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End of the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD Format War?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the two-in-one dept.

Media 266

Next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas should shake up the format war. The NYTimes reports that Warner Brothers will announce the Total HD disc that can store both Blu-ray and HD-DVD content. The article also mentions that LG (along with "possibly other gadget makers") is expected to announce a player that can play both formats. According to Yahoo, LG has not announced pricing, but the Times notes that such dual-format devices are bound to cost more than existing players. And the Times outlines the many considerations that would come into play before studios decide to release their content in both formats on a single disc.

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266 comments

Total HD Player (1)

poser101 (982233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461492)

So, will I be able to buy a Total HD Player that plays both Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs? I'd like one of those.

Re:Total HD Player (3, Informative)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461572)

So, will I be able to buy a Total HD Player that plays both Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs?

No, its the other way round. They are claiming that these Total-HD disks will play in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray players flawlessly. If the manufacturing costs of these disks is comparable to HD-DVD/Blu-ray disks, it might just click.

Re:Total HD Player (4, Interesting)

teslar (706653) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461836)

If the manufacturing costs of these disks is comparable to HD-DVD/Blu-ray disks, it might just click.
No, I reckon this one's DOA. These discs are thought to have an HD-DVD and a Blue-Ray layer [reghardware.co.uk] , so essentially, you could either buy this and have access to half the disc or by the regular HD/Blueray (delete as appropriate) one and have the entire disc.

Or look at it this way:
People don't know which way the market will swing. Some manufacturers are trying to win either way with a disc that can be played in both players. However, once the market is decided, nobody will buy them, what'd be the point? If the market never gets decided, consumers will just get bored, buy an HD/Blueray drive and still ignore Total HD.

Whatever happens, I reckon a year from now Total HD will be all but forgotten.

Re:Total HD Player (5, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461898)

If the manufacturing costs of these disks is comparable to HD-DVD/Blu-ray disks, it might just click.

I doubt it. Both formats' relative failure up until this point has nothing to do with the "format war". I use quotes because there really isn't any war to speak of; nobody cares. Look throughout recent history, and you'll see that nobody cares about incremental quality improvements in media format. If the media's physical shape or size changes, that's something else, but there aren't any physical changes here. Even broadcast quality upgrades have been ill-received, and have only come about because the FCC has mandated it. In this case, I don't believe a regulatory agency even exists to mandate media format upgrades.

So, dual mode discs or dual mode players or even a total end to any disagreement between content producers will change nothing; HD-DVD/Blu-Ray will each go the way of DVD-Audio (do most of you even know what that is?).

Re:Total HD Player (4, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462234)

I agree that nobody cares.

An interesting side note on formats...

Most of my friends who have the new wide screen HD TVs don't have HD service. Furthermore, they stretch standard TV to fill their wide screen which makes everyone look fat. They end up with a low quality distorted picture but they are really impressed with their new "media experience". This is the real HD experience. I doubt there is any real demand for true HD.

Re:Total HD Player (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462548)

This is changing now that the major cable companies will give you HD service for little/no money.

I love HD. I find that people that bitch about HD generally are being stubborn.

It really is different. It really does look vastly better. Watch a PBS show or Discovery show in 1080i/p, and you'll see the difference too, as long as the set is setup correctly.

Re:Total HD Player (5, Funny)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462646)

Most of my friends who have the new wide screen HD TVs don't have HD service. Furthermore, they stretch standard TV to fill their wide screen which makes everyone look fat. They end up with a low quality distorted picture but they are really impressed with their new "media experience". This is the real HD experience. I doubt there is any real demand for true HD.

I would submit that your friends are ninnies, and that you draw your conclusions from too little data.

Re:Total HD Player (2, Interesting)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462942)

I would submit that your friends are ninnies, and that you draw your conclusions from too little data.
You're right. I don't have many geek friends. My data is also anecdotal, limited, and probably biased. However, my point is that most "average" people are clueless about HD. I am skeptical that there is a "market" for HD. (I am also usually wrong about "consumers" and "markets".)

Re:Total HD Player (2, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462648)

My brother has an HD TV and an HD service, which he is always keen to show off. It's a source of endless amusement to keep asking him if we're watching an HD broadcast, and making him check on the guide. The best part is when he blames his 1 year old top end Sony HD TV for not being able to display the HD content properly. He's just convinced that there must be a better experience to be had, somehow, some way, if he can just get the cabling right.

Re:Total HD Player (4, Informative)

SyncNine (532248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463128)

Your brother, evidently, is either an idiot with poor eyesight _or_ correct about his TV sucking wastewater -- here's why:

Standard Television signal is approximately 480 lines of resolution, meaning there are 480 different pixels in every vertical line on the television, and the signal is interlaced, meaning that the TV displays 1/2 of the lines in the first scan (1st, 3rd, 5th, so on) and then the second half of the lines in the second scan (2nd, 4th, 6th, so on). This means that at any given time, only 240 of the lines of video on your TV are being updated, meaning that you're not getting all 480 lines of solid resolution. They are _there_ but they are not being displayed at the exact same time.

HD Television is either 720 lines of resolution in non-interlaced format or 1080 lines of resolution in interlaced or non-interlaced format. Even with 1080i, you're still getting 540 lines of resolution per scan -- more than double that of standard television. The actual resolution is almost 3 times as high as standard definition television. With 720p, you're getting more than 3 times the detail per frame than on 480i! You'll note if you research that there is a strong following of videophiles who claim that 720p is actually a more detailed picture than 1080i/p, but personally, I like my 1080i just fine.

The moral of the story is that if your brother can't tell the difference between an HD source and a 480i source, he needs a new set of eyeballs or to clean the 3 feet of dust off the television.

I have a Hitachi 51s715 51" HDTV and the difference between standard definition content and HD content is more than apparent, it is _obvious_. Anyone that isn't truly blind can see the amazing difference in clarity, color depth, black reproduction, etc.

I'm not sure if you're making your story up, your brother is a blind moron, or his TV sucks wastewater, but one of the three is true -- an HD signal cannot be mistaken for an SD signal by anyone with eyesight!

Lastly, regarding programming, Comcast offers free HD with any PVR system, DirecTV has a solid lineup of HD channels, Charter offers a good selection for no additional cost (you just have to call for the receiver), Dish Network has a poor selection but also has HD... Anyone saying it's hard or difficult to get HD service in their area must not be in an area serviced by any of those four major providers.

(ps, I'm not a video scholar, and my description of TV resolution is probably far from 100% accurate, but does cover the basics. Correct me on it if you want to, but I'm not claiming to have pioneered the NTSC standard or anything.)

Re:Total HD Player (1)

Danga (307709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462878)

I disagree that nobody cares about HD content. Sure, for DVD's it is going to take a while for people to switch over because they already have collections of normal DVD's (plus normal DVD's do look damn good on an HDTV already), but for regular TV I can't name very many people I know who "don't care" about it because the difference between SD broadcast and HD is a much bigger jump than between HD DVDs and regular DVDs.

My favorite thing to watch in HD is sports, there is a HUGE difference between watching a game in HD vs SD. Everyone who comes over and watches me flip between the regular broadcast and the HD broadcast of games can't believe how big of a difference it is. Your friends who stretch the standard TV to fill their widescreens probably just don't know how to properly setup their systems or don't realize they need to subscribe to the HD channels. I see no other reason they would not get HD service because it is not that expensive, in my experience it has only been 5-10 dollars more per month.

I also wanted to mention that everyone I know who has gone out to purchase a new TV was very interested in the HD capabilities. Many of the people I know who have gotten new TV's even did so just to get an HDTV and enjoy the benefits it provides. These are a range of people from my own peers ~25 years old, to my parents and their friends ~45-60 years old (many of whom purchased their HDTV's a few years ago), to my 91 year old grandma.

Basically you are flat out wrong that there is no demand for true HD. The sets are pretty cheap and getting cheaper and the cost to subscribe to HD channels is already very low. For HD DVD's it will take much, much longer because the cost of the players is still high and people are not going to want to rebuy their whole collection of movies but for regular TV HD service is desired by many people and the demand is growing higher.

Re:Total HD Player (1)

The Mad Debugger (952795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463004)

I have an HDTV and stretch the hell out of SD to make it fit. I "know better", but much of my content is still in SD only. Right now all I watch in HD are sporting events, with an $20 OTA antenna. I know that I could subscribe to HD programming, but I'm waiting for DirecTV or Comcrap (It's Craptastic!) to put out an HD-DVR that isn't a total POS (or for TiVo to ship one that doesn't cost $800).

At least in my household there is demand for HD (even my wife, who doesn't know dink about TV can tell the difference), but not at the current pricepoint and quality level. DVDs and stretched SD (my Sharp has a pretty good "smart stretch") look just fine, and my trusty SD TiVo is very.. trusty.

Re:Total HD Player (1)

MonsterSound (940269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462416)

Total HD doesn't play regular DVD's. People don't want more machines cluttering up the living room. I'll wait.

Re:Total HD Player (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463060)

I disagree. I think that when the price comes down on next gen DVD (players and disks), then people will want them. It took a while for DVD to become popular. And I also think that the format war isn't helping.

There is a compelling reason to want higher capacity disks for computer data. This will also help drive adoption of next gen drives and disks.

Re:Total HD Player (1)

poser101 (982233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461580)

Wow... that'll teach me to RTFS before posting.

Excellent (3, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461516)

This will end the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD war much in the same way that DVD±R drives ended the DVD+R / DVD-R war.

And to a lesser extent the Betamax / VHS war.

Re:Excellent (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461606)

This will end the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD war much in the same way that DVD±R drives ended the DVD+R / DVD-R war.
And to a lesser extent the Betamax / VHS war.


Please elaborate on how DVD±R drives ended the Betamax/VHS war...

Re:Excellent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17461812)

Simple, it made both of them obsolete.

Re:Excellent (1)

Maul (83993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462070)

Please elaborate on how DVD±R drives ended the Betamax/VHS war...

I think it has something to do with robot monkey ninja pirates from outer space.

Re:Excellent (4, Funny)

winnabago (949419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462192)

Give him some slack, he managed to find the '±' key on the keyboard!

Re:Excellent (2, Insightful)

mchale (104743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462480)

Well, you have to admit there hasn't been any real conflict between VHS and Betamax since DVD±R hit the market.

Re:Excellent (3, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461646)

Or it could make things worse ...

Imagine someone who doesn't know too much about the technology who walks into best buy to buy a movie player. They can buy a HD-DVD player for $500, a Blu-Ray player for $1000 or a Dual-Format player for $1250; the Best-Buy salesman is trying to make more money so he starts talking about how neither format is ensured success so they should probably buy the dual format player. After looking at the move players they walk over to the movie section and see some titles in HD-DVD that are not available in Blu-Ray, some titles in Blu-Ray that aren't available in HD-DVD and there are less Total-HD titles than either of the other formats; on top of this the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD titles are $30 where the Total-HD titles are $35. After all of that they notice that Best Buy is having a sale on DVDs where 2 of their favourite movies are on the 2 for $15 rack and they have a working DVD player at home.

Every sale of a Total-HD disc or Dual-Format drive prevents the industry as a whole from choosing one format as their standard.

Re:Excellent (2, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462024)

I don't think that scenario will really play out like that most of the time. I think what will happen is that the cheaper format to produce will run away with the success as content producers see that they don't need to pay for the more expensive format to get their stuff into people's houses anymore. As more and more titles move to the cheaper format, the more expensive will fade to irrelevance.

A winner is DVD (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462578)

I think what will happen is that the cheaper format to produce will run away with the success as content producers see that they don't need to pay for the more expensive format to get their stuff into people's houses anymore.

Where "the cheaper format to produce" == standard-definition DVD, right?

Re:A winner is DVD (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462710)

I don't doubt it. CD defeated SACD and DVD-Audio quite convincingly... but then again, mp3 / various lossy formats are defeating CD. I almost would have preferred the winner to win the old fashion way. This dual formatting on either the player side or the disc side simply delays prices from coming down.

Re:Excellent (1)

n0dna (939092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462178)

RTFSummary:

The article also mentions that LG (along with "possibly other gadget makers") is expected to announce a player that can play both formats.

$1200 dual-format player (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462482)

They can buy a HD-DVD player for $500, a Blu-Ray player for $1000 or a Dual-Format player for $1250

Or they see in the video game aisle that they can build their own own dual-format player. Taking the example of the United States, I can buy an Xbox 360 with HD-DVD accessory for $600, a PS3 premium for $600, and get two free game consoles (PS3 and 360) and a free Linux PC (PS3 Open Platform [playstation.com] ). There's your $1200 dual-format player.

(Before you go complaining about European PS3 launch delays, HappySqurriel wrote $, and $ != €.)

Re:Excellent (1)

sasdrtx (914842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463100)

Nice lesson in non sequitor.

A common format is in the industry's (short-term) interest; it is not in the consumer's interest.

Competition drives innovation, cost savings, and value faster than any other method.

Re:Excellent (1)

Steve B (42864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461684)

And to a lesser extent the Betamax / VHS war.

That war was already pretty much over by the time DVD recorders got anywhere near competitive with VCRs.

Re:Excellent (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462936)

There never was much of a war. People who had DVD+R drives bought DVD+R media and people who had DVD-R drives bought DVD-R media. The market can handle quite a few blank storage media formats - there are at least 4 commonly used types of flash - It's multiple formats of prerecorded media that takes up shelf space.

As much as I hate Sony... (-1, Troll)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461542)

Blu-Ray is an always has been superior just based on the fact that it can hold more data (and it uses that cool blue laser). The Slashdot crown needs to jump on the Blu-Ray bandwagon and dump HD-DVD before it is too late. I was at the CES show last year and the format war was in full swing before players for either format even existed on the open market. I just couldn't stop laughing when people were peddling the HD-DVD format because they really had nothing to say that could trump Blu-Ray.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (5, Insightful)

duguk (589689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461584)

Um, HD-DVD uses the blue-violet 405nm laser too.

I'm keeping out of this arguement though, I really don't care which is better until one of them fails. Too much DRM, too many faults and cost is just too much.

Monkeyboi

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (4, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461630)

superior just based on the fact that it can hold more data

Brilliant. A single criterion for superiority.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461660)

Betamax was better, too. I'll stick with the HD-DVD bandwagon.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (3, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461692)

"Blu-Ray is an always has been superior just based on the fact that it can hold more data"

Yeah. I have some backup tapes that can hold more than my hard drive but I still use my hard drive as my primary source of data storage. Why? Because storage capacity isn't everything. I'm not saying BluRay is or isn't superior but I'd wager data throughput will be a much bigger factor. The cost of the reader and writer will also be significant, especially if the only difference is indeed storage capacity.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463040)

Well, the storage capacity was the reason that VHS cassettes won out over BetaMax, even though Beta was a better technology. A small irony was that VHS-C (the little camcorder tapes) had to be developed later because of the bulkiness of VHS cassettes (which were essentially bigger to hold more tape than beta).

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463086)

But then again, it was also probably the tendency of Sony not to want license out its technology. Though, I think by now, they've begun to learn their lesson.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (3, Insightful)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461702)

Blu-Ray is an always has been superior just based on the fact that it can hold more data (and it uses that cool blue laser).

Both HD-DVD and blu-ray use blue-lasers, so that is a non-issue. Blue-Ray has more capacity per layer (25GB/layer) as opposed to HD-DVD (15GB/layer), but a dual-layer HD-DVD has more than enough space to hold a movie and all the crappy extra feature, especially when using h264 or VC1 codec. So extra space for blu-ray is also irrelevant. Extra space may be needed for games, and IMHO thats where Blu-ray will shine. But for movies HD-DVD is a better deal because in the end you get same audio/video quality as blu-ray at half the price. Blu-ray might just end up being a gaming-format for ps3 and nothing more.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17461858)

Last I heard Blu-Ray players could not actually read the second layer of the disks yet meaning the 50 GB is just hypothetical at this point. Thus making HD-DVD's 30 GB (15 per layer) more than Sony's 25 GB on the first layer.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (3, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462388)

Both HD-DVD and blu-ray use blue-lasers, so that is a non-issue. Blue-Ray has more capacity per layer (25GB/layer) as opposed to HD-DVD (15GB/layer), but a dual-layer HD-DVD has more than enough space to hold a movie and all the crappy extra feature, especially when using h264 or VC1 codec. So extra space for blu-ray is also irrelevant.


The current "big thing" with TV programs is to package them in seasons for sale on DVDs (sometimes along with Extras).

If this idea makes the jump to HD media (which is a reasonable assumption), then the extra space means less discs in the set, or the same number of discs with more space for extras.

Just because the extra space doesn't seem relevant for one application (storing a movie with some extras) doesn't mean it couldn't be used for some other parallel application that might need it.

Thats like saying "people will never need more than X amount of HardDrive space in their machines, since all you need is X to install WindowsXP and a word processor". Some people do things like Video or Audio editing which might need more space. Others need to run large Databases for businesses.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (4, Interesting)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461728)

Price should be a consideration in 'superior format' as well ...

HD-DVD is currently much less expensive for consumers, and manufacturers of both discs and hardware. This may not be the case forever, but (hypothetically) if it is cheaper to produce 2 or 3 HD-DVD discs then to produce 1 Blu-Ray disc the storage capacity advantage is not really important.

Re:As much as I hate Sony... (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462078)

For archival purposes, the more expensive disc with slightly higher capacity can still be a better idea, because it will be easier and hopefully quicker to manage. I would keep using DVD-Rs (at about $.30 to $.40/disc) even if CD-Rs were free, since I like fitting 20-30 TV episodes instead of 4 on a disc.

What is "produce"? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462524)

if it is cheaper to produce 2 or 3 HD-DVD discs then to produce 1 Blu-Ray disc the storage capacity advantage is not really important.

By "produce" do you mean "replicate" or "author"?

Only hope (1, Interesting)

Da3vid (926771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461560)

In my opinion, I think this is the format's only hope of ever becoming popularized. It'll need to get its bugs worked out, get into production and drive the price down some... then maybe, just maybe... people in general will be interested in buying content of this nature. This is the first step though, and to be honest... I didn't expect it to get this far. I hope they continue to surprise me!

Has Sony sold a License? (4, Interesting)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461612)

Last I saw was that Sony (and possibly Toshiba with HDDVD) was refusing to license any player that could play both formats?

or has some one (LG?) gotten around this some how?

Mods do not RTFS (4, Informative)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461770)

The article also mentions that LG (along with "possibly other gadget makers") is expected to announce a player that can play both formats.


The ability to make a player that plays both formats has been around for a while now (nearly as long as the formats infact), however Sony (and the rest that hold the patents on Blu-Ray) were refusing to sell a license for any device that would play both formats. Now LG is announcing that they will be sellign one.

so either they are ignoring the Patents (and will get sued horribly for it) or have gotten a License (or found a work around).

Re:Mods do not RTFS (1)

bassgoonist (876907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461916)

LG is one of the blu-ray 'partners'. I don't know what this means exactly, but it would stand to reason they have their own license to use as they please.

Re:Mods do not RTFS (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462260)

Don't read those End User Licence Agreements do you?

but it would stand to reason they have their own license to use as they please.

They have their own licence to use as they please within the confines of the licence. Just because I have a licence to use XP Pro on my home computer (yes, I do, I actually plunked down for the retail version...my reasons are my own) doesn't mean I can do what I want to Windows. (Assuming I actually adhere to the licence)

True, I can violate that licence and MS likely won't come down on me like a sack of bricks. LG, though, is a corporation and is watched by Sony and other members of the Blu Ray Disc Association. I'd imagine they WOULD come down on LG like a sack of bricks. They could probably even revoke LG's licence.

Re:Mods do not RTFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17462824)

LG, though, is a corporation and is watched by Sony and other members of the Blu Ray Disc Association. I'd imagine they WOULD come down on LG like a sack of bricks. They could probably even revoke LG's licence.

Talk out of your ass much? I don't suppose you have ANY sources other than pure conjecture?

Re:Mods do not RTFS (1)

bassgoonist (876907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462852)

Well EULA's are one thing, but LG isn't an end user are they now? I just got the feeling LG is within their right to do what they please with their license from reading about it, but...*shrug*

Media Providers Benefit (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461664)

As the title says, for not the media providers benefit, as they can provide disks in whichever format has the lower licencing fees (HD-DVD, I would assume). Consumers will need to wait for a price drop to see any benefit, but this is a start.

Maybe not! (4, Insightful)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461750)

The Blu-Ray folks seem dead set against this. From the New York Times article:
In recent interviews, executives at Fox and Disney were unequivocal in their support for Blu-ray. They said they believed that releasing DVDs in both formats would only prolong confusion and the emergence of a winning format. "I think the fastest way to end the format war is through decisiveness and strength," said Bob Chapek, the president of Buena Vista Worldwide Entertainment, the home video arm of Walt Disney.

As has been noted in an earlier post, Blu-Ray disks hold more data. Those behind Blu-Ray would not be happy to see their disks reduced to computer archives rather than media as Warner Bros. sells content to happy consumers. This could be a considerable loss for Blu-Ray as empty disks sell for much less than disks with media.

Something that is not mentioned in the article is why consumers would want either format anyway.

I have a 1080i television and a seXbox-360, but I don't want either format because of the DRM and the lack of features. Maybe in the future when they can offer something substantive, as DVD did when it displaced video tape, I'll consider Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, or Total DVD. Right now, DVD looks just fine to me.

DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17462046)

I don't want either format because of the DRM and the lack of features.
Didn't someone break the DRM on HD-DVD over the hollidays? Maybe this will kill the format and we'll have one winnner.

Re:DRM (1)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462586)

The next gen DRM has been reported as broken. It doesn't really count until you can get your hands on a next gen version of DVD Decrypter or write one of your own. :)

I don't think it will be long in coming, but for the time being, I still consider the next gen DRM to be unbroken.

Re:Maybe not! (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462058)

So don't buy it if you're not interested in HDDVD/Bluray. I for one am. You may not be interested in jumping from 0.3MP to 2MP video, but others are.

Your 360 will let you download a few (very few) HD movies right now, but they're all ~5GB downloads, and currently in 720p only. Downloads might eventually broadly surpass disk media, but for now, the easiest way to get a 25/30/50GB chunk of video data is with physical media.

Also, in the eyes of the law, DVD's are DRM'd too. If DVD's are okay now, then Bluray/HDDVD will be okay once its DRM is cracked.

Re:Maybe not! (1)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462840)

I will not buy any of the next gen media formats. You are encouraged to buy whatever your heart desires.

I was trying to convey the feeling I have that these new formats are going to fail in a collosal way.

For instance, on December 10, 2006 Richard Siklos wrote in a New York Times article titled The Hat Trick That Didn't Happen

According to a recent survey by Frank N. Magid Associates, the number of people buying these sets who are looking forward to watching television shows in hi-def format has actually declined, to 47 percent from 63 percent two years ago. And while nearly half of current owners of HDTV sets said that their main reason for buying one was to watch programs in HD, only 25 percent of those shopping for the sets feel that way.

Moreover, it requires yet another cas outlay to gain access to premium HD fare like Dan Rather's new crystal-clear newscasts on Mark Cuban's HDNet.

Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, Total Movie all have a tough row to hoe. I don't think the general public is going to want to pay an even higher price for something DVD already does so well.

Re:Maybe not! (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462064)

``In recent interviews, executives at Fox and Disney were unequivocal in their support for Blu-ray. They said they believed that releasing DVDs in both formats would only prolong confusion and the emergence of a winning format.''

Yes. That's exactly why unification is a Good Thing. Of course, the best thing would have been not screwing this up in the first place.

``"I think the fastest way to end the format war is through decisiveness and strength,"''

No. The best way to end the format war is to not have multiple formats anymore. As long as you continue to fight, the war continues. Only when both sides decide on a common format (either because one side gives in, or because they decide to cooperate rather than fight) will there be a solution.

Re:Maybe not! (1)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462918)

I was watching Wargames a couple of weeks ago. This reminds me of the computers decision:
The only way to win is not to play.

I think that applies to consumers more than the companies. If consumers don't play in large enough numbers to make a difference, we win!

CONTENT (1)

THESuperShawn (764971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461872)

Unfortunately, it all boils to content, which must be licensed. Just because you "can" make a universal format doesn't mean studios will make licenses available.

While I think this is great news, I don;t see a happy marriage in HD-DVD/Blu-Ray's future, just as we didn't see comb DVD/DIVX devices. Once went on to be wildly popular, while the other went tits up. The same can basically be said about VHS/Beta.

Re:CONTENT (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462006)

Which divx are you talking about. If you're talking about the one that's pretty much identical to xvid, it's doing fairly well. Doesn't have a huge market share outside of shared files/discs, but it's a growing one. It's easier to find combination xvid/divx/mpeg1/mpeg2(DVD) players now than it was a few years ago and some of them are dirt cheap.

Re:CONTENT (1)

idlemind (760102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462198)

I think he's talking about the DIVX where the discs could expire and the player needed to be connected to the internet. I could be wrong but I don't think the old DIVX format is related to the DIVX codec.

Re:CONTENT (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463082)

Which divx are you talking about. If you're talking about the one that's pretty much identical to xvid, it's doing fairly well.

I think the GP was referring to the old technology that really sucked ass [wikipedia.org] where you get a movie on a Divx disc and it expires after a couple days, not the Divx/xvid codec.

Re:CONTENT (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462118)

``we didn't see comb DVD/DIVX devices.''

We didn't? I seem to recall seeing these on display in stores and in advertisements. Perhaps I was hallucinating?

Re:CONTENT (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462576)

But then they all self destructed after 2 weeks.

A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (5, Insightful)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461900)

The new Warner Bros. "Total HD" hybrid disc and LG Electronics (re-announced) combo HD DVD/Blu-Ray drive are solutions for a problem we didn't ask for: studios being idiotic and only releasing movies in one format.

WB and Paramount get free passes for being the only studios to support both formats. Everyone else gets Fs.

The HD market is a tiny swab of moist air in the filled water bucket of DVD revenue. I think sales are still under 1%. I can guarantee you that they would be at 5% or more if this stupid format war never came around. That's the main issue.

I don't understand why Universal (and to some extent WB) continue to make these HD DVD/DVD combo discs. For the uninitiated, these are dual-sided discs, with the DVD on one side and the HD DVD on the other. Dual-sided discs are always more complicated and expensive to manufacture and they're really not a value-add to consumers. Most big releases on DVD go with multiple discs rather than multiple sides. So, it makes it a crappier product and on top of that, they charge a premium, anywhere from $10 to $20 (MSRP) for our "benefit"! Note: expect this to play out in this new/twin/hybrid Blu-Ray and HD DVD format. Why pay $25 for one movie when you can pay $40 for both, one of which is unnecessary?

And here LG joins the fray, offering a dual-format player for $800-$1300. Nevermind that at that price range a savvy shopper would be already able to buy both players. HDTV owners aren't buying the new formats because they don't want to pick the losing side. Why don't they want to pick the losing side? Because they don't want to buy a new player for the winning format years down the road. Mind you, in 2009 or 2010 HD players are going to be $199. So these people are holding off because they don't want to spend $199 in another year. And a new $1000 player is supposed to calm these fears?

I can't put it any clearer than this: they fucked up. Everyone did. And now to make up for their mistakes, we should pay extra. And we won't.

The best part? The statements we'll hear in 2008 that the HD market isn't catching on. And who's to blame? Why, not the studios, but pirates! Pirates took our profits.

This whole ordeal is being played out by giant billion-dollar corporations that are basically repeatedly hitting themselves and each other in the groin with a hammer. When we ask them to stop and re-think what they're doing, they just ask us for money to cover the medical expenses. And then they use that money to buy more fucking hammers.

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462038)

I don't understand why Universal (and to some extent WB) continue to make these HD DVD/DVD combo discs. For the uninitiated, these are dual-sided discs, with the DVD on one side and the HD DVD on the other. Dual-sided discs are always more complicated and expensive to manufacture and they're really not a value-add to consumers. Most big releases on DVD go with multiple discs rather than multiple sides. So, it makes it a crappier product and on top of that, they charge a premium, anywhere from $10 to $20 (MSRP) for our "benefit"! Note: expect this to play out in this new/twin/hybrid Blu-Ray and HD DVD format. Why pay $25 for one movie when you can pay $40 for both, one of which is unnecessary?

Remember, you do have a choice. It's not like anyone is forcing you to buy an HD-DVD/DVD combo disc because all of these "flipper" discs are also available as normal DVD only releases. Why buy one? Well, I've bought two. I bought them because one day probably later this year or maybe next year, I intend to get an HD-DVD player. I like being able to see the movie now in DVD format and knowing that down the road I have a disc that will also enable me to watch the film in high definition and not have to re-buy it. Just because you don't see the use in this option doesn't mean that no one else does. Remember, no one is taking away your choice to just buy the DVD, so why complain?

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462084)

rs. HDTV owners aren't buying the new formats because they don't want to pick the losing side. Why don't they want to pick the losing side? Because they don't want to buy a new player for the winning format years down the road. Mind you, in 2009 or 2010 HD players are going to be $199. So these people are holding off because they don't want to spend $199 in another year. And a new $1000 player is supposed to calm these fears

They are not worried about the hardware, they are worried that in 2 years they could have spent $5000 on content (early adopters are often collectors) in a format which they can no longer buy a player for.

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462528)

> in 2 years they could have spent $5000 on content (early adopters are often collectors) in a format which they can no longer buy a player for.

And as a special DMCA bonus, if they try obtain the (illegal) tools to (legally) spaceshift it to another medium, they get to go to Federal prison.

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462448)

ATTENTION SLASHDOT EDITURDS: Give the parent his own column.

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (1)

petehead (1041740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462564)

studios being idiotic and only releasing movies in one format.
You mean like Columbia/Tri Star that is owned by Sony? Of course they aren't going to release on the competing format. That is why Sony started buying media companies after beta failed. For leverage. I like the idea of a dual format player negating that leverage.

Why pay $25 for one movie when you can pay $40 for both, one of which is unnecessary?
Maybe because everyone on /. complains about studios selling us the same thing multiple times. This way, you buy your dvd now for a little extra and you don't have to buy it again when you get HD.

And here LG joins the fray, offering a dual-format player for $800-$1300. Nevermind that at that price range a savvy shopper would be already able to buy both players.
Yep, and those price savvy shoppers will be able to buy the LG for a lot less than retail.

HDTV owners aren't buying the new formats because they don't want to pick the losing side.
That is exactly why LG is making the player: you will have the winning side no matter what!

I can't put it any clearer than this: they fucked up.
While I tend to agree with you here, if one format ends up winning (and not compromising), then that side will not have fucked up.

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462572)

Dual-sided discs are always more complicated and expensive to manufacture

Interesting point, but that doesn't explain why many early releases on DVD were dual sided single layer (DSSL). (Right Stuff, Amadeus for two immediate examples I can think of). Single side dual layer is more complex and expensive, but (a) kinks got worked out and techniques improved so the raw cost dropped down close to (if not at) DSSL production and (b) customers just like them more so they sell better.

Heck, I didn't buy Amadeus because of that until the 2 disc SE.

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463090)

Heck, I didn't buy Amadeus because of that until the 2 disc SE.
As a side note, did they ever redo Sleepers and A Time to Kill? I think those are the only two flippers I still haven't replaced since those early days. Amadeus, Goodfellas I got around to. Ah who cares, I stopped buying DVDs when this whole "limbo period" started. eg. HD resolution media's available, but I can't jump on it because of the format war, and I won't bother to buy DVDs anymore because I don't want to double dip. I guess they (competing formats) did F up.

Re:A solution for a problem we didn't ask for... (1)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463030)

Yeah, that's dead-on.

I agree that they screwed up HD. I think it started when they couldn't pick ONE aspect ratio/resolution/connector. That confused boatloads of people. What was so hard about picking something nice (1080p, 16:9, and a nice digital connector) and waiting until the hardware to drive it came about? It'd be a format that could last a while. It would eliminate all of the confusion too.

If they really had their act together, they would have picked one new video connector format for both the new HD tv's and computer graphics cards. Then the videogame console makers could sell home office software, as their consoles would hook directly to monitors. It seems like both Sony and Microsoft want to do this, but nothing happened from it.

HD, and the ancillary disk formats try to get everyone to pay more (a lot more!) for quality. In the past, consumers have been most interested in convenience first. With multiple formats and standards, HD is less convenient.

About the only good thing in all this is the digital broadcasting. At least in the US, the digital signals are mpeg2 streams, making them easy to capture and much less snowy.

This just makes matters worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17461932)

The "Total HD" isn't so total. It doesn't support regular DVD.

So here's what you're going to see in the stores:

1) The plain old-DVD that has standard TV content
2) The HD-DVD that has HD-DVD content and standard TV content
3) The Blu-Ray DVD that has Blu-Ray and standard TV content
4) The Total HD that has Blu-Ray and HD-DVD content, but no standard TV content

4 formats, and not one that covers everything.

The war is far from over.

But don't forget this other format: (1)

butterberg (1046750) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461934)

China's proposed EVD [slashdot.org] .

Re:But don't forget this other format: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17462146)

just forget the content for that..

Re:But don't forget this other format: (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462236)

``China's proposed EVD.''

And you think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Big Media will support that?

Perhaps it will be nice for consumers, but I'm sure Big Media will lobby for a hefty levy on blank EVD media and get it "because it's really only used for piracy" in countries where such levies exist, e.g. many EU countries.

I'd rather have a dual-format player (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461940)

This new disk format is a neat idea, but til probably only be used by those who already release their films in both Blueray and HDDVD formats. Will Sony choose to use these disks, or will it continue releasing their movies only in Blueray? That's the difference between the disk and the player. If I had a blueray player, I don't need to care what politics at the movie studios are doing, I can play any disk format. With the new dual-format TotalHD disk, the politics at the studios still have plenty of opportunity to cause me grief.

Nope. Until there's a player that does both, you can count me out. I've got a nice 108" 720P projector image that I enjoy low-def DVDs on. I bet that by the time I don't have to worry about studio politics and all-format players are at an acceptable price, that I'll be able to afford a 1080P projector to replace it.

Re:I'd rather have a dual-format player (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462932)

If I had a blueray player, I don't need to care what politics at the movie studios are doing, I can play any disk format.

Oops. Of course I meant to say if I had an all-format player then I don't need to worry about studio politics... I should proofread more often before clicking submit...

Who cares? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461962)

Regular DVD are quite good enough on average. Surprisingly good when you separate the signals as S-video or comp. Sure, some things look technically better on HD. But how many people will pay? How many have bought HDTV in the US? And many people are satisfied with only 250 lines on airline & portable DVD players.

I think none of these will fly at any premium until display technology is sufficiently cheap.

Beginning of the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17461980)

The format war is not between blu-ray/hd-dvd, it's between DVD and whatever comes after. The new formats will need universal reading, cheap burners and players, cheap pressed media, and cheap blank media. The vast DVD back libraries will have to be built. The HDCP outputs will have to be matched to actual output devices available in the market, and the copy protection will have to be completely broken like with CSS.

This sounds like a good first step, but the "war" is far from won. Perhaps by Christmas.

Death To Discs (0, Troll)

kodec (1011233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462060)

Disc-based media needs to be retired. These companies should all have pursued the creation of direct download services where they compete to acquire the rights from movie studios to offer their films to consumers for download to universal players with built-in hard drives.

Let me guess what's holding that up... copy protection?

Re:Death To Discs (3, Informative)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462210)

Disc-based media needs to be retired.

Yea, because all those people that don't have access to broadband are not worth selling to. All those people who are too poor to pay for internet connection consistently every single month (or Cable TV with digital and pay-per-view fees, or plain old standard telephone line even) , but who could afford a DVD or two now and then are also not worth selling to. You'd be suprised how many people that don't have any phone, TV cable, and other basic services have quite nice stereos, TVs, game consoles, DVD players, etc. They just choose what to save up for and what to not keep paying for again and again and again. Do neither of those two groups of people deserve to watch movies?

Sorry, but we're not quite to a point where your everything from the internet and nowhere else market works.

Bleeding Edge... (1)

leon.gandalf (752828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462100)

When one of these damned High Deff players goes under a $100 let me know... Till then whooptidy fucking doo...

HD Disk format wars are over (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462114)

Indeed they are [theinquirer.net] !

I know we all hate Sony but... (-1, Flamebait)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462142)

I really prefer that HD-DVD just DIE. Besides the fact that it's not much of an improvement over regular DVD's and will need to be replaced again really soon... Microsoft has got their format wiggled in there and they don't need royalties from all the movie studios for ripping off standard codecs. So dual players is a pain because everybody "Wins"... oh well, at least they'll have to drop royalty prices in order to get the studios to use their half of the format.

Re:I know we all hate Sony but... (3, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462704)

I'm curious where you got that impression from, since HD and BD can use the same codecs (MPEG 4, MPEG 2 and VC-1). The only real core difference is space and so far that hasn't been an advantage for either side yet.

Comparisons at this time are mostly inconclusive as well.

There should be a tax on the RIAA for this shit (0)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462204)

Seriously, turnabout is fairplay. If these fucking nimnertz can't decide which of our pockets to pick and chose to pick both of them then the GODDAMNED RIAA should foot part of the bill for this. Until then we should just boycott both formats and then they can all fucking sue me for NOT watching their crap.

Re:There should be a tax on the RIAA for this shit (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462304)

What does the RIAA have to do with Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?

Re:There should be a tax on the RIAA for this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17462380)

Don't you mean the MPAA or do you just want to cover all the bases and charge both ;)

Re:There should be a tax on the RIAA for this shit (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462446)

Are you sure you have the facts straight? Are you sure you mean the RIAA? Even if you meant the MPAA I don't think they are really involved in this one either, this is between two competing formats. Did you RTFA, did you RTFS? Are you ok? Did you have too much coffee today?

Re:There should be a tax on the RIAA for this shit (0, Flamebait)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463112)

Never mind - go back to Libertarian wonderland. I'm sure the weather is fine there.

You think.. (1)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462240)

You think that Blu-Ray is expensive, you just wait until a 3rd party not only has to develop and manufacture an optic that will read both HD-DVD AND Blu-Ray while also paying royalties on BOTH technologies.

I suspect that this mystical wonder player will cost somewhere around $1,300. I base this price on absolutely nothing.

Won't cost more for long (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462390)

...the Times notes that such dual-format devices are bound to cost more than existing players...
Right now, yes, but only until they become common -- assuming that there's no clear winner to the format war soon. Quick, what can you get cheaper -- a DVD drive that also reads CDs, or one that reads both?

I can see how it plays out.... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462454)

They try and try so hard to win us over with one or the other, that neither wins. And the next generation technology (past Blu-Ray or HD-DVD) that isn't as stigmatizing to consumers is the one we take home.

I think that most of us can deal with progressive scan DVDs for quite some time, especially since 1080p televisions are more than 10 years away from being the norm. Hell, most people, believe it or not... don't have HDTV sets in their home yet. And that technology has been out a LONG time.

Not a war. (0)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462468)


There won't be a war people. And it's a total waste of time and money to make 'Total HD'. I think corporations are trying to scam the consumer on something they don't need. I'll tell you how this so-called war will end.

HD-DVD will win and Blu-ray will go the way of Betamax. Sony will feel the pinch financially when both Blu-ray and PS3 both flop.

Why will HD-DVD win over Blu-ray? Consumer are idiots. When a average consumer sees Blu-ray? All they see is a new disc format. The name does not say I am High Definition. Today, when a consumer sees HDTV, they immediately know the tv is High Definition. When they see a dvd player that says HD-DVD, they will immediately recognize that this player will play High Definition movies to go with they HD-TV.

Re:Not a war. (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462980)

I have seen statments that are quite the oposite. That HDDVD is just a bunch of letters and Blu-Ray sounds cool, so they will go for that format.

I don't know whats its like in the US, but here in Austria its hard to find a standard TV. Its all HDTV's. My guess is that they get a nice big slice of the 1000+ euro price tag. Mybee the same will happen with the Players. How many 100 euro DVD players do you need to sell to match the profit from a single HDDVD/Blu sale?

2 x 2 (2, Funny)

3.14159265 (644043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17462558)

This makes my head hurt.
On the one hand we've got discs that have both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, and on the other players that play both formats.
Somebody slap somebody!

The end is when DRM has workaround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17463042)

The end of the "format war" comes, when the DRM of one these is effectively nullified.

Otherwise, who are the early adopters? The Betamax and Minidisc crowds?

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