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Panasonic’s Ohtsubo On Networks, Content, Blu-ray

Fumio Ohtsubo, president of Panasonic’s AVC Networks Company, used that now familiar word — “ubiquitous” — to describe digital networks of the future and explained why his company is in a unique position to take advantage of the technological change.

Ohtsubo, whose responsibilities include Panasonic’s CE business worldwide, told the international press attending the CEATEC show in nearby Chiba that the target for his company and the industry should be “ubiquitous” networks, which will allow users to utilize a variety of mobile, home and computer products to gain access to content in a seamless manner.

The Panasonic executive thinks that the company’s oft-stated “3D Value Chain Strategy” of SD memory cards and DVD-RAM becoming “de facto standards” and “global No. 1 share” in plasma TVs gives it a unique position in this effort to supply current and future products for today’s, and tomorrow’s, networks.

Ohtsubo said that content security and Digital Rights Management must be in the forefront if this dream of accessing information and entertainment anywhere, anytime by anyone will be realized.

In a networked environment, “When we talk about content security technology … we mean consumers who want to browse media at home using wired or wireless applications. CE manufacturers want total security in our networks and have been working on this for several years. [We think] Panasonic is a leader in this effort,” Ohtsubo stated.

Blu-ray, the HD optical format that Panasonic is vigorously backing over rival HD DVD, needs effectively protected packaged media for it to be successful. Ohtsubo is hopeful that packaged media will be available by 2006 when “Panasonic will introduce Blu-ray on a worldwide basis.”

He emphasized that while Panasonic and Sony have introduced Blu-ray in Japan this year, “On the HD DVD side there is no product yet. Maybe next year?” He noted that when HDTV programming increases dramatically in the United States, “we can begin introduction of [Blu-ray Disc] recorders,” which he again expects to be in 2006.

When it comes to Blu-ray, Ohtsubo not only thinks Panasonic will play a vital role in networks of the near future and play a “critical role in the home server of A/V content,” but added that Blu-ray’s “large storage capacity vs. HD DVD will give it an advantage in this area.”