Tuesday, May 10, 2005

From The 'I'll Believe It When I See It' Department...

Sony, Toshiba to agree on new DVD format

Sony's proposed Hi-Def formatUntil recently, it seemed nearly inevitable that the next video format would face a format war similar to that between Betamax & VHS and that consumers (especially early-adopters) would be the ones to suffer.

Toshiba's proposed Hi-Def formatEverybody knows that it is in the best interest of all parties involved (with the possible exception of the winning format) for there to be one unified format.

Personally, I would rather see the release of the next format delayed by a year or more if the alternative is two competing formats.

Here are a few pertinent links for those interested in more information:

One Format Only! Official Site ------------------------>

Current News (regular updates from hddvd.org)

DVD Demystified (lots of information about current and forthcoming DVD formats)

Being discussed at the Home Theater Forum HERE.

The up-side:
Both formats (and one would assume any unified format) have significantly increased data capacity (3x, at least, over the current DVD standard):
HD-DVD: 15Gb/30Gb (single/dual layer)
Blu-ray: 27Gb/50Gb (single/dual layer)
[vs. Current Standard DVD: 4.37/8.5Gb (single/dual layer)]

DTS mandatory on both formats:
Only Dolby Digital is mandatory on the current DVD. DTS is currently only an option for Film and DVD makers even though many consumers of DVD prefer DTS over Dolby sound mixes.

Both are backwards compatible with current DVDs. This means that your current DVD player will not be able to play new Hi-def DVDs regardless of format BUT your new hi-def DVD player will be able to play your older standard DVDs (and CDs, for that matter).

The Bottom line:
For now, I'm remaining skeptical about these reports of a unified format. Just today, Toshiba (the main supporter of the HD-DVD format) has been busy denying any deal with Sony's Blu-ray people.

Bill Hunt from The Digital Bits believes that "this public posturing by Toshiba is an effort to give the company a boost in its format unification talks with Sony." Let's hope he's right!

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now.

-Chester Powers -- "Get Together"

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