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Toshiba Subsidizes $200/Unit on New HD Player

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the making-it-up-in-volume dept.

222

WestTexasWaltz writes "According to a teardown analysis, Toshiba is losing $200 per unit, of its new HD DVD player, in order to gain some marketshare. Interesting that integrated circuits account for more of the cost than the drive itself. Also, this particular analyst concludes that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will "not be a repeat of VHS vs. Beta" and that a stalemate is the likely outcome."

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Stalemate means consumers LOSE (3, Insightful)

SaDan (81097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15592995)

What a crock. Thanks, but no thanks, I'll just stick with DVDs until Blu-ray loses this battle and the prices come down on HD-DVDs.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (4, Insightful)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593013)

I'm not going to touch either for probably a very long time. I'll *consider* a BD or HD-DVD player once the prices come way down and the movies are playable under Linux with entirely free software. If HD-DVD/Blu-Ray continues being the DRM-encumbered mess that it is, they can keep it and their "high definition" movies...I'm perfectly happy with DVD.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (2, Insightful)

SaDan (81097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593053)

No kidding. I wasn't even thinking of the DRM mess!

Give it five years, and I can guarantee there won't be a stalemate. Consumers or industry will not want to deal with both, and someone will find a way to make one format rise to the top. Let's home DRM is killed off by then.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (2, Insightful)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593301)

The only difference between these new formats and DVD with respect to DRM is that DVD's DRM has already been broken.

Don't Confuse /.'rs with Videophile Early Adopters (5, Interesting)

bossvader (560071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593387)

I love the ./'rs that say I wont touch it until this that or the other...and/or I am just happy with Plain ole Upconverted DVDs....

All that proves is that you are NOT a Videophile and are certainly NOT a Audio/Videophile early adopter. The fact is Stores are having a hard time Keeping the Toshiba HD-DVD's on the shelf. People are buying them, and the price support is is helping that I am sure, the price is not too bad the PQ is awesome and they do a heck of a job upconverting. And us Videophiles DO care about SD vs HD. I can't certainly tell and enjoy the difference in PQ betwee SD and HD on my fine display.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (1)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593016)

Troll?
To me this seems to be a logical thing to do until the execs can remove there heads from their rectum.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593091)

I probably got the troll mod from someone chomping at the bit for a new PS3.

Sony's done enough for us with their root kits and whatnot, I don't need to support their dumb asses in a new format war. I'll gladly wait on the sidelines with DVD for a few years, and wait for the next revision/format to come out if these two can't get traction.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593218)

Hey fucktard, go do what you shitdot sheeple do best and go fuck yourself or fucktard taco/brokeback-neil.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593074)

At this rate, Sony is doing everything it can to make sure Blu-Ray loses. Betamax all over again.

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593106)

The only reason why you hate blu-ray is it has to do with Sony. The only reason why you apparently hate sony is the root kit. Oh, that's right, this is shitdot where everyone, including fucktard taco and his gay partner brokeback-neil, hates capitalism in any way shape and form. Anything that has to do with capitalism is evil, but yet communism like Linsux and open-sores is somehow good. Watch, the fucktard that made the original post will eventually get modded up to +5 by other fucktarded shitdot sheeple. I think linsux and open-sores shitware should be outlawed in every country and the countries that don't comply should be bombed into oblivion.

FUCK SHITDOT!
FUCK OPENSORES/LINSUX!
FUCK SHITDOT!
FUCK OPENSORES/LINSUX!
FUCK SHITDOT!
FUCK OPENSORES/LINSUX!
FUCK SHITDOT!
FUCK OPENSORES/LINSUX!

Re:Stalemate means consumers LOSE (2, Funny)

alshithead (981606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593177)

Damn, where's my BIG butterfly net when I need it. They really need to improve security at mental hospitals. On topic...being an early adopter can be expensive. I'll sit tight and see where this mess is headed before I make a decision.

All we have to wait for is... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593005)

The cheap china manufacturers coming out with units that play both HD-DVD and BluRay discs... and pick up a player cheap at WalMart (or whathaveyou) for $100.

It's DVD-R and DVD+R all over again. Only with slightly better picture quality, if you have the right setup.

The best part (2, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593032)

If that's true what will end up happening is that anybody who makes a player to play both will end up paying twice as much in royalties. Good times.

Re:The best part (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593098)

Twice the royalties, and twice the DRM headache. It may very well be unattractive for anyone to even WANT to develop a dual-format capable player.

Re:The best part (1)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593243)

Well the two formats use the same codecs, which is a bunch of the royalties. Really, the biggest difference is in the OPU (the Blu-ray one is more expensive). Making a Blu-ray player hybrid is pretty cheap, so we may see a lot of HD DVD only players, and some hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD players.

Re:All we have to wait for is... (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593095)

Exactly, and even now that the World Cup is driving sales of HD tv screens everywhere, I can hardly see a big difference in image quality... Although the wide screen factor is very useful for football games coverage!

Re:All we have to wait for is... (2, Insightful)

pyite (140350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593153)

Okay, if you can hardly see a difference between HDTV and standard TV, something is very very wrong. I'm not sure which part of the flow from reality to your eyes is the problem, but a problem does exist.

Re:All we have to wait for is... (3, Interesting)

Kagura (843695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593303)

Some people don't have the eyes to distinguish between even 800x600 and 1024x768. Even knowing that, it's still weird to me that people can't perceive jaggies while watching DVDs or slightly sub-standard bitrates during fast motion. I was trying to show my dad the difference between HD and normal TV broadcasts, and it just didn't work for him. It's not that one's eyesight is particularly problematic, but rather that some people just don't analyze video quality as much as others, it would seem.

Re:All we have to wait for is... (1)

computertheque (823940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593311)

The problem is that a majority of people who buy HDTVs are not viewing HD broadcasts, just stretched SD broadcasts.

Re:All we have to wait for is... (1)

Xymor (943922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593333)

The difference is damn noticeable when your talking 56"+ TVs. Even 1080i/1080p or 720p/1080p comparisons.

Re:All we have to wait for is... (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593357)

Admittedly, I dont have an HDTV set, but every restaurant, bar and coffee shop in my city has bought one to get patrons to watch the World Cup "in High Def." Now, I know that this is not SD stretched because these people also purchased HD cable packages along with the HD screen. The difference is there, but the point is that its not enough for me to go out and spend 6 months wages in Screen, Audio-Video receiver/amp, speakers and HD cable or sattelite package

The only place where I see a remarkable difference with HD sets is in stores when they are being set to play "demos" usually videos of landscapes and such... Probably when all movies are released with this resolution Ill switch, but thats probably still a couple of years away...

Re:All we have to wait for is... (2, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593352)

It's not really accurate to say "slightly better picture quality". DVD resolution is 720x480. The highest HD resolution is 1920x1080 or, for less capable HDTVs, 1280x720.

Yay (2, Insightful)

csplinter (734017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593007)

Oh great now there will be two drm laden piece of crap in my living room if I care to watch movies without worrying about the format.

Re:Yay (2, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593057)

Just wait 3 months until someone finds a crack, then buy one that lets you be in control of your own products. There has never been an unbreakable DRM scheme and there never will be, until we all have digital eye and ear implants.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593128)

Isn't the DVD-Audio DRM scheme still uncracked? Of course, that's a niche market, but so are HD-DVD and Blu-Ray right now.

It's not a matter of breakable DRM schemes; nothing is airtight. It's a matter of incentive and the resources to break a DRM scheme, and without significant market penetration, there is not enough incentive, and there probably won't be in three months, either.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593358)

"There has never been an unbreakable DRM scheme and there never will be, until we all have digital eye and ear implants."

Do some research on trusted computing. Breaking copyright protection on software is completely different from breaking copyright protection on a microchip in your device.

Where's the DoJ's Anti-Trust Division? (0, Flamebait)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593011)


Toshiba is losing $200 per unit, of its new HD DVD player, in order to gain some marketshare.

I thought it was supposed to be "illegal" to sell a product below cost.

Or maybe that "law" only applies to Microsoft.

Re:Where's the DoJ's Anti-Trust Division? (2, Insightful)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593029)

That law only applies to monopolies abusing there power to gain a monopoly in a different market!

Oh and it doesnt count anymore if you sponsor the party of the president. (better sponsor both candidates)

Re:Where's the DoJ's Anti-Trust Division? (3, Informative)

csplinter (734017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593041)

No its called a loss leader, it's a common practice among the likes of walmart, and other large corporations. The supreme court has ruled that loss leaders are not unconstitional, A big mistake if you ask me. Actually many countries allow loss leaders, the most notable example an exception of a democratic nation banning loss leaders is when Germany banned them a few years ago.

Re:Where's the DoJ's Anti-Trust Division? (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593042)

It "is", under certain circumstances (overseas dumping, or abuse of a moonoply position), not in general. People here may tell you otherwise, but that's because they're "idiots".

Selling below cost may not be "dumping" (3, Interesting)

xswl0931 (562013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593048)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumping_(pricing_poli cy) [wikipedia.org] It's only illegal if they are selling for a substantially lower price in foreign markets compared to domestic markets. So in Japan, if they sold it for $2000 (US), then it would be dumping. Otherwise, all free products would be illegal.

Re:Selling below cost may not be "dumping" (2, Insightful)

csplinter (734017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593083)

I'm afraid thats not entirely true. Under certain circumstances it is in fact illegal to sell things, domestically, below market value.

Yes, that's correct. (2, Informative)

Silent sound (960334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593072)

Predatory pricing is only illegal when it is done to acquire or sustain a monopoly. Toshiba is in no way a legal monopoly, whereas Microsoft is a monopoly and has been legally declared such in court.

It's kind of like how owning a gun is only illegal when a convicted felon does it. Do you complain about the injustice there?

Like a gun, it's not predatory pricing itself that's illegal. It's what you do with the predatory pricing that's illegal. Toshiba is in this case not doing anything anything in their action of selling HD-DVD players below cost which qualifies as illegal.

Re:Where's the DoJ's Anti-Trust Division? (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593288)

do they roll up the paddy-wagon everytime you get a free razor in the mail?

region locking and forced content (4, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593018)

I don't give a rat's ass about HD-DVD or BluRay or any new format... until a player comes out (third-party hacked or not) which overcomes the MPAA's nefarious ideas about region encoding or forced chapters. If you want some market share, grow some balls and deliver a machine that plays the media *I* purchased anytime that *I* want to, without sending a colorectal scan to the governments and corporations of the world. And while you're at it, make false advertising phrases like "Own it on HD-DVD today!" completely off limits.

Re:region locking and forced content (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593082)

So, you own a DVD player by now, right? It really shouldn't matter as long as you put a disc in and a movie player. Time will pass, prices will eventually drop to $100, and hacks/mods will be abundant. No reason to be the 15th person in the thread to bandwagon on about DRM and region locks. Nobody cares.

Re:region locking and forced content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593116)

No reason to be the 15th person in the thread to bandwagon on about DRM and region locks. Nobody cares.

The fact that he's "the 15th to bandwagon on about" it suggests that there are quite a few people that do indeed care.

You can count me as number 16. I want a DVD player that plays what I tell it WHEN I tell it. You can shove your ads most tightly!

Re:region locking and forced content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593142)

There is no region locking in the new formats.

Re:region locking and forced content (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593392)

since when?

blu-ray can play movies from Japan and the USA when it's released in those countrys (Region 1), but neither can play the PAL format (Region 2) or any other country's (Region 3-5)

as for HD-DVD last I had heard is it was exactly like DVD in everyway just bigger, so we would still have the exact same region codings as we have now.

May not have region locking (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593244)

There was a story some months ago about studios considering dropping region coding for both formats, but I've never seen a followup to see if that's the case.

One nice thing for those in the US is that even with region coding on, for Blu-Ray Japan and the US are considered to be the same region. Great for games and just as good for anime.

Re:region locking and forced content (2, Interesting)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593319)

Both formats use AACS for copy production. In addition, Blu-ray uses BD+ on top of AACS.

Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, the winner is... (5, Insightful)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593019)

I predict the winner will be... DVD!

Re:Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, the winner is... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593052)

And I predict that the failure of both HD formats will be blamed on pirates. The solution will be to install DRM in a chip in everyone's head, which can also conveniently project commercials into your auditory and optic nerves.

Re:Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, the winner is... (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593166)

I think I already have one of those. It takes the most annoying bastard commercials, and repeats the audio ad infinitum, especially when I'm trying to concentrate, until I want to start bashing my head on the wall.

Re:Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, the winner is... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593077)

I predict the same as you.

I think the winner will be determined by what ships by default with the most computers, as that is the number one place people currently have the capability to watch HDTV* and so they can burn/back up their data. DVD isn't enough for this purpose anymore, but I think HVD (if it's not vaporware) will provide a bigger capacity at a lower price than Blu-ray/HD-DVD.

*Nearly every computer monitor had the resolution for ages or at least the last 5-8 years.

Re:Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, the winner is... (1)

ArchAngelQ (35053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593133)

Seconded. Widely available, high quality over previous generations with little to none of the degridation issues. I don't know a single person with the setup, or interest in the setup, to do HD video anyway. Why is this even relevant? We've got a depressed economy, now is a stupid time to launch a new media type so soon after DVD has been around. Let alone two compeating ones that have little real technical merit over the other (compaired to DVD). *AND* they've managed to burn the early adopters over the whole HDMI bull crap.

DVD FTW.

Re:Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, the winner is... (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593228)

What? You're trying to say this HD-DVD and BlueRay won't have the same mind blowing suck-cess that DVD-Audio did? Besides, unless you've got 25/20 vision, HDD/BR isn't going to look one iota different to you than DVD on an HD tv.

Linux (4, Funny)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593021)

I'm suprised that Slashdot hasn't mentioned that these machines use RedHat Linux. Yes, people complain about the boot-up time.

Since it's a standard Pentium 4 PC design, it seems pretty obvious that the player software will be "liberated" eventually.

Re:Linux (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593054)

Pentium 4? In an embedded product? Yeesh, no wonder they can charge an arm and a leg and still lose money.

Re:Linux (1)

MHolmesIV (253236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593274)

$500 is an arm and a leg? You need a better ambulance chasing lawyer, I could probably come away with millions for an arm and a leg.

$500 is pocket change for a brand new technology. I was expecting a minimum $1K pricetag, like the first DVD players.

Re:Linux (1)

flithm (756019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593374)

It takes a lot of power to decode HD signals. The minimum requirements for 1080p [wikipedia.org] are a 3 GHz P4!

Yeah an embedded product should be able to do better, but either way it's going to take a lot of cycles.

My guess is they're just using a P4 for now because there's already x86 -- mmx, sse, sse2, etc, optimized algorithms available. Probably in the future after the format war dies down we'll see custom chips designed specifically for decoding the HD signals, which will drive the price down to a more reasonable level.

Initial hardware releases are always like that... just push it out, make some bucks off the early adopters, and send the R&D guys back to the lab.

Ever since I bought myself the one of the first generation Diamond RIO MP3 players I've decided to never again adopt early. It just ain't worth it.

Re:Linux (2, Interesting)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593479)

Even worse, there is a Broadcom ASIC that performs the actual decoding. The Pentium 4 must just be used for DRM and drawing the menus.

Hm (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593022)

So, is the fact that they're massively subsidizing the HD-DVD players a sign of trouble for Toshiba, or like everything else is it only a bad thing when Sony does it?

Anyway I for one will just sit and wait a few years until Samsung finally gets their way and gets to start making hybrid players that support both HD-DVDs and Blu-Rays. Samsung's said they want to, they're just being held up by consortium politics. I think those consortiums will get a little more lenient once time passes and they realize everyone's still just buying DVDs.

Re:Hm (1)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593477)

I think it's because Toshiba's only making players.

Sony, on the other hand, seems to be betting the entire company. Sony needs to succeed in selling players, selling PS3s, and selling films.

Anyone planning on buying HD-DVD or Bluray? (2)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593047)

I don't happen to agree with the analyst that the format war won't be a nightmare. But maybe I'm wrong.

So, the best test I can come up with is asking early adopters if they plan on buying either player, or if a dual format player if it were available. Slashdot tends to have a lot of early adopters, so how about it? Is anyone chomping at the bit for these things, or will the format war and the "good enough" state of current DVDs relegate this product to the likes of Laserdisc and Sony Minidisc?

Re:Anyone planning on buying HD-DVD or Bluray? (1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593085)

I don't happen to disagree that your style of writing leaves lucidity in the dust, eschewing rational syntax for the sake of shoveling empty tripe in the vain hopes of achieving a first post. Sir, I would not be surprised if you enjoyed sticking cactus needles in your urethra.

Re:Anyone planning on buying HD-DVD or Bluray? (4, Insightful)

JordanL (886154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593090)

I'll have a Blu-ray by proxy, as I'll pick up a PS3.

Blu-Ray with PS3 (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593181)

I'll probably be getting a PS3 and so will have a Blu-Ray player...

Having had a taste of HD video (on Dish, which I eventually cancled due to repitition of content) I actually am looking forward to some movies in true HD. Even 720P looks so much nicer than even normal digital cable, you don't need to get a 1080p set for dramatic effect.

I'm putting off buying the new Star Wars box set until a re-release in a higher definition format.

Re:Blu-Ray with PS3 (2, Funny)

rvw14 (733613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593447)

I'm putting off buying the new Star Wars box set until a re-release in a higher definition format.

You mean the version where neither Han, nor Greedo shoot and have a tickle fight instead?

Pick A Winner (2, Interesting)

iridium_ionizer (790600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593051)

I know how a definitive winner could come about. Sometime before Christmas this year, Blockbuster and Netflix and Best Buy get together and agree to evaluate both the HD-DVD and Blue-Ray on terms of quality and price. Then they declare a winner. There is no way in hell either Blue-Ray or HD-DVD would survive if all three of them together said, "We don't want to stock more than one type of hi-def DVD. And this is the type we choose." Whichever they chose would thrive and whichever they dissed would die. Of course the longer they wait, the harder it will be to break the stalemate.

Re:Pick A Winner (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593076)

It would be against Best Buys best interest. They can stock both players, and some people will buy both. Then they can make more money later selling combo versions to the same people.

Blockbuster and Netflix have an interest in seeing one win, but thats because they don't sell hardware, so they only get the negatives of dual inventory, not the profits.

Re:Pick A Winner (1)

bommai (889284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593123)

Most studios only support one or the other format. Only Universal is HD-DVD only. So, if most movies are available in BD-ROM, then I don't think HD-DVD will win. Also, Netflix is already advertising both HD-DVD and BD-ROM.

Re:Pick A Winner (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593214)

I'm not sure about most studios (other than Sony Pictures) choosing one or the other. They may be supporting one early, but it either shows any market penetration, they'll start putting it out. The two formats have equal DRM, so they don't really care which format people buy. But yeah, I'd be very surprised if any rental company doesn't carry both- it'd be cheaper and easier to only carry one, but not cheaper enough to offset lost sales.

Re:Pick A Winner (1)

csplinter (734017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593240)

Your ignoring the audiences that will buy both the HD-DVD and BlueRay version of the same movie

Re:Pick A Winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593125)

I'm guessing Blockbuster will pick Blu-ray. Then they can stock both movies and games (for the PS3).

Re:Pick A Winner (2, Insightful)

JDevers (83155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593147)

Even better, wait until the second gen (they will still be FAR from mainstream) and Wal-Mart will start stocking them. They more than likely will only stock one, and that will be the defacto winner. Not just because a lot of people buy consumer electronics at WM, but also because they will more than likely not stock movies in the other format. A huge mass of people will not even know that another standard EXISTS.

Re:Pick A Winner (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593264)

If best buy is going to pick a machne, they will pick the machine that they get paid extra to sell. Thinking that anyone would sell on the basis of quality is like thinking that best buy reviews the music and movies and only puts the highest quality on prominant display.

Netflix and blockbuster will choose on the basis of what machines are sold. It does them no good to stock something if only four people have the machine. When the PS3 begins to sell, and blockbuster starts renting the games, it would make sense for them to have the choose the PS3 movies as well. Unless MS gets behind HD 100%, HD is going to have a hard row to hoe.

Re:Pick A Winner (2, Informative)

dalerb (935786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593270)

Netflix already stocks HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs. You just tell them which format your system supports, and if a movie in your queue is available in that format, that's the disc that will be shipped to you. (Go the the Help Center and search on the keyword "blu-ray".)

Re:Pick A Winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593283)

It's in BlockBuster's and NetFlix's best interests that Blu-Ray wins the format war for the simple reason that the discs are less prone to scratching, which means their inventory will have a longer shelf life.

Wrong vendors (2, Insightful)

Alfred, Lord Tennyso (975342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593284)

Netflix and Blockbuster deal in discs, not players. Most of the movie studios will be bringing their films out in one format or the other, not both. HD-DVD has Universal; Blu-Ray has 20th Century Fox, MGM, and Sony Pictures. That means for many films, they'll have to stock one format or the other but not both, or not stock the hi-def at all. Which means overall, they have to support both formats, and it's up to their customers to have the right player if they want to see a movie from a studio aligned with one side or the other.

Three are a few studios, notably Paramount and Warner, that are going to try to do both formats. There, Blockbuster and Netflix may have some say. Netflix has stated that they'll support both formats, but until the actual discs appear I don't know what that means. They're gonna hate buying three copies of movies (HD, Blu, regular DVD), but it sounds like that's what they're gonna do.

HD-DVD Target Demographic...Is Where? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593056)

The only places HD-DVD are even mentioned anymore are Xbox 360 sites and a few tech sites like this one trying to generate hits in portraying some sort of 'format battle' with BluRay.

The battle was fought last year. HD-DVD lost badly. The studios have rallied around BluRay. As 1080p TVs fall into the sub-1000 dollar range over the next year there will be a battle between people sticking with the old DVD format. And then life will move on with BluRay until the next standard comes about a few years later.

So... (1)

auron_prophecy (984627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593105)

Exactly what is this a repeat of? Place your votes now! 1. Greedy attempted monopoly verse Greedy attempted monopoly 2. A company actually wanting the end user to get a great product at such a low cost the company itself will lose money on the item. 3. The first wave of Top Level Anti Sony Stop Blue Ray at All Cost Rebels 3. All of the above.

Why would Toshiba do this? (2, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593108)

I don't find the rationale. By the time they win, it means the prices will be under $299/199 anyway. They are losing $200 per unit now to make $50 tops per unit later? They'd have to sell 6x as many units then to make it back as profit.

Since I don't follow Blu-ray vs HD-DVD too closely, is Toshiba the only manufacturer of HD-DVD? What is their incentive for marketshare in this area?

From the article:
"It's unusual to find this level of subsidization outside of the video-game console and mobile-phone markets," said Chris Crotty, iSuppli's senior analyst covering the consumer electronics segment.


I heard that video game consoles being loss leaders was an urban legend, perhaps due to faulty analysis. The companies, especially Nintendo, break even pretty much at time of launch. Or may take a slight loss but nothing like $200 per unit.

Re:Why would Toshiba do this? (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593203)

They don't want to lose momentum to Blu-ray. If they can kill off the competitors, it is well worth it. If Blu-Ray takes off, then all the money in prototypes, R&D, promotion, etc is wasted. Even if they don't win totally, they still will make more out of it than they would if HD-DVD dies entirely.

One year of -$200 for 10+ years of +$50 (1)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593258)

You can see how they can twist their accountant's arms with those figures, especially when you consider that they would shift much less units in that first -$200 year, than in each of the subsequent 10 years of +$50 due to slow early adoption rates.

Re:Why would Toshiba do this? (2, Interesting)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593314)

I heard that video game consoles being loss leaders was an urban legend, perhaps due to faulty analysis.

This article is an ad for iSuppli Corp and their teardown services. Having read their similar analysis of the XBox 360 [linuxelectrons.com] and iMac Core Duo [appleinsider.com] , I'm underwhelmed with everything that's come out of them. There's a lot of estimates based on the general going rate for buying things, but I don't see any reason to believe iSuppli has real insight into the part pricing scale a company like Toshiba receives on their purchases. For all we know, Intel is selling them CPUs "at a loss" relative to the going rate for some business purpose none of us have insight into. There's all kinds of deals like that going on behind the scenes of flashy tech stuff, where products are sometimes paid for out of company's advertising budgets rather than their operating ones. What you can be sure of is that none of those companies are worried about keeping iSuppli up to date on how that effects retail pricing.

Re:Why would Toshiba do this? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593336)

What is Toshiba's incentive? Patents. The patent licenses for any technology format that gets a foothold in the mass market are *incredibly* lucrative. Every replicator who makes a DVD today has to pay a fee to patent licensing pools that cover the technology used. Likewise, every replicator who makes an HD DVD today has to pay a fee to license patents held by HD DVD godfathers NEC and Toshiba, and every replicator who makes a Blu-ray Disc has to pay a fee to a consortium that includes Sony and Pioneer, among others. (Or at least they will when all the various issues of patent ownership are settled to The Industry's satisfaction.) Too lazy to look this all up right now, but check out MPEG LA (www.mpegla.com [mpegla.com] ) as an example of a big-time licensor of patents in this arena.

Patents on CD technology were worth millions (billions?) to Sony and Philips for a long time. They finally ran out in the late 1990s, but up until then everyone who made a CD anywhere in the world had to pay Sony and Philips for the privilege.

This is also, incidentally, why we have another format war. The stalemate between the two competing formats that eventually became DVD was broken behind the scenes when the companies involved came up with a last-minute compromise that preserved patents from both of the two warring camps in one design. That allowed DVD to launch as a single unified format. Unfortunately, there was no way to reconcile the dramatically different architecture of the Blu-ray Disc with the HD DVD.

Wow. Deep thinker. (2, Funny)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593112)

Also, this particular analyst concludes that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will "not be a repeat of VHS vs. Beta" and that a stalemate is the likely outcome."

Wow, such insight. Given that the reason we had to "choose sides" before was that VHS and Beta were analog systems and were physically incompatible, I don't understand why anyone with half a brain would compare it with this. It seems downright obvious that what we're probably going to end up with is combination HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players. Evidence DVD[-RAM|-R|+R] drives. The only argument left is whose obnoxious DRM is going to ruin the party.

Odd (1)

aachrisg (899192) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593113)

They cost the optical drive at $200. There are multiple hard-drive or network-based devices available right now, capable of playing HD video that can be bought at retail for substantially less than the manufacturing cost of the toshiba player, after adding $200 for an hd-dvd optical drive. surprising that toshiba wasn't able to match this.

Re:Odd (1)

MHolmesIV (253236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593304)

You're forgetting that _all_ those devices can do is play a single Hi-def stream. HDDVD requires two simultaneous streams, and an interactivity layer. Also the chip they use for decoding h.264 and VC1 are most certainly not in your sub $200 HD players.

Re:Odd (1)

aachrisg (899192) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593443)

You can buy players for $300-$400 that play back HD WMV9 (i.e. VC1) and H.264 (i.e. mpeg4) with no problem. Two simultaneous streams seem like a probelm though. Though I guess they must be two separate half-bitrate streams, so maybe no problem anyway.

Wow. Brute force approach. (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593126)

Specs: P4, 1GB RAM, 256MB Flash, 32MB MirrorBit Flash. And apparently runs Red Hat.

Is that overkill or what? Sounds like they don't have all the decoding hardware ready, so they went with that. Otherwise, all decoding could be done on a specifically designed chip, not needing anything as powerful as a P4, and I don't really see what they want that much RAM for. The flash size can probably fit the required parts of the OS without any trimming. Either that, or they've got lots of graphics there.

Re:Wow. Brute force approach. (1)

Danga (307709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593388)

I don't really see what they want that much RAM for.

My guess is to cache A LOT of the video in RAM since it will have to be software decoded and it would be quicker that way. There most likely will be a buffer of decoded video as well that is stored in RAM. It still seems like a lot of RAM but it may be necessary for the hack job they put together.

Sears HD-DVD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593152)

Sears has HD-DVD players for $500. Honestly not that bad, except my DVD player is fine. When I opened the drive, it looked like a DVD. Said it was HD-DVD of course....but the videos playing were Mpeg4 (Mpeg4 on DVD likely).

Unfortunately Sony is taking too long to deploy Blu-Ray. I seriously think the lesser technology is going to win (once again).

What argument is there against a Blu-Ray win? (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593162)

What I have not seen so far is any kind of convincing argument that explains why the combination of a Blu-Ray drive in every PS3 along with higher capacities does not mean pretty much an automatic win for Blu-Ray.

Yes the PS3 is expensive. Put that aside for a second, does anyone doubt that millions will sell in the US alone within months of the launch? That then in turn is a few million consumers that will be able to play Blu-Ray media, and you know Sony is not going to pass up a chance to push Blu-Ray along with the PS3 including some Blu-Ray media in the PS3 box.

Contrast that against the still very expensive Toshiba player, and less than thirty HD titles. How long will it take to even get 100k units sold?

Studios would seem to agree with this assesment as there are more studios backing Blu-Ray than HD-DVD.

On the computer front for storage alone, why would you buy an HD-DVD burner when Blu-Ray discs hold more data, and the blank discs themselves seem to be cheaper (in a Slashdot study of Japanese HD media a few months back the HD-DVD 20GB media was more expensive than Blu-Ray 25GB media).

I can't see personally how the situation looks anything like a stalemate. It looks like a rout in the making. Would HD-DVD even be around if Microsoft was not still backing it? And would HD-DVD even still be pushed by Microsfot if it was not for HD-DVD using Microsofts own menuing system for movies (for which they would of course collect licencing fees), not to mention Blu-Ray using a menuing system based on a form of Java? Microsoft seems to be backing HD-DVD more out of hubris than anything else.

Re:What argument is there against a Blu-Ray win? (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593325)

* People buy a PS3 to play games first and play movies second.
* Content matters more than format (both in the quality of titles available and the quality of video/audio on said titles)
* You don't need 25gb to store a hi-def movie using next-gen codecs
* Toshiba has sold every HD-DVD player that they've brought out over here
* Commitments from studios matter less than the content actually made available
* There is no "20gb" HD-DVD disc
* 2-layer HD-DVD burners are available (30gb), while only single layer bluray burners are available (25gb)
* Microsoft gets money from both bluray and HD-DVD (their codec is in both standards); they're backing HD-DVD because it has more consumer friendly features than blu-ray (including a mandatory managed copy requirement), is less expensive, and has a better upgrade scenario (HD-DVD on one side, DVD on the other side). To me, these are good reasons to choose HD-DVD over bluray, if I were in a position to care about either format (I don't plan to purchase either in the next 5 years).

Consider the implications of your statements (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593433)

* People buy a PS3 to play games first and play movies second.

Agreed. Let's say only 5% of pS3 buyers actually buy Blu-Ray media out of the gate, with 3 million units sold. (a figure I think is terribly underestimated).

That's still 150k people buying Blu-Ray media!

Now the other side of the coin you are not thinking of is POTENTIAL market. Marking is all about "what is the size of the potential market I can reach". It's not considering how many PS3 owners are actually buying Blu-Ray discs so much as how many Blu-Ray owners there are total that might be convinced to buy Blu-Ray media. Why would you market to 100k people (or much less depending on how Toshiba sales go) when you have a market of millions you can reach?

* Content matters more than format (both in the quality of titles available and the quality of video/audio on said titles)

That is also very true and why the large majority of studio support for Blu-Ray is part of the equation I listed for success.

* You don't need 25gb to store a hi-def movie using next-gen codecs

You are not thinking of the many extras that might be included, like many two disc sets collapsing for one - very appealing for those that rent movies as there is no longer a second disc they'll never see.

* Toshiba has sold every HD-DVD player that they've brought out over here

Easy in an early market when you have low production rates. There are always early adoptors that will buy in at any price with any number of problems, whcih is why the $1k Sony Blu-Ray player should move pretty well too.

* Commitments from studios matter less than the content actually made available

Yes that's true, currently a similar number of titles are avialiable or out very soon for both formats but we'll see what happens later in the year. With more studios behind Blu-Ray we should also see more discs.

* There is no "20gb" HD-DVD disc
* 2-layer HD-DVD burners are available (30gb), while only single layer bluray burners are available (25gb)

Thanks for the correction, not sure where I got the 20GB figure from. Burners are also still too expensive at the moment to really matter but will matter more once costs drop. With Blu-Ray drives being in Every PS3 I believe we'll see unit cost on Blu-Ray players and burners drop faster than with HD-DVD units.

* Microsoft gets money from both bluray and HD-DVD (their codec is in both standards);

Yes but they get much more money from HD-DVD because again, the menuing system is licenced from them. That means money for every disc sold vs. every player sold - Microsoft only gets per disc income off discs that actually use the MS codec.

they're backing HD-DVD because it has more consumer friendly features than blu-ray (including a mandatory managed copy requirement)

That same requirement is in the Blu-Ray spec. There is absolutley no difference in consumer features, or in codecs supported (as noted even Microsoft's codec is in both players) - heck, they both use AACS for content protection! Note the Toshiba player does not yet support managed copy as studios don't knwo how much freedom they want to allow there. I personally expect managed copy to never come to be on either format thanks to studio paranoia.

, is less expensive

What is less expensive? HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs are selling for the same price on Amazon. As we all know movie prices are totally unrelated to media costs anyway. As noted blank HD-DVD discs cost more than blank Blu-Ray discs.

The players? The Toshiba is $500, just as the base PS3 will be $500. Anything over $300 or so is kind of the same in terms of marketshare potential.

, and has a better upgrade scenario (HD-DVD on one side, DVD on the other side).

We'll see combo players in a few years that do both. I don't see any better upgrade potential with HD-DVD but there is potentially more storage to be had out of Blu-Ray eventually.

To me, these are good reasons to choose HD-DVD over bluray, if I were in a position to care about either format (I don't plan to purchase either in the next 5 years).

So you are claiming HD-DVD is a better buy, but are not actually going to buy a player or media. In the meantime I use your same points to note that Blu-Ray still seems to be far ahead and I'm also planning to buy a PS3, mostly for games but I also plan to take advanatage of having a Blu-Ray player for movies. It seems to me the format with people actually buying players and movies will have something of an advantage over a format with theoretical advantages which no-one actually buys!

Toshiba has decided to Win the War (3, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593171)

While Sony, by cramming a $500 to $600 PS3 down our throats, has decided to lose the war.

It's that simple.

Look, the major revenue is not the players themselves - it's the licenses for the patents from the manufacturers, the license fees from the people cranking out the discs (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray), the license fees from the music, the movies, the motion ...

You get the drift.

You can either play to win - or you can lose and look good doing so.

Usefulness (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593209)

While Sony, by cramming a $500 to $600 PS3 down our throats, has decided to lose the war.

Except that $500 box can let me play Assassin's Creed [eurogamer.net] , while the Toshiba box lets me see some 30 different HD titles most of which I have already seen.

Not to mention that I get games with a wider range of textures and environements and content due to the increased storage offered. There is benefit to gamers beyond just beign able to watch movies in HD.

Your thoughts that Sony has decided to loose the way by offering a box at the same price as the Toshiba player with a lot more functionality and that probably does not take 30 seconds to turn on strikes me as odd.

Why again am I going to buy a standalone HD player in a market with two formats for the same price as a gaming system I know at least games will be produced on years to come?

Re:Usefulness (2, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593370)

Dude, for $500, I can play Red Steel and about 15 other games on the Wii, and ignore the format wars until I actually buy an HDTV that's big enough for me to care, in about three years when they'll be selling for $300 on sale. Including the Star Wars game coming out where you battle with light sabers as your Wii controller literally sounds like it is a lightsaber ... or a blaster ...

Not everyone likes to spend more than $500 on a lark.

[caveat - I liked the E3 demo so much, I sold my 400 shares of MSFT and bought 500 shares of Nintendo ADR]

Re:Usefulness (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593371)

Perhaps because you want a disc player with a user interface that isn't a pile of turd? Every built-into-a-console dvd player I've ever used has been a piece of junk and has had serious issues with video quality ...

Re:Usefulness (1)

Danga (307709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593469)

Not to mention that I get games with a wider range of textures and environements and content due to the increased storage offered

I highly doubt this will be an issue. A dual layer HD-DVD maxes out at 30GB which, yes, is 20 GB less than a dual layer Blu-Ray disc but I highly doubt any games will come close to using that much space with the majority of it taken up by textures and environment details. The only thing that I can think of that would be able to fill that space up rather quickly is HD video clips but if that is the case then remind me not to buy that game since I can't stand video cut scenes and prefer cut scenes that use the game engine. That would just be a worthless waste of space to fill it up with HD video.

Why again am I going to buy a standalone HD player in a market with two formats for the same price as a gaming system I know at least games will be produced on years to come?

I do agree with you here. I think most of the people interested in HD video will be somewhat younger and the type who like video games too so it makes sense that they would prefer to pick a system that can be used as both a movie player and game console. This is going to get interesting.

Stalemate? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593174)

From the summary:

Also, this particular analyst concludes that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will "not be a repeat of VHS vs. Beta" and that a stalemate is the likely outcome."


Stalemate my ass! There can be only one [imdb.com] ! On the other hand, none of those films have been released in HD-DVD or Blu-Ray yet.

Re:Stalemate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15593483)

On the other hand, none of those films have been released in HD-DVD or Blu-Ray yet.

Thank God.

Does that mean sony is making a tidy profit? (2, Interesting)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593184)

Presuming that since HD-DVD and BLU-RAY are roughly equivalent products that players for each have roughly equivalent components does that mean Sony has a $300 profit - a 43% margin (minus whatever the middlemen skim off) on their $1000 BLU-RAY player?

Good guess (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593238)

Rather than go for market share now (which they can get later this year with the PS3) they have opted to get players into the hands of people for whom $500 or $1000 is not much of a difference, and make some profit in the meantime.

I honestly cannot see Toshiba grabbing a lot more marketshare with a $500 player than Sony with a $1k player; Given how few titles are out at the moment both are impractical for the average (or even not so average) consumer.

The first one that can be copied (1)

The_Sock (17010) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593229)

We all know the first one that can be copied, and that copy played on a player, will be the one that wins out. Pirating will get the players into peoples homes, then people will buy the HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray Discs. It's easy, put out a couple flicks without copy protection, make it so that blu-ray burner can burn them and they'll play, allow HD over component video, and lock everything down in a year when your format has been the winner for some time.

Stillborn (1)

wirehead_rick (308391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593239)

Downrezzed analog connections + dynamic revokable viewing rights = dead and unusable technology.

5 years from today people will say "They actually tried to make a high definition DVD format? What happened?"

And just to prove my point, anyone of you remember DAT?

I didn't think so.

HD-DVD vs Blueray in the eyes of the public (1)

glitchaesthetic (984637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15593342)

The public knows about HD. HD is very popular amongst the public. High definition video is the main selling point of next-gen discs such as HD-DVD and Blueray. Therefore, HD-DVD is going to win.
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