June 22, 2006 12:36 PM PDT

Panasonic to deliver the Blu-ray living room

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Panasonic wants to remodel the entertainment center around Blu-ray.

In September, the company will begin to sell a Blu-ray player, as well as an audio-video receiver and a set of speakers tuned to work with the player. Panasonic will promote these components alongside its plasma TVs: In fact, it will deliver a 65-inch plasma TV to coincide with the Blu-ray launch.

The equipment comes in the midst of the high-definition optical disc wars. Toshiba earlier this year released an HD-DVD player as well as a notebook with an HD-DVD drive. On the other side, Samsung, Sony and other Blu-ray supporters are coming out with their first products now.

Panasonic has already released recordable Blu-ray drives for PCs and has come up with tools to make video authoring easier. HD video cameras now cost close to $2,000, but relatively inexpensive HD video cameras--costing $1,000 or less--will emerge over the next 18 to 24 months, manufacturers have said.

Right now, HD-DVD players are considerably less expensive than Blu-ray players. Blu-ray backers, however, say their discs will hold more data. A single-layer disc will hold 25GB, and a multilayer disc will be capable of storing 200GB on eight layers, which is more than enough for a high-definition movie and a lot of extras.

Like all things Blu-ray, Panasonic's living-room components won't be cheap. The player, which plays discs but can't record, will retail for 1,299.95, while the receiver will sell for $999.95. The speakers will go for $2,999.95. Consumers will be able to buy the components separately, or as part of a package.

The cost of Blu-ray players will come down over time, according to Kazuhiro Tsuga, executive officer in charge of digital network and software technologies at Matsushita, which sells products under the Panasonic name in North America. The biggest problem when it comes to cost right now is the laser and the lenses. As volume manufacturing kicks in, prices will decline, Tsuga said.

The price of Blu-ray media will also drop, he added. Panasonic has developed a spin-coat method for disks that should lower the price. Right now, recordable Blu-ray disks cost $19.95.

Price, he added, is one of the reasons consumers won't see a combination Blu-ray HD-DVD player from Panasonic.

"It would be considerably more expensive," he said. A single drive that could play both types of discs would also be thicker, and as a result, unwieldy in notebook PCs.

"In Japan, Blu-ray is dominant," he said. Sony and a few others actually released Blu-ray equipment in that country a few years ago, he said. (The companies behind Blu-ray also stand to earn royalties for the invention, other executives at Blu-ray companies have said.)

Blu-ray, he asserted, also has stronger support from film studios and equipment makers. Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Dell, Apple Computer, Philips and several Japanese companies stand behind Blu-ray. The HD-DVD side, though, isn't exactly weak: It includes Intel, Microsoft, Toshiba and Universal.

Hewlett-Packard, Paramount and Warner Brothers have opted to support both.

See more CNET content tagged:
Blu-ray, HD-DVD player, Panasonic, HD-DVD, plasma TV

22 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Blu ray or HD DVD?
Blu ray, HD DVD, etc, etc. Just offer all formats in one device.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.techknowcafe.com/content/view/75/42/" target="_newWindow">http://www.techknowcafe.com/content/view/75/42/</a>
Posted by mystereojones (46 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Blu ray or HD DVD?
Blu ray, HD DVD, etc, etc. Just offer all formats in one device.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.techknowcafe.com/content/view/75/42/" target="_newWindow">http://www.techknowcafe.com/content/view/75/42/</a>
Posted by mystereojones (46 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No problem.....
..... Both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are far too expensive, have
duplicate capabilities, and don't match a regular DVD with MPEG-4
compression. So two alternative over-priced under-performing
junk designs. Almost sounds like Microsoft.

Where are any design brains in this area? Is everyone fog-bound
and stupid?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
over-priced under-performing junk designs
Sounds more like Apple. After all, they only recently caught up with Microsoft and the PC world, yet they still charge more. Aside from my usual reasons, how about "Safe Sleep"? Windows has had hibernation for years, yet Apple added that feature in Tiger, and even then you need to do a un-supported mod to get it to work on most machines.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
No problem.....
..... Both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are far too expensive, have
duplicate capabilities, and don't match a regular DVD with MPEG-4
compression. So two alternative over-priced under-performing
junk designs. Almost sounds like Microsoft.

Where are any design brains in this area? Is everyone fog-bound
and stupid?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
over-priced under-performing junk designs
Sounds more like Apple. After all, they only recently caught up with Microsoft and the PC world, yet they still charge more. Aside from my usual reasons, how about "Safe Sleep"? Windows has had hibernation for years, yet Apple added that feature in Tiger, and even then you need to do a un-supported mod to get it to work on most machines.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Go Blu-Ray
I think Blu-Ray is the odds-on bet over HD-DVD.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry=blu_ray_vs_hd_dvd" target="_newWindow">http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry=blu_ray_vs_hd_dvd</a>
Posted by Broward Horne (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FANBOY alert!
Stop with posting this chart... it means nothing. What does mean
something is how poor the Blu-ray movies are looking on the first
round. The HD-DVD titles look stunning and use H.264 rather
than Blu-ray which using traditional MPEG2 - I've seen both in
action and I'm not impressed with Blu-ray. HD-DVD however looks
great.
Posted by luvmysubaru (16 comments )
Link Flag
We have a...
Consumer lemming! He/she or in the case of Bush - it is headed for a cliff!

R
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
Go Blu-Ray
I think Blu-Ray is the odds-on bet over HD-DVD.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry=blu_ray_vs_hd_dvd" target="_newWindow">http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry=blu_ray_vs_hd_dvd</a>
Posted by Broward Horne (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FANBOY alert!
Stop with posting this chart... it means nothing. What does mean
something is how poor the Blu-ray movies are looking on the first
round. The HD-DVD titles look stunning and use H.264 rather
than Blu-ray which using traditional MPEG2 - I've seen both in
action and I'm not impressed with Blu-ray. HD-DVD however looks
great.
Posted by luvmysubaru (16 comments )
Link Flag
We have a...
Consumer lemming! He/she or in the case of Bush - it is headed for a cliff!

R
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
Intel is irrelevant here
When was the last time you bought a movie DVD from
Intel Studios or a music CD from Intel Records?
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intel is irrelevant here
When was the last time you bought a movie DVD from
Intel Studios or a music CD from Intel Records?
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intel's "support" is irrelevant here
When was the last time you bought a movie DVD from
Intel Studios or a music CD from Intel Records?
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intel's "support" is irrelevant here
When was the last time you bought a movie DVD from
Intel Studios or a music CD from Intel Records?
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Watershed: format supported by all studios
There is a watershed event that must occur before anyone who isn't rich or crazy can sensibly purchase a HD DVD or BluRay player: *all* studios must support the format. How useless would it be to have a player for which you couldn't get all your favorite movies? Remember when you still had to keep your VHS dusted off to play the movies that hadn't been released in DVD format? &lt;shudder&gt; Who would buy 2 hidef players??? Sheesh this is annoying!
Posted by baisa (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
annoying is right
this format war is about Sony not wanting to loose to Toshiba
like they did with VHS in the 80's and DVD - both were Toshiba
vs. Sony format wars and Toshiba ended up winning both
despite Sony bringing out techincally superior formats each
time. Sony and Toshiba were at one time coming together on a
single HD format, but it all fell apart and now we the consumers
are stuck in the middle of yet another pointless battle. I own a
Toshiba HD-A1 and I will buy a Blu-ray player as well, but I am
not impressed with Blu-ray's quality as compared to HD-DVD -
the picture quality is much better in the HD-DVD masters than
the first round of Blu-ray titles which show significant
artifacting.
Posted by luvmysubaru (16 comments )
Link Flag
Yes, But . . .
Yes, a format supported by all studios would be nice (if either of these formats is to beat DVD, something which I'm not totally convinced of yet!). However, I don't think that consumers choosing a particular hardware solution feel limited just because there is a lack of complete content selection. Just look to the online music services for a current example. So, Blu-Ray may have the edge (if it doesn't garner a reputation for poor transfers): More content, and the consumer can buy the other studio's movies in plain-old DVD.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Watershed: format supported by all studios
There is a watershed event that must occur before anyone who isn't rich or crazy can sensibly purchase a HD DVD or BluRay player: *all* studios must support the format. How useless would it be to have a player for which you couldn't get all your favorite movies? Remember when you still had to keep your VHS dusted off to play the movies that hadn't been released in DVD format? &lt;shudder&gt; Who would buy 2 hidef players??? Sheesh this is annoying!
Posted by baisa (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
annoying is right
this format war is about Sony not wanting to loose to Toshiba
like they did with VHS in the 80's and DVD - both were Toshiba
vs. Sony format wars and Toshiba ended up winning both
despite Sony bringing out techincally superior formats each
time. Sony and Toshiba were at one time coming together on a
single HD format, but it all fell apart and now we the consumers
are stuck in the middle of yet another pointless battle. I own a
Toshiba HD-A1 and I will buy a Blu-ray player as well, but I am
not impressed with Blu-ray's quality as compared to HD-DVD -
the picture quality is much better in the HD-DVD masters than
the first round of Blu-ray titles which show significant
artifacting.
Posted by luvmysubaru (16 comments )
Link Flag
Yes, But . . .
Yes, a format supported by all studios would be nice (if either of these formats is to beat DVD, something which I'm not totally convinced of yet!). However, I don't think that consumers choosing a particular hardware solution feel limited just because there is a lack of complete content selection. Just look to the online music services for a current example. So, Blu-Ray may have the edge (if it doesn't garner a reputation for poor transfers): More content, and the consumer can buy the other studio's movies in plain-old DVD.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
 

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