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Is Blu-ray really Sony's format?

Ben Drawbaugh

In any Blu-ray Vs HD DVD discussion the former failed Sony formats always come up. Why do we assume that Blu-ray is a Sony format? Sure Sony is a board member and has helped develop the technology, but they are not the sole owner of the technology. They are not the first to produce a player and I think Samsung and Pioneer would take some credit in its development.

Sony is one of 17 companies on the board of directors and the only company that gets credit for owning the Blu-ray standard. We are not talking about members of the BDA either, we are talking about the board, whatever that means. The association was created to create the next mass media storage device, one that was not owned by a single company like DVD. For almost 10 years these companies have been paying Toshiba royalties for DVD. It is no wonder that the biggest players in the consumer electronics industries and the largest studios are backing Blu-ray, if you own the standard, you're effectively paying yourself royalties. Everyone knows this is about money and who can blame them? The BDA members are sick of paying Toshiba and if there is going to be a new format, now is their chance to get around paying them royalites, no wonder Blu-ray isn't backwards compatiable with DVD and doesn't support hybrid discs. Sure current players can play DVDs but theoreticly that won't be the case forever.

Then there is Microsoft, we all heard the Major Nelson Podcast and why Microsoft was backing HD DVD, but what they didn't mention is that with every HD DVD sold Microsoft stands to get paid. All HD DVDs use their iHD interactive layer and every HD DVD sold to date uses their CODEC VC1, which is required because of the capacity of HD DVD. Why in the world would Microsoft want to back a standard that has so little revenue potential for them when they could back the standard with the most? If we were them we would do the same thing! At the same time Sony owns over 170 patents on MPEG2 as do a number of other companies. The larger capacity Blu-ray disc makes it possible for them to get more out their old investment and allows other companies to produce discs at a lower cost (in the long run after over coming new production costs) since they already own the old MPEG2 encoding hardware and software.

We all know this is about money, but who is trying to hold on to their monopoly and who is trying to create a new more balanced playing field?

Why do so many consider Blu-ray Sony's standard and is it true?

Thanks Warren!

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