Ricoh working to invalidate the next-gen format wars

(via Engadget)
Not wanting to let the petty squabbles of two industry consortiums get in the way of letting people take advantage of new technology, Ricoh has skipped past the “we’ll make a Blu-Ray player and a HD-DVD player and let the losers, erm, consumers pick” idiocy and produced a device that could potentially play all current and next-gen video disc formats.

Trying to bridge the gap between next-generation optical disk formats, Ricoh said it has developed an optical component that reads and writes all disk formats— Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD, as well as DVD and CD—with one pickup and one objective lens.

Ricoh will show the optical device at the International Optoelectronics Exhibition ’06 outside Tokyo on July 12-14. The company intends to begin sampling the device with OEMs by year’s end.

The component is a 3.5-mm diameter, 1-mm thick round diffraction plate with minute concentric groves on both sides which function as a diffraction grating.

. . .

Multiformat players and recorders can identify which format disk is loaded. Based on the disc information, Ricoh’s optical diffraction component adjusts the laser beam with its diffraction grating for each format and passes it to the objective lens. The lens then forms a beam spot at the appropriate depth for each disk format.

Potentially good for the consumer, and a bit of a “screw you for not making a good choice for consumers” snub of the big players. Let’s hope Ricoh can make the multi-next-gen-format player a reality soon so we don’t have to choose the winner.

[tags]Ricoh, Next-gen video format[/tags]