RUMOR: Blu-ray-equipped Macs due in February

“While Sony is working feverishly to secure every Blu-ray drive it can for the PlayStation 3, sources report talks with Apple have the computer maker scheduled to receive the first Blu-ray drives for Macs in February,” Think Secret reports.

Think Secret reports, “Details beyond that timetable are vague at this point, including whether systems will be announced with the new drive that month, pre-announced in January for a later release, or simply be added to manufacturing for an announcement later in the first quarter.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced on March 10, 2005 that Apple was “pleased to join the Blu-ray Disc Association board as part of our efforts to drive consumer adoption of HD.”

According to The Blu-ray Disc Association’s website, HD DVD’s pre-recorded capacities are 15 GB for a single layer disc, or 30 GB for a double layer disc. Blu-ray Disc provides 67% more capacity per layer at 25 GB for a single layer and 50GB for a double layer disc. It’s par for the course that Apple backs the superior format while Microsoft supports the inferior one.

It does, however, bear noting that Apple is playing both sides of the fence in a wait and see mode. According to a press release from April 17, 2005, “Apple is committed to both emerging high definition DVD standards—Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. Apple is an active member of the DVD Forum which developed the HD DVD standard, and last month joined the Board of Directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association.”

Related MacDailyNews articles:
TDK pumps Blu-ray capacity up to 200GB per disc – September 02, 2006
Over a dozen Hollywood studios announce movies on Blu-ray – August 29, 2006
Japanese Mac users get first Mac OS X-friendly Blu-ray burner – August 02, 2006
Roxio Toast 7 for Apple Mac adds Blu-ray support – July 25, 2006
Apple and Microsoft showdown over Blu-ray vs. HD DVD? – July 14, 2006
Analysts: Blu-ray coming to Apple Macs sooner than later – July 14, 2006
Ricoh creates ‘universal’ optical disk lens; reads and writes Blu-ray, HD DVD, DVD, and CD – July 10, 2006
Blu-ray Disc blank media hits U.S. shelves – May 22, 2006
Blu-ray Disk Associaton: we’ll win DVD format war over HD-DVD – May 12, 2006
RUMOR: Apple asks studios to include iPod video content on Blu-ray discs – April 25, 2006
Sony postpones PlayStation 3 release until November due to Blu-ray delay – March 15, 2006
Broadcom announces decoder chip that plays both Blu-ray and HD DVD – January 03, 2006
Forrester Research: Apple-backed Blu-ray will win over Microsoft-backed HD DVD – October 20, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘it looks as if HD DVD’s days are numbered’ – October 07, 2005
China to develop own as-yet-unnamed DVD format; Blu-ray vs. HD DVD vs ? – October 07, 2005
Paramount’s decision gives Blu-ray slight lead over HD DVD in next gen DVD format war – October 04, 2005
Record set straight on Blu-ray Disc Association’s superior high definition format – September 29, 2005
Microsoft backs cheaper, less sophisticated, lower capacity HD DVD over Apple-backed Blu-ray format – September 27, 2005
Twentieth Century Fox joins Apple, Dell, HP, others to support Blu-ray Disc format – July 29, 2005
Poll shows Apple-backed Blu-ray preferred by consumers over HD DVD for next-gen DVD standard – July 14, 2005
Microsoft allies with Toshiba on HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray Disc backers Apple and Sony – June 27, 2005
Apple joins Blu-ray Disc Association Board of Directors – March 10, 2005

36 Comments

  1. Oh yeah, and Bluray is region encoded which means you are stuck with ‘Bluray exclusives’

    Whereas HD DVD has no region encoding, which highlights that ‘exclusives’ are per territory.

    Some movies that are ‘Bluray exclusive’ are only so in USA, whereas in Europe they are ‘HD DVD exclusives’. HD DVD player owners can simply ship from Europe and play movies. Yay!

    In the longer term, I think both with fail and download will rule the day.

    In the short-term we should all hope for dual-format drives (i.e. like DVD+R and DVD-R) because we don’t really care what the physical structure of the disc is do we?

  2. I think the owners of the two competing technologies should learn from the VHS vs. Beta wars.

    Everyone wins when one standard clearly takes the lead.

    But wouldn’t it be nice if the better standard won? But which one is it? Is the market smart enough to decide? (think VHS over Beta and Microsoft over Mac)

    How about each company throwing their technology into a new firm, owned 50% by each.

    The new firm then does all the HD DVD vs. Blueray battling and detemines the one standard that will proceed.

    Once the standard is set, the new firm takes care of all the licensing, splitting the profits between the two owning companies.

    This would save money for everyone, particulary the two competing companies, and would increase the speed of adoption, thus creating more profit sooner.

    MW = best, as in “What I propose is the best solution.”

  3. Apple will certainly offer either drives as an option when they become available. But I believe these initial drives are read-only? Whilst it may be of benefit to some to have HD video playback on their computers, I do not see it as being a mass market need as this moment.

    However, drives that can burn as well as playback will be useful for those who are in video production, plus a few who want the backup options.

    I found in general though that DVD-RW discs are quite unreliable in backup situations. Dual layered discs are even worse. Maybe HD DVD / BluRay drives will have a fast enough throughput to make it useful but the cost of media will be prohibitive for the time being.

  4. @United States of Generica…

    “1. better looking movies discs.”

    Both formats are capable of 1080p movies. Currently only Blu-ray ships players supporting 1080p output, but the new Tosh coming out before the end of the year is supposed to support 1080p output although it’s supposed to be $1,000.

    “VC-1 codec on 30GB HD DVD beats legacy MPEG-2 codec on 25GB Bluray discs, no need for expensive 50GB Bluray to get MPEG-2 producing ‘comparable’ quality with modern codecs.”

    Both Blu-ray and HD DVD support all three major codecs: MPEG-2, VC-1 and MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC). Most of the early Blu-ray disks shipped with MPEG-2 encodings, but the majority of those shipping now do so with either VC-1 or AVC. Additionally, recordings so far (on either HD DVD or Blu-ray) utilize, on average, well over 20 Mbps — even using AVC or VC-1. Thus an epic movie (say 3.5 hours or more) cannot fit onto a single HD DVD 30GB disk. Also the 50GB disks are not “expensive”. The consumer pays no more for a movie on a 50GB disk than on a 25GB disk.

    Additionally, per the HE DVD specification it is not physically possible to have a triple layer (45 GB) HD DVD disk. The only way to do it is to have “flippers”, i.e. remove the disk and flip it over for an additional 15 or 30GB. Thus in order to get 45GB (which many HD DVD proponents have said is the way to ship the epics on a single disk) you have to have 30GB on one side and 15Gb on the other side. Wow… 2/3 the way through the movie it stops and you have to go over, flip the disk then restart it. However, Blu-ray, per the current spec, does have the physical possibility to go to up to 8 layers, i.e., 200GB per side.

    “2. you can burn HD DVD format on regular DVD with a regular DVD player — no need for expensive hardware. Can fit an ‘hour long’ (i.e. 42 min) HDTV show from TS onto DVD.”

    This is a spurious comment at best. HD DVD format on DVD is nonsense. You can burn HDTV formats (even 1080p) in whatever encoding you want to a DVD anyway. Why force HD DVD format onto a DVD other than to exclude those DVD players that don’t support that format? Or are you confused? Are you talking about the physical layers or the file formats? The physical layers are spaced the same but the files are different.

    “High capacity blank discs cost a fortune, you can buy external hard discs cheaper!”

    True for the moment. But then I remember when blank DVD disks first came out at over $50 a piece too. They rather quickly went to $10 each and are now much less than $1 each. The same will happen with the new disks too whether they be HD DVD or Blu-ray.

  5. United States of Generica,

    OK fair enough, but this isn’t a BlueRay limitation as you kind of implied. Who says that producers are using MPEG 2 on BlueRay and VC-1 on HD-DVD? This doesn’t make sense and I would love to see those published statistics. I think you can be pretty certain that the same titles would be the same video format on ether disc release.

    It is still too early to say what standard will be more popular. I think the point is, is that BlueRay is superior to HD-DVD, which has nothing to do with adoption. BetaCam vs VHS for example.

    It is ridiculous to compare VC-1 to MPEG 2, you can only compare it to H264 and in my opinion H264 is much better quality and more efficient than VC-1.

    So you are betting on HD-DVD because you have a perception that this is what most people will use and that VC-1 is good enough to be better than MPEG 2 (the old DVD format). A perception not really based on quality or scalability. You have to admit that HD-DVD has some troubling limitations compared to BlueRay. The smart manufacturers will provide machines that play both.

  6. Blu-ray has the best specs on paper, and it’s beginning to deliver its full potential right now. The most recent releases (Ice Age 2, X-Men 3) are brilliant and are a huge improvement over the first batch of discs. Plenty of reports also indicate that the PS3 is much better than some 1st gen players.

    But it always comes down to the content. Blu-ray has the support of Sony, MGM, Fox, Buena Vista, Lionsgate, Universal Music and even the adult industry, while Warner and Paramount play for both sides.

    The only backers who solely support HD-DVD are Universal and the Weinstein Studio, and according to the Hollywood chatter, even Universal is rumored to support Blu-ray in a few months.

    If Apple launches Blu-ray players, I just happen to have an empty slot in my Mac Pro. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  7. @ United States of Generica …

    “VC-1 (albeit invented by M$) is three times as efficient as MPEG-2, and gets consistenly fantastic reviews. It would be illogical to hate this just because M$ created it.”

    It has been shown repeatedly (Tears of the Sun for example) that it is not the specific encoding mode used, but the care in the encoding. Both formats are consistently getting good reviews now no matter what the encoding used.

    “All HD DVD movies are VC-1 on 30GB discs and look great.”

    Not all look great, but none looked as bad as a couple of the early Blu-ray disks. These early disks’ problems were traced back to bad masters and other such things. It has *never* been clearly shown that the use of MPEG-2 was the definitive problem.

    “Most Bluray movies are MPEG-2 on 25GB discs and look not as good as HD DVD.”

    This was true for the early disks. This is not true now. Even movies coming out in both Blu-ray and HD DVD are virtually identical in quality. The only difference is for certain things that look better in 1080p (Blu-ray) versus 1080i (HD DVD so far). These are exceptions to the rule, and when the Tosh ships with 1080p support there should be no difference since both Blu-ray and HD DVD do 1080p on the disks themselves.

    “Check reviews of Bluray versus HD DVD, and read up on movie enthusiasts sites like AVFORUMS.COM and you’ll get informed.”

    AVSFORUMS is a rabid HD DVD supporting forum. Ask anyone with even a grain of impartiality. Try posting pro Blu-ray data there and see how long it stays before being pulled. There are several posters there on Microsofts payroll — and some of them freely admit to being on Microsoft’s payroll — who are there to just promote HD DVD even if they have to make up data or outright lie to do so. Amir is a perfect example.

    “This is why sales of HD DVD movies are killing sales of Bluray ones — the home theater crowd are generally behind HD DVD.”

    HD DVD sales are not killing Blu-ray sales. Have more HD DVD disks sold than Blu-ray disks? Yes, but it is not even 50% more let alone “killing” them. I suggest you do some research before making such statements. Why is this so? It’s because there are currently more HD DVD titles out than Blu-ray titles. This is changing. By the end of this year it is projected that the number of titles for both formats will be equal or maybe even with Blu-ray slightly ahead (announced disks don’t always ship and unannounced disks sometimes ship well before they are anticipated to).

  8. Apple has been jokeying with Sony regarding Blue-Ray and iTunes…

    Apple has held out HD DVD against Sony, to ensure Sony will pony up movie titles to iTunes.

    Know this: When Apple launches Blue-Ray drives for Macs, iTunes will be getting movies from Sony for iTunes, or vise versa, if iTunes gets Sony movies, know Blue-Ray is coming to Macs soon thereafter.

    Apple can hold this over Sony very easily. Sony has billions wrapped up in the success of Blue-Ray, while Apple has been a huge leader in determining standards. Sony cannot afford to take a chance with Apple, and watch Macs start shipping with the option of HD-DVD drives, only to watch that standard take a huge leap forward over Sony’s massive investment.

  9. @ United States of Generica

    “It’s Bluray BTW, not Blueray.”

    NO. It’s “Blu-ray” not Bluray. If you’re going to correct someone make sure you’re right.

    “It’s an America cliche that BIGGER IS BETTER!!! but that’s not the case here. Simply because discs have slightly higher capacity does not make them better.”

    Yes, as I mentioned before, bigger is better here. You cannot do a 3.5 hour epic on a single sided HD DVD disk. This is based upon VC-1 encoded films on currently shipping HD DVD disks. This is *NOT* conjecture. Just look at the file size of a single 2 hour movie on the current HD DVD disks then do the math. Epics will just not fit. Period. When using VC-1 or AVC they will fit onto a single Blu-ray disk.

    “The Bluray drives in Sony Vaio’s? Can not read dual-layer 50GB Bluray discs, and therefore can not play the BD movies whose MPEG-2 quality is ‘comparible’ to HD DVD movies.”

    So what if they won’t play dual sided disks? They were bleeding edge devices anyway. Additionally, there are “comparable” quality, 25GB Blu-ray disks already out there. You clearly don’t know what you are talking about if you are trying to make a blanket claim about MPEG-2 being inferior in all cases.

    “Shame Bluray access times are so slow that PS3 has to cache data from it’s BD drive to hard disc.”

    Hmmm… It seems the PS3 caches data to the HDD because it has one and can take advantage of it. Shame the core 360 does not have one and you have to wait for the slow DVD!

    “From a consumer standpoint, BD is poisoned by worst DRM than HD DVD (was specially requested by Fox), and won’t even allow managed copy.”

    Consumers hating DRM is such an old line of BS I’m surprised you even bring it up. 99.99% of consumers don’t care about DRM. Remember how much fanatics claimed the DRM in iTunes was going to cause iTunes (and thus the iPod) to fall flat on its face? If people can play their purchased songs or movies without problems they won’t care if there are 50 layers of DRM. Also the additional layer of DRM in Blu-ray is no more of a hinderance to people legitimately using it than HD DVD’s DRM.

    “Consumers can’t make their own cheap Bluray format DVDs either, you can only buy expensive Bluray drive and expensive Bluray media.”

    No one would want to burn the Blu-ray disk format to a DVD. If you want to burn HD data to a DVD in any encoding you can do so. Saying you can’t do that is BS.

    You can’t burn a HD DVD disk to a standard DVD disk either. You need the red laser and the related optics to make the spots the right size and right spacing. To say otherwise is pure BS.

    “Some people here seem to think what ever Apple says is gospel, but Apple is not infalible! Although originally joining Bluray camp has since announced support for HD DVD too.”

    Yes, Apple technically claims to support both formats. Apple is hedging its bets. However, Apple is on the Board of Blu-ray and is only a member of the DVD Forum. — and the idiot who claims the HD DVD format was invented by DVD Forum needs to do more research. The format was invented by a subset of the members of the DVD Forum and then presented to the forum for ratification. The Blu-ray format was invented by a subset of the DVD Forum members but was never submitted for ratificaton. The DVD Forum itself never invented anything.

    “If you want to write to blank Blu-ray or HD DVD for storage you are insane, external hard discs are far cheaper; and by the time prices are down you will get flash memory USB keys that hold just as much as either next-gen optical format.”

    As I said above, true today. This will radically change over time. Additionally, flash memory will never have the shelf life of 30 to 50 years.

  10. @ United States of Generica

    “Oh yeah, and Bluray is region encoded which means you are stuck with ‘Bluray exclusives’

    “Whereas HD DVD has no region encoding, which highlights that ‘exclusives’ are per territory.”

    Both formats support region encoding. To even imply otherwise is BS.

    “Some movies that are ‘Bluray exclusive’ are only so in USA, whereas in Europe they are ‘HD DVD exclusives’. HD DVD player owners can simply ship from Europe and play movies. Yay!”

    As soon as any studio sees cross Atlantic shipping cutting into their profits they will either 1) ship to the other side of the pond or 2) will publish disks with region coding enambled.

    Besides…
    Currenly approximately 50% of the major studios and distribution houses support Blu-ray exclusively. Currently about 10% of the major studios and distribution houses support HD DVD exclusively. (Universal is the only major studio which is HD DVD only.)

    Thus, if this situation holds for the next few years, you can get about 90% of the material out there on Blu-ray. You will be able to get about 50% of the material out there on HD DVD.

    “In the longer term, I think both with fail and download will rule the day.”

    This will happen with a significant percentage of consumers (at least one third and maybe as many as a half or more) have 20Mbps, or faster, links. As I said above, current movies encoded with either VC-1 or AVC use, on average, more than 20 Mbps in compressed form. People will download movies when they don’t have to deal with huge buffering times — or have to download them overnight. It’s an immediate gratification culture now.

    “In the short-term we should all hope for dual-format drives (i.e. like DVD+R and DVD-R) because we don’t really care what the physical structure of the disc is do we?”

    The DVD+R and DVD-R could use the same optics. Thus a dual format drive was a matter of firmware. Blu-ray and HD DVD use radically different optics. Thus a dual format drive will need both firmware for both formats and two sets of optics. This means dual format drives will be more expensive than either single format drive — if they ever materialize.

  11. Blu-Ray titles are shipping mostly VC-1 and AVC at this point. MPEG-2 was a temporary thing for early releases only. It’s becoming common for movies to be optimised to fit onto HD-DVD’s smaller 30GB capacity, which of course fits fine on Blu-Ray’s 50GB capacity. If Blu-Ray wins out, we’ll eventually see titles optimized for the much larger 50GB Blu-Ray discs, which means greater bandwidth for the picture quality using the same video codec.

    The biggest difference is going to be for computer users like us who would really appreciate the additional 67% storage capacity of Blu-Ray.

    The only reason Microsoft is against Blu-Ray is that it uses Java for the control/menu system, and Microsoft is very anti-Java since it’s a cross-platform open source technology.

  12. >MDN’s Take: It’s par for the course that Apple backs the superior format while Microsoft supports the inferior one.

    Actually, Microsoft supports HD-DVD which is the format that doesn’t force manufacturers (and thus consumers) to spend on retooling their facilities and altering their processes. It’s easy to be Armchair QB and comment when it’s not your money.

    Some sort of HD-DVD/Bluray hybrid format would’ve been nice. I’m sure each camp could benefit from the IP of the other.

    Commentary such is MDN often provides is laughable. It’s still amazing that they could “publish” such garbage and be taken seriously by so many.

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