Sony and Toshiba are in talks aimed at adopting a common format for next generation video discs…
The talks… are expected to lead to a unified format for advanced DVDs capable of recording high-quality content, including high-definition movies and video games.
An accord would end years of heated competition between the two camps to win over content providers, particularly Hollywood studios, and gain supremacy.
Sony is supporting Blu-ray disc technology along with most consumer electronics makers including Samsung and Matsushita.
Toshiba is championing HD-DVD with the backing of NEC and Sanyo among others.
…until recently a compromise has seemed unlikely because both camps were in the advanced stages of development and high-end early models have already been introduced. “The physical format was fixed last year and it is technically very difficult to change this,” said one official in the Blu-ray camp.
The question now is which of the technologies will dominate in a unified format. HD-DVD offers lower manufacturing costs, since production techniques are similar to current DVDs. But analysts think Blu-ray will be the core of any compromise, because it offers more capacity and is seen as a technological leap forward.
If they do reach a compromise it should be interesting to see how they work things out technically. Actually merging the two technologies would hardly be a simple thing.