Sony and Toshiba Fail to Reach Agreement on Next-Gen DVD

Sony and Toshiba, representing the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD next-generation DVD specifications, respectively, have failed once again to reach an agreement on a single format. Unless something dramatic happens very soon, that means there will be two competing next-generation DVD formats starting at the end of this year, providing consumers with the same confusion that they experienced during the VHS/Betamax wars of the early 1980s. Not impressed? Here's the problem: Any time competing formats compete like this, adoption of next-generation technology slows, because consumers don't want to be stuck with orphaned products. There is one bit of good news, however: This type of incompatibility failed to sink recordable DVDs, which had squared off in DVD+R and DVD-R camps. Because optical-disk makers were able to create drives that write in both formats, products from both camps continue to be successful. Will next-generation DVD pull a Betamax or a DVD-R? We'll have to wait and see

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