"Toshiba's first HD-DVD players will support the advanced content features called for by HD-DVD," said Junko Furuta, a company spokeswoman. She said the firmware upgrade will come into use when new features that aren't yet part of the interactive system are added.Between this and AACS not being finalized, I have a feeling that early adopters are going to be in for a rough ride. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
"While our players will provide support for current HD-DVD advanced content from the start, we anticipate that the industry may add to these capabilities as HD-DVD continues to develop. Toshiba's players can be updated to support future applications and services, which may include downloading supplemental audio and video content, disc-related online shopping and other features yet to be imagined."
Toshiba American Consumer Products on Thursday announced an ambitious marketing push in support of HD-DVD but conceded that some of the high-definition optical disc format's interactive features won't be available in the two first-generation players slated to hit stores next month without a "firmware upgrade."While the Blu-ray Disc group has not announced a launch date, HD DVD players and movies are expected to hit store shelves in March. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Meanwhile, sources close to the rival Blu-ray Disc camp say an agreement has been reached on an interim license for the AACS copy-protection system both formats will use, removing one of the final obstacles that had been standing in the way of a launch.
"Simple. Microsoft really has nothing to gain from either format winning. Just listen to any of Gates' recent interviews and how he talks about discs as a necessary evil until the world is ready for media-free distribution. That said, Microsoft has much to gain from both formats losing. Think back to the format war between DVD-Audio and SACD. Both formats lost and it was a computer company that stepped in to become the new center of the digital music universe.While an interesting theory, I don't buy it. One thing the author is forgetting is that Microsoft is the developer of iHD. If HD DVD became the dominant format, the company could potentially make a small fortune thanks to royalty payments. In any case, if you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
"Microsoft was a bit late to the game for that one, but it's making a big investment into securing Windows Vista for Hollywood as well as ensuring that Portable Media Centers work with DirecTV set-tops. Microsoft gets to sell DRM software and Windows Mobile licenses so that consumers can take this stuff on the go. All of that is a lot less likely if the content is trapped in a 5-inch round jail, regardless of which camp is the warden.
Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. ("Toshiba"), announced today details of an integrated marketing communications plan to launch its line-up of HD DVD players. The Toshiba HD DVD players, models HD-XA1 and HD-A1, will be the first HD DVD players to hit the U.S. market and will begin shipping to retailers inThe tour starts on February 20th and will continue through April, stopping at more than 40 US cities along the way. If you'd like to read more about the HD DVD Tour, Toshiba's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
The multi-tiered initiative is designed to educate retail salespeople, provide them with support materials to aid in the sale of the HD DVD players and continue to increase consumer awareness of HD DVD players.
Sony Pictures on Tuesday became the first major studio to put a price tag on Blu-ray discs when they become available in U.S. stores this year.Keep in mind, these are wholesale prices. Retail pricees are expected to be $5-15 higher, making new releases as much as $39. Needless to say, I'll be holding onto my DVD player, at least until prices come down. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
At the same time, the studio unveiled what many observers believe will be a key component of the next-generation, high-definition optical disc's marketing strategy: bundling various formats together to give consumers more flexibility and mobility.
Catalog Blu-ray disc titles will wholesale for $17.95, about the same as DVDs when that format hit the market in 1997. New-release Blu-ray discs will wholesale for $23.45, a premium of 15%-20% over what suppliers were charging for new theatrical DVDs.
At the nation's premiere film festival this week, film industry executives and dozens of celebrities received a glimpse at the future of storage and playback technology for high-definition (HD) video content through demonstrations of Blu-ray Disc media in Philips' Simplicity Lounge. Its third year at the festival, Philips created the Simplicity Lounge in order to showcase current and future technology to industry VIPs and media, with an emphasis on products that enhance the viewing experience of TV and movie content for consumers.If you'd like to read more, Philips' entire press release can be found here, Add a comment
In a deal reached this week after tense negotiations, the eight-company consortium behind the Advanced Access Content System, created for use by both high-def formats to prevent unauthorized copying, has agreed to require hardware makers to bar some high-def signals from being sent from players to displays over analog connections, sources said.It's hard to say at this point just how many people will be affected, but I think it's fair to say that many current HDTV owners will not be happy with this news. For more information, the whole article can be found here. Add a comment
Instead, the affected analog signal must be "down-converted" from the full 1920x1080 lines of resolution the players are capable of outputting to 960x540 lines—a resolution closer to standard DVDs than to high-def. Standard DVDs are typically encoded at 720 horizontal by 480 vertical lines of resolution.
Last week we reported that Microsoft would leave open the possibility that its next-gen console could one day support Blu-ray if that format ended up winning the war against HD DVD. This was based upon comments made by Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Interactive Entertainment Business Peter Moore to Japanese website ITmedia during CES.Microsoft would be smart to release both HD DVD and Blu-ray drives and let consumers decide which is best. Then again, that's not really the Microsoft way. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
However, Moore's comments, which made the rounds not long after MS announced plans for an external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360, were taken out of context, the company insists. To clear up any confusion, MS has issued a statement to the effect that they are 100 percent behind Toshiba's HD DVD format.
Last we heard, things degraded from gung-ho to so-so for Samsung on the prospect of going in on a dual-mode device that'd bridge the gap between HD DVD and Blu-ray for the consumer. But it looks like guarded has now turned to closed-until-further-notice according to a SVP of Marketing at Samsung North America, Peter Weedfald. We had no idea there were licensing agreements in place that prevented a dual-mode player, but apparently "Until everyone agrees to check their egos at the door and help the consumer, there is nothing [Samsung] can do about a universal product."While a dual-mode player would be best for the consumer, it probably would not be cheap. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
In the wake of Microsoft's CES announcement of a peripheral HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360, the company's gaming division boss Peter Moore has revealed that a Blu-Ray drive could also be on the cards for the system.Of course, like with HD DVD, Blu-ray would probably be used only for movies and not for games. If you'd like to read more, head on over to GameIndustry.biz. Add a comment
Speaking with Japanese website ITMedia at the huge electronics show in Las Vegas last week, Moore said that a Blu-Ray drive for the Xbox 360 could be released if the Blu-Ray standard, which is backed by Sony, wins the next-generation DVD format battle.