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Desktops (Apple) Hardware

Apple Backs Blu-ray 491

Posted by Hemos
from the beta-vs-vhs dept.
zaxios writes "The New York Times is reporting that Apple has joined the Blu-ray Disc Association, and will use Blu-ray in upcoming versions of iMovie and Final Cut. The move puts Apple among Sony, Matsushita, Dell, HP and Walt Disney in supporting Blu-ray; companies including Toshiba, NEC, Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Universal and Paramount are pledged to adopt the competing HD-DVD format. Apple's support confirms Blu-ray's future dominance on the desktop, but the division in Hollywood and notebook manufacturers between the two HD videodiscs will ensure the bona fide format war we were all secretly pining for."
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Apple Backs Blu-ray

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  • Lucky.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by gnoos (828264) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:12AM (#11909569)
    ...its not Microsoft backing Blu Ray or we'd have to turn against HD DVD.
  • um? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmkkbb (816035) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:13AM (#11909579) Homepage Journal
    Apple's support confirms Blu-ray's future dominance on the desktop

    Against the MS behemoth supporting HDDVD? Why exactly?

    And mow for something completely different, who pays this site [dvdsite.org]'s bills?
    • Re:um? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by necrodeep (96704) *
      Actually, I don't see Microsoft choosing sides mattering that much. It's the hardware manufacturers that are going to decide this one. Microsoft will provide drivers and support to whatever devices are dominant in the market. I fear it's really going to heat up into another Betamax type war.

      However - I would not rule out future devices that would support both standards, if they both gain good marketshare.
      • Re:um? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MtViewGuy (197597)
        Actually, I don't see Microsoft choosing sides mattering that much.

        I think now that Apple is supporting Blu-Ray, don't be surprised that Microsoft ends up supporting this format, too. The reasons are simple: MS wants interoperability with high-definition DVD discs created with a non-Microsoft OS, and I think Microsoft likes the higher recordable storage capacity of Blu-Ray discs, too.
    • Indeed (Score:3, Informative)

      by goldcd (587052) *
      http://search.microsoft.com/search/results.aspx?st =b&na=88&View=en-us&qu=bluray results = 0
    • in whatever direction the wind happens to be blowing. BluRay is the better format without doubt and the longer this drags on the more obvious the difference between the formats will become.
      We can expect and MS back BluRay with their new WMV codec any day soon.
      • BluRay is the better format without doubt

        Unfortunately, that will not decide the question of which standard will succeed. If IT history has proven one thing, it is that "technical merits" have no relationship with "chances of succeeding".

        Maybe that will change, but I doubt it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:14AM (#11909583)
    I really think the HD-DVD will win simply becuase of the name.

    Consumer: You mean this is a H D DVD. Wow I have been hearing so much about how good HD is so I want one.

    Dont laugh VHS rolled of tounge better than Beta Max. One has to wonder what marketing genus wanted to call their product beta anyway
    • by UES (655257)
      VHS won out over Beta for one simple reason: time.

      Beta tape was higher quality, with a crisper picture. Video professionals STILL use Beta. Objectively, it is a better tape format.

      But at the time (late 1970's- early 1980's), Beta tapes could barely hold a full-length feature film. They crapped out at a little under 2 hours. Not so good for home taping.

      VHS, on the other hand, had SIX hour tapes. They could easily hold an entire sporting event, several TV episodes, and a film, all on one tape.

      Home Taping
      • Well, that and Sony wouldn't license Beta Max to the porn companies, so all the porn came out on VHS.
        • Well, that and Sony wouldn't license Beta Max to the porn companies, so all the porn came out on VHS.

          Myth. Back in the early 80's when the VHS vs Beta wars were still hot, video stores had VHS and beta departments, both with adult film sections.
      • They could easily hold an entire sporting event
        You need to see some cricket some time. Where they have especially short games known as "one day" matches.
      • "Video professionals STILL use Beta."

        They use Betacam, not Betamax. It's a different format.
      • Well, video professionals are still using the analog Betacam SP and Digital Betcam. They're based on the Betamax tape shell, but run at higher speeds and have much better image quality than Betamax did.

        Sony Professional has certainly made enough profit on those formats to make up for the Betamax losses by now.
    • by dsginter (104154) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:36AM (#11909768)
      I really think the HD-DVD will win simply becuase of the name.

      But you haven't seen the logo for BluRay yet. It's going to be a shark with a freakin' blue laser mounted on its head. In its teeth will be an HD-DVD.

      This will scare consumers into thinking that they could possibly be attacked if they were to buy an HD-DVD.
    • IIRC, betamax was a consumer version of the "beta" tape used by professionals at the time.

      Two reasons beta lost out to vhs, despite higher quality: Sony was restrictive in its patent licensing, and the tape couldn't record more than 2 hours.

    • I'm pretty sure Beta is easie to say than VHS, just that people are so used to saying VHS. Beta is a real word intended to be used as a word and also has fewer syllables.

      HD-DVD is more to say than Blu-Ray too, five syllables vs. two.

      I do believe naming is sometimes a factor though, especially if the name has nothing to do with the technology. I was wondering what the big deal about Bluetooth was (at least it's only two syllables). Now I like the technology, for the average consumer, it's just a bit too
  • IBM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by static0verdrive (776495) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:14AM (#11909589) Homepage Journal
    Now if IBM could jump on the Blu-Ray bandwagon we'd be set!! We (the OSS croud, linux personally) would see a lot more support with HP, Apple plus IBM's support...
    • Given that we might get some kind of closed-source decoder library. With the DMCA and the studios the world will end before they give us anything freedom-free. A black box for a few arcitectures is the best we can practically hope for.

      (Not to say somebody isn't gonna hack it and release a freedom-free version. I fully expect that to happen inside the first year.)
    • Re:IBM (Score:4, Funny)

      by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:32AM (#11909736)
      Apple plus IBM's support

      BigBluRay and iBluRay.

      Sounds like prison love to me.
    • Well, how could Big BLUE not support BLU-Ray? It would just almost seem wrong in a way if they didn't.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:15AM (#11909591)
    Forget about Sony, HP, Matsushita, Apple, Dell, and Disney...

    The porn industry, which releases 11,000 titles a year, will likely silently decide which format "wins" (previous slashdot coverage [slashdot.org]).

    And some of the bigger porn houses are coming down on the side of Blu-ray because of its capacity advantage over HD-DVD. That the porn industry would have such an influence comes as no surprise to those who know just how big [familysafemedia.com] the industry really is [pbs.org].
    • by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:31AM (#11909730)
      This is entiurely true, and they will quietly go with whatever is the least expensive and time-consuming. Now they can burn a Blue-Ray master with the tools they've been using all along - Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro. The Mac has an enormous presence in the videography field, and not needing to buy or train on special software, apart from the usual upgrade to the tools they're already using.

      So, whether Hollywood likes it or not, Apple's just won the fight for Blue Ray... unless they get tricky, and simultaneously support HD-TV as well, which isn't beyond the realm of possibility.

      SoupIsGood Food
      • The H.264 video standard is supported with both disc standards. I think what drive ships with Powerbooks and Powermacs will win the mindshare though.
      • Either the Blu-ray group or the NYT is a bit mixed up, but to your credit you got it half right. Blu-ray has no direct application to FCP or iMovie. What they're thinking of is DVD Studio Pro (as you note) and iDVD.

        Also (completely different point), I see this as Apple giving support to Sony. Remember when they had the Sony VP on stage at the MWSF keynote? Now that Stringer is the new head honcho at Sony, I've been wondering if we'd see more of a patnership developing, or less.

        And totally in the realm of
    • by Space Coyote (413320) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:37AM (#11909775) Homepage
      The trouble with High-definition porn is that you actually get to see what 10+ years of over-work does to a someone's body. Not a pretty sight. I can't see this being good for the porn industry.
    • My dad has had this theory for years. Technologies are pushed by the pr0n industry.

      Great examples: the internet, computers, DVDs, VHS...

      Remember laserdisc? RCA Selectavision (I hope I spelled that right)? Failed because of lack of pr0n support.
  • by Lev13than (581686) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:15AM (#11909592) Homepage
    Well, now that Sony's on board we know it's a real standard. This is good news, as I can finally archive my collection of Betamax tapes.
  • About this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Epistax (544591) <epistax@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:15AM (#11909595) Journal
    I remember reading specs and what it seemed to me was Blu-ray was simply better from the users point of view. I think it took more work on the manufacturers side and forced them to do a lot of extra work for it to be able to read traditional DVDs, but that shouldn't be as important.

    Am I on the ball here or is there really not a complete performance domination by Blu-ray?
    • Blue ray is better, technically.
      The whole reason why the hd-dvd standart was created in the first place was the fact that the manufactures didnt like the fab requirements for the very thin transparent layer of the blue-ray disc, so the inferior hd-dvd spec was created, which allowed for using older equipment from dvd production.
    • one format is a lot cheaper to make the discs, the other has much larger capacity. that is pretty much what it boils down to. both are good formats, and better than what we have now.
    • Re:About this... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zaxios (776027) <zaxios@gmail.com> on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:47AM (#11909878) Journal
      Yes. Essentially, Blu-ray is better, HD-DVD is cheaper. From Wikipedia:

      "One single-layer Blu-ray Disc can hold about 25GB or almost two hours of HDTV audio and video, and the dual-layer disc can hold approximately 50GB."

      "HD-DVD has a capacity of 15 GB (for dual-sided HD-DVD, maximum capacity would be 30 GB)... The cover layer is, as in the case of the DVD, 0.6 mm thick (unlike the Blu-ray Disc at 0.1 mm). The numerical aperture of the optical pick-up head is accordingly the same as that of DVD player (0.65 mm). These factors mean that HD-DVD media is less expensive to manufacture than Blu-ray, not requiring the re-tooling of disc production lines (as is needed for Blu-ray discs)."
  • Matsushita. (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:18AM (#11909620)
    Apple among Sony, Matsushita, Dell, HP and Walt Disney

    For those of you that don't recognize the name "Matsushita", they're probably known to you as Panasonic.
  • by jgercken (314042)
    It'll be interesting to see what the Apple design team comes up for the external blue ray drives. Wonder what color they'll be...
  • by Eradicator2k3 (670371) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:20AM (#11909653)
    When you consider that DL DVD drives have been out for some time (reasonably priced), yet the media still costs about 10 bucks a pop, can you imagine what the Blu-Ray (or HD) discs will go for? At the risk of dating myself (not like anyone else would, HA), I was an early adopter for the *new* high-density 3.5" floppies at about $80 for a box of 10.

    Realistically, once the next-generation drives and discs are out, it will lower the price of DL media into something more affordable.
    • The PS3 will use Blu-Ray. That means prices will begin to fall mid-2006 (when it's released in Japan)
    • "it will lower the price of DL media into something more affordable"

      Hardly. I read somewhere that the problems are not in the market but instead they are pretty fundamental to technology. It is apparently quite a tricky thing to do a second layer that will have the same response levels as a first one but being not just a layer of plastic away but two layers of plastic and the first reflective layer. So the cost of producing a two layer disk is much much more that producing two single-layer disks. Normal b
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "At the risk of dating myself..."

      Not to worry. 99% of the readership here has no other option.

      "Mom, Dad. I'd like you to meet my right hand"
    • Smart money is on Eggshell White with brushed aluminum trim.

      And maybe an LCD with multicolor backlites. But I could be wrong about that.
    • As long as they watch old movies, even young whipper-snappers should know that floppy disks used to be considered very expensive. After all, floppies were the penalty that Anthony Michael Hall had to pay if he couldn't get Molly Ringwald's panties in the John Hughes' film, "Sixteen Candles".

      "I mean, not many girls in contemporary American society today would give their underwear to help a geek like me."
  • by NightDragon (732139) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:22AM (#11909660)
    Its not so much that their two diffrent formats (As there will be at some point a combo drive, it always happens)...
    its the fact that there are going to be two _competing_ formats which means...

    lower prices!
    • by rdc_uk (792215) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:33AM (#11909742)
      No.

      As with DVD-R(W) and DVD+R(W). Prices will be similar, devices will have either singular-support, or very sketchy dual-support.

      Current / Older home DVD-Players and DVD-ROM drives will either be incompatible, or very, very picky.

      Prices will be in fact pretty high for a good time because take up will be slow until the 2nd gen of the technology comes through (reasonably solid dual-format writers, common and solid dual-format players).

      Meanwhile, someone will have produced DivX++, that can re-encode the content of a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray DVD, allowing it to be written to a standard DVD, in a quality that is acceptable for the drop in price. It is these files that will be popular, downloaded from the net.

      After a while of that, people will start to use HD-DVD or Blu Ray DVD to backup their multiple DivX++ images onto one big-ass disc.

      At which point the tech companies will reveal their plans for SDD-DVD (super-duper-density DVD), and the competing standard Puce-Ray DVD. Which will be sony's concept. These discs will be the future because they hold such better-qualtiy movies, and the capacity makes piracy impractical...

      And the big circle-jerk will begin again!
  • The Real Question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cadallin (863437)
    When do we get Blu-Ray Burners in G5 Powermacs? 50GB Superdrive Baby!
    • by rednip (186217) *
      ...50GB Superdrive Baby!
      A super drive is a DVD and CD burner, the new drive with blu-ray support should be called "Ludicrous drive"!

      I always love it when people give names to products which whould seem to imply that they are "the greatest" only to surpass them within a year or three.

  • Sony & Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lameland (23851) <epierce@usf.eFORTRANdu minus language> on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:26AM (#11909696)
    I think they planned to annouce this at the MacWorld Keynote, but sometihng kept them from doing it. Why else would they have gotten the CEO of Sony to be there? They could have gotten anybody from Sony to demo their HDV camera, CEO appearances are saved for special occasions. As far as the HDV camera goes, Sony isn't the only manufacturer with an HDV prosumer camera.
  • by DrinkingIllini (842502) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:33AM (#11909743)
    Whichever one I buy will be the one that loses. *kicks beta max*
  • Format Wars (Score:3, Insightful)

    by H_Fisher (808597) <hvfisher.hotmail@com> on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:34AM (#11909751)
    the division in Hollywood and notebook manufacturers ... will ensure the bona fide format war we were all secretly pining for.

    So why, exactly, should I be pining for a format war?

    All that means to me is several years of incompatible hardware, price fluctuation, and annoying-ass FUD campaigns ("Our discs last longer! HD-DVDs melt after three months!" "That's a lie, plus OUR discs have better color density on playback!" "Oh YEAH?? Well, OUR discs...")

    A format war might drive prices down more quickly in the short term, but what good is that to me if I need to buy new hardware and don't want to get stuck with a lemon during those few years before either one format wins hands-down or dual-capability drives get introduced?

    • Exactly. The whole recordable DVD thing was enough of a mess (sufficiently so that I still haven't bought a DVD writer, although probably soon now that dual format drives are out). I want HDTV content, which means buying my movies/TV series on one of these disk types, and discovering a few years down the line I picked the one that sunk is my idea of hell...
    • Re:Format Wars (Score:4, Insightful)

      by anonicon (215837) on Friday March 11, 2005 @10:19AM (#11910200)
      "So why, exactly, should I be pining for a format war?"

      The poster was being sarcastic since clearly, no one wants a format war if it can avoided.
  • For those who are interested in the rumored Apple-Sony connection, this could be seen as a way for Apple to please Sony...
  • Oh Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by DrinkingIllini (842502) on Friday March 11, 2005 @09:38AM (#11909792)
    Now there will be TWO other ways for them to release about a billion old movies and tv shows...I own about 5 copies of the Star Wars Trilogy as it is.
  • You have two competing formats... All other things being equal, one supports significantly more storage space than the other. Just based on that Blu-Ray wins hands down. Unfortunately, what I think could happen is that movies will be released on the two formats with identical quality, only the Blu-Ray version will be stuffed with more advertisements. And for PC archival purposes, I can't imagine anyone supporting hddvd. Blu-Ray will finally give us an optical media format with nearly as much capacity as
  • by doctor_no (214917) on Friday March 11, 2005 @10:10AM (#11910108)
    Blu-ray has several things going for it. . .

    Playstation 3 inclusion of Blu-ray would prove to be a massive boost for the standard as it automatically gives an instant installed base in the tens of millions. As initial players will likely be relatively pricey, it's usually difficult to start the momentum to get enough installed base on the market so that studios would want to produce content for it, and more content usually then convinces more people to buy into the standard. However, by PS3 being Blu-ray compatible automatically creates a massive installed that studios can produce content for to start the ball rolling.

    Secondly, Blu-ray seems to be more scalable then HD-DVD with comapanies planning 4-layer 100GB and 8-layer 200GB multilayered disks. Also, Blu-ray seems to be getting more hardware on the market then HD-DVD, especially since Sony and Matsushita (Panasonic, Technic, Fisher, etc) are backing it. Sony has just annouced Blu-ray drive for the PC that can write to write-once 50GB disks or rewritable-50GB disks.

    BLu-ray drive for PC [impress.co.jp]
  • by JawzX (3756) on Friday March 11, 2005 @10:29AM (#11910337) Homepage Journal
    Error correction/scratch protection. There may be some (or even many) of you out there who loathed CD-Caddy drives in the early days, but I MISS THEM. One thing the caddy did was protect the disc and prevent scratches. You could stick a caddied disk in your pocket and walk arround with it all day, pull it out, pop it in, and away you go. If you do that with a bare CD, by the end of the day you'll be lucky if it'll still read. Insertion and removal from a case is a pain, and I never met a jewel case as strong as even flimsy caddies. Sure, the prevelence and price reduction of media means if you ruin a disk you just burn another and don't care...

    The problem is (and was/still is with DVD) that high data density makes the media far more succeptable to surface imperfections, be they scratches or dirt. Who hasn't sighed in irritation at rental DVD's that skip or blurt? And if you think DVD's are bad, just think for a minute about an optical media with 10 times the data density! Until synthetic diamond becomes cheap enough to coat consumer level optical discs with, I look forward to the return of our Caddy-Carrying Overloards.

    Either that or there needs to be some SERIOUS error correction implemented. The average consumer just isn't going to want to handle a movie like it was a precious peice of china. Without some solution to this problem neither media will catch on with me. Maybe "they" are just planing on selling you a new copy of the disc every six months, but archivers and folks who use the media for data storage are not gonna like that.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:43PM (#11912740) Homepage
    Consider this: the competition between +R and -R DVD formats probably helped push new features (not least +-R dual burners) as well as drive down prices. Even compatibility issues, while a hassle at first, in the long run seems to have lead to DVD players that will cope with anything, even round bits of bread being stuck in the drive (as long as they are buttered).

    By the time DVD burners reached a price point I could afford, all the format issues had been worked out. Sure, my first drive (Pioneer 104) was -R only, but by that point which format you had didn't really make difference.

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