August 17, 2005

Blu-Ray Vs HD-DVD Camps Are Set Now

RedHerring: The Blue-Ray vs HD-DVD divide is set now, with Universal Music Group, one of the top worldwide music labels, deciding to back Sony's answer (Blue-Ray) to next-generation optical discs (HD-DVD, backed by Toshiba). With the announcement, Blu-ray has captured about 50 percent of music industry support represented by Universal and Sony BMG. The music labels intend to launch music DVDs with the technology.

On the movie side, all the major Hollywood movie studios have already picked sides. Earlier this month, Fox Studios was the last major studio to make its choice, deciding to go with Blu-ray. The move balanced studio backing, with the two formats each claiming three major studios in their camps.

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June 22, 2005

DVD Unification Talks Over For Now

Engadget writes that ongoing talks about global DVD unification have gone past stalling and have actually died..."the peace talks between the Blu-ray and HD-DVD camps are completely over, which means there is almost zero chance of them compromising on a unified high-capacity next-generation optical disc format. In other words we’re facing another one of those incredibly lame VHS vs. Betamax format wars where pretty much everyone loses, especially consumers."

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DVD Player Revenues Projected To Decline

Press Release: Strategy Analytics, a global research and consulting firm, has released a report "DVD Players and Recorders: Global Market Forecast," predicting that global DVD player revenues will fall for the first time ever this year (i.e., a 1 percent decrease to $19.8 billion, after peaking at $20.1 billion in 2004.)

As prices continue to drop for higher value DVD recorders, they are slowly beginning to replace regular players...However, this trend is not expected to prevent a continued fall in overall revenues for the sector as DVD recorder sales will continue to grow rapidly - overtaking play-only devices in 2008 and reaching annual sales of 90.9 million units in 2010...

"The global transition from play-only DVD players to DVD Recorders is well under way," says Peter King, Director of the Strategy Analytics Connected Home service. "High prices and product complexity have held back demand for DVD Recorders, but these factors are now diminishing."

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June 09, 2005

Toshiba Moves Forward With HD DVD

MarketWatch:  It appears that Toshiba doesn't plan to revive stalled talks with Sony on unifying the format for next-generation DVDs. The two companies had been in negotiations to potentially avoid a "format war" like the one seen between the competing Beta and VHS videocassette formats in the 1980s - but at the moment there is a stalemate - so the battle for market dominance continues between HD DVD and Blue Ray..."We won't talk from our side," Toshiba Corporate Senior Vice President Yoshihide Fujii said yesterday at the firm's Tokyo headquarters and Marketwatch reports that his comment suggests the two sides are unlikely to reach an agreement before Toshiba's planned HD DVD hardware launch from late this year. Toshiba and partners (including Hitachi Maxell and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media/Verbatim) plan to begin shipping HD DVD players in the fall, with HD DVD recorders to follow in the spring of 2006.

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May 19, 2005

DualDisc Artists Holding Top Spots

Press Release:  Perhaps signaling the end of one era and the beginning of a new one in physical music distribution, measurable sales and growing consumer enthusiasm for DualDisc have helped propel recent releases from Rob Thomas, Bruce Springsteen, Nine Inch Nails and Dave Matthews to the top of the Billboard charts for four straight weeks.

"DualDisc really seems to be electrifying the marketplace," says Fred Fox, Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing for Trans World Entertainment Corporation, one of the largest specialty music and video retailers in the United States. "It's outperforming anything the labels have attempted in the last few years."

The new format capitalizes on the solid base of existing hardware (i.e., DVD players, car stereos, PCs, game consoles and CD players) and adds added value that consumers have been clamoring for at the current retail pricing. "By combining CD and DVD on a single two-sided disc, DualDisc capitalizes on the overwhelming popularity of DVD music videos, which have grown exponentially over the course of the past three years. Moreover, DualDisc meets consumer demand for greater versatility and value in entertainment products while providing artists with an innovative avenue for creative expression." It's still too soon to tell if the format will eventually replace regular CD's, but all of the major recording companies as well as independent companies are reportedly busy developing DualDiscs to meet the boost in consumer demand - more than 2 million discs and counting....

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Gridlock Over Next Generation DVD Standard Continues

Yahoo:  Valuable time is running out for Matsushita/Sony and Toshiba to amicably come up with a unified format for next-generation DVD technology that will benefit everyone... Competing Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats are at the center of the multibillion dollar markets for DVD players, PC drives and optical discs and according to the article, "with companies from both camps gearing up to launch products compatible with their respective formats - the window of opportunity is closing fast."

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May 11, 2005

Sony & Toshiba Close To Agreement on Next-Generation DVD Format

Reuters:  It looks like Sony and Toshiba are nearing a resolution to their market control battle for the next-generation DVD formats - Blu-ray and HD DVD. Last month, both companies were reportedly in talks to develop a common standard between the two formats, but yesterday talks to unify next-generation DVD formats were leaning toward a disc structure supported by Sony...However, according to the article, it was unclear whether and when the two sides would reach a final agreement on a common format. If and when they do though, it will be good news for the multi-billion dollar industry as it hopefully circumvents another format war like the VHS/Betamax one - which ultimately discouraged consumers from buying new hardware and stifled the industry's growth...

"The Nihon Keizai newspaper said earlier that Sony and Toshiba were in final talks eyeing a new format based on Blu-ray's disc structure and Toshiba's software for efficient data transfer and copyright protection."

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May 03, 2005

Media Rights Technologies Announces the Release of SeCure Alliance DVD

Media_rights_technologyYahoo:  Media Rights Technologies (MRT) announced today a powerful new technology called SeCure Alliance DVD, that claims to address and alleviate what many consider to be one of the most pressing issues of online piracy - underage viewing of adult content. Designed to protect against  unrestricted access to illegal adult content online, it is part of MRT's powerhouse SeCure software suite, which provides comprehensive and/or selective control of digital copyrighted material. By preventing unauthorized ripping, uploading and redistribution via P2P networks, the developers claim that it 'transparently yet solidly blocks age-inappropriate adult content from becoming available to minors.'  Sounds good.....

According to the website, "SeCure Alliance DVD allows restricted access to prevent playback and copying on a computer to ensure secure and limited distribution and it permits full audio and video tracks to be enjoyed by reviewers or consumers on a sample disc without concerns of content redistribution." Therefore,  it could be ideal for adult entertainment and other sensitive digital content.

The development of DivX video and other smaller file formats has resulted in widespread consumer DVD ripping, allowing illegally shared adult content to propagate rapidly and unmonitored through Internet communities, P2P networks and newsgroups. The bad news is that once on these networks, minors have immediate and unrestricted access to this adult content and this problem will undoubtedly continue to grow at an accelerated pace as more DVD ripping programs become available (many are even available for free if you know where to look.) Parents and the adult entertainment industry are alarmed (and with good reason) that the ease of sharing adult content over the Internet is exposing minors to inappropriate material. Perhaps this is the solution some have been waiting for...

MRT CEO, Hank Risan said, "Through the implementation of this unique technology, the adult entertainment community and major motion film companies can exhibit their willingness to proactively protect and ensure that adult content does not fall into the hands of minors without inhibiting freedom of artistic expression."

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April 27, 2005

France Bans Copy Protection For DVD's

Register: In an unprecedented turn of events, a French appeals court in Paris has ruled that movie companies must remove copy protection from DVDs within a month - or face financial penalties. The court has basically granted UFC-Que Choisir (a French consumer protection organization), a prohibition on DVD copy protection devices , because they are incompatible with private copying rights. The lobbying group supports the private individual, who was unable to copy his Mulholland Drive DVD to a VHS tape to watch at his mother's house. Apparently the case was not about money per se, but more about fair use rights being trampled on by the Content Scrambling System inherent in many commercial DVD's...It's not over yet though, as a higher appeals court may still overturn the decision because the ruling may conflict with EU copyright laws - which allow for DRM systems.

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