-ray requires a host of new mastering and manufacturing processes, none of which have ever been tested on a commercial scale.

    If manufacturing Blu-ray discs turns out to be harder or more expensive than expected, adopting the Blu-ray physical spec could turn out to be a mistake.

    The ability to implement managed copy in conjunction with the additional BD+ and BD ROM-Mark copy-protection layers also remains one of the major unanswered questions about the format.

    According to Blu-ray critics like Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, mandatory managed copy can only be achieved if BD+ and BD ROM-Mark are taken out of the equation.

    But that’s unlikely to sit well with 20th Century Fox, which only agreed to side with Blu-ray after Blu-ray agreed to incorporate those extra layers of copy protection.

    Even if those issues could be worked out, reconfiguring Blu-ray to incorporate iHD and mandatory managed copy could also mean a significant delay in launching the format. That would create a potentially serious problem for Sony, which plans to incorporate Blu-ray technology into its PlayStation 3 game platform slated for release next year.

    A delay to reengineer Blu-ray could mean pushing back the launch of PS3, perhaps handing a crucial advantage to Microsoft’s rival Xbox 360 system, which launches worldwide next month.

    Blu-ray supporters hope that no compromise will be necessary and that the defections of Warner and Paramount will deliver the fatal blow to HD DVD so that Blu-ray can proceed without further ado. But of course that also was the plan for HD DVD when Warner, Paramount and Universal came out in support of the Toshiba format in January.

    Don’t believe the hype. There’s plenty of high-def intrigue yet to come.

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