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September 18, 1995

TOSHIBA FORMAT, SONY ENCODING WINS VIDEODISK PEACE

By CBR Staff Writer

The horror of buyers being faced with two competing digital video disk standards for storing full-length movies was averted on Friday when Toshiba Corp and its acolytes agreed to sacrifice a few Megabytes of storage capacity by abandoning their encoding format for the one proposed by Sony Corp, which is compatible with today’s audio compact disks and CD-ROMs. The concession was enough to win over Sony and Philips Electronics NV, and the two have abandoned their rival standard. The truce will also please the computer industry greatly since backwards compatibility was regarded as crucial, which was why the entertainment industry lined up behind Toshiba for its extra capacity while CD-ROM drive makers backed the Sony-Philips format. Toshiba executive vice-president Taizo Nishimuro said the introduction of its players could be delayed three months because of the chip design change, putting it back to next autumn. The new unified format will have a capacity of 4.7Gb on each side, down from the original 5Gb for the basic disk. That will be able to record 133 minutes of video; going to double layers on both sides of the disk increases total capacity to around 14,8Gb, down from 18Gb. Sony made the proposal that its own signal modulation protocols be used alongside the Toshiba team’s double-sided error correction protocol.

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