Samsung to play safe with dual HD DVD/Blu-ray rig

Samsung is to harness consumer confusion over which next-generation optical disc standard to back by offering a player that supports both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD).

This is completely unsurprising.

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  • cbeveridge

    I seriously don’t think that we’re going to see HD-DVD.

    CED is reporting that Toshiba came to the show with a full barrage of HD-DVD collateral (CD-ROM press kits, etc.) but pulled them at “the last minute” (on orders from HQ) due to “sensitive issues.” Some feeble “we’re still trying to work with Sony on unification” asides were made, no one was happy…they pimped SED, boasting a 100,000:1 CR. They reiterated a December HD-DVD hardware launch in Japan, but no model name, no specs, nor any mention of *any* software, not even from Pony Canyon, the first content provider to sign up for HD-DVD.

  • gweepprefect

    I agree that it’s unsurprising, but it’s a positive development. Having more players like this available will make the format differences something of a non-issue. The trouble will be, due to the vast differences in the formats, these players will be necessarily more expensive.

  • gweepprefect

    You don’t think they’ll come to market with it at all? They’ve put an awful lot of effort and money into it to walk away from it now.

  • cbeveridge

    No, I think they’ve really seen the writing on the wall. They lost their “six month” window to probably a month or more now, the Xbox 360 is undergoing a series of issues where it’s now looking seriously underpowered and people are backing off in order to see what the PS3 really rolls out and I think the PS3 will be a real wild card once again. If the Xbox 360 had done HD-DVD out of the box for another higher tiered price then I’d not discount them as easily, but with it being a “down the road” prospect it’s going to end up with a hard drive fate ala the PS2

    Honestly, I think HD-DVD is turning into a lot of smoke and mirrors. they pulled their huge stunt at CES 2005 with listing 89 titles and everything else to hit by years end. Then people EXPECTED it to happen when they were just doing normal CES bread and circus stuff and had no intent of getting it out in time. Then they scrambled, hoped for unification of some sort, found out that the BD consortium is not going to back down and just follow their plan and things started to evaporate around them. Universal drops several releases off its initial plans, Paramount pulls out of Holiday release entirely and even WB says that they’re focusing on DVD for the holiday…

    Lots of little things, lots of promises, very little reality.

  • gweepprefect

    Sounds like it’s more marketing than actual development, then. Given that they clearly have produced some pre-production Blu-Ray recorders (see other post), it sounds like Sony is winning on the reality front.

  • megazone

    Yeah, I’m starting to think that HD-DVD will be vaporware. I was thinking about this a bit on the plane (I’m at DFW, relaying from PMX back to Boston) and the Samsung announcement could be strong-arming the HD-DVD camp more. If Samsung, a BD backer, does a dual-deck then anyone considering HD-DVD gets BD, and with more BD media, players, etc – they can pull more users to BD and not exclude anyone who gets into HD-DVD early on.

  • megazone

    I’m starting to think they’ll just drop it too. They’ve spent a lot of time and money, yes, but I think they’re looking at losing MORE money if they fight a format war and lose. All the money still to be spent to setup manufacturing for decks and media, then marketing, etc. That’s the big money. And they’re staring down the PS3, a lot more manufacturing weight, and now it looks like wavering support from their media backers. And BD continues to gather steam.

  • megazone

    Yeah, there are 2 or 3 pre-standard BD decks on the market in Japan. You really have to be a rich early adopter to buy one, since they can’t handle the coming standard discs – at least the first Sony, now almost 2 years old, can’t – it can only do single layer, 25GB discs, and I don’t think it does BD-RE – well, one of the 3 formats. But the newer Japanese deck (Samsung? I forget) does dual layer and might be upgradable to the final specs. But it shows the tech works and can be produced and sold.

  • gweepprefect

    I guess it’s possible…

    If they were really smart, maybe this was their plan all along. Make a competing format. Draft lots of specs. Make it something better than current tech, but relatively easily achievable. Recruit movie studio backers (with a straight face). Puff up chest and try to look like a legitimate Blu-Ray competitor. Let it drag on a while, then come to Blu-Ray’s table with a whole bunch of movie studios in tow, and negotiate a piece of their pie for bringing the other movie studio players to the table.

    Throw in some cheesy corporate romances, maybe some shady characters from the mob, and you’d have a plot for a bad book!

  • megazone

    The new novel Blue Light, by John Grishom. Soon to be a major motion picture.

    I think that, early on, before lots of companies picked sides, it was a legitimate proposal. Remember there were more than two proposals for next gen, blue laser discs and they coalesced into HD-DVD and BD. Toshiba and NEC hooked up early on, but I think they were caught off guard when *everyone else* hooked up with Sony (the main developer of BD), and Pioneer (kind of the #2 developer). Then they pinned their hopes on media backing swinging their way – and that ended up pretty much a draw. Maybe they even lobbied MS for HD-DVD on XBox 360 and were hoping that’d give them a boost. But now they’d ended up with BD having better tech, vastly more hardware backing, more support on the PC side, more music support, and a split on movie studios – and the PS3. The longer they held out, the worse they’re barginning position became.

    A while back it sounded like there might be a compromise to use BD’s HW format and HD-DVDs file format and software, but when that fell through BD went ahead and finalized their formats, standardized on Java2ME for interactive features, finalized their DRM, etc. Now there isn’t really a window for HD-DVD to offer anything without BD changing something they’ve already nailed down.

    HD-DVD is slowly but surely being shut out and marginalized, and the only real thing they had left going for them was market lead time – and that looks like it just evaporated.