Obituary: HD DVD 2002-2008

No flowers, please


(Almost) Forgotten Tech Toshiba's decision to end its production of HD DVD players and recorders effectively marks the death of the optical disc format once touted as the natural successor to the phenomenally popular DVD.

HD DVD was born in 2002 out of the apparent unwillingness of Toshiba and a number of other DVD Forum members to back a blue-laser disc format developed by Sony and Pioneer that would that year become known as Blu-ray Disc.

Work on the precursor to Blu-ray stretches back to 2000, with the first prototype players being demo'd in public in October that year at Japan's CEATEC show. By February 2002, the physical spec had been nailed down as a 12cm disc capable of holding up to 27GB of data on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer version.


Sony's PDD: Blu-ray in disguise

Nine companies - Sony, Philips, Samsung, LG, Thomson, Hitachi, Pioneer, Matsushita and Sharp - formed the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) to promote the format.

What worried Toshiba and others was Blu-ray's need for a protective disc caddy, rightly considered to a turn-off for consumers. The BDA's response was to state it would move toward a caddy-free system, but the DVD Forum decided to pursue an alternative technology, thereby declaring the format war.

The Forum's announcement came in April 2002 - by August, Toshiba and NEC announced they were working on the technology they hoped would be accepted by the Forum. In May 2003, Toshiba revealed its technology would result in discs that could be manufactured using modified DVD production lines and didn't require a caddy. If forecast a capacity of at least 36GB.

Sony's BDZ-S77 Blu-Ray video recorder
Sony's BDZ-S77 Blu-Ray video recorder

By November of that year, Toshiba's format had been selected by the DVD Forum. The previous summer Sony launched Blu-ray recording in Japan, albeit aimed at data-storage applications rather than consumer uses. It called the format Professional Disc for Data (PDD) and the $3300 recorder unit the BW-F101. It offered both recordable and rewriteable PDDs for $45 and $50, respectively. They could hold 23.3GB of information.

The BW-F101 began shipping in December 2003. Some three months later, Sony began touting second-generation, 50GB disc recorders, this time pitched at consumers and to be launched to tie in with the Olympics.


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022