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Matsushita chief says next-gen DVD talks are dead

Posted: 24 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:dvd? matsushita electric? blur ray disc?

An effort to revive deadlocked talks aimed at unifying competing DVD standards has failed, according to the president of Matsushita Electric.

Kunio Nakamura said that the company will not budge from its insistence that a unified spec include a 0.1mm cover layer. He emphasized that the Blu-ray Disc group's position has not changed and that the ball is now in rival Toshiba's court.

Despite the breakdown of the unification talks on a next-generation DVD format earlier this week, there were signs during during the week that a summit meeting involving Matsushita, Sony and Toshiba might revive the talks. Nakamura denied such a meeting is planned.

According to a source close to the Blu-ray camp, the sides decided to seek a final management decision on whether to pursue unification talks. Neither side would yield, and the decision to end negotiations was announced in meetings earlier this week.

Toshiba first proposed unification talks in early March, according to the source. A test balloon to adopt the HD DVD spec for the ROM format and the Blu-ray spec for recording formats was floated at an industry meeting. At the time, Toshiba seemed to be groping for a compromise that would satisfy both sides.

While nearly all involved in the dispute agree that a unified standard is desirable, neither side appears willing to compromise on key technical points. For example, if 0.1mm cover layer technology remains a precondition of a unification deal, as Sony and Matsushita insist, Toshiba would gain little and have a major problem persuading HD DVD backers to agree to a unification deal.

Memory Tech Corp., a member of the HD DVD camp, for example, has been focusing on developing HD DVD disk production technologies. A unification deal would present the company a serious disadvantage if the next-generation disk used a 0.1mm cover layer.

While both sides claimed publicly to be ready to resume talks, observers agreed the unification effort is likely dead. If so, the HD DVD group will then begin making ROM products as early as possible in order to make the format a de facto industry standard for next-generation packaged media.

- Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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