HD-DVD - Maybe its not dead in the water?

Discussion in 'General TV Discussions Forum' started by paulfoley, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. paulfoley

    paulfoley
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    Check this story out, risky for Toshiba but it may pay off if the cost of HD-DVD is half that of BR ? :

    Toshiba Takes a Risk to Push Its DVD Technology

    By MARTIN FACKLER and KEN BELSON

    Published: November 2, 2005

    TOKYO - In the high-stakes battle with Sony over whose format will power the next generation of DVD players, Toshiba has adopted a potentially perilous strategy: encouraging low-cost Chinese competitors to crank out machines using its standard, known as HD-DVD.

    Courting Chinese makers has been largely taboo in Japan, where manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic have long tried to delay the transition of their technologies into cheap commodities. Toshiba's decision could have major ramifications in the race for the billions of dollars that are likely to flow from the next generation of DVD technology, which promises enhanced pictures and audio and more disc space.

    Toshiba and Sony have been fighting over which technology will become the industry standard. It is a fight that carries significance for Sony, which championed the higher-quality Betamax but lost the battle over the standard for videocassettes.

    In the latest brawl, negotiations to merge their formats failed, so the two sides have been lobbying Hollywood studios, disc manufacturers, computer giants like Dell and software moguls like Microsoft, as well as retailers like Best Buy.

    Sony and others using a technology known as Blu-ray have recently won victories by persuading more studios to agree to put movies into their format. Sony also plans to include Blu-ray technology in its PlayStation 3 game consoles when they are released next spring, effectively turning them into Blu-ray DVD players.

    To thwart Sony, Toshiba has reached a bargain with Chinese manufacturers. By making its technology available, Toshiba hopes to get cheaper HD-DVD players in the stores months ahead of Sony, Panasonic and other Blu-ray companies.

    This would help Toshiba outmaneuver Sony much as Panasonic outfoxed Sony over the Betamax machines. Toshiba, industry analysts say, also knows that DVD's became a mass market item in the United States after low-priced models arrived from China and filled big-box retailers like Wal-Mart.

    Inviting the Chinese to drive down prices is risky. Toshiba makes DVD players, so the Chinese machines could undersell Toshiba players.

    Sony and the Blu-ray group are licensing their technology more selectively. Analysts call this an effort to prevent low-cost manufacturers - including those from China - from driving down the price of Blu-ray machines when they go on sale next year. "Toshiba can't back out of this format war for face-saving reasons," said Richard Doherty, research director at the Envisioneering Group, a market research group. "But pushing ahead means dealing with the Chinese sooner rather than later."

    The contrasting strategies underscore the increasingly uncomfortable choices Japanese electronics makers must make as China's manufacturing might grows. Japanese companies either keep their technology away from the Chinese, or they license technology to the Chinese and make money off the royalties.

    "Japanese companies basically follow one of two models: They're open or they're closed," said Koya Tabata, an analyst for Credit Suisse First Boston.

    Though most big Japanese companies have factories in China, their attempts to shield products from low-cost rivals prompt frequent charges by Chinese companies and government officials of technological miserliness. Japan's wariness toward China is not unwarranted. Many Japanese companies have waged battles against Asian rivals to recoup unpaid royalties and settle patent-infringement accusations.

    Toshiba, though, bucked Japanese convention when, in the mid-1990's, it licensed technology for making its powerful new flash memory chips to Samsung. As a result, the fledgling chips became cheap and plentiful. Toshiba-made chips now sit at the heart of digital music players like the iPod, too, even though Samsung has won a big portion of the market.

    Toshiba says it is following a similar strategy with HD-DVD. "When a technology is established, it's wise to keep technology that will help you stand out" from competitors, said Keisuke Ohmori, a Toshiba spokesman. "When you want to establish a new market, you need a different approach to gain sales volume."

    In September, two of China's largest made-to-order DVD makers, Amoi and JiangKui, said they would start using Toshiba's HD-DVD format to make high-definition disc players for other companies as early as next year. The companies cited Toshiba's greater willingness to share its technology.

    "Compared to the Blu-ray standard, the DVD Forum has been more friendly and open to the Chinese consumer electronics manufacturers," JiangKui said in a statement, referring to the industry body that has backed Toshiba's HD-DVD format.

    By contrast, Sony has been more tight-lipped. While Sony says Blu-ray technology is available to those willing to pay, it admits to heavily screening newcomers. Warren Lieberfarb, a Toshiba adviser in Hollywood, says the HD-DVD standard is just as secure as the Blu-ray format. He added that if the Blu-ray group tried to keep its technology out of Chinese hands, consumers would end up paying more for Blu-ray players.

    Taro Takamine, a Sony spokesman, said Sony could make cheap machines without China's help. Sony, he said, plans to sell Blu-ray disc players for less than $1,000 next year. Toshiba made the same claim earlier this year.

    JiangKui, which will start selling HD-DVD players in the United States and Europe next year, has not yet said what it will charge, though most analysts say it will be far less than Toshiba's brand-name machines.

    Whatever the price, China's entry into the next-generation DVD market is likely to pressure the Blu-ray companies to cut prices.
     
  2. AML

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    Looks like Toshiba are trying to sell HD DVD as a cheap and cheerfull solution while Sony want to sell BR in the traditional fashion.
    Hard to say who is going to win, its possible HD will be more successfull due to lower costs, and thats what consumers usually go for.

    But if sony can market BR propperly and the PS3 is successfull, then theres no reason why BR wont win.

    Its always possible that both formats will be arround in the future, one being low cost while the other "higher end".

    Interesting.
     
  3. jedi-jae

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    I read recently that matsush*ta have reduced the cost of manufacturing BD discs to that of normal DVDs.
     
  4. Evil Engineer

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    Cheap and chearful seems like a bit of an odd strategy when you need two grand's worth of display to take advantage.
     
  5. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    but it will sell, sales means software, means a significant advantage.
     
  6. SAH

    SAH
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    If kids (and adults) around the world already have PS3's in their living rooms, can you seriously expect parents etc. to splash out on a HD-DVD player and discs.
     
  7. Jeff

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    If it's like the PS2 playing DVDs, then yes!
     
  8. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    yes, and the HD DVD group are likely to do it cheaper and quicker which I think will far outway any technical battles.

    And as Jeff indicated PS 2 was crap with a big C at DVD. I mean really bad, I for one would not buy a PS3 for my kids just so I could use it for HD.
     
  9. SAH

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    Buy another BR player yes, buy a HD-DVD player and new discs, no.

    I doubt the PS3 will be a poor player, simply becasue it is being designed as an all in one package.

    The PS2's DVD capabilities, and later online, were add ons to the basic package.

    You're underestimating how many people started watching DVDs through the PS2, later graduating to better equipment.
     
  10. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    just like the XBox and PS2 are really good at DVD......na

    You are obviously a gamer who is thinking about high definition suddenly as opposed to someone who is into high definition and is wondering about gaming...it shows!!
     
  11. SAH

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    Into HDTV and a gamer.

    You miss my point.

    The mass markets first experience of HD will be through the PS3 and 360, just as it was for DVD with the previous generation.

    If a PS3 owner has a stack of BR movie discs, they are hardly likely to buy a high-end HD-DVD player AND all of the discs once again.

    If they are not satisfied with the PS3's playback, they'll simply buy a high-end BR player.

    All things being equal between BR and HD-DVD, PS3 compatibility is likely to be the deciding factor for many.
     
  12. DanielTS

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    HD region coding

    Posted with no commentary from CED (extract of a longer article rest of which is unrelated to this topic but pro HD DVD ):

    Whether regional coding will be provided for in HD DVD remains an open question. Consumer Electronics Daily asked Alan Bell, Warner Bros exec. vp-advanced technology, if he could clarify the situation in his role as an AACS developer: "There's no indication that AACS will be used to protect regional coding. I know of no plan to do this," Bell told us. "HD DVD has fields that control regional coding, just like DVD does, and they are in the clear [or unprotected, and subject to hacking]. In principle, AACS could be used to secure these fields, but AACS is used only to secure the content. There's no indication that AACS will be used to secure regional coding." Without AACS protection, any region codes for HD DVD could be hacked as easily as DVD's were, Bell and other told us. So far, studios Disney and Warner have expressed no interest in regional coding for HD discs, but the DVD Forum is polling other Hollywood companies.


    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=597093
     
  13. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I don't miss your point at all, I was emphasising the different views here from people coming at things from different directions. I remain unconvinced gamers will drive HD. My experience of DVD (from even before the UK launch) was I never met any one who got into DVD from PS2 / XBoxes, I met quite a few who did it through their PCs and the vast majority did it through players and seeing them at friends houses. But hey I have only limited DVD experience ;)

    HD growth (and many of us have been here for years with both games and films) I feel will be due to quick market penetration at affordable prices. Both of which come down in favour of HD DVD at the moment but as neither systems have even been launched yet it is all speculation. I see most of these products being more aimed at 2007 and not really 2006, especially the BR ones.

    Re being satisfied with HD from BR PS3, well if we look at the track record of PS2 and DVD then things don't look good. It is about how this is all done and not wild numbers of HD resolutions and the games machines don't cover themselves with glory re quality and films.

    The influence of PS3, a product that will not be launched for time yet, is way over emphasiszed I feel, especially given Sonys current state of health and the recent experience with PSPs and Qualia in the games and AV markets.
     
  14. kenji-san

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    i agree that alot of people are banging on about this point, myself included. but if ps3 is going to be anywhere near as popluar as the ps2, which could very well happen, then ALOT of people will have BD players. and alot of these people will not be as video enthusiastic/perfectionists as we are, so they'll happily use their ps3 as their BD player, regardless of the "inferior" bluray picture it will show up. (not being enthusiastic does not necessarily equal to not being able to appreciate the bluray's superiority over dvd, just as people could appreciate ps2 dvd's "crap" superiority over vhs. which was the main thing.)

    but what i think is the most important thing is that the ps3's BD playback abilities will spread alot of awareness about Bluray. All ps3 gamer's familiy members and gaming/non-gaming friends will see the video quality of the bluray, and be attracted to it, and in turn would like to have a ps3/bd player themselves. so, via gamers, bluray is already inside the home, and it will be an effective "advertisement" for other potential ps3/Bd player owners. (same applies to hd-dvd player owners ability to spread hd-dvd awareness to their peers and family, of course. but it won't happen in the same way via the gaming market. which is a big market.)

    This is probably how ps2 helped drive dvd, and in the same way it will also help drive bluray. Of course, it will not be the only factor driving bluray, there will be alot of ways to experience the bluray. this is but one of them. and an important one.

    also, i dont think you can compare PSP quality/sales with the ps3, simply for the reason that ps3 is called ps3. Playstation 3. as stupid as it may sound, the name alone will be the reason of purchase for alot of people. PSP didn't necessarily share this same status.

    i think universal or warners bros, cited the ps3 as one of the main reasons for their bluray support. so in short, dont underestimate ps3. :smashin: :)


    ps: sorry for occasional bad spelling & articulations. :oops:
     
  15. jedi-jae

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    Nic, I visit a number of forums like this, some are 100% gaming and I think you would be surprised at the number of people who have bought, or are looking at buying, a hi-def display for their next gen console.

    There will no doubt be plenty of BD movies available on the PS3 launch day and you can guarantee a percentage of PS3 buyers will also pick up a movie, I know I will. I believe you are seriously underestimating the market power that gamers have. Gamers have far more influence on the industry than high end AV people, that's for sure.

    I would predict that the number of PS3's and BD movies sold will be greater than the number of people buying a stand alone HD-DVD player. Sorry, but a new HD-DVD player is nowhere near as exciting as a new games console!

    As for PS3's playback, no one know anything about it, but personally I reckon it will be a quality player, though probably won't have the features available on a stand alone unit.

    Sony are gambling on PS3 being a major part of the success of Blu-Ray as the preferred movie standard, and as an incentive for consumers to make the move to HD. The number of studios that are now supporting Blu-Ray would suggest that they agree with Sony.
     
  16. Nic Rhodes

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    I don't underestimate the power of gamers at all, I own two games machines myself, however I still feel they pale into a minority when we compare them with computer users. Computer HD DVD drives have been announced already and every PC for the last 15 years or so is HD capable. People quickly forget that as well as us AV enthusiasts who have had HD for a while (and HD games) there is a huge HD computer base out there that is easily tapped. Prices for the computer drives are not outrageous either. There are many HD technologies out there, all computers, X Box, DTheatre, LD HD, and off the air HD, soon we will have 360, HD DVD, then BR and if we are lucky PS3. The big one I think will be HD streaming.

    We will have the classic battle of BR vs HD DVD, meanwhile most of us deal with HD NOW in computer formats. If I had to bet I recon that distribution of physical media will largely die with CD and DVD. The future may well be computer streaming, in which case the market for any one of the many HD sources available will look pretty small, and their effect to influence will be reducing. SKY have only ever done mass market and they will launch sortly, meanwhile everyone else is playing catch up. I have never believed it is a technical issue here,I think it will be won on cost and speed to marked. Your games machine might just be too much too late.
     
  17. SAH

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    How many people have a PC in their living room, hooked upto the TV, 5%?

    If Mircrosoft truly believed PCs would come into the living room, why are they investing in Xbox/360?

    Every PS2 owner I know, if they did not already own a DVD player, bought a couple of DVDs at launch.

    If the same happens with the PS3, thats a hell of a lot of sales, and you would assume they would continue buying BR discs if they are impressed.

    'If' they then chose to buy a high-end player, why buy a HD-DVD player and start your disc collection all over again?

    Plus these days, with a TV in every bedroom, it makes sense to stick with one format.
     
  18. paulfoley

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    If you combine a High Def TV plus a reasonably good HDMI Lead together with a PS3 then arent you good to go? Surely all the PS3 has to do is send lots of 1's & 0's to the telly very quickly! Are we saying that a £500 device will miss some of these digits whereas a £1000 high end machine sends them all?

    :rolleyes:

    PS - Sure BR has more capacity but I have read that it has to be connected to the net to confirm the disk is an orginal (via DRM) before it will even play - For this reason alone I hope HD-DVD wins!
     
  19. Nic Rhodes

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    It is a pity that this main stream wonder of the HD revolution that will so transform the HD revolution (let us forget the pc HD one) is not due for mainstream relaease in Europe until 2008. Meanwhile china is mass producing the competition in 2006, and the PC users have access in 2005.
     
  20. Rimmer

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    PC users may have access to HD-DVD drives very soon, but take up will be slow due to the fact you need a new graphics card and monitor to HD-DVD and Blu-ray content. As far as I know there are no graphics cards with HDCP available yet, nor any monitors that support it.
     
  21. StooMonster

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    And a new Operating System, Microsoft have stated they are not supporting HD DVD in WinXP only in WinVI. So you'll also need a new "trusted computing" platform motherboard too.

    StooMonster
     
  22. Nic Rhodes

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    HDCP display devices and video cards are available now, it is all down to how you use them.

    I personally believe the HD DVD drives will only come to their fore in new machines rather than upgrades. The operating system is th biggest hurdle they have to face i my book. I know of know plans for BR here like SACD.

    Meanwhile whilst we wait for all the formats to be lauched HD TS files are being streamed into out homes by SKY, downloaded over the intenet........
     

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