SANYO Will Adopt HD DVD Standard to Develop Next Generation DVDs

Aug 31, 2004

SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO) has decided to adopt the HD DVD standard promoted in the DVD forum, an international association that brings together some 220 consumer electronics, entertainment, software and other related companies around the world. SANYO will develop next generation DVD players and recorders using the HD DVD standard, and aims to first launch in Japan HD DVD players in 2005: and recorders in 2006: and then expand into the North American market.

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About HD DVD:
HD-DVD (HD stands for both high-density and high-definition) was under development before DVD came out. It finally emerged in 2003 (see 2.12 for general info). Some high-definition versions of HD-DVD use the original DVD physical format but depend on new video encoding technology such as H.264 to fit high-definition video in the space that used to hold only standard-definition video. High-density formats use blue or violet lasers to read smaller pits, increasing data capacity to around 15 to 30 GB per layer. High-density formats use high-definition MPEG-2 video (for compatibility with ATSC and DVB HD broadcasts, see 2.9) and may also use advanced encoding formats, probably supporting 1080p24 video.

As of early 2004 there are five proposals for HD-DVD, with the possibility of others: HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, FVD, FVD 1 and FVD 2.

HD discs will not play on existing players. Even red-laser discs, which the player may be able to physically read, require new circuitry to decode and display the high-def video. Red-laser discs can play on DVD PCs with the right software (for example, HD versions of DVDs using Microsoft HD-WMV were available in 2003). Blue-laser discs require new optical assemblies and controllers. HD players will undoubtedly read existing DVDs, so your collection will not become obsolete when you buy a new player.

None of the HD formats will be used for movies until 2005 or 2006.
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Shift on demand from conventional VCRs to hard disc recorders and combo-type DVD recorders has gained momentum, and the DVD player/recorder market has gotten off to a quick start. Electronics Industries Association of Japan research forecasts DVD recorder shipments of 10 million units in 2004. Along with increase of flat panel TVs that can handle Hi-Vision content, increase in demand is expected for recording high-definition software.

HD DVD is being promoted by the DVD forum as the standard for next generation DVDs. It's compatible with current DVDs, so consumers' DVD software libraries can readily be used.

SANYO joined with Toshiba and NEC in the autumn of 2003 for technical studies of HD DVD-R, a one-time recordable version of the format, in May 2004 was able to jointly present this to the DVD forum. In September 2004 SANYO, Toshiba and NEC expect this HD DVD-R technology to become Version 0.9.

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