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The future of Optical media???

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The future of Optical media???

Postby dolphinius_rex on Fri Oct 07, 2005 3:06 am

Taking a closer look at this article, I couldn't help but notice this comment from Robert Wong (Chairman of CMC):

Taiwan’s optical disc manufacturing industry currently consists of too many makers to have healthy competition ... The industry would be best suited if it consolidated and only three players remained...


I've been thinking about this, and it all makes perfect sense. We've seen some HUGE changes in the industry this last couple of weeks... and though not all of it has been obvious, some of it has. We've seen an attempted merger between Optodisc and Prodisc, who were always considered in the top 5 listing of manufacturers of optical media world wide. We know that these two company's combines production quantities would make them number 2 in the world, but probably number three once CMC is finished expanding. I've heard it rumoured that Ritek had previously held a decent amount of stock in Prodisc, but agreed to give it up in light of the merger...

Now, it's probably not common knowledge for many people, but if you stop and think about it, it makes a lot of sense. The technology required to manufacture even DVDRDL media is not that easy to use.... no one other then MCC/Verbatim has really gotten it right (ok, Ritek's media will work under good conditions... but that's not really what I meant by "gotten it right"). with BluRay and HDDVD we're probably looking at an eventual quad layer disc!! I think it goes without saying that this is going to be MUCH harder to make properly so that it works. It's not a large leap to figure that not just some, but MOST manufacturers will not be able to handle this technology... at least not on their own, and not under current conditions. As technology moves forward, and BluRay and/or HDDVD becomes a standard thing... people will NOT be abusing it like they do CDRs and DVDRs. The high storage capacity (15GB-100GB!!) will remove much of people's need for multiple discs, and volume production will probably never reach the levels we've seen with CDR and DVDR.... meaning that all the plants who survive solely on massive quantities at super low margins, will not be able to compete (even if they get the technology working!!).

In short... I think we may very well wind up having only 3 major suppliers of BluRay and HDDVD media. CMC, Ritek, and UPO (Prodisc+Optodisc). Of course I'm sure MCC and Taiyo Yuden will continue making technology and manufacturing on a smaller scale. But we could very easily see the whole optical media industry change over the next 3 years or so.

Anyways, I could be totally wrong... but I'm interested in other people's thoughts on this as well!
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:38 pm

your views are, naturally, from the point of the media manufacturing etc.
however i'm sure that guy whom you quoted had other things in mind.
with only 3 players in the field there's much less competition and the big companies can make it easier for themselves to control prices (read: control how low prices will go).

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Postby dolphinius_rex on Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:23 pm

Somehow I *KNEW* it'd be you to first respond to this thread :wink:

Yeah, I know CMC thinking that when they said it... But I think in the end it will not be predominantely a desire for less competition that creates a decline in media manufacturers.... but of course CMC and Ritek have powerful amounts of influence (a little too MUCH influence over Digitimes if you ask me!!)
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Postby articulate on Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:45 pm

Personally, knowing how hit-and-miss CD/ (and even more so) DVD burning has always been (discs, burners, compatibility, archival life, etc.), I wonder whether ANYONE would trust 15GB-100GB of valuable data to ONE disc! :o

P.S. (...how 'bout 2 or 3 backups...? :wink: )
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Postby BelGarion on Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:57 am

Not to mention the sheer mind boggling speed , or amount of time it would take, to burn a 15gb to 100gb disc? About, what, 3min per disc at 16x for 4gb? Figure double the data size double the time, so 6min for 8gb, 12 min for 16gb, so 12 min for 15gb? 120min for 150gb? Two hours of data burning, if the drive doesn't fry it'd be a mirical. :D

BelGarion

P.S. My times may be a little skewed, I am still burning at 4x. :P Or trying too.

articulate wrote:Personally, knowing how hit-and-miss CD/ (and even more so) DVD burning has always been (discs, burners, compatibility, archival life, etc.), I wonder whether ANYONE would trust 15GB-100GB of valuable data to ONE disc! :o

P.S. (...how 'bout 2 or 3 backups...? :wink: )
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Postby Ian on Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:43 am

I'd hate to see only 3 manufacturers... especially if 2 of them are CMC and Ritek. Those two are like the media mafia. They keep supply right below demand so they can set the price to whatever they want.
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Postby MediumRare on Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:08 am

Competition is (almost) always good for the consumer, and often for the vendors too. Just think where the US big 3 auto-manufacturers would be if first VW and later the Japanese hadn't shown up in the market.

Personally, I see another bugbear on the horizon, though. How long will it take until all CDR's will be subject to full RIAA/GEMA (or whatever) levies because all you would reasonably use them for is audio CD's? That this ignores the existence of levy-free music (as did the SCMS in DAT recorders) won't stop them.

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Postby RJW on Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:38 am

Ian wrote:I'd hate to see only 3 manufacturers... especially if 2 of them are CMC and Ritek. Those two are like the media mafia. They keep supply right below demand so they can set the price to whatever they want.

I don't think 3 manufacturers situation will ever be there.
MBIL - currently is to big. (largest cd-r producer these days)
and with MKM / TDK strategies they will need to manufacture some media themselves.
And I also think we haven't seen the last of Maxell and TY yet.

Also some chinese compannies are trying to get a better position incase of HD-DVD.
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Postby myckee on Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:13 am

Well, according to Bill Gates in a recent interview, HD DVD, is going to be the LAST physical format. He didn't specify a time period though.

If it going to be the last format with a life of only a couple of years, then it doesn't really matter how many makers there are. If however, the format is going to be used for the next 10 years, then hopefully there never will be only 3 companies who will control prices.

As well, Gate also indicates that Microsoft is supporting HD DVD and not BD becasue BD's protection scheme is too 'anti consumer' and will not work well on PC's.

DP: There has been a lot of debate about the next generation Blu-ray and HD DVD technologies in recent weeks. It seems more and more companies are backing the Blu-ray standard. The current debate seems to harken back to the Betamax vs. VHS format war in the 1970s and 80s, where Betamax was ostensibly the superior technology yet it did not gain wide acceptance. Why is Microsoft not backing Blu-ray today — a technology that many consider to be superior?

Gates: Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [movie] studios got too much protection at the expense consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.

It's not the physical format that we have the issue with, it's that the protection scheme on Blu is very anti-consumer. If [the Blu-ray group] would fix that one thing, you know, that'd be fine.

For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts.
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Postby Ian on Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:19 am

Billy G.. the optical storage expert. :roll:
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:41 am

Billy G.. the guardian of consumers' rights. :roll:
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:53 am

myckee wrote:Well, according to Bill Gates in a recent interview, HD DVD, is going to be the LAST physical format. He didn't specify a time period though.

If it going to be the last format with a life of only a couple of years, then it doesn't really matter how many makers there are. If however, the format is going to be used for the next 10 years, then hopefully there never will be only 3 companies who will control prices.

As well, Gate also indicates that Microsoft is supporting HD DVD and not BD becasue BD's protection scheme is too 'anti consumer' and will not work well on PC's.

DP: There has been a lot of debate about the next generation Blu-ray and HD DVD technologies in recent weeks. It seems more and more companies are backing the Blu-ray standard. The current debate seems to harken back to the Betamax vs. VHS format war in the 1970s and 80s, where Betamax was ostensibly the superior technology yet it did not gain wide acceptance. Why is Microsoft not backing Blu-ray today — a technology that many consider to be superior?

Gates: Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [movie] studios got too much protection at the expense consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.

It's not the physical format that we have the issue with, it's that the protection scheme on Blu is very anti-consumer. If [the Blu-ray group] would fix that one thing, you know, that'd be fine.

For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts.


That's funny.... since the format to overtake HDDVD and BluRay has been prepared for almost as long as HDDVD and BluRay (maybe longer!). That is of course, Holographic media, which Hitachi and Maxell are working on very hard. It makes BluRay look like a Zip Disk :wink:
Punch Cards -> Paper Tape -> Tape Drive -> 8" Floppy Diskette -> 5 1/4" Floppy Diskette -> 3 1/2" "Flippy" Diskette -> CD-R -> DVD±R -> BD-R

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Postby Qyngali on Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:11 am

The high storage capacity (15GB-100GB!!) will remove much of people's need for multiple discs, and volume production will probably never reach the levels we've seen with CDR and DVDR....


I'm not so sure... it's not that long ago 1GB HD was considered sufficient and cd-rom was a luxury almost nobody could afford. Back when DVDR media and drives was introduced people was saying the same thing, who needs it... CDR is good enough.
CDR (650-700+MB), DVDR (3.95-8GB) and BD/HD-DVD (15-???GB). If you compare the initial sizes of the different techs the increase in size isn't that big. Of course BD et all got more room to grow, but I'm pretty sure it'll be needed. 640KB RAM sure wasn't enough, even if some people claimed that it would be. ;)

Of course the time frame is hard to predict, and you never know. Maybe some revolutionary storage tech gets released that makes optical media obsolete.

With that said, when BD/HD-DVD goes main stream it's not going to cause DVDR to die instantly. It's going to be a gradual process, just like the transition from CDR to DVDR. I don't think the combined volume of discs will go down, it's just going to shift over to the larger capacity discs when the demand is there.

Hmm, I didn't intend to write an essay, oh well. :)
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Postby Wesociety on Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:10 pm

Ian wrote:especially if 2 of them are CMC and Ritek. Those two are like the media mafia. They keep supply right below demand so they can set the price to whatever they want.

You had me laughing on this one. :P
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