June 28, 2005 9:27 AM PDT

Java to appear in next-gen DVD players

SAN FRANCISCO--Sun Microsystems' Java technology will be built into Blu-ray DVD players, executives said on Monday, a development that advances the technology in the consumer electronics market for which Sun originally developed the software.

"The Blu-ray Disc Association, the standards body for the format, has decided it will adopt Java for the interactivity standards," said Yasushi Nishimura, director of Panasonic's Research and Development Company of America, speaking at Sun's JavaOne trade show here. "This means that all Blu-ray Disc player devices will be shipped equipped with Java."

Java will be used for control menus, interactive features, network services and games, Nishimura said.

Java is a software infrastructure that lets the same program run on a wide variety of computer systems. That can be useful for developers who have to deal with different foundations--Windows servers and mainframes, for example, or cell phones with different processors. In the case of devices such as DVD players, using Java means programmers won't have to worry about the chip or operating system in each player.

In its infancy as a project code-named Green, Java was conceived as a technology for consumer electronics devices. When Sun debuted Java publicly 10 years ago, it was first used to enhance Web browsing. Later, it found serious footholds for running software on servers and on mobile phones.

Sun Chief Executive Scott McNealy referred to the deal in an interview last week. "The new Blu-ray spec is going to put a Java virtual machine in every new next-generation DVD player, and all your DVDs are going to have Java bytecode on it that gets executed," he said.

But the Blu-ray deal isn't a complete victory for Java, because the next-generation DVD format is competing against a specification called HD DVD. Blu-ray's backers, including Panasonic, Sony, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney, are pitted against HD DVD allies, led by Toshiba and supported by media companies Paramount Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, HBO and New Line Cinema.

Recent discussions to unify the camps haven't proved fruitful so far, setting the stage for a drawn-out struggle like the one between VHS and Betamax for videotapes (eventually won by VHS) and between CD-RW and CD+RW for rewritable CD-ROMs. Neither side won the CD standard struggle, meaning consumers have had to grapple with incompatible drives and discs.

The inclusion of Java in Blu-ray DVD drives will enable DVD updates over the network, Java founder James Gosling said.

"Part of the DVD standard is the players have network ports out of the back," Gosling said. "That gives you the ability to download content. If somebody adds subtitles in Croatian, you don't have to bake those into the disc. You can do that afterwards."

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DVD-rewritable, not CD-rewritable
The article mentions competition "between CD-RW and CD+RW for rewritable CD-ROMs. Neither side won the CD standard struggle, meaning consumers had to grapple with incompatible drives and discs."

Surely they don't really mean CD's, which have a single rewritable standard. Sounds more like DVD (standard, not blue ray) writables and rewritables. DVD-R/DVD-RW and DVD+R/DVD+RW are the two competing formats (though DVD-RAM, a third format, could also be thrown in the mix, it's mostly dead now).

Dual-mode recorders are becoming popular for DVD burners (I have one). But I've read that's unlikely for the two competing high-definition DVD formats, since their technology is supposed to be different enough to require two separate sets of lasers and lenses, nearly doubling the cost of a dual-mode player.
Posted by E B (267 comments )
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Meaningless
Until the Blu-ray and HD-DVD camps can come together and create a single format for the next-generation DVD, neither format will be adopted by consumers. These companies seem to have missed the big picture. If there is a format war, consumers will wait for a winner before buying equipment. The content recycling companies depend on people re-purchasing the movies that they already bought on DVD and VHS (and maybe Beta and CED). If people do not purchase equipment, they will not re-purchase the content.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
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Blu-Ray
One thing that doesn't get mentioned is that Blu-Ray will be in the Playstation 3.
Now there is mass market penetration.

If Sony can get the Playstation 3 out there in big enough numbers then this debate is irrelevant.

The media will be sold for the most popular platform.
Posted by ahickey (177 comments )
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Would be Great to see Mp3 Players with Java
Convergence is near, cellphones and pdas have java, and programming on it is as easy as on web.

For more news on mp3 players and other gadgets go to www.mp3playerguide.info

<a href="#">www.mp3playerguide.info</a>
Posted by (1 comment )
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Write once, Rewrite many.
Unless there is a strict certification process, I don't see how this could possibly be easy. With cell phones, you can't expect a single version of an application to work on every phone. Differences among manufacturers and even among single manufacturers require different versions to be able to deal with the various quirks each phone has. In my personal experience, getting a single application to run on the 25-30 phones Sprint supports usually requires about 5-6 different builds.

With these next-gen disc players and the eventual flood of cheap players from Korea, developing multimedia applications could prove to become a nightmare far beyond the one developing for cell phones has become.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Bye Bye DVD Player
&lt;&lt;Java will be used for control menus, interactive features, network services and games, Nishimura said. &gt;&gt;

Just what the world needs, another computer. What I'm looking for is a hi-def DVD PLAYER, not another "computing experience." Automatic updates, phone-home features, and bugs that crash my DVD player?? No thank you. If I want a game machine, I'll buy an XBox or a PS.

Since the PlayStation is supposed to adopt Blu-Ray, does that mean it'll run Java too?
Posted by William Squire (151 comments )
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Yawn. People still buy DVD players?
Posted by frv32 (4 comments )
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