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Sony And Toshiba May Agree On DVD

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-12

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After a protracted three-year battle over the structure of next-generation DVDs, an agreement may be at hand.

Neither Sony nor Toshiba wants to reprise the infamous VHS versus Betamax war that slowed adoption of VCRs.

But both companies developed different standards for new DVD technology, which will take advantage of a change from red to blue lasers in next-generation DVD players.

The difference in wavelengths of light makes the transition appealing. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light. This difference means more information may be stored on a disc; for consumers, that means high-definition (HD) movies, which need a higher capacity storage platform than current DVDs offer.

A market worth billions of dollars awaits the winner. The new standard will be implemented in the technology behind new DVD players and computer drives.

One potential compromise has been rumored, and denied by Toshiba. The alleged compromise would make Sony's Blu-ray the standard for discs. Toshiba would get to provide the software to allow playback and copyright protection in new devices that could play the new DVDs.

Although the wrangling has carried on for three years, both companies will be under considerable pressure from other electronic industry interests to reach an agreement. Proposals from the two tech firms have been backed by the likes of Dell and Samsung, while NEC and Sanyo back Toshiba's work.

That support can turn into more pressure. Sony, working on its next-generation PlayStation, certainly wants to incorporate Blu-ray into the console as a competitive advantage over rival console maker Microsoft.

Recent announcements from Toshiba say they have boosted the capacity of their HD DVD technology to 45 GB. But that still falls short of Sony's 50 GB Blu-ray capacity.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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