More electronics companies have joined talks between Japan's Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. to develop a common format for next-generation DVDs and end a battle, industry sources said.
Other companies involved in the format war, including Matsushita's Panasonic and Netherlands-based Philips are also studying ways to end the 3-year stand-off that is threatening to stifle the industry's growth. But sources close to the electronics companies said it was still early days, and that the discussions would take a long time, while adding that a positive outcome was not guaranteed. "Discussions are taking place, but it's very complex, both in terms of technology but also because so many companies have a stake in this," one source told Reuters.
At the core of both formats are blue lasers, which have a shorter wavelength than the red lasers used in current DVD equipment, enabling thinner lines and higher density of information on a single 12-cm disc. Higher storage DVDs are needed for high-definition movies and television. The companies that contribute to the next DVD standard can expect hundreds of millions, or even billions of euros (dollars) in royalty income over coming decades.
Sony and Toshiba said they would work toward a common format in order to avoid a drawn-out fight that would confuse consumers and hinder the industry's development, just like the spat between the VHS and Betamax videotape formats two decades ago. In an interview with Reuters earlier this month in France, Yukinori Kawauchi, the general manager in charge of the new format for Sony, had said his company was "open to discussions" on creating a single technology standard. (Reuters)
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