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HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Disappointing So Far

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the such-short-lives dept.

469

Dster76 writes "Reuters is reporting that the new format wars are showing signs of underwhelming performance, both technically and financially. In fact, according to the article, the new formats are just not selling. Reuters chalks it up to a current lack of interest. They indicate that as more movies and players become available this autumn, sales should improve. Just the same, the current picture is quite sour." From the article: "'Neither format is selling well or at the level I had expected. I had expected early adopters to step up and other retailers have had the same experience,' said Bjorn Dybdahl, president of San Antonio, Texas-based specialty store Bjorn's. 'High expectations were set. At every meeting with Sony, every demonstration was spectacular,' Dybdahl said. 'Then along comes the first Blu-ray player from Samsung and that's when my expectations were hurt. When we put the disc in, all the sales people looked around and said it doesn't look much better than a standard DVD,' he said."

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469 comments

maybe, a scan line too far (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025675)

From the article, a quote: "Neither format is selling well or at the level I had expected. I had expected early adopters to step up and other retailers have had the same experience."

I'm an early adopter, have been for a long time. I have always been willing, even eager to "step up" and pay the premium to get new (and great) technology early. Not so here. Another characteristic for early adopters is they tend to be more aggressive in research (those that aren't buying for status), certainly the case for me. The more I researched DVD both HD and Blu-Ray, the less interested I was. There was a certain promise of amazing high quality video, but NOT ONCE was I able to get anyone to give me a demo where I saw convincing evidence this was true.

Add to that the war of the formats and the fact I have to replace movies I already own at outrageous new prices (yeah, early adopter), but each new format is providing a limited and only slightly overlapping selection... wtf? This was the same early problem with CDs. The difference here is, we already have a very high quality, convenient, inexpensive, long lasting option (regular DVDs), and there's nothing compelling in the new DVDs warranting the hassle, the expense, nor the "convenience" (which is less than existing DVDs).

Then there's the specter of DRM and that it's not entirely obvious or clear to me or other early adopters what the final DRM landscape looks like. If we had to guess, it doesn't look hospitable (sp?).

Here's another telling piece of evidence from the article, again a quote: "Often, it has something to do with source material. Sometimes the film itself is shot in a way that may emphasize a grainy look as opposed to a sharp picture," he said. This almost outright concedes the new "high resolution" exceeds what most media will be capable of providing... or, it's an excuse... neither gives me any warm fuzzies about my return on investment for new DVD formats.

Early adopters like new technology when it's new and improved, and are willing to pay for it. In my opinion, someone(s) in some conference room took this thought and ran with it, not considering the early adopters might be a bit more discerning in their tastes. We're not your cash cow toadies.

Maybe that's what's happened to their mysteriously AWOL early adopters... they're not early marks. Lesson learned (not).

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16025742)

I'm not sure what the problem is, but I dont belive its the source media's fault. I have a nice HD projector, and movies aired over my cable HD channels are spectacular. I would expect the same from these new formats, if not better because it shouldn't be compressed as much as a cable stream. If its crappy, welp, I won't be buying.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (5, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025775)

We've seen the same sort of thing happen to computer technology as well.

If you're a gamer when was the last time you upgraded your graphics card? It's probably the newest part of your system, right?

Now, when was the last time you upgraded your sound card? Probably never. Yet I do recall a time when decent sound was a big deal - I can still remember firs playing Doom with the chirping onboard speakers as a kid, and later being blown away when we got a new computer that had an actual sound card installed.

Technology peaks. It happens. And when it does, all the early adopters in the world aren't going to make a difference. We aren't easy marks; we have to think there's something for us in the bargin if we shell out for a better system or part.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (-1, Redundant)

badmammajamma (171260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026024)

You don't get it. There's a big difference between your soundcard and his HD-DVDs...

The soundcard was a big improvement over the sound chip built into computers. The studios want people to pay a premium for these new discs that look only a hair better than regular DVDs. I'd love to see Sony's Superbit DVDs played next to the equibalent HD-DVD or Blue-ray disc. I'm guessing it would be indistinguishable.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (4, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026064)

Actually, what I was getting at was more that the sound chip was like a VHS tape, and the sound card like a DVD. The general idea being that once you have a mature version of a technology, there is little to be gained from upgrading yet again.

So, I fully agree that these new formats aren't sufficiently better than DVDs to justify their cost and drawbacks. That was my point :-)

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (1)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026067)

You just agreed with the GP's statement. He's saying that sound cards have only had incremental improvements since the early 90s. They peaked then just as DVD/HD-DVD/Blur-Ray has peaked now. Graphics cards have not yet peaked, so people are still buying the latest and greatest...

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (3, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025783)

I too tend to adopt early. Bought my HDTV at the end of 2000. What did I get for my trouble? A really really sharp TV that doesn't interface with many HD components anymore, as that abomination known as HDMI came out afterwards. But, that aside, DVDs provide pretty darn sharp pictures on this TV, as does HD OTA content. Matter of fact, when watching either, it's hard to discern quality differences without pausing the picture. (Broadcast HD is by far better on stills) Considering that OTA HD is higher quality than what will be on either disc format, what's the point in buying an expensive new format, especially one that's hamstrung with all sorts of DRM requirements. (Speaking of, has there been a determination of whether these new boxes MUST be connected to phone/internet? I haven't bothered following it since then, but it seems that their inactivation policy requires some sort of connection to phone home, something else I'm against if I'm purchasing personal AV hardware)

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025950)

Yeap, I think we are in the same boat. You want to hand my that paddle? I bought my HDTV in 2001. I don't regret it for one second, but the best part for me has been the 52" 16:9 picture ratio instead of the HD aspect. Granted my tv is going on 6 years old now and starting to show its age, but I'm not about to replace its not compatable with HD-DVD.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (5, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025836)

Important to remember these new HD formats were never about bringing something new and amazing to the consumers. Its simply that the DVD market is saturated and since everyone (who wants one at least) already has one these hardware guys are seeing thier sales drop-off. These new HD formats are just about trying to get people to buy more stuff. They need sales and if everyone already has thier product then nobody buys. So they had to relese a new product and try to convince consumers of why they needed to buy more stuff. They have failed pretty miserably to date on convincing people to give them more money.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025946)

Important to remember these new HD formats were never about bringing something new and amazing to the consumers. Its simply that the DVD market is saturated and since everyone (who wants one at least) already has one these hardware guys are seeing thier sales drop-off.

I believe you are entirely correct in that assessment.

I was an early adopter of DVD (got mine in '99 as I recall) because at the time it was a huge improvement over VHS, and I couldn't see spending money on any more VHS while I slowly build my home theater.

Here it is 7 years later, and I don't own an HD-TV, and I'm not interested in it just yet. HD DVD brings nothing new or interesting to me.

I think it's absolutely correct they thought they could come out with a new format and people would flock to it. They also decided to make the user experience far worse so they could lock down access to the content even more.

I give them a big 'no thanks' for this round of technology.

Cheers

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026072)

If the companies are looking to release a new product, they should strive for a better, cheaper stand alone DVD Recorder. These are still fairly expensive when compared to a VCR.

I've also noticed that a lot of the DVD Recorder units are big and bulky. They can also work towards making them smaller.

Well, that and they're HD (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026106)

Its simply that the DVD market is saturated and since everyone (who wants one at least) already has one these hardware guys are seeing thier sales drop-off.

Well, true, but it's also a significant point that these are HD formats. The TV industry seems to be doing pretty well right now. Everybody I know has their eye on SOME kind of TV lately, be it plasma, LCD, or what-have-you. The government is actually fuelling this fire with the promise that, sooner or later, everybody will be forced to upgrade to a set that does HDTV. The problem is, of the people who are buying these sets, most of them aren't using them for HDTV. It's just not "there" for most markets and, you guessed it, the only format available for film buffs (the types of people who buy home theater equipment) is standard DVD.

To me, it totally stands to reason that the consumer electronics manufacturers would be falling all over themselves to release an HD format for home movies. You do the math -- it sounds like there's a huge market brewing out there. I think the problems are simply threefold: One, that the manufacturers have really shot themselves in the foot with this ongoing and very public standards battle that has left everyone leery of the first-generation equipment; Two, the first-generation equipment is widely perceived as too expensive, with a Blu-Ray player costing ten times what an acceptable-quality DVD player costs; and Three, the studios haven't shown any kind of commitment to the new formats, releasing bullshit recent movies that nobody cares about and not investing in restoring the quality of the video sources so that they pop your eyes out the way they were promised to do. Until the movie and electronics industries correct two out of three of these problems, whatever market there is will lie fallow.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (5, Interesting)

popeye44 (929152) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025895)

When he speaks of convenience I can't but help think he means broken kicked in the ass and left in the gutter encryption that is on dvd's. No one reasonably geek would have a device that it takes 3 seconds for their 2 year old to kill the only disk they have and be forced to buy another. I backup dvd's religously as I have a 5 and an 8 year old. While they do not fubar my movies much they fubar theirs like mad. "imagine if you will your 5 year old walking into the room with the dvd held correctly in the center by his finger.. and the underside of the dvd having peanut butter and jelly on it.."

I have no desire or intention to pay for anything more than once. Taxes are bad enough at doing that why should I buy a player that only makes it harder for me to escape that idiocy? Better quality? Well I have a 42in plasma.. and yes it looks great with hdmi connections and Hi Def... but there's not enough hi-def content for me to appreciate it fully yet. Dvd's look good and i'm happy with them so far. I still don't have a compelling reason to buy anything incrementally better. I'm not paying for a screwing regardless if your a hooker in Mexicali or Sony in Japan.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (2, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026019)

Sounds like you need to give the kids access to an HTPC rather than backing up their DVDs! Rip/compress to had drive, come up with an easy interface and a waterproof keyboard, and blammo, no more sticky discs.

Of course, back when I was a kid, we didn't have VCRs, let alone purchased movies, so I really cannot symapthize ;) I learned very quickly not to use crayon on my books because I simply wasn't getting another one.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (0)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025906)

I'm an early adopter, have been for a long time.

Really? I'd go a step further. I think you're among the people who have adopted it for the *longest* time of all users.

Because that's what "early adopter" means.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025959)

Here's another telling piece of evidence from the article, again a quote: "Often, it has something to do with source material. Sometimes the film itself is shot in a way that may emphasize a grainy look as opposed to a sharp picture," he said. This almost outright concedes the new "high resolution" exceeds what most media will be capable of providing... or, it's an excuse... neither gives me any warm fuzzies about my return on investment for new DVD formats.

Well, I've seen clips shot with a $1200 HDR-HC3 that show more detail at 1440x1080i native (at least under the right conditions) than any DVD I've seen. I guess it's a little chicken-and-egg, why bother with the resolution when noone will see it? I assume that as people get HDTV, they'll start producing much better HDTV as well. Even if film has the resolution, noone would care if it was slightly (as in better-than-NTSC) fuzzy.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (3, Insightful)

Botia (855350) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025960)

I couldn't agree with you more. I'm an early adopted, especially with graphics stuff. I had a digital camera back when people didn't know what they were. I had a DVD player back when DVD's came in CD cases. I had been looking forward to the new DVD format but it has been so severly screwed up with DRM's, format wars, pricing, lack of contect, etc. that there's no way I'm going to buy one.

Give me a format that I can copy it to my computer by dragging and dropping. Then let me play it on my XBox 360 over the network. Don't require HDMI with super encryption and a connection to the Internet to disable my player. Let me put it on every TV, DVR, and computer in my house. Let me copy it down to my IPod, my Pocket PC, my phone. Make it easy for me to watch it. That's what I'll buy.

Higher resolution is a plus, but not a strong selling point without the basics. When you take away the basics, the picture quality really doesn't matter much if you aren't able to watch it.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (2, Interesting)

kid_oliva (899189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026000)

I have to agree with this poster. I'll take it one step further. If they are unable to provide a more visible difference affordablly; this could very easily end up like SACD for both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. The only reason DVD Audio has been doing ok is that you do not have to buy a new player. Go figure.

Re:maybe, a scan line too far (1)

ayjay29 (144994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026133)

>>each new format is providing a limited and only slightly overlapping selection... wtf? This was the same early problem with CDs.

I was an early adopter with CDs (showing my age here). I bought one of the first Phillips players (I still have it). I got a free CD with it, "The Pure and Perfect Sound of Phillips Compace Disc", and a catalog with all the CDs currently available, three on each page, with a colour photo of the cover, and paragraph review of each album, there's under 100 in the catalog.

When i went to town to buy CDs the first time, you had to ask at the counter, and they would show you a pile of about 20 that they had available.

What a shocker (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16025685)

DVD was a huge step up from VHS tapes. HDDVD/BR offer nothing truly substantial to make people want to buy them plus most people don't have an HDTV to take advantage of the extra resolution.

Re:What a shocker (1)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025765)

And they take something away in the form of vastly increased DRM (HDMI, disc encryption) and you get to pay the development costs in the price of the products. Yay!

Re:What a shocker (0)

Chris whatever (980992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025779)

it's just a matter of time,,,tv constructor are making less and less regular t.v., even HDTV. i went to buy a new t.v. because my 15 year old t.v. just died on me and the guy said that Sony is not doing regular t.v. anymore and HDTV is going down the drain to let the plasma and LCD tv come in.

So you have the higher resolution there but again if you dont cough up the cash, you'll get some crapy resolution on a lcd screen. Even if you have a blue-ray or hddvd if your tv cant hold more than a 1000 lines, it doesnt matter if the format can deliver twice that, your still stuck with a 1000 line wicth in any case, is not bad at all.

To summarize... (5, Informative)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025874)

  • Due to the Image Constraint Token (ICT) your new HD player will not play your movies at full resolution. (Because the HDTVs sold to date mostly have component inputs, and no HDMI input)
  • There are only a few titles in each format, and no guarantee that all titles will become available in one format (until the format war is over)
  • The AACS DRM offers features like remotely blacklisting your player, which will immediately brick it when you play that new movie. Why would I buy this? No, I'm not a pirate; this feature is not a feature at all.
  • Demos at the store have been disappointing at best. The improvement over DVD is pretty slim.
  • I'd rather wait for the price to drop on 1080p players. I know that a 60Hz 1080i can play a 24fps 1080p movie. But what if I want to watch a 60fps 1080p movie? See point above about your computer being better than your DVD player for this.
  • This article [slashdot.org] points out that your computer will probably out-perform any DVD player you can buy
  • BD-R and HD-DVD-R are available but still pretty expensive. This might not seem like a factor at first, but remember that the big pirating outfits are not using recordable media. The early adopters will. Case in point: I work with an independent movie studio and they want to show their previews in HD when they travel. What they do right now is bring a nice powerful laptop with the movie on the hard disk. How is a player going to compete with that?

Re:To summarize... (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026047)


(Because the HDTVs sold to date mostly have component inputs, and no HDMI input)

I'll go one further. Unless your HDMI input and your TV and your cable and your output support HDCP encryption, you get nothing, and must down-convert to Analog.

Re:To summarize... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026071)

I'd rather wait for the price to drop on 1080p players. I know that a 60Hz 1080i can play a 24fps 1080p movie. But what if I want to watch a 60fps 1080p movie?

Blu-ray and HD DVD do not allow 1080p60; it would require the decoder chips to be twice as powerful.

This article points out that your computer will probably out-perform any DVD player you can buy

Not in HD, where PC playback is being held back by the DRM morass.

Re:To summarize... (1)

cheinonen (318646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026119)

Due to the Image Constraint Token (ICT) your new HD player will not play your movies at full resolution. (Because the HDTVs sold to date mostly have component inputs, and no HDMI input)

Quick, name one player that uses ICT? Anyone? That's because the studios agreed to not use it for quite a while (2010 or 2011 I believe), and even then they still may not. If you were an early adopter with only component inputs, but then you'll probably have something new with HDMI inputs, but this isn't a valid reason since it's not being used.

I'd rather wait for the price to drop on 1080p players.

Few TV's can accept 1080p (though I bought one that can), and unless you have a very poor quality deinterlacer in your system, you can deinterlace that signal just as well as the player can. Currently BluRay sends you 1080p, but really they are feeding 1080i, then a seperate chip deinterlaces that to 1080p, just like your TV would, it's not a native signal. This might be more important for games in the future where you might have 60 distinct frames per second, but when the source is 24 fps, you can get the exact same image if your TV deinterlaces correctly (and most do).

Re:What a shocker (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025957)

In terms of video quality, a DVD didn't really offer up that much of an improvement over DVD. DVD helped with longer-lasting quality video (10 year old VHS tapes show their age) and better sound, but besides the random-access nature of a DVD (which really, how many times do you jump back and forth during a movie?) I don't find it to be that big a deal over VHS.

Now, HD-DVD/Blu-Whatever, they promise up to 4x the resolution of normal DVD's/VHS, which is damned significant. If you can't tell the difference between HD and SD, you either need a new TV or new Eyes, and you definately didn't notice any difference between VHS and DVD.

Re:What a shocker (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026120)

Now, HD-DVD/Blu-Whatever, they promise up to 4x the resolution of normal DVD's/VHS, which is damned significant. If you can't tell the difference between HD and SD, you either need a new TV or new Eyes, and you definately didn't notice any difference between VHS and DVD.
Ever think that most people can tell the difference between SD and HD, but simply don't care about the higher definition? There's a lot of things that I'd rather be doing than watching tv, especially if it requires a tv that costs more than a few hundred dollars.

Disappointing (1, Informative)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025689)

It was disappointed in the article format. Here's the Printer Friendly version [reuters.com]

First? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16025694)

First High Defenition post?

forget movies, I want cheap fast data backup (-1, Offtopic)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025702)

Give me a backup device that lets me
1) backup my entire system in less than 10 disks
2) backup a month's worth of changes on less than 1 disk
3) low marginal cost per disk if disks are write-once, OR fast- or no-erase for RW
4) low cost per disk drive
5) fast write, so I can back up my entire system in no more than 5x the speed of a HD-clone backup

The hard part is doing all this without spending a lot of money. Blue-Ray and HD-DVD are promising but I'm not so sure about the speed and the price isn't there yet.

Re:forget movies, I want cheap fast data backup (0, Offtopic)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025763)

It's called buying another hard-drive. Get an external one for best portability-ness. Then you can just drag and drop, or use a backup tool to do the work for you. Windows Live OneCare includes such a tool even has explicit support for automatic backup to an external drive... although I've never tested it and I don't usually use backup tools thus I don't know how it stacks up.

Re:forget movies, I want cheap fast data backup (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16025977)

"Windows Live OneCare includes such a tool "

Interesting. Here on /. , of all places, you can expect readers to be using almost any OS that's out there. But yet you assume the parent is using Windows.

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16025704)

HA HA! Both HD-DVD & Sony can take their formats that they're trying to shove down our throats, and shove them up their rear instead.

DVDs are plenty good for me, and I suspect they are plenty good enough for the vast majority of users. I don't think that the tv is important enough to most pople to set aside enough money for one that is capable of displaying a movie any better than a regular DVD player can, let alone paying the premium that is currently being charged for the players.

No selling points (2, Informative)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025732)

There's no guarantee that you're decoding to full res, that your player WILL EVER be able to decode to full res, that full res is even WORTH watching, and that you ever really OWN the content you bought.

  Why would anyone buy this stuff? There's few positive selling points about it. Movies are on DVD for as long as anyone can foresee, and computers can record on these formats and play on setops. What are the market-accepted details for the new formats? Nobody can decide.

  Peh, I'd love to see the capacities go up, but DRM fouled both these formats. Nobody's going to wipe the stink off them, and so we must let them die. Perhaps a company will simply go for capacity and format without mucking around with anything else.

The Mess (4, Insightful)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025735)

Neither format is selling well or at the level I had expected. I had expected early adopters to step up and other retailers have had the same experience

Yea.Early adopter.They expect them to buy a player each - One to play HD-DVD;Another to play Blu-Ray; And then they will keep the user guessing as to which one will become the standard.

They created the confusion.They are paying for it.Why should consumers too?

Too much confusion (3, Insightful)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025741)

Consumers have a tendency to stay away from confusing markets. Nobody wants to buy something only to find out that they "got ripped off".

Hybrids may be the only real winner (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025749)

If the PS3 fails to ignite blu-ray sales, Sony is going to have to back down and start licensing the blu-ray technology to manufacturers of hybrids (Samsung was originally contemplating [dlmag.com] such a player, but rumor is that Sony refused to licensed blu-ray in a hybrid player, which is already leading to some legal headaches [geekyblogs.com] ).

Sony are control freaks and absolutely obsessed with their own proprietary formats (no matter how many times this has burned them). But if they don't blink on this one, it could take BOTH formats down.

-Eric

Re:Hybrids may be the only real winner (5, Insightful)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025795)

But if they don't blink on this one, it could take BOTH formats down.

I don't see any problem. Keep your fingers crossed.

Re:Hybrids may be the only real winner (2, Interesting)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026027)

The post's marked funny, but no, seriously, if both formats flop, it isn't a big issue. Upscaled DVDs are just fine for me, thanks, and I imagine a lot of other people too. Not only that, but I'd be amazed if they don't try the launch again a few more years down the line, hopefully with better formats...

Heck, we may never see another format like DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, because we'll all download movies over ultra fast broadband, but I'm a believe it when I see it kinda guy on that front.

Re:Hybrids may be the only real winner (2, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025949)

If the PS3 fails to ignite blu-ray sales, Sony is going to have to back down and start licensing the blu-ray technology to manufacturers of hybrids

They've already been forced to license it in China, due to widescale piracy of the tech. At least, according to Fortune [fortune.com] and the Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] . Showed up in an interview with the Scottish CEO of Sony and then followup articles in the WSJ.

Re:Hybrids may be the only real winner (2, Interesting)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026025)

I think sony is going to get handed their ass on this one. Sony doesn't have a good track record when trying to release a competing standard. Betamax vs. VHS anyone? PSP against the Nintendo DS? From what I read most of the DVD manufacturing companies would rather go with HD-DVD than BR. because they don't have to reduce their manufacturing lines. They can just up grade the equipment that they make DVD's on. Where with BR they will have to buy all new equipment, buy it from Sony that is.

Another thing is if Sony is the only one manufacturing BR players that will tend to keep the price high. When the price of a HD-DVD player drops to 300 bucks and BR are still around 500 joe walmart shopper is going to buy the cheaper. As more people buy HD-DVD players the prices will continue to tumble putting HD DVD in the lead. Movie studios will abandon the BR because no one is buying it, opting to go with the cheaper and technically inferior HD-DVD. At least I think its technically inferior.

But anyway it comes right down to Sony sinking a few hundred million into a pig that can't dance. An I really have no problems with that what so ever.

Quoted For Truth (5, Insightful)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025753)

"When we put the disc in, all the sales people looked around and said it doesn't look much better than a standard DVD"

The important part: "...doesn't look much better..."

I would be the first to agree that HD does look better. But does it look better enough to toss my current DVD player and TV? Is it worth the headache of the format rivalry and all the DRM connectivity issues that I'm not sure a new set will be compatible with in two years?

No.

I'll continue to sit on the sidelines for a while longer.

HD-DVD is the winner (-1, Troll)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025756)

HD-DVD looks much better than Blu-Ray right now, primarily because HD-DVD uses a modern mpeg4 codec, while Sony chose to support the older mpeg2 codec. This is a shame. Blu-Ray, due to its higher capacity and throughput looked to be the clear winner. Sony *cough!* blu *cough!* it. But, as much as the /. community would like to believe, I don't think onerous DRM restrictions are the cause of this market failure. Frankly, the units cost too much, they lack good content, and the format war causes too much confusion risk for consumers. Why spend $500-$1000 on something that will be worthless in a year or less? Sony thought they had the game wrapped up with PS3. Now both formats look to lose.

Perhaps Sony might learn a lesson from this?

Good greif. All 3 player support the same codecs (4, Informative)

acomj (20611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025801)

This is nonsense. Both Blu-ray and HDVDVD support the same codecs Mpeg2, mpeg 4 (h.264) and VC1 (Windows Media). For some reason Blu-ray creation software didn't support the other codecs initially, but the player does.

So, what's the end result? (4, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025854)

"Both Blu-ray and HDVDVD support the same codecs Mpeg2, mpeg 4 (h.264) and VC1 (Windows Media). For some reason Blu-ray creation software didn't support the other codecs initially, but the player does."

That's correct. However, the end result is the same. Films released on Blu-Ray format in mpeg2 look noticably worse than films released in mpeg4 or VC1 on HD-DVD. I was shocked at the difference in image quality between the two. So, perhaps blu-ray players do support modern codecs (avsforum has had a good deal of discussion on this matter at their blu-ray forum) - but the upshot is that blu-ray releases look terrible compared to HD-DVD. And Blu-Ray drives cost twice as much.

What would *you* buy? (well, *I* would buy neither - and wait for the format war to finish).

Re:HD-DVD is the winner (1)

msaulters (130992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025919)

I think there's one more factor people are leaving out.
They took WAY too long to get to market. If the players
had been available somewhere around 2000 to 2003, they
could have sold to MANY people who were going DVD for the
first time as most people were finally abandoning VHS.
IF they had been priced reasonably, I believe many people
would have bought HD-DVD as 'better' given the choice
between that and regular DVD for their first player.

These guys are going to have to wait another couple of
years until all the DVD players bought in the last 3 or
4 years begin to wear out or break. I think it will
build, as more titles are available, and more people
adopt HD screens.

Re:HD-DVD is the winner (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025965)

"hey took WAY too long to get to market. If the players had been available somewhere around 2000 to 2003[...]"

Mass manufacturing the blue laser required by both systems wasn't available in '02-'03 time span. In fact, recent reports of a blue laser shortage [engadget.com] may limit Blu-ray and HD-DVD manufacturing for the near future. Also, the adoption of HDTV back in '02 was very slim - who would have bought that high definition content? One could argue they're still too early to be pushing HD media sales... --M

Re:HD-DVD is the winner (1)

Milican (58140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026038)

DVDs were just being adopted in masse in 1999 - 2000 area. The technology to do HD would not have been possible for a reasonable price as the DVDs were still a few hundred dollars.

JOhn

Re:HD-DVD is the winner (1)

Nahooda (906991) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025927)

Perhaps Sony might learn a lesson from this?

No, they won't! They'll blame it on somebody else.

Re:HD-DVD is the winner (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026088)

I've seen both and I thought Blu-Ray looked better; I've seen a bit of the Borne Supremacy from HD-DVD and Chicken Little on Blu-Ray. It shouldn't matter which codec was used as long as the video wasn't over-compressed. I think the difference I saw was just that one was much better suited to HD.

The biggest problem I see with the High-Def right now is that the players suck; $500+ for a player that takes several minutes to turn on. There really isn't any excuse for the boot-times on these players. My computer boots in about 30 seconds(MacBook) and a single-use device should definitely power on faster than that. Once a players drop into the $300 range I think we will see one of these formats take off.

Re:HD-DVD is the winner (2, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026166)

A single layer blu-ray disc has ~25GB of capacity, of which almost 15% is used for uncompressed audio. This avsforum thread on the Samsung BDP-1000 [avsforum.com] is particularly illuminating on the issue of space constraints due to the mix of single layer discs with mpeg2 as the codec. --M

still confusing (2, Funny)

johnnyringo (202714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025757)

It's still too confusing to decide which format will be supported by the most releases, what tvs/monitors display the content best, and where to find current content... how many movies are out now anyway? 3? I am still miffed they are confusing consumers with 480, 720 and 1080 both "i" and "p." let alone tv resolutions vary in between each and up and down scale. I wish I was getting off-topic, but it is all so closely related it's frustrating. ug!

I wonder how this is going to effect the PS3 as well. It's all a bit nutty.

I guess it's back to watching Anchorman in regular-def dvd for the weekend.

"Mr, burgundy, you have a massive erection"
"It's the pleats."

Hmmm. 1% better, heavy DRM and too $$$$ (4, Funny)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025764)

I can't imagine why folks are not rushing to this.

DVD's look great on screens up to 55".
DVD's can be backed up and are very cheap.
DVD players are dirt cheap.

HD/Blu ray are
1) expensive
2) heavily drm'd
3) havn't chosen the best movies to start with.
4) Not that much better on the screens joe average can buy.
5) DO NOT EVEN WORK CORRECTLY on HD MONITORS if they are more than about 7 months old (downsample if the player doesn't detect a secure connection to the monitor)

I can't imagine why consumers are not flocking to these--

Re:Hmmm. 1% better, heavy DRM and too $$$$ (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025955)

DO NOT EVEN WORK CORRECTLY on HD MONITORS if they are more than about 7 months old
oh that's nothing. just wait til they start making your wear HDCP glasses to view the infrared-encrypted signal sent from your monitor.

Re:Hmmm. 1% better, heavy DRM and too $$$$ (1)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026052)

But they have DRM, and DRM, and... encrypted DRM in the cables, and uh... DRM!

Everybody should want one!

Re:Hmmm. 1% better, heavy DRM and too $$$$ (2, Interesting)

787style (816008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026124)

To be clear, DVD's look pretty good on my 110" tv.

Re:Hmmm. 1% better, heavy DRM and too $$$$ (1, Troll)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026128)

Argh, I hate misinformation. If you don't know what you're talking about, why post?

There are plenty of reasons not to buy HDDVD/Bluray. But you're way off base here, with the exception of DRM, which is as much a philosophical argument as anything. Let me count the ways that you have erred:

1) Standard DVD's look like crap on 55" screens. This is subjective, sure, but if you really believe this, you will *never* need HD because you're blind. Standard DVD's leave tons of compression artifacts in dark scenes (even title credits!) which are very visible. Tell me, would you run a 21" computer monitor at 640x480 -- with uncompressed video data? No? Then why do you think that *very* lossy compression of 640x480 looks good at 55"?

2) HDVD players are under $500. Sure, that's expensive compared to $39 Kmart DVD players, but comprable to or cheaper than a videophile DVD player. Again, if you can't see the difference, you're not the target market.

3) The average joe can buy a fine 720p screen, which is all you need for the difference to be very apparent. My local Walmart has a crappy but functional 720p 55" screen for $700.

4) Your last point is the most misinformed. Neither HDDVD nor Bluray downsample for non-HDCP displays. To get educated so you can stop spouting misinformation, search for "image constraint token" on google. Short version: the technical capacity is there, but studios have agreed not to use it until at least 2010. At which point you can whine that these technologies downsample on displays older than 4 years, which is still a valid point but a little different than what you've erroneously claimed.

Lest people think I'm a fanboy, let me list the *legitimate* reasons for waiting on HD formats:

- The format war means that any investment in players and/or media has some liklihood of being wasted money

- Bluray, in particular, uses the same poor compression technology as standard DVD, and displays a lot of the same artifacting (less extreme, because it's higher resolution and bitrate, but nevertheless there)

- Neither format has real buy-in from CE manufacturers who don't have a vested interest

- The early players available for both formats have many quirks and annoyances (an HDDVD player takes almost a minute to eject a disk when in the "off" state)

For the record, I bought a $500 HDDVD player. My rationale: I use netflix, so I'm not investing in media that may be worthless later. And even if HDDVD or both formats bomb, I'm sure I can get at least a couple of hundred dollars for it on ebay. So I'm paying maybe $300 for a year or two of a fantastic upconverting standard DVD player, with the bonus of getting to enjoy some HD stuff.

-b

Diminishing Returns (2, Interesting)

JBHarris (890771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025766)

Simple demand/supply says that you will not need an infinite supply of anything, and that also applies to technology. Diminishing returns says that sooner or later, people will have enough technology (Blu-Ray, XBox360s, Laptops, etc) and they will not want or need any more. Upgrades are in the same boat.

Talk about whining. (2, Insightful)

caldroun (52920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025772)

The formats just came out, and the players are still expensive. Did they think that we would all run out and buy our movies again? Much less a player for $1000. Pfft. While we are still getting announcements like "Sony releases 2 more movie titles for Blue-Ray" tells me that they shouldn't be concerned about underwhelming performance yet...it is still NEW! Give me a reason to replace my ubiquitous DVD players.

Display requirements (2, Interesting)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025794)

When we put the disc in, all the sales people looked around and said it doesn't look much better than a standard DVD,'

They don't mention exactly what they watched it on. If it wasn't some 1080p wonderdisplay, then it brings out what I think the major failing of these hd formats will be (at least this first gen). The great thing about dvd was that you saw immediate benefits both from the medium and the content on your _standard_tv_. You didn't need the latest lcd/dlp/plasma display to appreciate what you were getting. The jump from tape -> dvd was massive, both in quantity and quality of content and the convenience of the medium itself, and it was available to anyone. Now we have only an incremental increated in the convenience of the medium (saves having multi-disk sets) which really doesn't mean much for most viewers and the improvements in quality only applies to a much smaller audience.

Same applies to 360 and PS3 consoles (5, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026037)

The great thing about dvd was that you saw immediate benefits both from the medium and the content on your _standard_tv_. You didn't need the latest lcd/dlp/plasma display to appreciate what you were getting... Now we have only an incremental increase in the convenience of the medium (saves having multi-disk sets) which really doesn't mean much for most viewers and the improvements in quality only applies to a much smaller audience.

When it comes to the new consoles, both MS and Sony have bet the bank on the television market being saturated with big HD sets that would justify an "investment" in a game console that would display in HD on them. In a few ways -- cost of game development, size of their potential market as you say here -- both companies appear to have lost track of the market, or to have projected it wrongly. Market penetration of huge HD screens just isn't there yet. Maybe it will be during the lifespan of these consoles, maybe not.

Meanwhile a competitor that tries to jazz up the game experience on "your _standard_tv_" is out there, phrasing its admittedly not-cutting-edge technology in ways that DO mean something to most game players.

two reasons not to upgrade to BVD 2.0 (-1, Offtopic)

PurpleRainMan (999506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025797)

1) My BVD player is my beloved girlfiend Palmela Handerson. She doesn't need an upgrade. 2) The original BVD's were cheaper and more soil resilient.

Good for screen cappers...maybe (3, Interesting)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025799)

I rent DVDs from NetFlix and take screen captures and short clips for one of my sites, and would love to use HD movies instead. For the same subscription price, I'd be getting 1920x1080 images instead of ~640x480 or 852x480, a huge difference for stills.

But then again, I don't even know if I'd be able to take screen captures from a computer, with all the DRM they have.

Re:Good for screen cappers...maybe (2, Funny)

sfeinstein (442310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025857)

Sit tight, the MPAA agents are on their way. They are your friends. Let them in when they ask politely.

Re:Good for screen cappers...maybe (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025943)

Strange how all these other high profile sites do the same thing with no problems.

I suppose I should have put a disclaimer that I was already aware of issues with fair use, editorial use, the percentage of a work that qualifies as fair use, etc.

The only real problem is whether DRM prevents using them with programs that are capable of screen captures, or even with computers at all.

Re:Good for screen cappers...maybe (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026026)

Good news!

Print screen works! [slashdot.org]

Re:Good for screen cappers...maybe (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026063)

Thanks for the tip. That is good news. It's not quite as convenient as VirtualDub's or Quicktime's capture functions, but it's better than nothing.

Re:Good for screen cappers...maybe (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026057)

Unfortunately, not until VLC or some other open source player figures out the format and how to play it.

What bothers me is that the "screencap" protection has actually gotten worse. In MacOS 9, you could take a screencap with a DVD playing and the DVD image would just be blanked out. In OS X, you can't take a screencap at all without quitting DVD Player. Which is a royal PITA when I want to take a screencap of something in World of Warcraft and I happen to have a DVD playing on the other monitor. Thanks, Apple!

Re:Good for screen cappers...maybe (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026145)

Wow, that's pretty rough. Windows is similar by default: with hardware acceleration enabled that part of the screencap is just black. But if you disable hardware acceleration for video, it works fine. Or use a different program besides WMP/WinDVD.

Maybe Apple uses similar hardware acceleration for DVDs?

Early adopters aren't stupid (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025800)

Oh, sure we're an impulsive crowd, but most are educated and realize when we've been snookered before.

Did nobody in either camp stop and look at how they had royally screwed every early adopter of HDTV? The promise of content that never occured. The delayed, and delayed, and delayed rollout of OTA. The jumble of formats that caused event the best CE to falter under the load of options. The incompatibilities between components. The ubiquitous component interface that every early adopter had on their display sets which are now utterly obsolete due to the need for "content protection" - a perfectly good $7000 50RP set which may be relegated to 480p at the whim of the broadcaster. The promise of 20Mb HD that got chopped into subchannels to rerun Andy Griffith and the Golden Girls in SD simultaneously, at the expense of HD. The iron fist approach to preventing transferring DVDs to Media Servers.

No, the industry has drawn a line, and the early adopters are on the other side. We're the ones who are most adversely affected by the content protection and market jockying. Don't come to me with your hand out for your improved shovel right after you run over my dog. The industry has, through their anti-piracy efforts, significantly alienated a large portion of their first-run consumers. They've managed to eliminate the initial cash infusion that covers the R&D part of the CE process, and now they're stuck with trying to add enough volume to get every household to buy the product just to cover the engineering costs.

The early adopters want to buy this stuff, but we want to play with our new toys, not see how womebody else want us to play with them. Give us back our control, and we'll open our wallets. 'Til then, go fuck yourselves.

Re:Early adopters aren't stupid (5, Insightful)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025902)

I'm in the camp that got burned too - my Toshiba 34" CRT HDTV Monitor I bought only a few years back is useless w/ newer technology as it lacks any sort of digital input. I'm not anti-DRM, but I'm not going to spend alot for an inferior performance.

Before I sink any money into either format, I'd want to see a clear winner, and something that wouldn't require me to upgrade my TV every 2 years to keep up with.

Until then, my older Panasonic RP-82 works just fine w/ regular (or SuperBit) DVDs. I already get full resolution HD from my cable company.

Well, duh (1)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025812)

Wow, the Sony demo looked great, but when Joe Sixpack discovers he needs a $3,000 TV (Plasma, or LCD, by the way?) to take any advantage of his $1500 player (which may or may not still be around in three years, depending on which format wins) which will play a handful of titles, maybe three of which were ever recorded at the resolution he'll be watching at. There's a shock.

Just like old times (1)

slashdotet (992348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025832)

This reminds me of when Beta and VHS were fighting

I think i'll wite this one out

Don't want to end up with a Beta!

Where's the software? (2, Insightful)

Megajim (885529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025841)

This keeps being compared to the VHS-Beta conflict. We've already been through that and, as consumers, we learned from it. When CDs came out, there weren't competing formats. There were also no competing formats for DVDs (unless you consider DIVX [wikipedia.org] more than a blip). The VHS-Beta conflict was fueled by the fact that you could adequately use either format to record. Where's the fuel for HDDVD/BR? A smattering of random titles? I'm sorry, but it's not worth $500-1000 for me to see and HD version of "Serenity". If there were more titles available at launch ("Lord of the Rings"), then I would consider diving in. This is just like trying to decide which gaming platform I'm going to buy - they are all superior to my old system, so it comes down to the games. Given the current array of weak HD titles, why would anyone bother (unless you really love "Serenity" that much)?

WTF were they thinking anyways? (1)

theneb (732287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025847)

Although the dvd has been around for a while, its only in the past 5-6 years, its been picked up well by most of the society (meaning its much more affordable). If you now throw something that might be superior in quality (not everyone has plasmas or lcds to make use of it yet) but high is price, its not really going to fly, even the big-spenders are not going to want to buy something now as the movies collection in these formats are not high yet. I will give it another 5-10 years, when and if these survive, to be an integral part of the family entertainment system. Also one should consider that most of asia is still operation on vcds and some (mostly pirated) dvds. Slapping a price tag that is equivalent to a significant portion of someone salary for a month on hd-dvd or blu-ray is not going to work. Which is one of the reason, legal dvds arent popular in these places.

Adoption will be very slow before 2010 (1, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025881)

There is very little incentive for all but the most rabid consumer to adopt either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray formats before widescale HDTV adoption at a reasonable price, which won't happen until one year AFTER 2009. When the price of reasonable quality HDTV is below the $300 price point, you can expect consumers to start choosing - but the reality is that most movies they want to play - at a price they want to pay for - will be on DVD and work perfectly fine.

People still anecdotaly remember being burned in the VHS versus Beta wars - I was on the winning side of that, bought one of the first very expensive VHS VCRs from RCA, but I worked shift and made more than I do even now.

What do you expect? (4, Interesting)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025897)

What exactly do you expect when a huge percentage of people who have HDTVs either aren't using them with high-def sources and/or they aren't but they THINK they are [webwire.com] ? Yea, HD is great. I have a 50" first-generation DLP (720p). The picture is really good and regular DVDs can look great. But I have no desire to drop a grand (or even half that) on an HD video player right now, especially when I'd be buying movies for a second time (some a third time when I upgraded from VHS). Furthermore, the discs are locked down with DRM that isn't yet breakable. I'm not going to buy a new movie on an HD format if I can't down-convert it and burn it to DVD so I can watch on DVD players elsewhere in the house. Sorry. Those are my rules. If the content isn't portable, I'm not buying. Period.

-S

No Shit? (1, Flamebait)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025901)

I've been saying that for 2 years. I was able to put a HD movie and a DVD side by side back then. I could barely tell a difference and that was only when I looked. Granted there are some programs that are breath taking in HD. Some of the PBS nature shows are like looking through a window. But I have yet to see a HD movie or TV show that has that level of effect.

Only sueful for data right now... (1)

JAB Creations (999510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025907)

Those discs are only good for storing data right now. Sure you can buy a 4GB flash drive to store in your pocket but they aren't big enough to back up audio and video work for example. The capacities they are talking about are better suited for backing up data and that is where they should be pushing to sell these large capacity DVDs. Besides there are not many good movies coming out of Hollywood to justify high-definition viewing.

32 bit Vista & HD Content (0, Offtopic)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025920)

Not to forget this:
The media companies asked us to do this and said they don't want any of their high definition content to play in x32 at all, because of all of the unsigned malware that runs in kernel mode can get around content protection, so we had to do this

Covered earlier in slashdot [slashdot.org]

Fill the blanks (5, Funny)

kirun (658684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025934)

Dear [electronics manufacturer],

Wonder why [new format with uncertain future] isn't selling?

Remember [format that flopped]? We do.

Signed, the buying public.

History will repeat itself? (1, Funny)

Etnie (11105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025970)

Porn will lead the way!

The tactile changes are missing (3, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025974)

One of the things that really separated DVD from VHS was size and look. The DVD was futuristic to many, durability and very obvious image quality were bonus reasons to move to the new platform. It was similar to the move from Cassette tape to CD's, it was an obvious and cool transition, no more switching tapes for long movies, no more tapes stretching or wearing out and dvd's dont eat tapes like cassette decks. Dont forget there was also the early promise that the media would eventually be cheaper (even though it never happened)

The only obvious benefit from HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is image quality, it doesnt really look different, its no more durable, and for most it just seems like a scam to get people to buy their movies over again.

Increased resolution is a benefit but most people still dont have HD tv's and probably more than half that do only have them because there are very few tv's that arent HD for sale anymore. You can further reduce the total by subtracting the ones that dont know how to hook it up properly and arent recieving HD anyway most of them are now disillusioned by HD through their own stupidity. That leaves a very tiny fragment of a market that actually sees any advantage to HD formated DVD's. I do think eventually one of the formats will stick but they would be better off doing hyrid disks with one format on one side and standard dvd on the other that way they can snag the replacement buyers not just rely on folks willing to make an upgrade most see as not necessary.

Psst (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026094)

Hey, don't tell anyone, but...

Dont forget there was also the early promise that the media would eventually be cheaper (even though it never happened)

That will happen in just a few years when these HD DVD players start gaining popularity. Then hopefully you will be able to get new release DVD's for $5. Keep your fingers crossed, and don't tell the media execs you're waiting for it, or it will never happen...

Human Limitations (3, Interesting)

LoTechDave (999425) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025978)

The limits of humans' ability to perceive sensor information is fixed and while the DVD isn't perfect, the lackluster response of the HD-DVD & Blu-Ray in the marketplace is an indication that diminishing returns for entertainment-based technology are here. I think underpinning this issue is an unexcited general public that has been underwhelmed by the quality of recent movies. If a movie is crap, then seeing it in HD might allow you to say "I think he ate corn"

Unsurprising (3, Insightful)

LParks (927321) | more than 7 years ago | (#16025985)

The lack of sales of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD is unsurprising.

What does surprise me is that it seems both sides are mostly selling these products on higher quality video, rather than capacity.

I look at the early releases for these two and only see movies.

I can't really tell the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray or HD-DVD in terms of video quality, but I can easily tell something quantifiable like having one piece of media for a whole season of a TV show vs. 4 or 5 DVDs. That convenience is why I like single DVD games over 5 CD games for my PC.

The war is over. (0)

FatherOfONe (515801) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026013)

Blu Ray won. There hasn't been 50k HD-DVD players sold and there probably won't be by the end of the year. Now there will be 4 Million Blu Ray players out by the end of the year. The war is over come November. By March of 2007 it will probably be 6 million to 70k (being generous here to HD DVD). Manufacturing will only get cheaper with producing 6 million units vs 70k so the price of a player only will come down. Toshiba won't want to keep loosing money forever and they will eventually stop. Microsoft will hate it, but in the end they will have to live with Java and Blu Ray. They will have to wait another day to try and gain control of the living room.

The only thing that "might" change the war is "if" Microsoft wanted to give away full blown HD-DVD players. I doubt the government would allow that though... so they won't and only a small portion of 360 owners will buy their new HD DVD unit to "watch" movies.

I would say that Sony has little to worry about now, and Microsoft on the gaming front should be prepared to release the 720 a few years early. That will hurt Sony, but I wonder how many XBOX/360 fans will start to feel like Sega fans?

Re:The war is over. (1)

DesertBlade (741219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026114)

Were did you get these figures. Are you counting the PS3 as a blu-ray player?

HD-DVDs are can be backwards compatable with standard DVDs so currently there are I don't know 1 billion players that can play HD-DVDs.

http://http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD-DVD/ [http] stats: HD DVD can offer both the current DVD and HD DVD formats on one disc. Can blu-ra do that?

HD, bah (2, Insightful)

alucinor (849600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026014)

HD makes no visible difference for me. I don't keep my glasses clean enough of spots for HD to matter. And I like big tapestries on my walls more than big screens. Watching DVDs on my 19" PC monitor is enough screen for me for the rest of my life.

not priced for target (2, Informative)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026040)

I don't think these guys realize that a large number of people who buy dvds are in college or recent graduates with student loans. I can't afford a 1000 buck player and a 1500 buck minimum HDTV and then the actual discs (the electronics would be more than a months stipend right there). The prices will eventually come down and this format war will resolve itself. Even then I will think hard about paying so much for to watch TV and movies and I will probably resist and dismiss it as too much of a luxury. I spent that much after saving for around a year and a half to get a very nice gaming rig but a PC does a lot more than a HDTV and HD player. Even if I did buy the HD equipment I'm certainly not replacing my dvds - they are good enough, and if DVDs remain significantly cheaper than HD content I will probably buy the DVDs instead.

EVD standard (4, Interesting)

alucinor (849600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026048)

I personally think China's EVD standard will become dominant -- not because consumer's will flock to it, though, but manufacturers. There is no copyright or other licensing to use it, and it's a freely published standard for high-def. No royalities, and it's codecs can even be implemented in Linux without legal issues.

still too early (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026068)

I don't need to point out to anyone here that it is still way to early to invest in a new HD format just yet. The majority of people out there still don't have an HDTV, and as such are not interrested in any type of HD media format at the moment. The early adopters are not buying because the new formats fail to deliver the WOW affect that was promised to people who see the demo playing at the store. It's just not as dramatic as the difference was between VHS and DVD. As far as the whole "format war" is concerend, whichever format does a better job of penetrating the market first will most likely win, regardless of any technical features etc. That being said, the most obvious "winner" will be Blu-ray since it's being pushed in the Blusta-- er I mean Playstation 3. It is still much too early for these formats to really be taking off.

Travel back to 1973... (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026092)

Records: Handel in Quad; John Rockwell; The New York Times February 19, 1973, p. 29

'Music for Royal Fireworks' Sounded Better in an Early Stereo Version

Whatever its ultimate artistic and technological merits may be, quadraphonic sound understandable has the classical-record business rubbing its collective hands together with glee. The classical repertory has its limits, after all, and the standard pieces have been recorded to death in stereo. Now, at long last, a new gimmick is at hand.

Not only it is presumed that the American public will spend millions on equipment, but all the hoary old warhorses and hi-fi spectaculars can be done over again in four-channel sound....

---
Truth in advertising... Rockwell acknowledges he was listening to the new release in "plain old stereo." A March 12, 1972 review by an audio reviewer, Don Heckman, listening in quad is, however, only slightly more encouraging:

"Just what was there to hear on all this gleaming new electronic exotica? Ah, there's the rub. Until just a few months ago, quadraphonic disks were dominated by the sound effects of falling trees, puffing choo-choos and gurgling whirlpools... [now there are more and] in some cases the rewards can be quite spectacular... a room-filling, near-concert-hall effect.... Pop music programs like Joan Baez... [and] Barbra Streisand are straightforward presentations in which one is less aware of a four-dimensional effect than of a kind of opening up of the sound.... [In one track on a Vanguard demonstration disk] the organ sound is quite extraordinary.... Switched-On Bach will probably have its sales surge as listeners discover that it sounds even more fascinating when these weirdly-distorted and re-timbred snippets of Bach go whipping around four, rather than two speakers."

This is going to be a long slow battle... (2, Informative)

Name Anonymous (850635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026102)

First there was:
  • VHS versus Betamax took a noticeable amount of time before one format won out.
  • With 12" video discs there were 3 competing formats. The Pioneer 12" Laserdisc won that and fairly quickly. DVDs killed the 12" Laserdisc.
  • CDs pretty much killed all but killed off vinyl record, but it took time.
  • DVDs killed VHS.
Now we have the battle of the HD formats. This will probably be in length of time much like the VHS versus Betamax battle. And add to that the fact that not everyone will be jumping right out to buy a new TV. I keep looking at how nice the plasma screens are, but I can't justify the price yet. When my current TV dies I will end up with a plasma scrren. However with all the changes, including the HDMI connector, I'm glad I haven't bought one yet.

However, one thing that I know is that a bunch of people have stopped buying as many DVDs as they used to. Why buy a DVD now and then want to replace it next year with a high def version? of course if enough people do that, movie sales will drop even more and then the MPAA will start screaming piracy since their sales fell off. Maybe everybody should boycott buying movies until their is only one new format?

Just thinking the same thing. (1)

cjkeeme (980951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026105)

I was just thinking this the over night when I was ripping DVDs to my Media Center PC so I could have access to them on my XBox without having to load DVDs all the time. It's obvious that this format war can be looked at more as a cat fight. Fun to watch, but having no lasting effect.

Interoperability? (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026126)

Hah - I won't buy one of these HD DVD players until it will interface with my HD Radio! [hear2.com]

They just don't get it - Need HDMI to see in HD (5, Informative)

markdj (691222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026136)

There are two reasons for this: DVD quality and HDMI. The first has been expounded on at length. The picture quality is not that much greater than regular DVD. But no one seems to be talking about the HDMI problem. You need an HD TV to take advantage of the higher resolution, but few people have them and those that do have only one or no HDMI input. Because the studios are worried about copying they won't allow HD signals to be output over composite video. Only HDMI has the encryption to keep copying from happening. Many early HDTV adopters have no HDMI port and are not going to spend $thousands to buy another TV for marginal picture improvement. Those that do have an HDMI port have only one and that is being used by the cable or satellite box. HDMI switch boxes cost $300+ and have no remote! That's my situation. Only in 2006 have HDTVs with 2 HDMI ports become widely available and those are only the more expensive ones. So these new HD/Blu Ray DVDs are for new TV buyers and those TVs are still too expensive to kickstart the market.

What a mess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16026143)

HDDVD/BluRay are both doomed to fail. It is BetaMax/VHS and LaserDisc all rolled up into one massive nightmare. Like laserdisc, noone is going to invest into new technology that does not provide something substantial over the previous generation. Like BetaMax/VHS, noone is going to invest into two competing formats with an unknown future. In the end, there will be very little demand for these products and costs will remain prohibitively high. Next year will always be seen as the year "HD takes over regular DVD" and only fools with too much money will plunker down cash for it and boast to their friends about superior picture. This will continue until finally something comes along and kills all these technologies and puts these companies out of their misery.

Hugely expensive Blu-ray/HDDVD pointless (1, Interesting)

Frenchman113 (893369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16026164)

These new media are unnessecary for HD movies as with any halfway decent MPEG-4 scheme, you can easily fit an HD movie onto a single-layer disc. So, why are we still using MPEG-2? After all, with either option, the consumer has to buy a new DVD player... wouldn't cheaper MPEG-4 discs sell better?
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