Talks between Sony and Toshiba over a possible unified next generation DVD format have been suspended indefinitely, according to Japanese newspaper reports citing knowledge of the shrinking possibilities of compromise between the two leading, rival formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.
Spokespersons from both firms refused to verify the report from the Japanese Yomiuri newspaper, with each saying they have not ruled out the possibility of further talks, according to Associated Press reports. However, both said that the development of products containing their respective DVD formats, including Sony’s PlayStation 3 in the case of Blu-Ray, was already underway.
"Next-generation optical disks that are robust enough to stay relevant for more than 10 years are required to take advantage of high-definition video and high-quality audio, and the 0.1 mm (Blu-ray) disk structure is advantageous in this regard," said Sony spokesman Taro Takamine.
Takamine said that while Sony remains open to discussion with HD-DVD originator Toshiba, the firm's goal is to agree on a single - not unified, or jointly developed - format. "We have no intention on settling on a compromised format that only plays back 20GB, for example," he said.
Toshiba spokesman Junko Furuta also seemed less than optimistic about the chances of a deal, commenting: "We have doubts as to whether the Blu-ray format is a viable technology in terms of production cost. We're also not convinced that consumers would need to store so much data on disks, especially now that internal hard drives are more popular." Furuta also suggested the more advanced Blu-ray disks would be harder to adopt for use in laptop computers and in car navigation systems.
The argument between the two companies and their allies concerns the higher capacity (50GB vs. 30GB) Blu-ray disc and the cheaper to produce HD-DVD technology. Hollywood has also been split over the two proposed formats, with Disney and 20th Century Fox supporting Blu-Ray, and Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures supporting HD-DVD.
Conversely, Microsoft has also spoken out in favor of HD-DVD on a number of occasions, with Bill Gates' fairly equivocal comments on the technology made in Japan earlier this year leading some to believe that the technology would somehow eventually be adapted for use with the Xbox 360. However, the initial versions of the console will ship with ordinary DVD drives.