CES 2008 Round Up - HD DVD vs Blu-ray vs The Industry, our view 5 weeks later...

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
The following editorial is the sole view of the author and does not represent the opinions of the AVForums in whole or in part.

<h3>With CES now well and truly over, Phil Hinton gives his opinions on where things now stand in the HD war. And clearly blames the industry as a whole for this mess!</h3>

Where do you start with an article on the current format war?

With so much press attention in the last few weeks maybe the subject has been done to death? However I feel that there are still too many unanswered questions and points of interest to let the current trend of negative press comment rule the column inches. You see I have always been format neutral when it comes to HD DVD and Blu-ray and even though I have been privy to information many enthusiasts would find captivating, I have never felt the need to discuss the subject in any real depth here. I have ignored the format discussion threads where the subject seems to go around in circles and have been content to report matters of fact within our podcasts and articles, rather than be a promotions arm of the war, unlike many a lazy reporter out there.

20080206173135.jpg


It is quite clear that there has to be a winner in this debacle and one side will have to hold up the white flag sooner or later. That also seems to be the overwhelming opinion of the general forum member who is still sitting on the fence. But what about those who have already taken the plunge and bought into one format or the other (or even both)? Does their opinion matter to anyone who has a responsibility for the current mess we find ourselves in? Or is it the very industry we love so much that was responsible for this format war?

20080206173311.jpg


When we talk about the consumer electronics world, we are inevitably talking about business and finance. It is true that the industry has seen hard times as the prices of electronic products are eroded and the margins get tighter. This is usually great news for the consumer and even though there are cries from the manufacturers, they also tend to survive as the years go by. With research and development they also invent the next big thing and that usually means a period of time where the margins are healthy before the volume and erosion kick in. There are many examples of this in action - look at flat panels in the LCD camp, the price of DVD players and software and the continual erosion of other CE products after their initial &#8216;honeymoon' period. So is it any surprise that one side of the HD disc battle offers up significant margins for the CE manufacturers with this new technology and format? This is one area that seems to be ignored when you do venture into format war discussion threads. Why is it that one sides hardware costs so much more than the other? Are there really such huge technological differences that warrant such a consumer price disparity? If that is the case, why is the more expensive format not complete in terms of special features and internet access when it comes to profiles? Is it maybe because the margin is better for the manufacturer and dealer?

20080206173419.jpg


Ok, so what I have said above may be construed by some as a conspiracy theory or a pro HD DVD angle of attack on the other format, but what I want to know is why the &#8216;facts' in the market place don't add up when you are a consumer or enthusiast. Indeed I have kept my mouth firmly shut in the past when it comes to &#8216;war' threads and I like to remain as independent as possible, but at the same time I get just as narked as the rest of you when it comes to things so obvious and ugly right in front of our noses. Can anyone give an authoritive answer as to why Blu-ray stand alone players are so much more expensive compared to HD DVD? Some will say that Toshiba are subsidising their players and I would tend to agree that seems likely, but even so that alone cannot be the reason a BD player can cost up to twice the price of a Toshiba HD-XE1's RRP! For the sake of this argument I acknowledge that the Playstation 3 is a BD player within a games console and it is now around the £300 mark, it offers the best possible route into the format for many and is upgradeable to an extent through firmware. But even so, why are the standalones still more expensive when compared to similar machines from the other side? At CES this year it was also very obvious that every major CE company (bar Toshiba for obvious reasons) has a BD player or two coming in the next few months, many with starting points of $500.
If you then take into account that many of these machines are still not profile 1.1 compliant and certainly not capable of BD live anytime soon, what is actually going on here? Top dollar, half finished format yet backed by every major CE manufacturer against a finished format profile in HD DVD and cheap, reliable standalone players, am I the only one who smells something off?

20080206173516.jpg


And then you have the studio debacle, with one side or the other claiming to have the superior releases. One of those very studios just happens to be owned by a CE company. Content is what will sell your format, but as with the case with DVD in the past, once the player prices hit rock bottom, it's the studios that make the margins not the CE companies. So if you are a manufacturer with some new product to sell playing optical media containing films, do you want the studio to get the entire margin once the competition and volume forces player prices as low as $20? Do you want a repeat of DVD? If I were a CEO my answer to that question would be an emphatic No!

And there is evidence that this is exactly what is happening with this format war. The DVD forum is responsible for the specifications for the HD DVD format (and its predecessor DVD). Every major CE manufacturer is a member of the DVD forum and many of them (as well as the studios) where responsible for suggesting and approving the technical specifications of the HD DVD format. One studio even went as far as demanding the PIP and internet features be added as mandatory. So why after all that trouble did almost every major CE company then jump aboard the Blu-ray format? This was a format designed originally for the Japanese market as a high definition recording format for HDTV in that country, that was then modified once Sony realised that PVR would be the dominant product for that market. It then had a researched and developed format that was no longer financially viable. So low and behold we then get the origins of the BDA (Blu-ray Disc Assosiation) with an aim to make sure the mistakes of DVD where not repeated by the CE companies when it came to high definition and their margins. Again it sounds like conspiracy theory but its all &#8216;fact' and well known within the industry. Let's not forget this is all about one thing, making money and keeping those margins healthy. Any business man will appreciate the finer details and so take the same route.

20080206173727.jpg


Indeed, I would go as far as saying the BDA and its members have the right idea when it comes to a business model for a sustainable profit margin and learning from their mistakes in the past. However, what I don't accept is the mess we currently now have to deal with. Let's start with the hardware issues.

Toshiba surprised everyone when they suddenly came to market early with HD DVD, it was such a surprise that the BDA were caught with their pants down. What also surprised everyone was that the specifications' were complete from day one and available on the software and hardware. It is now well known that the BDA had no answer and were at least still a year or more from market with a finished product and software. So BD was rushed to market and the first discs and player were woefully behind the Toshiba machine. Over the months this changed with content matching that of HD DVD and the machines improved through firmware upgrades. But even two years on we still do not have the finished specifications for Blu-ray and despite claims that it was never intended to have all the same profile, rather it's a value added extra you can take or leave, in truth BD is still not complete.

That's not to say that HD DVD is better than BD technically when it comes to movie playback, rather that HD DVD had the specifications nailed down before coming to market, BD has played catch up every since.

20080206173907.jpg


So I may be trampling over old ground, but this is important for my next point, the early adopter and consumer. Again let's stick to facts in this subject area and the following can be confirmed with our chat with the BDA in the CES podcast on this site. If you have a pre-profile 1.1 player that has no firmware upgrade and you want the PIP features as well as the promised profile 2.0 BD live add on, you will have to buy another player! That's right, you have to go and buy another blu-ray player to get the same features that are freely available on HD DVD. So not only did that first generation player cost the early adopter the best part of twice the price of HD DVD, they will now have to go and spend exactly the same again just to catch up with something a £120 HD DVD player can do already. Again this is obviously good for the margins.

This is where I get really annoyed with the whole format war topic and why I avoid the fanboy sites and threads about this subject. It amazes me that so called film fans take sides so aggressively with this discussion point that people who should know better are playing right into the hands of the marketers. And on top of this we now have journalists and website administrators telling us what we should buy and that HD DVD should just give up and go away as we only want one format &#8211; as long as it's Blu-ray it seems!

20080206174102.jpg


I agree that if there had been one format from the start &#8211; be it Blu-ray or HD DVD, we would have had an easier choice in what to buy and the software that would be available. It might by now have attracted an audience and customer base that included Joe public and his new HDTV. But on the other hand maybe we have been lucky that Toshiba came to market when they did and provided some competition to the BDA and its expensive format. If HD DVD hadn't arrived when it did, do you honestly believe standalone BD players would be as cheap as they are, or nearer the premium release prices of 2 years ago?

So this brings us back to which format should remain and who will hold up the white flag. Certainly the announcement by Warner that they were going BD exclusive from May 2008 had the entire CE industry and everyone at CES wondering if that was it for HD DVD. Indeed most of the journalists present and within ear shot were getting as excited as schoolboys and suddenly speculating that Paramount and Universal would be next, some even went to print with the rubbish they were speculating. I had to calm myself down at some points with the rabid exclamation from any journo you met that this years CES had finally won the war for Blu-ray. But to me it was another insight into just how ugly and frenzied the AV Industry can be when it smells blood and a tidy margin can be made.

20080206174157.jpg


The days that followed the Toshiba press conference at CES saw some stunning headlines from the likes of the broad sheet press, where their content was just plainly speculation and utter tripe. They proclaimed HD DVD was dead and that the Warner move had nailed the coffin well and truly shut. The HD DVD Promotions group did cancel their big HD DVD party on the Sunday evening of the show and again this just played into the hands of the already story hungry press. But why were the AV press so feverish over the Warner announcement? To me looking as a neutral all it did was give the BD camp another &#8216;exclusive studio' to support them from May 2008.

20080206174259.jpg


Paramount and Universal were quick to cement their continued support for HD DVD within hours of the so called press exclusives, so from an unbiased view point working on the facts at hand it is safe to assume that we are carrying on, business as usual in this format war. And nothing that has come direct from the Toshiba and HD DVD Promotions Group in the weeks now following CES has stated otherwise. This however hasn't stopped the now frenzied speculation of the AV Press that it is only a matter of time until Blu-ray conquers all, indeed reading websites like &#8216;The Digital Bits' is almost like visiting the &#8216;official' Blu-ray press site. It's all getting a little silly and comments have come from some unusual quarters of the US press demanding that Toshiba drops HD DVD so we can all have just one format and open it up to the wider market. There are some that go even further and state HD DVD is now dead and that people should not buy the incredibly cheap and reliable players or the software from Paramount and Universal, rather they should buy those films on DVD instead. Really what kind of advice is that to come from the AV Press or the so called AV Press? Are the advertising budgets higher in the Blu camp?

20080206174347.jpg


This has to be the first time I have ever seen early adopters and the industry back the more expensive and unfinished format over the cheaper, technically finished rival. Indeed they argue that Blu-ray is the more technically advanced format, does anyone have any proof of that? It has superior storage in technical terms over HD DVD, but have we seen any example of that being used with Hollywood films and extras (apart from the cheating PIP streams?). Again I have no agenda here other than to ask some real questions of both camps.

It seems this format war is starting to get down to the dirty tactics stage and each side would appear to have their PR departments on over-time. It will inevitably come down to content at the end of the day and Warner's announcement puts the momentum firmly in the Blu-ray camp. But let's not forget that HD DVD has the tried and tested cheap hardware, software extras that work and internet access from the start, plus, two major studios still exclusively backing it. It looks like HD DVD is not going to just roll over and die as many in the industry (and their margins) would like it to do straight away. There maybe figures produced that show bigger margins of sale favouring Blu-ray, but at the same time HD DVD is still selling. And maybe the biggest problem for both and the industry in general is that they are not selling in big enough numbers to generate &#8216;Joe Public' interest.

20080206174440.jpg


To all those format fanboys on either side I just want to make one final observation. As a movie fan I want all my favourite movies on just one format and if things had panned out as they were supposed to do, we would have had that through the &#8216;official' DVD forum. The Manufacturers and studios developed their next generation HD disc format through that very channel, some demanding the special features and internet access for their family titles. Those same manufacturers and studios then for obvious financial reasons as discussed, went a different way as they saw bigger margins to be made. After all this is business we are talking about. So out of the window went the idea of just one format to be replaced by a challenger to the DVD Forums version that they all helped create. All this war has done is prove that this industry is just that, an industry to make money. They don't care that there are two formats, consumer confusion and you need both just to get your favourite films in high definition. They care only about their margins, they will back that format and on the current momentum it looks like they might just succeed in finally giving us one format, but not before there has been serious mudslinging and consumers and early adopters miss out financially. Just don't expect a Blu future to be budget players, bug free software or competitive once the other side fall away eventually.

And god help us real collectors once the region coding starts full time, you are technically still going to need two players (one region A and one region B). So with that knowledge, why are early adopters and consumers so desperate for one side or the other to win? The present has given us competition and cheap HD access, the BDA has had to get its finger out just to compete with the technical side of HD DVD. But in the end it is the film fan and AV Enthusiast that has had to suffer. We have had to buy two formats, spend money on software and at the same time finance this stupid war that will only line the pockets of these CE companies, those same companies that started this war in the first place. The early adopter has been used as a beta tester and will now have to buy yet another BD player for the profiles yet to come or have an HD DVD player which after 4 or 5 years will have no new software and go the way of the laserdisc player.

The only positive I can find in this whole format debacle is that the next format war will not be over optical media, but rather software players to handle downloadable content. It's still a good 10 years away but this is probably the last time we have such an obvious industry battle over profit margins on hardware. Indeed maybe the CE companies have just shown themselves that in the digital future without optical media and players there might be no real place for margins to exist in any software and network driven future. That my AV friends is another story for another day.

The views expressed in this editorial are those of the author and in no way represent the opinions of the AVForums in whole or in part.
 

CP_Campbell

Standard Member
I applaud you, sir! A clear and forthright call to arms for the consumer. Fanboys of both camps take note....the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on 'exclusivity' will only come from your pocket and the first rule of business is a monopoly is a cash cow.

But the biggest rip-off in consumer history is the repeated sale of intellectual property and the billions that are made selling us the same thing over and over again.......LP's, compact cassettes, CD's, downloads, VHS, DVD, HD DVD, Bluray......special editions, extended editions, directors cut, Anchor Bay, Criterion......the list is endless. And that is why we're being force fed a new HD format years before the tech has matured......there is no money in DVD anymore when Tesco's can sell a brand new release at £7 or £8 next to the cornflakes.

Microsoft forced Sony into releasing the PS3 a year early by launching the Xbox 360, that's why the BDA is a mess. And, in a year or so, should Toshiba through in the towel, MS will happily release the Xbox 360 Ultimate with built in BluRay and wireless.....and undercut Sony by $100....happy in the knowledge that they'll make it back through disc royalties and so the story continues......

Regards and best wishes.
 

mattym

Banned
a well thought out article to a point, a little late in the day though i think. Yes HDDVD came to market as a more finished product, but it does have its technical limitations, such as space and bandwidth, and over the next few months that is likely to become more apparent, will the newly announced BD release of Batman Begins be a port of the HDDVD version? its likely, but if it isnt, then the release will be analysed frame by frame, and the technical benefits(or lack of)will be exposed?

I agree about the profiles, though its more a case of 1.0 plays movies, 1.1 plays movies with PiP, 2.0 lets you buy the toilet paper of the film, no bricked players, just slack support from some manufacturers, by the time BD really hits mainstream(assuming it does) the majority of players should be final standard profile, and the rest should be clearly marked up.

Personally i think the 2 formats has slowed adoption, Toshiba have ruined the chances of getting more manufacturers to follow them into hddvd by having virtually no profit. June is a long way off, but can you really see paramount and universal ignoring an undeniably growing BD market while hddvd falters and maybe even falls away?
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
a well thought out article to a point, a little late in the day though i think. Yes HDDVD came to market as a more finished product, but it does have its technical limitations, such as space and bandwidth, and over the next few months that is likely to become more apparent, will the newly announced BD release of Batman Begins be a port of the HDDVD version? its likely, but if it isnt, then the release will be analysed frame by frame, and the technical benefits(or lack of)will be exposed?

I agree about the profiles, though its more a case of 1.0 plays movies, 1.1 plays movies with PiP, 2.0 lets you buy the toilet paper of the film, no bricked players, just slack support from some manufacturers, by the time BD really hits mainstream(assuming it does) the majority of players should be final standard profile, and the rest should be clearly marked up.

Personally i think the 2 formats has slowed adoption, Toshiba have ruined the chances of getting more manufacturers to follow them into hddvd by having virtually no profit. June is a long way off, but can you really see paramount and universal ignoring an undeniably growing BD market while hddvd falters and maybe even falls away?

Matty, my main aim of the article was to highlight that this whole mess is the industries fault and the early adopter again gets screwed. The whole profile thing just bugs the hell out of me and in my view adds even more confusion to matters. If I were someone looking for a BD player now, which do I buy because some are 1.1, some claim to be 2.0 ready yet it takes a lot of research to find these things out and the average consumer needs to be spoon fed most things so will either make an expensive mistake or just not bother for the mean time. Obviously HD DVD has it's flaws as well that are also well documented. I some how think that if Universal and Paramount do stick it out more than the rumoured summer switch, we will have a longer battle on our hands than the US Journo's wanted everyone to believe three weeks ago. It's hard to see if there are positives with that outcome, other than they get the user base to a level where they feel it is worth continuing to support, or it pushes the BDA camp to increase competitive pricing on hardware which would probably be a desired outcome.

Thanks for your comments.
 

Jonstone

Well-known Member
Sony took a big gamble with their playstation brand by using it to push blu ray, and that gamble seems to have paid off.

'Joe Public' hasn't got a clue about HD-DVD or Blu Ray and is not buying players in large quantities, but the PS3 is now selling well and when 'Joe Public' does become interested in hd films millions of them will find they have a good blu ray player under their tv already.

Early adopters always take a risk, they are also amongst the better informed on the subject and know full well that the format they choose may not be the winner.

The competition has also brought the players to market much faster than would otherwise have been the case and at a much lower pricepoint.
 
D

Drew232

Guest
well the next month will be important with the results of the nielson figures
it will show if the cheap toshes are starting to make their mark or not, because blu-ray is selling films 8-2 over the last 3 weeks and the new figures are out this friday. If Hd-DVD film sales havent improved by that time then i dont see any way back for HD-DVD and no body cares about the consumers just how much money they can make from us.
 

mikim

Well-known Member
That was a really good read, it's refreshing to read an informative post that is generally unbias :thumbsup:

I admit I'm often on here to argue a point or two re. this format issue, but not in this case I just have an addition in reference to the cost of the BD machines, (not so much the software though:mad:), in that it is common that some adopters of any technology will often look for the more expensive product, it's standard marketing, (just look at the iPod for example). 'Some' consumers want to feel that they have the better machine, the more exclusive machine etc etc etc... I think this may also be a reason some are abandoning the HDDVD technology, simply because it is TOO cheap?
Not saying it's better or worse, in fact I think they look/sound exactly the same.

I have been an early adopter of BR only, because I have monitored the marketing from an early stage, and I have personally always believed that the BD companies have got it right. SO FAR;) Basically if I am going to buy the films (the most important bit in this whole discussion), then I don't want a load of redundant discs sat on a shelf... the hardware I will want to upgrade... who doesn't?, just look at the classifieds section on here :)
 

Max Payne

Active Member
Excellent article and a really good read.

A couple of quotes that stand out to me, because they are important:

As a movie fan I want all my favourite movies on just one format and if things had panned out as they were supposed to do, we would have had that through the &#8216;official' DVD forum.
That is what annoys me as a movie fan too, I have been forced into becoming "dual format", when I should really only have to have 1 format.....region free

And that brings me to the next quote:
And god help us real collectors once the region coding starts full time, you are technically still going to need two players (one region A and one region B).
This is my 2nd annoyance as a movie fan, with HD DVD we had an opportunity to have region free players and the internet buyer wouldn't have to care about where he got his disks from because he would be aware that they could play. With the BD region coding problem, and as a movie fan, if the format war continues, technically you may need even more than 2 machines so you can watch ALL high def movies released:
i.e.
I have a Tosh A1 hddvd player, so I can watch HDDVD region free, but only Region 1 SD DVD's on it
I have a PS3 Blu Ray player(region b), so I can only watch the region free or region b movies.

Technically, I will need to get a region a player to player movies if I buy them on a trip to the US/Far East
....so in my position, I will need 3 players to watch ALL MOVIES on high Def

Ridiculous

Thanks again for a great article
 

punkymunky

Active Member
Personally I think Blu-Ray and HD-DVD have no future, the software is too expensive and to 90% of consumers offers no tangible benefit over DVD.
With HD downloads now available on Xbox live albeit in HD-WMV 720p format, the future of HD is here already and is set to grow along with high speed internet.

Unfortunately for both camps, HD discs will never become the cash cow that DVD was.
 

swanny78

Active Member
Excellent article Phil. I have long been a supporter of HD DVD because of its finished spec and lack of Region encoding. I have an EP35 which I intend to keep as long as its lasts it is a great upscaler fo SD DVD's.

Lets hope this war ends soon with a winner. If its BD then so be it at least the confusion will be over.
 

peopleIknow

Active Member
Brilliant article, and I think spot on with regards 'It's all about the money' the marketing theses days is so slick that Joe Public are lead to believe that these companies are their best friend when in fact they are only in business for one thing and one thing only to make MONEY.

I also think that in the main people on these forums forget that Mr & Mrs average are not really fussed about their picture/sound quality. I've been into home cinema a long time now, in fact since Pro-Logic was in it's infancy, moved on to Laser Discs, AC3 (now Dolby Digital), then DTS and THX, etc etc but as yet not up-graded to Hi-Def, and until the war is decided I will not be doing so. Yet friends / relatives having heard/seen my system and having being suitably impressed they themselves have never installed anything similar in their own homes, 3 have put basic sound systems in but I know for a fact that they rarely use them. Further more in a survey before Christmas it was reported that the majority of people buying Hi-Def screens were not doing so for there Hi-Def abilities!!! The result is that well most have up-grade to displays capable of displaying Hi-Def very few will be buying an Hi-Def player, which I believe is why Phil's article make so much sense, these companies are not going to see players sold in the high volumes that DVD did so will want to maximise their margins on the player they do sell.
 
D

Drew232

Guest
Personally I think Blu-Ray and HD-DVD have no future, the software is too expensive and to 90% of consumers offers no tangible benefit over DVD.
With HD downloads now available on Xbox live albeit in HD-WMV 720p format, the future of HD is here already and is set to grow along with high speed internet.

Unfortunately for both camps, HD discs will never become the cash cow that DVD was.

i work in the industry and HD dowloads will not be ready for years.
The whole of the UKs setup needs billions for updated cables
I work now looking after ubrs for virginmedia there are 5000 ports per ubr
and the cost to add 5 ports runs into a few million and virginmedia are adding 150 ports in the first half of the year. Downloads will be aleast 15gb so great if you dont mind leaving ur pc on 24/7 and then what do you if your hard drive fails. Not many people will have the cash for hugh hdd and back up systems.
Personal i like to look at my boxes when im picking a film, most people like to feel something in their hands. Newpaper sales havent suffered even thou you can ready the paper online. Too many people in here seem to think HD downloads are just around the corner without understanding what is involved.
So 1080p downloads for main stream films are way of just now. The internet just cant cope just now. if anyone else works in the industry i welcome ur views on the subject.
 

anroob

Active Member
WOW, what great post :smashin:, agree with every word !

How refreshing to read a factual (IMO) and unbiased report amongst all the fanboy ranting that goes on. Must admit to never reaching the end of the 'Format Wars' thread as it sends me to sleep keep reading the same thing over and over.

Keep up the good work Phil. :clap:
 

leeboy22001

Active Member
Great artical. Was refreshing to see someone actually see what is happening to the AV market, with all the big CE companies going the BD way so that they have increased profit margins over HD-DVD, and us Joe public actually loose out because of the higher cost of dedicated BD players! If only Joe public where actually educated in knowing the true Pro's and Cons of both formats from the very begining, I don't think BD would be so popular.

I personally have an EP35 and love it, the picture quality is amazing, and I do like the HD region free capabilities as I can now buy HD-DVD's from ANYWHERE in the world and play it on a factory standard non hacked HD-DVD player!:D something you will not be able to do on a BD machine. OK BD has more capacity, but what else do you want on your disk other than the movie?? I'm one of those people who are only interested in watching the film, and maybe watch the deleted scenes, thats it....

Also another big bonus of HD-DVD is that it uses the same red laser as DVD, so you could buy a COMBO HD-DVD movie which had both SD and HD movie on one disk, this meant you could take your movie around to a friends house who had an SD player and watch it, or play it on a personal DVD player for use in the car or on your travels, no need to buy BOTH DVD and blue-ray version of your new favourite films! and with the better copy protection of BD I see it will be much harder to rip BD disks to DVD in the future, is that music to blue-ray fans ears too!??

You can also burn HD material onto a standard DVD+R (25 minutes) or DVD+R DL (50 minutes) using programs like Ulead MovieFactory, and play that back onto a HD-DVD player in HD! no need for a Blue-ray burner or very expensive blank disks!

At the end of the day if Blue-ray wins the battle then so be it, I just hope that if that does happen we all realise what we could have missed out on for the next 20 years :(
 

charker

Active Member
Great article, it was nice to read a factual unbiased summary.

I personally think the competition is good, Toshiba have done us all a great service. There is no way we would have £100 HD players without their efforts.

I also don't see why the situation can't continue. LP's and Cassettes lived along side each other in the shops for years before CD came along.

I am an early adopter and I don't have any inclination to buy a Blu-ray player until perhaps the Panasonic BD50 (or whatever) appears. In other words I want a Blu-ray player that matches my HD-XE1 in every respect and I want it for under £300. At the moment Blu-ray just can't cut it.

So far as content is concerned the formats are virtually identical so producing for both is no great hardship. They share video and sound codecs so it's just a matter of which disk manufacturer you ship the master too! Of course only Sony make BD's; and I bet that's a cheap option!

The menu/interactive stuff is where the additional effort lies but again I go back to LP and Cassette, both had completely different "mixes" and required additional effort, but both survived.

What Blu-ray seems to have is time. They don't deserve it, but the general public doesn't care about HD yet and by the time they do, Blu-ray will have got their act together.

I hope Toshiba flood the market with millions of £100 "DVD upscalers" and the general public "discover" HD movies through this back door. Many new LCD owners want HDMI connections for their new toy and what better than a HD-DVD player that makes all their DVD's look an order of magnitude better.

As a result I wonder if the increased demand for HD-DVD disks would get the content providers re-thinking their stance?

I don't see why all content proviers can't support both. It won't happen of course but I can live in hope.
 
E

eugdog2

Guest
it is annoying that we have been forced into buying the more expensive format - we never had a choice because the studios went exclusively to Blu ray due to out right bribery and none competitive practices

But that said - I am happy there is a clear winner. It will mean consumer will no longer sit on the fence. As they buy more blu ray players the studios will release more content. This means more blu ray player sales and hence more content released and so on.

What the format war did was to delay the take up of HD. Even if studios were releasing on both format it is probable that they would have only release blockbusters as only they would sell in great enough quantities to reach break even. There were not enough customers for all but the most popular films to sell enought to break even. But now with one format and customers starting to buy more hd players - even less popular films can sell enough to break even.

T
 

charker

Active Member
I am not so sure the "war" has held back adoption. It hasn't helped but there is more to it.

First Joe Public can't see a benefit. Even on a new 42" LCD TV from 10 feet away, you are hard pushed to see a benefit over an upscaled DVD. DVD's are now discounted so much they are virtually giving them away so why pay more?

Upscaled DVD on my 100" projector is damned good.

Second the "obvious" winner for the past 6 months is unfinished and the players which will become redundant cost £400. Even early adopters, who will buy just about anything at any price, have been buying PS3's rather than "real" machines. They have also been buying both formats.

So the market has to put everything on hold for another 6-9 months while the manufacturers get their act sorted out and produce a finished Blu-ray player :rolleyes:

The fact is the content makers should be throwing a party. Over the last 10 years they have "cleaned", "tweaked", "colorized", "special editioned" just about their entire back catalogue. They can now spend an hour or two encoding a MPEG4 version with a 5.1 lossless soundtrack and sell us what we already have at twice the price. Bingo!

Given they have so little to do it is no surprise that 100's of titles appeared in a few months. Just like with DVD Warner got out an initial version of half their entire catalogue (remember those cardboard cases) and then re-sell us a "better" version further down the line. History repeating? Of my 25 HD-DVD's 80% are Warner, no booklets, plain packaging etc etc.

Of course now I backed the wrong horse, I will have to buy all my Warner titles again :eek: Fat chance :)
 

Lewis123

Active Member
Also another big bonus of HD-DVD is that it uses the same red laser as DVD, so you could buy a COMBO HD-DVD movie which had both SD and HD movie on one disk

No it doesnt, HD-DVD uses a blue laser too!

But I do agree with your comments re: region coding
 

leeboy22001

Active Member
Appologies, I was indeed incorrect, HD-DVD does employ a blue laser. You can however still play High def material burnt as HD-DVD format onto the lower capacity DVD+R and DVD+R DL DVDs :D
 
R

RHurley

Guest
First of all, let me state that I am NOT an advocate (or fanboy) of either High Def format. I have home demo’d the PS3, Toshiba XE1 and Pioneer LX-70 but at yet I have decided not to purchase any player as none meet my needs (yet)

However, I am most definitely a proponent of “High Definition” and to me this means Optimizing BOTH Video and AUDIO. This means 1080p/24fps Video and a LOSSLESS Soundtrack

The Picture Quality is obviously a big deal with the different High Def formats and it has rightly been mentioned here in most posts. However, I am in agreement with many Movie Directors who maintain that AUDIO adds at least 40% of the “experience” to their Movies (try muting a Movie during a non-dialog passage to see what I mean). Therefore, it surprises me when I read most posts here (and elsewhere) and Audio is rarely mentioned as an important factor.

In the same way as many here would find paying for 720p “High Def” versions of their Movies to be Unacceptable, I also think that people should find it equally unacceptable when only Lossy Soundtrack versions are available on the disc. Surely the whole point of High Def is to own the Highest Possible Video and Lossless Audio Transfers available

With that in mind, I thought I would post the following stats which I came across, highlighting the number of Bluray and HD-DVD Releases that have a Lossless Soundtrack available on them. The info comes from the site http://www.blu-raystats.com/index.php?OrderBy=Date and while possibly not 100% accurate, it’s a VERY good starting point.

Basically the figures below outlines the percentage of Released Bluray and HD-DVD Discs which have LPCM, TrueHD or DTS-MA tracks included on them

BLURAY
• No. Of Titles Released thru Jan 2008..........454
• LPCM Tracks..........191..........42%
• DTS-MA..................67..........15%
• TrueHD...................41...........9%
• Total Lossless........288..........63%


HD-DVD
• No. Of Titles Released thru Jan 2008..........395
• LPCM Tracks............3..........0.76%
• DTS-MA...................1...........0%
• TrueHD....................90..........23%
• Total Lossless..........93.........24%

I don’t know if these differences are due to Space issues on HD-DVD but IMHO, there is no valid reason that recent HD-DVD releases like Transformers, Shrek III, Zodiac, and The Kingdom, should not have Lossless Soundtracks.

Whichever format ends out as the “victor”, I think we should all stress High Def Video and Audio as being of utmost importance. Far higher (IMHO) than Extra’s, PIP and Internet Connectivity
 

crimsoneagle

Active Member
Fantastic article and I feel the same why you and many many other AV readers do im a Film Fanboy not BD or HD-DVD!!
The tech is here and now for downloadable HD content and the only reason it is suppressed is the lack of control that the CE and studios have on it..
And am really hacked off because of the BD region coding again control!!!
bahhh.

Anyways thanks for the great read!!:smashin:
 

mikim

Well-known Member
Whichever format ends out as the “victor”, I think we should all stress High Def Video and Audio as being of utmost importance. Far higher (IMHO) than Extra’s, PIP and Internet Connectivity

Completely agreed.:thumbsup:

"A" & "V" is what it's all about at the end of the day.

I have always been a huge supporter of well produced audio, and it is increadibly important to get that part right as well as the picture.

I expect the stats maybe slightly bias been on a BR stats forum though?? ;)
 
R

RHurley

Guest
I expect the stats maybe slightly bias been on a BR stats forum though??

Not too sure about that, as the same guy maintains a HD-DVD Stats Website here

http://www.hddvdstats.com/index.php

As you can see, both his Bluray and HD-DVD Listings are comprehensive and I even doubled checked some of the recent HD-DVD Releases like Transformers, Shrek III and Zodiac thinking that he must be wrong that no Lossless Audio Track was included and hey presto, he was right!!!

Worth looking thru both his sites as he has a lot of other very useful information there
 

crimsoneagle

Active Member
Good bye to the war....
Long live Sony and ther over priced, bloated, unfinished and region coded hardware so much for AV enthusiasm the £££ has won which means itll cost us more...
the only real people to benefit from this are the CEs and the Studios control for a little longer...
 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Streaming Theatrical Releases And The Future Of Cinema
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

AVForums Movies Podcast: 1st December 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Rumour: Samsung even closer to OLED TVs in 2022?
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Audio-Technica launches ATH-SQ1TW true wireless earphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on UK streaming services for December 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Best Projectors of 2021 - Editor's Choice Awards
  • By Steve Withers
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom