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First 3 Generation-Compatible HD DVD Drive 70

fenimor writes "NEC has developed world's first half height size optical drive capable of playing back HD DVDs, DVDs, and CDs with a single optical head. Although the lasers required to read each type of disk vary, NEC said it had successfully created a miniature drive with a single lens that could read all three. The drive was designed for laptop computers and will be released commercially later next year."
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First 3 Generation-Compatible HD DVD Drive

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  • by suso ( 153703 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @09:49AM (#11136357) Homepage Journal
    It's reassuring to see that manufacturers are not trying to ditch CD formats in any way with the newer formats that come out. I always figured that if any medium uses a simular technique for reading/writing as another medium, then the two mediums should support each other. I was afraid that as time goes on, manufacturers would try to ditch CD mediums to try to get people to upgrade. Maybe that will still happen. Hopefully it won't.
    • If you want to have a prayer of success on the "home user" market, you must be able to read CDs. Even for the simple fact that most of the music on the planet is (still) sold on a CD support. So I don't think you need to worry. Yet ;)
      • by suso ( 153703 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @09:55AM (#11136395) Homepage Journal
        Yes, but the record player was still in heavy use when they decided to heavily push CDs. I'm sure there were a lot of people back in the 80s who were thinking the same way that you are (ie. if a record company wants to make money, they need to release everything on LP).
        • But the record player and the cd player don't use similar techniques whereas the DVD/CD/HDDVD do use similar techniques and media (i.e. a CD fits in a DVD drive and vice versa)
          • There was previous backward compatibility in the record market - the original 78rpm 10 inch record was replaced by the 45rpm 7 inch and the 33rpm 12 inch, but newer players would still play the old 78s. It was only when there was a huge leap in technology that backwards compatibility was broken.
        • I think it is a different case because the size of media and media type wasn't remotely compatible back then.

          While existing CD players probably won't die quickly, DVD and CD compatibility for a next generation format was known to be a must by pretty much all manufacturers. I think previous system prototypes used multiple optical assemblies to achieve the desired compatibility.

          The market is highly steeped toward backward compatibility now, systems that aren't backward compatible don't have a chance.
          • The market is highly steeped toward backward compatibility now, systems that aren't backward compatible don't have a chance.

            I think I would rephrase that.

            People would be willing to ditch backwards compatibility, just not every 5 years, as Blu-Ray/HD-DVD seem to be going for.

            DVDs were a hit, despite lack of backwards compatibility because it had been a long time comming. People are willing to accept the need to upgrade after a few decades, but definately not after 5-10 years, as is the case right now.

  • Wow... (Score:2, Funny)

    by andawyr ( 212118 )
    ...three adverts in a row.

    • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by suso ( 153703 )
      I doubt it. Most of what slashdot carries are stories to let the tech-savy population know what is going on in the industry. It has always been that way. And when carrying stories about new technologies, the articles that are more marketing hype tend to slip in there more often than not. So I doubt its a record. There has probably been whole days where /. has been nothing but marketing hype.
      No offense to slashdot, thats just the way it goes.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Prowl ( 554277 )
      heh. the leading ">" gave away the cut-and-paste.

      on the plus side my grandmother's now getting a cd burner for xmas, whilst my grandad will receive a water kooling kit.

      shame they haven't a computer. I'm just too susceptible to subliminable advertising.

      (apolergies in advanse for speling)
  • That looks like a drive that is way too big to fit in a laptop.
  • by maharg ( 182366 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @09:51AM (#11136366) Homepage Journal
    .. smells like a desktop drive..

    laptop ??
    • Exactly. Whoever wrote the summary has no clue what they are talking about. Even the article does not agree with them:
      Half height size capable of installation in desktop PCs.
      In the dark ages, a "half height" drive referred to the size that essentially all 5.25" devices are today. Back then, a "full height" device was the size of 2 common 5.25" drives stacked on top of each other. Does anybody even make any full-height drives anymore?
    • from the article intro:

      enabling creation of the world's first half height size drive suitable for desktop computer installation.


      Half height size capable of installation in desktop PCs.
      - Realization of the completed prototype by integration of all the functions compactly including the 3-generation compatible optical head.
      - Reduction of the size to meet those of the average current DVD/CD compatible drives through the development of a compact circuit board utilizing 3-generation-compatible system L
  • Press releases (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Last 3 items are just press releases. Can we get some news?
  • Blu-ray (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @09:54AM (#11136385) Journal
    I wonder if Blu-ray will be killed before the battle can even begin? I suspect that might be the case at least for HD movies since the bandwagon will start as HD DVD players are out for consumers, which will probably be a while before Blu-ray enters the market.

    Maybe the cost for Blu-ray drives due to higher complexity, combined with the later availability will make it so we don't even see much of a trace of commercial Blu-ray drives at all.
    • Re:Blu-ray (Score:2, Informative)

      by ergo98 ( 9391 )
      Firstly, this is just a press release and the announced arrival is very similar to the announced arrival of blu ray devices in the North American market.

      Furthermore, blu ray devices are available right now in Japan, and have been for a bit.
    • Re:Blu-ray (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @10:15AM (#11136484) Journal
      The PS3 is going to use Blu-ray for its games, so I'd strongly assume that it'll also play Blu-ray movies but not HD-DVDs. Bear in mind the fact that ~70%* of households with 13-25 year olds have a PS2 and will probably upgrade to a PS3 within a year of release (hell, if it's anything like the PSP it'll bring in more sales than that with 'wow' factor alone - I hate to say it about a DRM encrusted and hideously expensive console, but the PSP is a damn good piece of kit).

      You're going to have a huge number of people with a Blu-ray device in their house almost by default wheras HD-DVD, even with the best marketing in the world, requires the person to actually go out and buy a HD-DVD device on its own merits. I honestly don't know which way this will swing - it seems to me that HD-DVD has better marketing potential and more powerful backing, but Blu-ray might just worm its way in unnoticed on the back of the PS3.

      *Statistic from the consortium for inventing plausible statistics
      • XBOX2 will almost certainly include an HD-DVD drive & it'll be out way before PS3. That may give HD-DVD even more momentum.
        • Re:Blu-ray (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nutshell42 ( 557890 )
          I wouldn't be so sure. Microsoft's trying to cap the per-unit costs. Unless there is real demand for HD-DVD players by mid 2005 I assume the HD-DVD drive will have to go. With wmv it isn't really needed for cutscenes so its only raison-d'etre would be selling more consoles
    • ...on how large the HDTV market is (which is directly linked to what premium they charge over DVDs). Blue-Ray has larger capacity and the quality edge. If the market is videophiles, price might not matter as much as having the best quality(tm) available.

      How many in the US have a HDTV-capable (720p/1080i) TV set now? How many will stay with DVD? There's many open questions here, and I think it is far too early to claim a win for either side.

    • Re:Blu-ray (Score:3, Interesting)

      Blue ray has broader industry support than HD DVD (including media giant Sony). If anything is going to die, it's HD DVD.
      • Hmm, but don't underestimate the influence of a product already gaining a fair marketshare before consumers can even purchase cheap Blu-ray drives. I can imagine numerous customers (too many?) going, what, just another year / half a year and we're switching again?! No way.

        But we'll see how it turns out. Right now I think both formats has been gaining pretty similar attention. Yes, Sony is a media giant, but I can assure you there are numerous giants prepared to back up HD-DVD as well, especially in the med
        • It's sad really ... HD-DVD is backed by a small # of tech companies and the MPAA (I smell payoffs) whereas Blu Ray is backed by a large group of electronics manufacturers.
  • Oh boy. (Score:1, Funny)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 )
    I spent this past weekend with the SO's family. On Sunday we were at a family holiday party around Massapequa in NY and a completely untechnical conversation started on how my SO's dad got his old Super 8 films converted to DVD. Let me tell you it would make even the bluest-shirted 16-yr old Best Buy employee cringe. Mind you, most of the audience was 50 or older. But they were saying things like "You know, they have DVDs that play CDs now."

    Grandma was asked if she had a DVD player and she said yes, she th
  • Half-height? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Monday December 20, 2004 @10:00AM (#11136416) Journal
    Half-height? Bah. I think that's more properly dubbed a "laptop drive."

    Half-height drives, rather, are of course about half the height of a full-height drive. See here [].


  • with a single optical head.
    Now it would be even cooler if it would support blue ray too with a single optical head.
  • Good... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @10:08AM (#11136457) Homepage
    So when it turns out that most consumers couldn't care less about either of the new formats, having everything they need with regular DVD, that new player won't suddenly become useless.
    • Agreed. People are just in the process of buying their DVD collections and big screen TVs. You only spend $10,000 on entertainment upgrades every 10 years or so. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray will languish for at least half that and by then we'll probably have a universal media format that beats them both.
  • Julian Fries? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Zanthany ( 166662 )
    Seems like this post also comes from the kan't-spel-to-gud-dept.

    Juliennes fries. Sheesh.
  • See-n-say (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 20, 2004 @10:29AM (#11136565)
    (pulling string sound)
    The article says "This drive, though called half-height, is for desktop machines."

    (pulling string sound)
    The article says "I'm not saying whether or not it is for laptops, or explain what half-height means. That would be too helpful."

    (pulling string sound)
    The article says "I am saying that HD, which it supports. is one of the blue laser optical-disc technologies."

    (pulling string sound)
    The article says "A B C D E F G. CD DVD HD DVD. LSI, ETM. PRML system. Ah, I'm too bored to finish the parody."

    (pulling string sound)
    The article says "This drive has three lasers: blue, red, and infrared. Don't tell any supervillains!"

    (pulling string sound)
    The article says "The HD DVD format has been only proposed, but the HD DVD-ROM and Rewritable formats have been approved."

    (pulling string sound)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    when the editor doesn't RTFA.
  • RPC-1 capable? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Most important question of all, can it be patched to RPC-1?
  • I am getting used to the modular type of PC, nowadays. I have moved all my devices to external USB 2.0 and Firewire cases. I find it easier to move them between machines throughout the house, and also when I am away performing some help for friends and family. I think what needs to be considered, is the cost. Is it going to be inline with the Normal Upgraded hardware cost? Usually we end up spending a couple of hundred, for the newest move to a standard, is this going to cost additionaly for the Combo featu
  • NEC has developed world's first half height size optical drive capable of playing back HD DVDs, DVDs, and CDs with a single optical head

    I'm not buying it until it can also burn pictures on the label side of the disc.
  • NEC's new development realizes a small, slim HD DVD drive, which can read and write 3-generations of optical discs, HD DVDs, DVDs and CDs, with a single optical head.

    I think its great that we may get a writer at release without having to wait 6 months to a year for that technology.
    • I think its great that we may get a writer at release without having to wait 6 months to a year for that technology.

      Just be willing to pay through the nose for it. I'll wait a year. Or three.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming