TOKYO (Nikkei)--In ongoing negotiations between Sony Corp. (SNE) and Toshiba Corp. (6502.TO) toward developing a unified standard for next-generation DVDs, the two sides are hammering out a format in which Toshiba's software technology would be coupled with Sony's disc structure, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports in its Tuesday morning edition.
The Blu-ray Disc format proposed by Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (6752.TO) is incompatible with the HD DVD standard supported by Toshiba. The three firms have been in talks to craft a common standard, and a detailed plan could be finalized within the week.
While Toshiba would be forced to make concessions on disc structure, it is considering accepting the arrangement after assessing such factors as production costs. Sony and Toshiba could secure the backing of participating members as early as May 16, when both are scheduled to hold meetings.
The two camps are focusing on the Sony format for the optical disc structure, in which data is recorded 0.1mm from the disc's surface. Toshiba's software, which offers efficient data transfer and copyright protection, would be incorporated into the unified format.
The Sony standard allows for stacked recording layers, paving the way for increased capacity. However, it requires advanced production technology. The Toshiba-format discs, which use the same structure as current DVDs, can be produced at lower cost than their Sony counterparts.
Toshiba had proposed the use of its own recording format, which records data at a depth of 0.6mm, in conjunction with Sony's high-capacity technology. But Sony and Matsushita expressed reservations, saying major Hollywood studios - such as Walt Disney Co. (DIS) - as well as the computer and video game industries were calling for a high-capacity recording medium.
In recent talks, Toshiba has taken a more flexible stance, noting that the Sony disc structure may be inevitable in light of various considerations. The company is seeking proof that the discs based on the Sony format can be mass-produced at low cost.
The chances of the rival camps failing to reach a unified standard are seen as low. But given that Time Warner Inc. (TWX) and parts manufacturers that have prepared software under the Toshiba standard are expected to resist the revised format, the negotiations could take more time.