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back to article Official: Toshiba to get in on Blu-ray Disc

Toshiba has asked the Blu-Ray Disc Association (BDA) if it can join the gang, a move it specifically stated paves the way for the introduction of Toshiba kit supporting the HD optical disc format. The one-time driver behind the HD DVD format stressed that it remains committed to the delivery of digital content on a variety of …

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Anonymous Coward

and the irony is...

Whilst Bluray has been an utter flop so far, it'll ironically take Toshiba, who was always a leader in making DVD as popular as it was to push Bluray into popularity too.

It seems Toshiba is the only one that's any good at this judging by the failure of Bluray without them. Of course, HD-DVD was a failure with Toshiba, but a failure only because studios wanted the stronger DRM, consumer unfriendly format which alas no amount of product and sales skills on Toshiba behalf could solve. Even when Bluray didn't have competition though, once HD-DVD had died, Sony, Samsung et al. were still too incompetent to make Bluray successful.

It's amazing that it'll almost certainly take their old arch enemy to make their failure into a success.

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FAIL

Too

little, too late, too expensive. Can you buy blockbusters on video now? no - DVD killed video, superior playback almost instant search, no stretched tape etc, but DVD's aren't going anywhere, unless BD becomes cheaper than DVD.

Most of my friends with HDTVs are still plugging in via scart rather than the C M Yk(?) cables 'cause it's easier, and tho they received 5.1 speakers they're either not plugged in, or placed really badly and never turned on, and only one has any HiDef TV via Sky, and she's not impressed with the offering. One mate, with a x360 and HDTV (both with HDMI), plugs it in via scart because Curries had their HDMI cables (in fancy packaging it must be admitted) for £27.99 (vacuum packed and gold plated natch), and whilst I told him to get one of Ebay he just can't be bothered.

And if you bought an HDReady TV (like me, 32in), it's only 720p, 1080i, so you won't get the very best that Bluray can offer anyway, 1080p.

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About time

Despite all the gainsayers, Blu-Ray HD is a success.

Those of us with 1080p sets and AV amps would never go back to DVD quality.

As for online delivery of content?

I can order a film and have it delivered on Blu-ray disc in less time than I could download it at the same quality.

And to those who claim they can't see the difference between SKY sd & SKY HD, get your eyes tested it's a huge difference. We have both and both are connected to HD sets, one is very fuzzy & blurred the other is pin sharp.

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@Tony Paulazzo

'Most of my friends with HDTVs are still plugging in via scart rather than the C M Yk(?) cables '

Don't forget, if you want 1080p you need to go to DVI or HDMI rather than component cables. And they really want you to use HDMI because it has lots and lots of DRM to make your life inconvenient.

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Flop?

Anonymous Coward precisely how has it been a flop? Seeing as it's market penetration has been far higher more quickly than DVD ever managed.

People expect too much, if something doesn't catch on within a couple of years they say it's a failure. Took far longer than that for DVD to properly catch on.

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FAIL

Meh

Every format Sony has pushed has failed miserably*. BetaMax, DAT, MiniDisk, VCD, UMD, etc, etc.

BluRay looked like it might buck the trend with the death of HD-DVD, but it's still stuck in the realm of high end AV. With Asda and Tesco flogging regular DVDs for £3-£5 plus more and more downloaded/streamed digital content being available, BR is going to struggle to gain a foothold in the market.

If YouTube and the pirate video circuit have taught us anything, it's that 99% of people don't give a hoot about picture quality as long as it's viewable.

*Yes I know Sony don't 'own' BR, but they are on the steering board and are using their inverse Midas touch.

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I hope they turn round and say no...

After all the FUD that Toshiba and Microsoft spread about HD DVD and then Digital Downloads in their efforts to fight the superior Blu-Ray.

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Alert

@Tony Paulazzo

Seeing as there is very little difference between composite and SCART, and neither offer the bandwidth for HD, I don't see your point regarding what your mates are doing? I assume you mean they are plugging HD kit into an HD tv with Scart, because they can't figure out the colour coding on the Component connections!?! OR, As I suspect, they are plugging in DVD players and/or VCR's with Scart instead of composite - which means nothing in this context because neither the source or connection will offer HD output, or relate to Blu-Ray....

I have the standard '2x bundle' package with SkyHD (so I get the basic channels - including sky1/scifi/discovery etc). I would consider myself a 'standard' viewer. I don't know what your friend is watching, but there are LOADS of HD channels available to me. I watch mostly mainstream programming, so Sky1 HD, SciFi HD, Channel 4 HD, Discovery HD etc.... Maybe she is just hard to impress, or she can't see the difference because she connected her SkyHD box with a Scart lead and isn't actually seeing anything in HD!?! Again - how does this relate to Blu-Ray??

Your other mate who connects his Xbox360 with Scart can't have looked in the box properly. He has Component cables as standard which give him HD - no need for Scart or HDMI. Once more, what has this got to do with Blu-Ray!?!

Just for reference, you can now purchase TV's around 32in which offer 1080p, but that's besides the point. 1080i is a cracking resolution for viewing HD content whether on Blu-Ray or not.

BD doesn't need to become cheaper than DVD to succeed. DVD certainly wasn't ever cheaper than VHS, and as you pointed out, DVD took over as the main format. Unless movie downloads (of the legal kind) become seriously more mainstream, BD is going to take over, but it's going to take a while - generally speaking the public at large is a lumbering beast that takes time to adjust to this kind of change. If you think DVD took the market overnight, then think again.

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(Written by Reg staff)

@Mike Richards

The DRM in HDMI is solely designed to stop people nicking the data by tapping it between the source and the screen. How is that inconvenient? It's nowt to do with file-level DRM.

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Anonymous Coward

720P

You can still see a difference between blu-ray and dvd on a 720p display, even on a 26" display. It was worth picking up the blu-ray player before upgrading to a 42" 1080p.

I don't even bother picking up the new releases at the 'first week' prices because they're still too high. Maybe if they were priced the same as dvd's were, I wouldn't wait until they dropped to $10 a disc.

For me, the only dis-advantage to blu-ray is the ridiculous time it takes to 'boot' up and then load the movie.

I'm just hoping OLED technology drops in price and overcomes some reliability problems. I'd like to upgrade my parents t.v. with something a bit nicer by the end of next year.

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Dead Vulture

@Tony Smith

"The DRM in HDMI is solely designed to stop people nicking the data by tapping it between the source and the screen. How is that inconvenient? It's nowt to do with file-level DRM."

Of course it is. It's part of the whole DRM package. The file part of the DRM being useless without it, and vice versa.

And DRM itself *is* inconvienient. Apart from the possibility of "computer says no", some people would like to make a back-up copy after they've paid £15 - £25 odd quid for a film to guard against small children/pet dog/own stupidity with coffee mug/etc.

It's not "nicking the data" when you've paid for said data either.

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Really, Tony Paulazzo?

You seriously need to have a word with your supposed 360-owning friend. Because while there are Component leads in the box that will give you HD just fine, and a HDMI lead too if he bought the Elite model, an official Microsoft SCART cable is a separate purchase; one that costs rather more than a HDMI lead in Sainsbury's or Tesco.

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Flame

@AC 10th August 2009 08:55 GMT

Utter flop? How do you quantify that? Take up is slow, as for most new technologies (usually down to cost.. or recession!!), but my local Blockbuster is doing a feckin' roaring trade in Blu-Ray rentals and sales. My missus and I will only buy films on Blu-Ray now, unless the DVD version is less that £3. Stuff a proper HDMI cable between the PS3 and the HDTV and the quality is well worth the extra cost IMO.

As for Toshiba bailing out the 'incompetence' of other manufacturers - WTF!!?? Even with their likable market position, and customer response, even Toshiba wouldn't pick up a format that was dead.

Perhaps your comments are really shrouding a hatred of Sony? If so, just say. Or continue to hide, AC.........

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Silver badge

@AC at 10th August 2009 11:41 GMT

"Seeing as there is very little difference between composite and SCART, and neither offer the bandwidth for HD"

Full SCART actually includes RGB or component connections (switchable) and has easily got the bandwidth for HD, except that the manufacturers now disable HD output through any analogue connections to please the DRM-loving content peddling community.

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Bod

Download times

"I can order a film and have it delivered on Blu-ray disc in less time than I could download it at the same quality."

Well I could download an HD movie quicker than it takes Royal Mail to deliver a disc. Usually overnight.

Only catch is those movies are somewhat less than legit torrent based shares ;)

Given few people bother with next day delivery from the likes of Amazon, play, etc, then most are prepared to wait the 3 to 5 days, so they could easily download during that time. Dedicated infrastructure through deals with the ISPs would speed things up a lot more too (look at BBC iPlayer as an example).

Give it a little time and fast enough downloads with the right infrastructure will be in place. The problem is some people will always have rubbish connections though.

I was hoping Tosh's idea of movies on flash media would fill this gap. People could just load up movies onto a credit card equiped with flash media when they go shopping if they are not equipped for downloads.

I'm fed up with discs though. I just want a library I can dip into without cluttering my shelves with discs I only ever watch once or go through the hassle of getting scratched to death unplayable rentals.

Spotify has shown the way for music. Now we just need the same for film. HD for most people takes a back seat. Few people even release they don't have HD on their new shiny HDTV. They just think it looks amazing compared to their old CRT, so that's fine for them.

The move here from Tosh just prelongs an old outdated technology. Shiny discs based on a nearly 30 year old concept have had it. Problem is, do I buy them anyway in the interim and end up with more redundant discs and hardware in 5 years time?

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Anonymous Coward

@probedb

"Anonymous Coward precisely how has it been a flop? Seeing as it's market penetration has been far higher more quickly than DVD ever managed."

Well no, for starters that's rather questionable. All statistics stating Bluray is doing well have been twisted statistics, for example one of the main claims used to suggest Bluray was doing better than DVD did at the same point in it's lifecycle is that a company which sells the kit used to create master discs sold 2 more machines at the same point in the life of the Bluray format than the DVD format. Of course, that doesn't really tell us Bluray is doing better, it just tells us that there are more movies to be printed or they believe there is more scope for Bluray to do well, not that it's actually doing well.

But apart from the fact they've only been able to provide mangled or fiddled stats, there's a more important point to make. Even if Bluray is doing marginally better than DVD based purely on the same fixed points in it's lifecycle, this does not mean it's doing better when you include ALL

factors including equally important ones such as the size of the market. The fact is the size of the market for an optical disc format is FAR bigger now than it ever was for DVD at the same point it it's lifetime, consumers are more tech. savvy now than they ever were back in 1997. Digital was still young, no one really even had CD writers to burn their family photos too and so on, PCs weren't in every home to have DVD drives installed into them etc. The fact is, the market for Bluray is massively bigger, and so even if you take the most contorted, random, biased stats out there that suggest Bluray is doing better, it's still only doing better if you ignore important factors - like market size. With all factors taken into account, Bluray is a massive flop.

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Boffin

Scart going postal

@Tony Paulazzo - and how long have your friends been using scart? I remember when scart was new, scary and confusing (only one channel?). Now I don't know anyone who would have their DVD players hooked up via RF - or indeed any new DVD players that can even do that. Or are you saying that BD hasn't come into the everyday use yet and so has failed? I accept your premise, but reject your conclusion!

@Hazel Rees:

"I can order a film and have it delivered on Blu-ray disc in less time than I could download it at the same quality"

Spot on - never underestimate the bandwidth of a royal mail delivery. A bit laggy I'll grant you! :-)

What Hazel has shown is that the top end of the market have embraced HD and are the early adopters. What happens is that early adopters (who recognise and pay the premium for quality) subsidise the initial outlay, and by doing so allow the prices to plummet as economies of scale take hold - at this point, the cash cow takes over and Joe Public finds themselves buying BD players, just because they're there and at the same price as DVD players. What's more, BD has an even greater advantage as you don't suddenly have a pile of redundant VHS tapes - it will happily play your DVD collections should you choose not to replace them.

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FAIL

don't need blueray for high def

Blue ray will fail as long as people can download a h.264 video off newsgroups for free. With a decent internet connection you can download a 8 gig or so movie in about an hour or two tops. Legal no but then again you don't have to pay the massive Sony tax just to see a movie in high def. DVDs for the most part seem to hit the sweet spot on paying a fair price for content. Why should anybody have to pay for than a few dollars more (sometimes BR is double the cost ouch) to see the same content in a higher resolution (not to mention the increased cost of the player as well as all lovely DRM to protect the consumer). Until BR is basically the same cost as DVD it will be worth many peoples time and energy to nick the movie off the internet. Oh well, Sony is a big bag of fail any way. They should never have forsaken their hardware roots to become a media conglomerate. Sony not only misses out on being the hardware pioneer they used to be (iPod should have been called Walkman digital) but people are catching on how they have become control freaks on telling us how we should use products we buy (im sorry you didn't buy your ps3 you are only leasing from us indefinately, meanwhile please install this rootkit on every piece of non Sony hardware you own). It sucks because Sony pre-movie studio days used to make the best kit on the planet.

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FAIL

@Anonymous Coward 10:50 GMT

I love the clueless idiots that have no idea what they are talking about.

Sony didn't invent VCD.

Betamax is rather popular, it's still used pretty widespread in the broadcast industry.

You seem to have forgotten about CD and 1.44Mb floppy discs which Sony did come up with.

Talk about cherry picking your info (and still getting it wrong). Out of interested how much did you waste on Xbox and HD DVD to make you hate Sony so much?

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Jobs Horns

a clarification

When I said Sony used to be pioneering hardware wise I mean in the days before Sony solds its soul to the devil and bought a media studio it would release an innovative customer friendly piece of hardware and didn't care about powerful vested interests and others broken business models. Now it seems Sony can only release a piece of hardware if it gets the ok from the more powerful studio side. This explain why for the past 15 years or so most of Sonys media company friendly, consumer ball and chain technology has been largely rejected by the "unwashed masses sucker" consumer. The great thing about the free market is there is always some other company willing to bring forth disruptive technology if the customer wants it and there is profit to be made. Apple did it with the iPod and now that Apple has started getting in bed with the media companies some other company will bring out the next killer piece of hardware. The big guys that adapt their business models to the reality on the ground prosper and the DEC, Wang, Polaroid, Woolworths of the world that can't slowly (or sometimes rather rapidly) disappear. As long as Sony continues to be run by the media side I fear its hardware division will eventually become the latter.

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Pint

ack last clarification I promise

Should have said much of Sony technology has been rejected by the consumer. Obviously they have had some huge hits as well such as the PS2, DVD, etc. When their technology doesn't try to control the consumer Orwellen style it tends to do well. It does also seem that this is occuring less and less often as the hardware division can no longer slip devices under the media side radar like the old days.

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@MarkOne

Exactly - and the number of professional musicians, singers and entertainers who still use MiniDisc because it's so reliable (our group's been using MD for over 12 years with 0% fail-rate - startling!).

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FAIL

hmm wonder which

I wonder which posters are Sony employees or paid schills and which are just fanbois deathly afraid of paying $600 for the 2000's equivalent of the Sega Master System. It's not always easy to tell them apart sadly enough. Either way you say anything bad about Sony and you are automatically a Microshaft fanboi. Sadly in the console wars it is a race to the bottom as far as the companies are concerned. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are all bad corporate citizens and try and top each other over who can screw over and control their customers the hardest. The stupid Xbox is built to not allow you to run any software even if legal such as linux on hardware you legally bought. Nintendo screwed over the video game industry so hard in the early 90's and has always considered every market outside of Japan to be not only an afterthought but racially inferior as well (I guess the attitude of Gaijin must serve the holy people survived WWII, got to love nationalism to the extreme). So there they all suck.

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tell the difference

2 years ago i paid the extra for a TV that could do 1080p - the 'FullHD' rather than the cheaper offering that did 720p or 1080i. after watching BluRays on my PS3 I'm glad I did. the difference between 720p and 1080p is just as important as that between DVD and 720p.

I'm still disappointed by the lack of HD channels on offer (obviously they use 1080i or 720p because of current transmission bandwidth issues) but I have a rental offer that provides me with BluDiscs... I'm not going to buy discs at their current extortion prices.

as for cables - HDMI all the way. and you should never pay more than 5 quid for a decent cable....anyone selling you some 30-50 quid cable is betting on you wanting to 'make the most' out of your expensive TV and decoder/bluray player/skyHD set - I'm afraid they are ripping you off.

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Blu-Ray is of a dying breed

Blu-Ray is of a dying breed. The "I hand you money, you give me copy"-business is kinda dead. There are now much fancier models to finance movies than selling copies of it. One of those is called television. You have a satellite-dish and can recieve a wide range of movies and shows, as well as news, without any extra cost. And it's even HD for some stations. There's no DRM so you can store the transmissions and do anything you want with them.

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Bod

720p vs 1080p

"the difference between 720p and 1080p is just as important as that between DVD and 720p"

Only on a big enough TV and/or if you sit close enough.

Also, if you're comparing 720p and 1080p on your 1080p TV, then that's an invalid comparison as 720p is not at the native resolution. You need to compare 720p on a 720p TV and 1080p on a 1080p TV, of the same size.

Myself, having done both kinds of comparison, whilst I can tell the difference, it's no where near gobsmacking enough. Generally even 720p upscalled on my 1080p TV is perfectly fine. That's on a 40" TV.

However it's a void point. Most people who have gone out and got a flat TV to replace their CRTs have gone and bought 720p TVs. They don't need Blu-Ray for that. A smaller bandwidth download would do just as fine, and even with more compression they won't notice on their 32" or smaller TV.

And don't forget the majority of the population still have CRTs. You might find that hard to believe, but the majority of the country are not people like us. I'm still shocked by the number of people I see with just a little 14" portable TV tucked away in a corner, not to mention a lot of people who don't really watch much TV (and a few who actually don't have a TV at all!).

@MarkOne - "You seem to have forgotten about CD and 1.44Mb floppy discs which Sony did come up with."

Sony only came up with half of the CD. Sony came up with an idea for an audio optical disc (based on Phillips laserdisc principles). Phillips had something similar in the works. The actual redbook standard that produced the "Compact Disc" is a combination of Sony and Phillips technology.

1.44Mb floppies are specifically those 3.5inch discs that PCs used and formatted to 1.44Mb. They were a little different to the similar sized disc that Sony much earlier failed to introduce. Essentially their contribution was much like Betamax, but you can't say Sony came up with VHS. Besides, their floppy disc was a derivation of earlier discs of larger sizes, much the same as Betamax was a derivation of other earlier video tape formats. Sony have never really been original. They just take another idea and try to mould it into their own proprietary format.

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KL
Alien

Blu Ray won't penetrate mass market......3D is the next Blu Ray!

"You can still see a difference between blu-ray and dvd on a 720p display, even on a 26" display." - 720P

720P are you serious? I have a 32" display and whilst it doesn't support 1080P I can still watch in 720P and 1080P and the difference between a high quality DVD and Blu Ray is pretty marginal. (Played on Panasonic DMP BD 35)

I doubt very much there would too much noticable difference between DVD and Blu Ray on a 26 inch screen and certainly wouldn't justify the higher prices that you pay for Blu Ray.

"Utter flop? How do you quantify that? Take up is slow, as for most new technologies (usually down to cost.. or recession!!), but my local Blockbuster is doing a feckin' roaring trade in Blu-Ray rentals and sales.!- LuMan

Lu-Man I guess success of Bu Ray sales and rentals must vary region by region.

I live in Oxford and have myself inquired about Blu Ray take up as I am interested to monitor whether Blu Ray will become a sucess or failure.

Shortly before Woolworths went bust I talked to the manager of the store, he told me that demand was very low and sales very slow and he said he didn't think Blu Ray would ever replace DVDs.

Just a few weeks ago I also spoke to my local Block busters manager, he said although Blu Ray rentals and sales had increased since they introduced Blu Ray it still was pretty slow and not too much in demand.

I have to say everytime I visit my blockbusters there are always people looking in the DVD sections but I haven't ever spotted anyone browsing in the Blu Ray sections!

My uncle runs a business that sells DVD and Blu Ray among other things.

When we got onto the subject on Blu Ray he said without any prompting from me," Blu Ray is a flop"

"What do you mean" asked a friend in the room at the time."

"Well they don't sell....I can't sell them!"

So essentially I doubt very much that Blu Ray will follow the same path as DVD and ultimately will not become the "new standard".

People that still think that Blu Ray is doing well in comparison to DVD take up rate are perhaps missing the point a little.

We live in very different times than when DVD was first introduced.

The internet wasn't in wide spread then and consumers didn't have You Tube as an alternative to traditional,,,,!in front of the telly entertainment."

So in view comparisons to DVD and Blu Ray take up rate are bogus.

There is already talk of the possibility that 3D films will come to disc format in the future.

If that is the case then Blu Ray can only be a transitional technology whilst people wait for 3D discs.

Essentially as some here have already observed, the mass market isn't driven purely on Picture Quality......If it did then You Tube certainly wouldn't be the worldwide phenomena it has become in such a short space of time.

Equally if quality was a mass market driver then people woludn't be shopping for bargains but have the very best TV sets they can afford.

But any retailer can tell you the mass market is driven by price and convenience not necessarily quality.

That is why DVD suceeded to become a mass market product, it had so many convenient advantages over VHS, like size, durabilty, usability, storability and pretty good quality to boot!

BluRay really only has picture quality as a Unique Selling Point.(The other advantages like sound quality and lager storage capacity or online interactivity simply aren't things that the mass market are looking for).

Picure quality alone may be sufficient enough to allow Blu Ray to carve out a niche market with home cinema enthusiasts but the average joe that makes up the mass market is most likely going to give it a pass.

If 3D films do catch on then Blu Ray will quickly be forgotten about, and people wil be talking about "double dipping" their "old" Blu Ray disc for the brand new 3 D discs!

So there you have it DVD will still be the standard disc format for the masses.

Blu Ray will have it's niche....... until that is, the film studios start producing 3D films as standard.!

3D films will still face the problems Blu Ray has over DVD, ie people will need brand new compatible equipment and discs are likely to be much pricier than DVD.

That said though 3D films are likely to be much more dramatic a change of viewing experience than Blu Ray has currently over DVD so it has the potential to be much larger than Blu Ray.

Who knows what the future might bring in way of technology.....but those who argued that Blu Ray was "future proof" already sound pretty dated!

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