Sharma1 Why did two camps emerge in the DVD format war? Who were in the warring camps? The two camps who were emerged in the DVD format war was Sony and Toshiba. The highdefinition optical disc format war was between the Bluray Disc and HD DVD optical disc standards for storing highdefinition video and audio;If you want to learn more check out commuinications
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it took place between 2006 and 2008 and was won by Bluray Disc. From 2003 to 2008, Sony and Toshiba waged a high stakes war from control over the next generation video format. Sony's technology was called Blueray and had the backing of a consortium that included Philips, Matsushita, Hitachi, and others. Toshiba's technology was HDDVD, and the had the backing of the DVD forum, making it the ‘official' successor to the DVD format. Both new formats used blue laser light, which has a much shorter wavelength than the red laser light used in conventional CD and DVD players. The technology was intended to deliver a theater like an experience at home with brilliantly clear video and surrounded sound audio, and highend LCD and plasma tv's. 1. Describe the technology behind the new high definition disks. What were the advantages and disadvantages of each for consumers? What were the advantages and disadvantages of each for studios? As more and more consumers move to highdefinition (HD) plasma and LCD televisions, their tolerance for lowresolution DVDs will significantly diminish. DVDs on the market currently hold only 4.7 gigabytes (GB) of data. The maximum resolution achieved on a DVD is 720by480. With a highdefinition resolution of 1,920by1,080, DVDs just do not compare. Fortunately, two technologies, Bluray and HDDVD, promise to transform the DVD from lowresolution to a highdefinition format. Both of Sharma2 these technologies utilize blue lasers instead of the traditional red lasers to achieve higher resolution. Although promising, both technologies have their advantages and disadvantages (Kaplan, 2004). The technology Bluray and HDDVD use are based on using blue lasers instead of red ones. Blue lasers have a wavelength of 405 nanometers while red lasers have a wavelength of 650. The shorter wavelength of blue lasers allows the laser to focus on a smaller spot on the DVD enabling more storage. More storage is necessary because HD video can easily approach 200 megabytes (MB) per minute. Highdefinition DVDs are expected to hold about two hours of HD video (Kaplan, 2004). Bluray technology, deriving its name from the blue optical ray used to read the DVDs, is poised to replace the traditional lowresolution DVD (Blu ray.com). Bluray, developed by the Bluray Disc Association, is supported by thirteen companies including Dell, HP, Hitachi, Philips, Pioneer, and Sony (Kaplan, 2004). The physical format for Bluray Discs is complete for the readonly versions, enabling manufacture to prepare to produce the discs. In addition, rewritable Bluray Discs and recorders are already for sale in Japan from Panasonic and Sony (Shim, 2004). Bluray technology is very promising because it can hold up to ten times more than a regular DVD. Using dual layers, a Bluray Disc can hold as much as 50GB. Blu ray’s plans for copy protection call for a standard more secure than CSS, which is the current copy protection for DVDs (Kaplan, 2004). Furthermore, there are already plans for computer variations of Bluray including BDROM, BDRW, and BDR. With its 50GB capacity, Bluray can help Hollywood studios dwarf the current features on DVDs, as well as help video game manufacturers make more elaborate games (Labriola, 2004). Bluray is not without its disadvantages, however. Bluray has been criticized for Sharma3 jumping to a completely new technology in relation to traditional DVDs. Bluray uses a new structure of disc, creating the need for a new manufacturing process. Having to adopt new or modify existing manufacturing plants will drive up the prices of Bluray Discs initially. Bluray supporters say the increase in price is worth it because the increased storage will be better for consumers in the end. However, several producers of movies have said that cost is the driving factor for choosing a new format (HDDVD). On the other hand, HDDVD is also a promising technology that could replace current DVDs. HDDVD was developed by Toshiba and NEC with price in mind. Backed by big players such as Microsoft, HDDVD is a huge competitor to the Bluray format (Bluray.com). HDDVD products will not hit store shelves until sometime in 2005 (Labriola, 2004). HDDVDs, like the Bluray format, hold significantly more information than current DVDs. The HDDVD readonly format can hold 15GB on its singlelayer format and 30GB on its doublelayer format (Bluray.com). A significant advantage over Bluray is that HDDVDs can be produced using existing manufacturing facilities. By simply swapping out a discstamping tool, existing factories can be converted to produce HD DVDs. It is expected that HDDVDs will cost about ten percent more than regular DVDs initially, but will go down as volume increases. Microsoft, which has good standing in Hollywood, is a key backer in the HDDVD format. Microsoft said it would support the HDDVD format in its future release of Longhorn in 2006 (Kaplan, 2004). Furthermore, Japan’s largest DVD distributor, Pony Canyon, stated it would begin releasing DVDs in the HDDVD format in 2005 (Gruenwedel, 2004). HDDVDs disadvantages lie in its storage capabilities and lack of industry backing. HDDVDs can store a maximum of Sharma4 30GB, while Bluray can store approximately 50GB. HDDVD technology has been criticized as shortsighted because it would hamper DVDs in the area of extended movies, special features, and commentaries. Another disadvantage is HDDVD lacks the extensive industry backing that Blu ray does. HDDVD is backed by big names such as Microsoft, Toshiba, and NEC. In contrast, Bluray is backed by thirteen large corporations such as Dell and Sony. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, a major Hollywood studio, has also stated that it would release all home video products in the Bluray format by the end of 2005 (Gruenwedel, 2004). 2. When did Bluray’s victory become inevitable? What role did retailers play in the victory? What influenced retailers support? Bluray's victory was inevitable when in Jan 2008, Time warner announced that they would no longer sell movies in both formats and instead focus exclusively on Blu ray. UK retailer Woolworth said it was in the process of stocking Bluray discs only. In Feb 2008, Best buy started recommending Bluray as customer's digital format choice. Also, Walmart announces will discontinue HDDVD products Netflix started phasing out its HDDVD inventory. On Feb 16, New York Times published an obituary of HD DVD. On Feb 19, Universal Studios defected to Bluray's Toshiba gave up the battle and announced that it would cease developing manufacturing and marketing HDDVD players and recorders. On Feb 20, Paramount was only remaining supporter of HD DVD announced its move to Bluray. 3. Was it inevitable that only one DVD technology could survive? How did increasing returns to adoption/ network externalities play a role? Could Toshiba have done something differently and won the war? Explain.Sharma5 Yes, it was inevitable that only one DVD technology could survive because consensus could have been reached by the DVD forum members regarding establishing standards for next generation discs. A compatibility standard should have been introduced by Toshiba<NEC and Microsoft (HDDVD) to satisfy Sony's Matsushita's needs on the Bluray Disc side. Toshiba could have done differently and could it have won. They could add the HDDVD drive to the console not just as an accessory. It could have make a deal with Blockbuster Inc. instead Sony. It could have had more package promotions like retail stores and bank. They could have had done more bundles like hardware and software.