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As we know - Blu-Ray has 'won' as of April, 2008 - but we're leaving the below for history and 'general caution.'


Here are two recent news articles:

New York Times

David Pogue

Which New DVD Format? Neither Just Yet

Published: June 22, 2006

WELCOME to high-definition-DVD-FAQs.com, your one-stop info resource about the next generation of home movie equipment! Here you'll find all the frequently asked questions about the new DVD players ... and, better yet, the answers.

Forrester Research says that 17 percent of American households have high-def TV screens; no wonder the electronics industry thinks that DVD technology is ready for an upgrade, too. After all, the 60,000 movies already available on DVD may look good on your TV today — but they're not true high definition. You're not seeing the full color, clarity and contrast your high-def screen is capable of.

Your timing in visiting our site couldn't be better — the very first Blu-ray DVD player, Samsung's BD-P1000, arrives in stores next week. Read on for details on this revolutionary new player.

And now, on with the Frequently Asked Questions!

What about the format war?

Yes, there are two incompatible types of high-definition DVD players: HD-DVD (backed by Toshiba, Microsoft, Sanyo, NEC and movie studios like New Line and Universal) and Blu-ray (backed by Sony, Apple, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Pioneer, Dell and movie studios like Sony, 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate and Disney).

Most movies will be available in only one high-def format. Whichever you choose, you won't be able to play some of your favorite movies on DVD [ If you own only one of the 2 formats ]. Isn't competition fun?

Which format plays movies better?

The two formats offer equally spectacular picture and sensational sound. The image is much sharper than before, and the detail is incredible.

Video buffs notice the difference right away. Most people, however, would notice a difference only if an ordinary DVD and a high-def DVD were playing side-by-side on big screens.

What about features?

Both DVD formats let you summon pop-up, on-screen menus without stopping the movie, so you can switch languages or change scenes without a detour to a main menu. Nice.

Both formats make possible new kinds of DVD extras, like picture-in-picture director commentaries (rather than just audio commentaries). And Blu-ray discs can offer a Scene Search function: a clickable menu of the actors and the scenes in which they appear.

All of this is so far theoretical, however. We here at high-definition-DVD-FAQs.com have sampled 10 early HD-DVD movies and 7 Blu-ray discs — and not one of them offers any of these features. In fact, for the most part, the DVD extras aren't even in high definition. Clearly, the first order of business for the movie studios was just converting the actual movies to high-def DVD; filling in the blanks can come later.

Which is the best high-definition player?

You mean, of the two available so far?

The new Samsung Blu-ray player costs a cool $1,000 — twice as much as the Toshiba HD-DVD player that arrived last month. (Both players also play standard DVD's, even "up-converting" them to improve the picture on high-def screens.)

Samsung concedes that $1,000 isn't exactly pricing for the masses, and stresses that its new machine is intended for well-off early adopters. Which is sort of self-evident, isn't it? "The target audience for this player is whoever will buy it. ..."

Then again, that $1,000 buys you a number of advantages over the Toshiba; for example, the Samsung is substantially smaller (17 by 12.1 by 3.1 inches). Lighter, too. And absolutely great-looking: the piano-black, pseudo-lacquered finish of the front panel wraps around to form the entire top surface. The front panel glows with cool blue accents.

The Samsung also has memory card slots, so that you can watch your digital camera's pictures in high definition. They look really amazing that way.

In fact, Samsung must think they look really, really amazing; even in its fastest slide-show mode, each photo lingers on the screen for at least 15 seconds. We love our kids and all, but that's about 12 seconds longer than necessary.

I heard that the Toshiba takes more than a minute to start playing a DVD. How about the Samsung Blu-ray deck?

Only 30 seconds.

That's still not as fast as a traditional DVD player, though. And the Samsung introduces several-second pauses here and there — between the studio logo and the menu screen, between the menu and the start of the movie, and so on.

Samsung's engineers fill these intervals with what may be the world's worst "please wait" symbol: an hourglass icon, as in Microsoft Windows. It's our guess that most people would rather be spared the constant reminder that they've stuck a glorified PC under their TV sets. What's next — the Blu-ray Screen of Death?

The hourglass appears almost constantly during those excruciatingly slow photo slide shows. Worse, it appears right smack in the middle of each photo, often on a loved one's forehead.

I'm a videophile. Can you give me all the geeky specs that make my heart pound?

That's what we're here for!

The Samsung can connect to your TV using any of these connector types: HDMI, DVI (with an optional HDMI adapter), component cables or composite (RCA) cables. It hooks up to your sound system using coaxial, optical or stereo outputs, and understands Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby DTS and MP3 audio tracks.

The Samsung can pump out the highest-def high-def picture there is: a 1080p signal. (That means the image is formed by 1,080 horizontal lines, painted progressively down the screen.) Not many TV sets can even display 1080p yet, and there's not what you'd call a world of difference between 1080p and the Toshiba's best effort, 1080i (which is 1,080 lines, appearing as alternating, interlaced sets of 540).

But for those early adopters with $1,000 to spend, at least they know their system is futureproof.

How's the remote?

Hey, Samsung — we just paid you $1,000. How about tossing us a bone — like illuminated buttons on the remote? Ever heard of someone watching a movie with the lights turned low?

The Play/Pause and Stop buttons are larger than the others and distinguished by recognizable rubber bumps, which is a good thing.

On the other hand, the remote is filled with buttons that don't seem to do anything. (Some of them, like Cancel, are just a tease.) And there are no fewer than three different Menu buttons. (They correspond to the player's menu, the movie's menu and the in-movie pop-up menu.)

Should I buy one?

It's pretty early to consider a high-def DVD player. Keep in mind that for the next six months, the movie selection will be pitiful. The day the Samsung arrives, for example, a grand total of nine Blu-ray movies will be available, including "50 First Dates," "Hitch" and "The Fifth Element." Lions Gate will add five more the following week (like "Crash" and "Saw"), but even by the end of July, the entire Blu-ray library will consist of 24 flicks. (At least 130 other movies are slated for Blu-rayification, but release dates haven't been set.)

Besides, if you can wait until November, you'll be able to buy a Blu-ray player for only $500 — in the form of Sony's PlayStation 3 game console, which will double as a Blu-ray DVD player. Furthermore, rumor has it that dual-format players (HD-DVD and Blu-ray) are in the works for 2007.

But I really want it!

Are you sure? It's really awfully early. It's so early, even Samsung is a little sheepish about the glitches. "Blu-ray Disc is a new and evolving format," the user manual says. "Accordingly, disc compatibility issues with new and existing format discs are possible. Not every disc will play back."

I know, but I still want it.


Listen: What part of "It's too early" don't you understand?

If you buy one now, you risk making a huge investment in Blu-ray gear and movies (about $20 each), and then watching in horror as HD-DVD winds up winning the format war. Or vice versa. If that's your fate, you'll have to junk your whole investment.

In that case, don't forget to visit our sister site, Modern-day-Betamax-suckers.com.

E-mail: Pogue@nytimes.com


LG to deliver dual-format HD DVD/Blu-ray

By Sue Zeidler


Tuesday, March 14, 2006; 7:52 PM


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Korea's LG Electronics Inc. said on Tuesday it planned to launch a next-generation DVD player that will bridge the yawning gap between two competing formats by playing both HD DVD and Blu-ray.

"LG is a supporter of Blu-ray and is now considering a dual format player for later this year," said John Taylor, a U.S. spokesman for the Korean company.

Both Blu-ray, developed by a Sony Corp <6758.T>-led consortium, and HD DVD, championed by Toshiba Corp <6502.T>, offer more capacity than current DVDs, but the groups' failure to reach a unified front has paved the way for a costly battle in the $24 billion home video market, like the VHS/Betamax war of 25 years ago that caused widespread customer confusion.

Korean LG Electronics last week became the second high-profile Blu-ray supporter after Hewlett-Packard <HPQ.N> to announce it would also support HD DVD.

In addition to throwing its support behind HD DVD, the Korean-based electronics maker also notified dealers in a memo that it was developing a dual-format HD DVD/Blu-ray Disc player, Taylor said.

Richard Doherty, analyst with Envisioneering, said LG planned the launch for fall. A dual player would be a win for both retailers and consumers who will likely face months or years of frustration and confusion in a standards war, he added.

"While LG is the first to announce a dual player, we're sure it will not be the last system that gives consumers what they expect -- high definition discs that play with no questions asked," he said.

HD DVD players are expected to be out of the gate first, hitting stores later this month, while Blu-ray has said it expects its first players and titles to hit the market in May.

Both sides were the subject of rumored delays on Tuesday.

The Nihon Keizai business daily said on Tuesday that Sony will push back the release of its much anticipated PlayStation 3 video game console, which will include a Blu-ray drive, to November, although a U.S. Sony spokesman said plans to launch the PS3 in the spring remained on track.

A Blu-ray spokesman also said the spring launch of the format and players remained on track.

The Hollywood Reporter also on Tuesday said HD DVD films from Time Warner Inc's<TWX.N> Warner Bros. may not be ready in time for the launch of Toshiba's player on March 28, contrary to expectations.

Retailers are already frustrated by the format battle.

"A lot of people are asking if this is Betamax revisited. I think it's frustrating to a lot of people in the market," said Tom Drake, president and chief executive officer of North American Retail Dealers Association.


Hard choices ahead in HD-DVD/Blu-ray battle

Should firms offer products now, or wait for the full licence? Robert Jaques, vnunet.com 27 Feb 2006

Hardware manufacturers have been placed on the horns of a dilemma by recent moves to create an interim licence for content protection standards on next-generation DVD formats which would enable playback devices to be manufactured now, Gartner has warned.

The Advanced Access Content System Licensing Authority (AACSLA) announced the availability of an interim licence for the copy protection system on 21 February that will be used to protect high-definition Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats.

But Gartner noted that many of the advanced features of the AACSLA specification, such as "managed copy" which would let consumers move content onto other devices, will not be enabled in this release.

The release of the incomplete interim specification will enable hardware manufacturers to begin making Blu-ray and HD-DVD players to meet what they perceive as pent-up demand for next-generation DVDs, Gartner stated.

Hardware manufacturers including Panasonic, Toshiba and Sony are expected to offer players as soon as March.

Executives at AACSLA said that movie studios are expected to receive a version of the interim licence "within days", and will soon have Blu-ray and HD-DVD-based DVDs rolling off the disc replication lines, according to Gartner.

"The interim licence presents a tough choice for hardware manufacturers. They must decide whether to take early advantage of the perceived demand for HD content, or wait until the final licence is completed," said a research note written by Gartner analysts Mike McGuire and Laura Behrens.

"Waiting will prolong the uncertainty of manufacturing and marketing schedules, and may cause them to miss out on critical holiday sales.

"But getting an early start will require hardware manufacturers to choose whether to release a playback-only device that will quickly reach its end of life, or to make consumers install a firmware upgrade with advanced features later, after the standard is finalised."

The final standard will not be released until later this year, Gartner predicts, and is likely to include the more advanced features promised for Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs.

The most notable of these features will enable users to make a "managed copy " of DVD content for use on another machine, such as a portable playback device.

Gartner is advising hardware manufacturers to make very clear to consumers that they are buying a product that delivers great visual fidelity, but will not include advanced features.

Those firms that decide to produce a commercial offering now which can be updated later should start planning for the inevitable customer support issues that will crop up.


Two articles from the New York Times

December 2003 and April 2004 

From "The New York Times"

December 29, 2003

Heavyweights Are Choosing Sides in Battle Over Next DVD Format


TOKYO, Dec. 28 - When Hisashi Yamada pulls back his bow, he thinks of only one thing: Hitting the bull's-eye 92 feet away.

"When I concentrate on the target," said Mr. Yamada, a champion archer who demonstrates his skill dressed in the traditional blue-and-white hakama, "I forget about everything else."

In his regular job, Mr. Yamada, a 60-year-old electrical engineer, is putting that same single-minded focus to work for the Toshiba Corporation, which is battling like a Japanese samurai warrior of old in a fight to the finish over whose format will be used in the next generation of DVD's.

The discs, which have been under development for several years, will hold four to five times more digital video and audio data than those now on the market. They are needed because broadcasters and movie studios are planning to take advantage of the spread of high-definition television screens to produce more digital programming with multitrack sound and much better resolution.

The new discs and their players will not be widely available until at least 2005, but already the world's largest electronics, computer and entertainment companies are embroiled in a multibillion-dollar fight over whose technology will become an industry standard.

The arguments are in many ways reminiscent of the Betamax-VHS showdown in the 1970's and the clashes over digital audiotape, compact discs and the original digital videodiscs released in 1997. As in those battles, technology is just the starting point for debates filled with emotion and industry politics.

Beyond the technical details like tracking speed and tilt is a serious tussle over how to divide - and protect - the billions of dollars in royalties from the licensing of this technology and the content sold on the discs. Also at stake is an effort by electronics makers to prevent emerging Chinese rivals and well-established Silicon Valley computer makers from making significant inroads into the home entertainment business.

"This is a very intense conflict over intellectual property," said Warren N. Lieberfarb, a driving force behind the development of the original DVD format. It has the added overlay, he said, "of the Japanese, Korean and European consumer electronics industries fearing China's aggressively emerging consumer electronics industry as well as the PC industry."

At the technological level, the combatants are divided roughly into two camps. Under Mr. Yamada's leadership, NEC and Toshiba have formed a group that has developed the HD (high definition) DVD, a disc that is 0.6 millimeter thick and made with machinery similar to that used for today's DVD's. On the other side is the 10-company Blu-ray Group, led by Sony and Matsushita, whose best-known brands are Panasonic and JVC. That group has developed a disc only 0.1 millimeter thick that can hold more data but needs additional investment to be produced. Information on the discs can be overwritten after it is recorded, something that is not possible with the HD DVD's now.

At 12 centimeters in diameter, both discs are similar to today's offerings, though Sony's discs are protected from fingerprints, dust and scratches by square plastic cartridges when not in use. The HD DVD group has developed a single lens that emits red and blue rays to read both current and next-generation discs. The Blu-ray machines require two separate lenses.

While the discs are still at least a year away from mass production, both sides are expected to be out in full body armor trying to win new allies at the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 8 through 11, where they are planning to show prototypes of their devices.

There are many battles left to fight, though, before these new DVD's hit the shelves, and it is entirely possible that the camps will never reach a consensus, forcing consumers, retailers, movie studios and others to adapt, at least initially, to two competing standards.

In the Betamax-VHS war, one standard ultimately triumphed. That is an important reason the two chief antagonists in that fight - Sony, the loser, and Matsushita, the winner - are now allies. In the wake of other format conflicts, including the one over the first generation of DVD's, multiple standards co-exist, with the differences papered over by machines that can play several formats. But in other cases, including the development of higher-quality music discs, the disputes seem to have scared away consumers and retailers caught in the middle.

The ideal, everyone involved insists, is for one format to emerge as the winner so costs can be kept to a minimum. But as Mr. Yamada knows, that is about the only thing on which people can agree. In addition to his role at Toshiba, he is chairman of the powerful Technical Coordination Group at the DVD Forum, a six-year-old group of more than 200 companies that is trying to decide on one format.

In November, the HD DVD camp's specifications were endorsed by the forum's steering committee. The victory was significant, but tellingly contentious. The format was not approved until the third ballot, and only after voting rules were changed and several companies abstained. The Blu-ray Group did not submit specifications for a read-only disc, which Hollywood is eager to have for movie sales and rentals.

Mr. Yamada called the negotiations "very delicate," and said the Blu-ray Group was trying to prevent the HD DVD from becoming the industry standard because it does not yet have a solid alternative.

"They don't want to approve HD DVD in the forum, but since they only have rewriteable discs, they can't say theirs is better than ours," said Mr. Yamada, who argues that his goal is to produce an open format that all companies can share. The Blu-ray Group, he said, "wants to control the technological standards themselves."

The HD DVD group may get an additional lift in February, when the Walt Disney Company, Microsoft and Sanyo are expected to take over leadership of the DVD Forum. The three companies have not sided with either format, but are seen by some as friendlier to the Toshiba-NEC group.

Though the two camps produce discs that store similar amounts of data, manufacturers say that the HD DVD discs cost only 15 percent more to produce than current discs, a fraction of what they say the Blu-ray discs will cost. Stamping out prerecorded discs cheaply is the key to wooing Hollywood studios, which want to keep their retail prices low in a business that now brings in more money than movies in first-run theaters. Retailers also want one standard so they do not have to stock two versions of every movie.

"What Hollywood cares about is cost," said Kanji Katsuura, the chief technical officer at Memory-Tech, the second-largest maker of DVD's in Japan. "They basically want the same price as discs now."

Sony and its allies dismiss claims that their technology is too expensive, saying that the cost per disc will naturally fall as production takes off. They also say their rewriteable discs are what consumers really want because they can be used not only to play movies but also to record high-definition digital television programming, now available selectively in the United States and offered on a limited basis in Japan starting this month.

"What we are striving for with Blu-ray is the next stage in the evolution of this technology," said Yukinori Kawauchi, a manager in the planning and control division at Sony's broadband network unit. Such a leap happens only "every 10 or 20 years, like the transition from CD's to DVD's," he said. In April, Sony started selling Blu-ray DVD recorders in Japan, where they cost 378,000 yen, or $3,500, and take discs that sell for 3,000 yen, or about $27. Sony does not release sales figures, but industry sources said only a few hundred players had been sold so far.

Mr. Yamada said Toshiba wanted to introduce DVD recorders in 2005 that cost less than $2,000 and players priced below $1,000. They would be much cheaper than machines using the competing format, but would still be aimed mostly at the early adopters, who are the first to try new technologies. As in the past, the new formats are not expected to take off in the mass market until the price falls sharply.

"The battle really depends on the price level," said Yuki Sugi, a consumer electronics analyst at Deutsche Securities in Tokyo. "When the price falls to 120,000 yen ($1,080), it will catch on. This is a kind of magic number for high-priced electronics."

History indicates that the magic number might be reached earlier than anticipated. Sales of DVD discs and players gathered steam when production began in China, pushing prices lower. But some manufacturers worry that their technology could be used by Chinese rivals, legally or otherwise. This fear, some critics say, is why the

Blu-ray group has kept a tight lid on its technology instead of sharing more of its specifications with other members of the DVD Forum. Striking back, nine Chinese companies have said they plan to develop their own DVD formats.

Copyright infringement is another worry. After the rapid spread of illegally copied DVDs, Hollywood is pushing both technical groups to come up with new security measures to protect their movies. Neither group has developed a prototype that satisfies the movie industry - a major impediment to a commercial launch.

"We are very much focused on both picture quality and content protection," said Peter Murphy, senior executive vice president and chief strategic officer at the Walt Disney Company, which has about one-fourth of the home video market. "The consumer electronics manufacturers can come up with the technical standards for the next-generation discs, but unless we also agree on the content protection standards, many of the studios may choose to wait before releasing content in the new format."

Also lurking nearby are giants like Microsoft, I.B.M. and Intel, which are eager to work their way into family rooms by promoting their technology for use in set-top boxes, DVD players and digital video recorders with hard disk drives. American computer makers, adept at producing hardware on thin margins by building sophisticated global supply chains, could also develop competing products, turning television into just another function of the home computer.

"Younger generations are completely happy working with a mouse, which is better than a 1,000-button remote," said Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research in Carmel, Calif. "Microsoft can dominate in ways that Sony or Toshiba can't."

Some analysts contend that high-speed Internet connections will ultimately make discs less relevant as consumers download more music and movies, though this is a more distant threat.

For now, discs remain the medium of choice, and the decision on a format will ultimately be up to Hollywood. Some movie executives are leaning toward the HD DVD format because it is seen as the cheaper of the two. But others are still weighing the technological and financial arguments from both groups.

Many in the industry say the worst case would be an endless fight, forcing the public to wrestle with two formats.

If that happens, said Mr. Lieberfarb, the developer of the original DVD format, "everyone is a loser, particularly Hollywood studios, the retailer community and, most importantly, the consumer."


The New York Times

April 19, 2004

DVD War Looms As Advancements Draw Near


NEW YORK (AP) -- The DVD stands out as one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies ever, but in the electronics industry it's akin to an aging king in Shakespearean drama -- rivals are lurking, knives drawn.

Just as consumers are beginning to get comfortable with their DVD players, electronics manufacturers are set to introduce next-generation discs that store more -- and would be harder to copy.

A dozen companies, headed by Sony Corp., are pushing a disc called the Blu-ray.

The other main contender, the High Definition DVD, is promoted only by Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp. But it has an important endorsement from an industry group and is also expected to get Microsoft Corp.'s support as the software giant seeks a toehold for its multimedia format in the consumer electronics arena.

Movie studios generally aren't commenting on the new formats. And the rival industry groups aren't saying exactly when they expect to have players on the market. Both, however, consider the DVD ripe for replacement next year.

For consumers, the benefit of a new format would be better image quality. Sales of high-definition TV sets have finally started to take off, but current DVDs don't have the resolution to get the most out of HDTV sets.

For the industry, a new format could mean an escape from the low-margin market DVD players have become. From costing more than $500 when introduced in 1997, players are now available for less than $50.

The new discs, which look much like DVDs, would be read by players with newly developed blue lasers, which can pick out finer detail than the red lasers used to play DVDs and CDs. This lets the new discs store three to five times as much data as a DVD, enough for high-definition movies with surround sound.

Manufacturers from both groups plan to also build red lasers into their new players, allowing them to read current DVDs.

The Blu-ray disc has the most storage capacity, up to 50 gigabytes. However, it achieves that capacity by using a structure quite different from DVDs. This means that the companies that make prerecorded DVDs would have to invest in new equipment, which is sure to give Hollywood pause as it ponders which format to back.

The Blu-ray does have the widest support among electronics manufacturers, counting not only most of the big Japanese names but also Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. in its consortium.

Toshiba's HD-DVD stores up to 30 gigabytes, but can close the quality gap with the Blu-ray by using more efficient compression software than the MPEG-2 standard already used in DVDs and planned for the Blu-ray. One of the several compression schemes that may go into the final HD-DVD standard is none other than Microsoft's Windows Media 9 software.

``If that goes through, it's going to be a huge win for Microsoft,'' says Vamsi Sistla, an analyst at ABI Research. It wouldn't necessarily mean a significant financial windfall -- the analyst estimates that Microsoft may get 10 to 15 cents per player in royalties -- but that's not the point.

``More than money, they're looking for the muscle power to enter the consumer electronics industry,'' he says.

The HD-DVD has been endorsed by the DVD Forum, the industry group that created the DVD, but that may not be as crucial as it sounds. The group has not succeeded in gathering industrywide consensus for any disc standard since the original DVD in 1997. Both its audio and rewriteable DVD standards have competitors.

The Blu-ray and HD-DVD both use hardware advances to store high-definition movies. However, that's not strictly necessary. Improvements in the software used to pack a movie onto a disc means that it's possible to store a high-definition movie on a regular DVD, albeit with poorer quality and fewer special features than on a blue-laser disc.

Microsoft demonstrated that when it helped bring out a high-definition version of ``Terminator 2: Judgment Day'' on a DVD-ROM last year. It played only on computers, but in theory, a specially built DVD player could play it back. That lesson wasn't lost on Japan's Asian competitors. In China, the EVD, or Enhanced Video Disc, is already on sale. It uses software from On2 Technologies Inc. to store a high-definition movie on a slightly modified DVD, read by a red laser.

Not to be outdone, Taiwanese researchers this month demonstrated the FVD, or Forward Versatile Disc, based on the same principle. Players should be on sale this year.

The advantage of using red lasers is that the components are much cheaper than the blue-laser technology, and the players can read DVDs without a second laser.

With all these alternatives, there's a ``very good chance'' that there won't be one successor to the DVD, but several, says Sistla. The Blu-ray may dominate Japan, the cheaper EVD the rest of Asia, and the HD-DVD could be the format of choice in the United States and Europe.

The real kingmaker in the drama is Hollywood. Of the big studios, only Columbia TriStar has expressed support for either format. Since it's owned by Sony, its choice was clear.

One thing the studios are sure to appreciate is that the new discs promise much better copy protection than DVDs. While the older format has been a boon to the studios -- it grossed them more than theatrical releases last year -- its susceptibility to piracy has been a thorn.

A new disc format probably holds another attraction for the studios -- the opportunity to sell old movies all over again on new media.

But Geoffrey Kleinman, who runs review site DVDtalk.com, doesn't think consumers are clamoring for something better than the DVD.

``A high-quality progressive-scan DVD player properly connected to high definition TV looks fantastic,'' he says.

Also, what made the DVD popular isn't just the quality advantage over videotape, but also the addition of special features. So far, Kleinman hasn't seen any similar must-have advantage planned for the new formats.

If there's a pent-up demand for a new disc, it's probably on the recording side, Kleinman believes. There's no cheap or easy way to record HDTV broadcasts, something recordable versions of the new discs would address.

Sony is already selling a Blu-ray recorder for HDTV satellite broadcasts in Japan.


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