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Will Hybrid Players End the Format War?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the think-of-the-innocent-discs dept.

Movies 279

flyhalf writes "A new report says that hybrid players will force an early end to the HD DVD/Blu-ray format wars. Some of the projections seem optimistic: $200 hybrid players by 2009 and several manufacturers cranking them out. But reality will likely be different: 'standalone units of any format aren't selling terribly well. Recent research determined that 695,000 consumers owned either a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, but most of those are tied to a console — 400,000 of the 425,000 Blu-ray players sold by the end of 2007 were PlayStation 3s and 150,000 of the 270,000 HD DVD players were Xbox 360 add-ons.' Most importantly, consumers aren't early adopters: 'DVD players needed over a decade to supersede the VCR in the living rooms of the United States and there is little reason to believe that HD DVD and Blu-ray player adoption will outpace that of the DVD.'"

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Sony = Duh? (5, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17756928)

Yeah, Sony has 400k+ blue-ray players available in the US in the form of PS3's at this point, all right; but first, not all of those have been sold...

And second, Sony totally blew it when they built the PS3 Blue-Ray capabilities; it can't play 720p, only 480p or 1080p, which means that a very large proportion of in-place US HDTV sets couldn't use anything but 480p, which is pretty much the same as a progressive scan standard DVD in terms of resolution. Oddly, the PS3 will do 720p for games. Just not for DVDs.

The reason that 720p is important is because for the LCD market, 1080p sets were rare until very recently. 720p was the top 'P' resolution available (it's actually the "middle" resolution in standard HDTV, 1080, 720, 480) though there are some uncommon ones and some variants, like 24 FPS stuff for 1:1 movie compatibility, and some TVs could scale 1080i down to 720p, or even display 1080i, just not 1080p.

Third, Sony's balking at allowing prawn into the format (like they did for betamax), which is (IMHO) likely to deal them another severe blow. It seems like they have developed an unmatchable expertise at shooting themselves in the foot.

Re:Sony = Duh? (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757118)

I ofcourse can't find the links atm, however:
PS3 DOES suppost 720p Tech Specs [playstation.com]

What I think you are thinking of was the problem where it was downsampeling from 1080 to 480 instead of 720, and that was fixed in a firmware update.

Re:Sony = Duh? (1)

LionMage (318500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757928)

What I think you are thinking of was the problem where it was downsampeling from 1080 to 480 instead of 720, and that was fixed in a firmware update.

Last I read on the subject [arstechnica.com] , the firmware "fix" actually made things worse. This was covered previously on Slashdot, incidentally. (Sorry, don't have the link.) Anyway, last I checked, the PS3 can output 720p, but only if the source material supports that -- and right now, the only source material playable on the PS3 that outputs in 720p is games. Blu-Ray movies still won't down-scale to 720p. (If this has changed very recently, someone let me know, but the last big firmware improvement I know about [arstechnica.com] was to fix backward compatibility with PS2 games.)

Re:Sony = Duh? (4, Informative)

LionMage (318500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757206)

Just wanted to point out, you can set the PS3 to output 1080i (which apparently the PS3 can do easily enough since there is no scaling required for this operation). For users who want to play Blu-Ray movies, they can set the output preference to 1080i while watching movies, and 720p for games -- which is what the friendly ArsTechnica folks had recommended for a while now.

Still waiting on a PS3 firmware update that lets users set separate preferences (in a rational way) for Blu-Ray playback and game play. I bought my Sharp Aquos LCD TV before the Aquos line started getting 1080p support; my TV is 720p native, though it does a good job with 1080i material. (The actual LCD panel supports 768 scanlines, so no matter whether I'm watching 720p or 1080i source material, there's some kind of scaling going on behind the scenes.)

Re:Sony = Duh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757226)

Sony has refused to license Blu-ray to the adult industry. So basically they are chopping their own leg off...maybe both legs. Blu-ray will be the loser out of the gate before the race even starts.

Case closed.

Re:Sony = Duh? (1)

rfdgn1209 (975297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757282)

Apparently no one reads anymore... http://www.tvpredictions.com/hirsch111006.htm [tvpredictions.com]

Re:Sony = Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757420)

Take your own advice:

Even though the BDA association isn't technically against porn, they sure are making it hard for any porn to get produced on Blu-ray. Sony's just announced that it won't allow its subsidiary, Sony DADC Global, from producing any adult film titles. Seeing as Sony DADC is pretty much the largest Blu-ray disc producer, without their support it's near impossible to get any discs out there.

link [computerworld.com]

Re:Sony = Duh? (2, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757468)

It's not just that Sony won't license blue-ray to the adult industry, there is also the issue of HD being so sharp and clear that imperfections in the porn actors and actresses are causing problems [slashdot.org] in the industry.


Because of the clarity, the folks (mainly women) are having to undergo surgery, use mucho makeup to cover flaws or, in some cases, the studios are using software to soften the images. In other words, there's TOO much clarity and we have to somewhat downgrade the image. Ironic, no?

Re:Sony = Duh? (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757528)

being so sharp and clear that imperfections in the porn actors and actresses are causing problems in the industry.
You mean it's not the continuing increase in tatoos and piercings on the pr0n stars who peaked in the mid-1990s that's turning people off?

Re:Sony = Duh? (1)

drix (4602) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757314)

All three legs, even...

Re:Sony = Duh? (2, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757538)

The Adult entertainment industry is much smaller and less influential then most nerds believe. The 6+ bil adult insutry is a myth. World wide I'd be surprised if it weighed in at more then 1 bil. Most of the big numbers were quoted from forbes who quoted AVN who was doing an interview with porn enterpanier of moderate fame who threw out huge numbers he pulled out his ass.

They might have been a factor in the VHS/Beta wars but not the only one. And back int he 70's/80's the avenue for pornography were few so even the modest size of the industry might have been a background factor. But these days most porn hounds get more "bang" for their buck online. It will be a less compelling factor in this round of the format wars then in the one in the days of yore.

Re:Sony = Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17758072)

porn enterpanier of moderate fame who threw out huge numbers he pulled out his ass

Numbers are bad enough to put in there, but huge numbers? I'm not surprised to hear that he's in the porn industry.

Re:Sony = Duh? (1)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757614)

Its not quite case closed; true the fact Betamax wasn't licensed to the adult industry is apparently what gave VHS the first edge, and the adult industry is what drove DVD sales/development, but can the same be said of High Def material?

From what I've read the adult industry in general isn't that fond of HD. Apparently the sudden increase in quality isn't always -that- good a thing. So whilst it no doubt will still have an effect, I'd doubt it'll be as big as in previous situations.

Re:Sony = Duh? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758092)

And second, Sony totally blew it when they built the PS3 Blue-Ray capabilities; it can't play 720p, only 480p or 1080p, which means that a very large proportion of in-place US HDTV sets couldn't use anything but 480p, which is pretty much the same as a progressive scan standard DVD in terms of resolution. Oddly, the PS3 will do 720p for games. Just not for DVDs.

The PS3 decodes Blu-Ray (and DVD) content in firmware. Firmware is updateable. Any problems you may consider exist in the firmware are entirely solveable. I know of at least one thread [beyond3d.com] that goes into great detail as to what Sony engineers are doing to improve the playback. And that includes supporting various scaling options.

Besides, the PS3 has sold approximately 1.5 million consoles since launch, which doesn't even include Europe where Blu-Ray and HD-DVD market penetration is virtually zero but will be 99%+ Blu-Ray come March. It doesn't take much to see that the writing is on the wall for HD-DVD unless something pretty spectactular happens for the format.

Third, Sony's balking at allowing prawn into the format (like they did for betamax), which is (IMHO) likely to deal them another severe blow. It seems like they have developed an unmatchable expertise at shooting themselves in the foot.

Google "Vivid and blu-ray". Seems some porn companies intend to put out discs in the format. Not that porn companies even care these days what format to back. Porn is content. Porn companies are content providers, and they don't care what pipeline you get it through as long as you get it.

DVD replace video recorders ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17756970)


can i record on a DVD player ?

VHS wont be replaced anytime soon much as the cartels would like it so

Re:DVD replace video recorders ? (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757080)

When my current vcrs die I won't be replacing them. Between video capture devices and tuner cards I really don't need them anymore. Once I get all the hard-to-find stuff digitized I can sell my hundreds of tapes (for 10 bucks total probably) Besides, I mostly used them to record TV shows. It's easier to dvr it or download it.

I'd say the typical consumer didn't record anything on their vcr. The joke about flashing 12:00 has some basis in truth.

Re:DVD replace video recorders ? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757232)

We recorded, and still do record lots of stuff with the VCR. But we don't keep any of it. The tapes are too bulky and too expensive to bother. But if you have a SageTV box, with a 300 GB HD and a DVD burner, it becomes a lot easier to keep the material you are recording.

Re:DVD replace video recorders ? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757396)

I have a pair of DVD recorders, they work Ok. my favorite though is a Linux box with a pair of A180 ATSC/QAM tuner cards in it. I can tune lots of the digital and HD channels on Cable and record them, something that is impossible on a DVD recorder and most PVR's (I know tivo Series3)

Add in a PVR-500 and now you have 2 atsc for HD and 2 ntsc for everything else. Compresses to mpeg4 for low bandwidth and Everything plays on my kids iriver and the mediaportal PC on the big screen TV.

works great, can skip commercials, better than a Tivo because the video is portable.. I can give a DVD with a few shows on it to a friend easily.

2009? That's forever away! (1)

shrike99 (100287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757634)

In another 2 years, (I think) that there'll be a better format than both current 'standards' out. It'll be cheaper and have a greater capacity than either of BluRay OR HD DVD. And it'll probably be introduced by the computer manufacturers like Acer or Asus or something. Many people are taking the wait-and-see approach until there's a clear winner in the HiDef wars, but I believe that there's something better and cheaper coming along soon. It's still in the Lab of course!

cart before the horse (4, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757006)

Why does everyone think people will rush out to buy players when there are only a handful of HD *movies* out on the market?

I know! I know! (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757144)

Why does everyone think people will rush out to buy players when there are only a handful of HD *movies* out on the market?

Because they think we are all sheep who will do whatever we are told to do by our corporate masters?

Re:I know! I know! (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757544)

And the problem is, they're right... Must bahhhhie....

Re:cart before the horse (2, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757346)

The same reason that people by the "extended director's final final cut" six months after the standard release. It's one of the reasons why I don't rush out to buy DVDs anymore. I'm sitting on the fence waiting for deep discounts (i.e., less than $10 USD) or the extended version to come out. I'll probably wait until a combo player is available at the right price. I didn't get a DVD player for either the TV or PC until they were less than $40 USD.

Re:cart before the horse (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757886)

I know I did. I bought one of the first LOTR fellowship DVD's, but then waited. When all three were released I got waited a bit longer and got the extended edition boxed set.

Now if I can just get a boxed set of all 6 star wars movies. I won't then feel guilty about tossing episode one onto the rifle range.

Re:cart before the horse (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757586)

Why does everyone think people will rush out to buy players when there are only a handful of HD *movies* out on the market?

The focus groups that aren't, the lower management trying to save itself, the "independent" studies that fake results to favor their sponsors, greed?

They have no clue. It's truly marvelous how group think works. It's entirely plausible that you put 1000 very smart people together, and they come out with the most logic void solutions as a team.

I think we're worrying too much though: they'll try random things until one of them sticks (good ol' natural selection), and they'll just follow the money. This is why being an early adopter is something most of us gotta avoid like the plague.

A turd... (1)

doit3d (936293) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757022)

...is still a turd. All you can do is knock the rough edges off of it. A dual format player will decide nothing. Just a different brand/type of toilet paper.

Mod Parent Up (1)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757330)

He's actually right. Who's to say that the next storage medium will even be a disc? Consumers think longer run than marketing departments expect them too.

Re:Mod Parent Up (2, Insightful)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758142)

I don't think so. For one, shiny plastic discs are still the best distribution method for media like video. Everyone can go to the shops (high street or online) and buy a disc, but not everybody will have the ability to download that amount of data. Even for those with broadband, some ISPs (including mine) have introduced monthly download limits, and you can be sure that the movie studios aren't going to let ISPs dictate to them how many movies a customer can buy in a month.

And then there's the question of storage - even if hard drives becomes as economical as shiny discs in the future, DVRs will have to allow the user to swap hard drives in order to avoid an upper limit on the amount of media you can own at once... and at that point you're back to the portable disc paradigm again, only with a far more fragile piece of hardware.

Finally, I think you're wrong about consumers thinking long-run. When presented with a new paradigm, consumers will adopt it if they see a benefit. For example, online music - given P2P software and unlimited free music, consumers will use that resource, but there was no great clamour for the service before it was provided. That said, consumers are suckers for new things, and it's a lot easier to market something revolutionary, like the TiVo, than it is to market something that's an incremental upgrade, like HD-DVD or SACD.

Of course, the people trying to market the HD disc formats are fighting so many uphill battles that it's not surprising that they're struggling. They're trying to sell to a very small, HDTV-owning market. It's a very new market; people are splashing out a lot of money on these TVs now, so there's less money to spend on other pieces of kit. And when it comes to content, there's the choice between paying for something like a Sky HD box and subscription (not cheap) or a shiny disc player. Given the cost, not many customers are immediately going to buy both. And given the uncertainty in the shiny disc player market, nobody wants to pay early-adopter costs for a product that may lose all its support in a matter of months, so people will lump for Sky HD. That's without even getting into worries over HDCP...

Limited selection of old titles (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757032)

DVD players needed over a decade to supersede the VCR in the living rooms of the United States and there is little reason to believe that HD DVD and Blu-ray player adoption will outpace that of the DVD.'"

After the key break on Blu-Ray.. I followed a link in the discussion to see what titles were out and had keys listed. For the most part, the list was short and contained movies over a decade old.

It looks like the studios are just testing the waters and not yet dedicated to the format. Consumers are the same. Waiting to see what will happen. DVD's were the same except DVD's were for Movies first and data second. I think this format will deploy in the reverse as a data medium for console games, and slowly the movies will follow.

Yes (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757070)

Yes, for me, hybrid players will end the format war...

      Oh, yeah, and a player price under $150.

home recording is the thing (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758096)

The real clincher (I think) will be the first to get to affordable home archiving use. The first writer/media combo that is cheap enough to warrent the purchase for mid-income range families will be the one most likely to be widely taken up.

I'll be waiting about another three years from now though, just to be absolutelly sure.

Most people unaffected .... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757094)

The vast majority of people (in North America at least) are completely indifferent to this format war.

People with HDTV represent a fairly smallish chunk of the population. The most of the rest of us neither have, nor are we looking to buy, HDTV. It's an expensive migration path with little perceived benefit for many people and very little in actual programming to use it -- most of what I watch isn't available in HD, and I wouldn't watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" in any definition.

The ones who know how fraught with peril the technology is, are staying away -- that whole HDMI DRM debacle, not working with older sets, and whatnot conspire to make this stuff a bit of a joke at the moment. Most people I know own a plain old TV, in about the 20" range. And, most of them are very unlikely to care about HD unless it becomes exceedingly cheap and compelling to do so. For most people, a full HD set is just way too expensive to considedr.

I'm sure the format war will sort itsself out, and it will be a good thing for the small amount of people with the displays to use this stuff. But, in the mean time, I bet a lot of people really could care less about this particular format war.

Don't forget, DVD was a huge improvement over VHS, and it was compatible with existing displays. The next gen of DVD isn't.

Cheers

Re:Most people unaffected .... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757200)

Here is why HDTV is too expensive. First you have to buy the TV. Then you have to buy the BluRay or HDDVD. Then you have to buy movies for HDDVD/BluRay, Then you have to subscribe to even more expensive cable/satellite services. With DVD you could buy the player and a couple movies, and see results. Not so with this HD stuff. If you buy the TV, but stick with the old content you won't see any difference. If you get the new player, you can't see and difference unless you get a new TV.

Re:Most people unaffected .... (1)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757492)

Don't forget that over-the-air HD is now being broadcast by a ton of stations around the country. That means free HD content (minus cost of antenna), no need to sign up for cable / satellite. Also NetFlix now rents Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. This is great because the average retail price of a BR/HD movie is WAY higher than a standard DVD movie. See Terminator 2 where you can get the DVD for $9 or the Blu-Ray for $20. That's why I just rent them.

Re:Most people unaffected .... (2, Insightful)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757604)

Two things you forgot was a (possibly) new entertainment center and sound system for the new HDTV. If I'm going to go out and buy a HDTV, it's going to be a lot bigger than my current one and won't fit in my existing entertainment center. Even if I hang it on the wall, I still have to have a place to put the receiver, game consoles, and maybe movies.

Another expense is possibly getting a new sound system. My current one only has composite for my DVD/VHS and consoles, and it doesn't support any digital audio (it was a Wal-Mart special a couple of years ago). My current older HDTV monitor (it's a 32" w/o the tuner) only has 1 component (no HDMI). If I'm going to have a DVD and a couple consoles hooked to the TV, I gotta have the inputs somewhere. :P

$$$ starts adding up quick if you don't have the parts needed to go full-out HD. When things settle down, it'll be time to start piecemealing an entertainment center together.

Re:Most people unaffected .... (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757476)

I'm one of those "most people". I have a large family - six children. I still have VHS tapes all over my house. Two of my childrens' TV/console setups just got DVD players yesterday (two $30CDN ones from a grocery store). HD/Blue-Ray are far more exciting to me as storage technologies where I can combine several DVDs onto one disc (for backing up our discs), than they are exciting to me as display technologies.

I've sat down in front of wide screen HD, and I'm underwhelmed. I'm perfectly happy with 4:3 and cropped sides. The whole push for widescreen boggles me. My eye can't focus on enough of the screen at once for it to matter. So I see Gollum crawling up on Frodo and Sam twelve frames later than the HD folk. Oh please, let me pay enough for a family car for that privilege.

I love technology. I have more PCs networked in my house than most people have a right to. But I like having technology that works FOR me. HD/Blue-ray don't work for me yet.

Re:Most people unaffected .... (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757570)

I personally do not mind HD or widescreen. I'm just boggled by people who buy 30-35 inch systems and up. (well, I can see 30 inch maybe.....)

I have seen small 22-24 inch LCD TVs that run WAY cheaper ($400 maybe? give or take), just harder to find than the big-ones, oddly enough. Either way, still more expensive than a CRT TV.

Re:Most people unaffected .... (1)

Lumpmoose (697966) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757708)

"It's an expensive migration path with little perceived benefit for many people and very little in actual programming to use it -- most of what I watch isn't available in HD, and I wouldn't watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" in any definition."

I think many people that see very little advantage to HDTV just haven't seen one in use in a proper environment (the local Circuit City doesn't count; they always look like crap in there). My 57-year-old father isn't an early-adopter, he's a no-adopter. His last audio purchase was reel-to-reel and every computer he's owned has been a hand-me-down. After watching just two over-the-air HD PBS programs on my $900 37" Vizio with a $30 Radio Shack antenna (meager by gadget-head standards), I know he'll have a new TV by the end of the year. I don't think high-def movies will be the catalyst for HDTV purchases, it'll be free HDTV broadcasts and the decreasing costs of TVs. The problem is not enough people realize free digital TV is being broadcast over-the-air right now.

Re:Most people unaffected .... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757868)

I think many people that see very little advantage to HDTV just haven't seen one in use in a proper environment (the local Circuit City doesn't count; they always look like crap in there). My 57-year-old father isn't an early-adopter, he's a no-adopter. His last audio purchase was reel-to-reel and every computer he's owned has been a hand-me-down. After watching just two over-the-air HD PBS programs on my $900 37" Vizio with a $30 Radio Shack antenna (meager by gadget-head standards), I know he'll have a new TV by the end of the year.

Well, I'm glad you're getting mileage out of your TV. And, if your father wants one, that's certinaly his decision. For me personally, here's my problem with that:

1) As far as I know, there is no over-the-air HD broadcasts in my area (Ontario, Canada)

2) I find that 95% + of network TV is complete and utter dreck. There is nothing I want to see that would be broadcast OTA in high def.

For me, the content I do watch isn't available in HD. I'm sure some people (like you and your dad) will get mileage out of a modest HD set with off-the-air broadcast. For some of us, that is neither an option, nor an incentive to have HD. And it will continue to be a technology which doesn't impress me just yet.

Cheers

Yep that's right. (1)

Devv (992734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757124)

I'd not want to buy anything from Sony and I'd not buy anything from MS. This is right! Another more serious point is that I want a player to play BOTH formats because otherwise I might end up with a player for a unpopular format. For now I'll just wait though.

But consumers are still paying for 2 formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757130)

Player manufactures will have to license and pay for both formats, passing the costs to consumers. The disks themselves will be most costly as well.

Why should I pay for 2 formats when I need just one? I'll wait until a free and dominant format emerges, perhaps from China, and buy a player then, if at all.

Until then, thepiratebay.org [thepiratebay.org] perhaps can fill the void.

No! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757138)

But hybrid players will reduce the carbon emissions of traditional players.

In fact, I predict we will look back on the age of gasoline-powered DVD players and laugh.

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17758016)

well, in a sense it would if you were intending on buying all 3 devices; HD-DVD, Blu-ray, and normal DVD. It has less of an impact on the environment to produce one device than three.

It's about content... (2, Insightful)

stokessd (89903) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757142)

why would I want to see a crappy movie really well? Maybe I'm just getting old, but there hasn't been much lately that has made me want to go to the movie theaters. I could be wrong, but even the latest epics (LOTR, and Potter) aren't available in High Def.

The content people want to see in the new format will drive the market. While there are 7 movies available, people aren't going to pony up $100 per movie for a player.

Frankly the format will go nowhere until Ishtar is available on it...

Sheldon

Re:It's about content... (1)

IvanTheNotSoBad (977004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758172)

I completely agree. There really aren't any movies out there worth watching. Snakes on a plane???? Please

Did you hear the oscar nominations? I haven't heard any of those movies. Worse, I don't want to watch any of them.

I bought the HD-DVD addon for the Xbox 360 and the only movie I actually bought has been Superman Returns (not even a great movie). The selection for HD-DVD and Bluray is pretty lousy. Who wants to see "50 First Dates" in High Definition?

stale numbers (1, Informative)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757152)

Sony shipped one million PS3s in the year 2006 alone. Source:



That's at least one million Blu-Ray players in the USA. I have a PS3 and I watch Blu-Ray more than I play games thanks to NetFlix's Blu-Ray inventory.

source (2, Interesting)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757210)

Oops, not sure what happened. Here's the source:

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid= 22051 [gamesindustry.biz]

Re:source (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758128)

Sony SHIPPED one million players, but a) lots of those are still on shelves, b) lots of those will never be used to play a movie, and c) most of the people who have a PS3 do not have a HD display. Also as a contributing factor, d) HD movies cost more.

Not only are all 1,000,000 PS3s not in the hands of consumers, but lots of those consumers give not one tenth of one fuck about HD video.

Re:stale numbers (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757428)

NA != USA. That, and a lot of those PS3 are still on shelves. Not saying that the numbers in the summary are right, but yours don't compare directly either.

Re:stale numbers (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758042)

Shipped != sold.

The article's numbers are for how many players people have actually bought.

Re:stale numbers (2, Insightful)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758132)

Thats, uh, a pretty authoritative source... :D

But also, that's not a million ps3's in households, thats a million ps3's in stores. That's a fairly large and important difference, but even if it wasn't, 1 million is probably about 1 percent of US households. That's similar to the market share of, say, the Opera browser. Ask the average joe what he thinks about Opera, and he'll have no idea what the hell you're talking about. Point: HD capability is still basically below the radar and the format doesn't really exist to the average consumer.

Another way to read the numbers (5, Insightful)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757162)

From the article:
Recent research determined that 695,000 consumers owned either a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, but most of those are tied to a console--400,000 of the 425,000 Blu-ray players sold by the end of 2007 were PlayStation 3s and 150,000 of the 270,000 HD DVD players were Xbox 360 add-ons.

25,000 people bought standalone BluRay players.
120,000 people bought standalone HD-DVD players.

I think the peeps have spoken and shown that if Sony wasn't bundling BluRay in with PS3s that almost nobody would be getting one.

Keep in mind too that all 150,000 people who bought add on HD-DVD players made an optional decision to buy that drive. 400,000 people who bought PS3s got a BluRay drive because you can't get a PS3 without one.

HD-DVD is winning the "format war" and it's only the PS3 that is so far making BluRay appear to even be in the race. I'd love to see disc sale comparisons because that will give a truer indication of who is in the lead than player numbers. It's a reasonable assumption that everyone who has an HD-DVD player is buying discs for it because the decision to buy that player was 100% optional and it's also a reasonable assumption that many people own the PS3 and don't have a single BluRay disc.

Disk sale comparison here: (4, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757518)

http://www.eproductwars.com/dvd/ [eproductwars.com]

From the looks of things it is extremely close, Blu Ray is coming on strong recently.

Re:Another way to read the numbers (1)

ewl1217 (922107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757562)

I think the peeps have spoken and shown that if Sony wasn't bundling BluRay in with PS3s that almost nobody would be getting one.

Did you ever consider that some people might be getting a PS3 because it's a BluRay player? I have no clue what the actual numbers are like, but that certainly is a possibility.

Re:Another way to read the numbers (1)

pinkstuff (758732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758034)

Mod parent up - of course people are buying PS3's because it is a Blu-Ray player!

Think about it, would you buy a standalone BluRay player or a PS3? From what I have seen in New Zealand the standalone players are much the same price as the PS3!!!

Re:Another way to read the numbers (2, Interesting)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758062)

HD-DVD is winning the "format war"

HD-DVD players sold: 270,000
Blu-Ray players sold: 425,000
DVD players sold: ~180 million.

I don't think it's HD-DVD that's winning the format war, there.

Re:Another way to read the numbers (1)

McFortner (881162) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758074)

25,000 people bought standalone BluRay players.
120,000 people bought standalone HD-DVD players.


Out of a country of 300 MILLION the people have spoken and the majority of Americans want nothing to do with EITHER format right now. For crying out loud, most people have just gotten around to getting a DVD player (and as low as $25.00 in some markets). Why change format now when what you want is on DVD and not the HD DVD? It's like the Digital TV fiasco, nobody but the manufacturers want it and they are intent on shoving it down your throat. McFortner

VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (4, Insightful)

webrunner (108849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757164)

'DVD players needed over a decade to supersede the VCR in the living rooms of the United States and there is little reason to believe that HD DVD and Blu-ray player adoption will outpace that of the DVD.'"
In fact, there's every reason to believe that adoption will be significantly slower. Most people switched to DVD players because they had better features, not because they looked better. No tape jams, no rewinding, skipping ahead in a movie, special features, etc.

Plus, we've reached a place where the average person has DVD collections - they didn't so much for VHS tapes. Nobody ever bought season box sets of tapes en masse before DVDs, now they're suddenly saying "buy them again!"?

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757358)

In fact, there's every reason to believe that adoption will be significantly slower. Most people switched to DVD players because they had better features, not because they looked better. No tape jams, no rewinding, skipping ahead in a movie, special features, etc.

You know, the improved picture quality in DVD was a huge reason to purchase it when I did. And, everyone else I know jumped because of the same reason.

One friend held out saying his S-VHS deck gave as good quality as DVD. Then he saw DVD and had one in a very short time. I would definitely dispute that picture quality wasn't a factor in the success of DVD.

But, your point about normal, everyday people having DVD libraries is bang on -- a lot of people have started to buy quite a few DVDs, those better work in the new HD players, or people aren't gonna be happy. And, depending on what you have, there is probably no point in getting an HD pressing of something which is too old to have any HD benefits.

Cheers

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (1)

ubergenius (918325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757462)

Another interesting problem in the format war could be the name HD-DVD. To many, that sounds too much like their current standard "DVD".

While we may have no problems understanding these naming issues, I've heard many people thinking that HD-DVD is just an upgrade to the DVD format, and some even think that they will work in their current players. If there is no backwards compatibility, a lot of people may be angry when they buy a new player and discover, to their dismay, that their huge DVD collection does not play on their new HD-DVD player.

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757958)

Personally I don't know anyone who jumped on DVD due to picture quality. Everyone I know who did it did so because they were tired of having VCRs break (too many moving parts) and rewinding tapes all the time.

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758086)

One friend held out saying his S-VHS deck gave as good quality as DVD. Then he saw DVD and had one in a very short time. I would definitely dispute that picture quality wasn't a factor in the success of DVD.

Anyone who REALLY cared about picture quality already had a Laserdisc player, which STILL has superior picture quality to DVD in many cases (mostly due to shit transfers and/or low bitrates.) The only reason people went to DVD's superior picture quality is that they could do so cheaply.

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (1)

ubergenius (918325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757376)

This is absolutely true.

Years ago, we bought only the tapes of the movies we absolutely wanted. Now, I have nearly 100 DVD's worth nearly $2000 or so.

Personally, I want an HD compatible player and an HDTV, but I am not the norm. I am, and always have been, a technophile, so I want all the latest toys. I enjoy setting them up and seeing the new-ness. But most people are more than content with DVD, since the quality is very good already, especially when compared to VHS. And while my $2000 collection may seem like a lot, I personally know many people with collections exceeding $5000, and those people are definately not ready to re-buy.

The one mitigating factor MIGHT be backwards-compatible players. I am not sure about the feasibility of this, but if you could buy a player that played BOTH DVD and HD-DVD/Blu-ray, a LOT more people would be willing to move to HD formats, because that way they wouldn't have to re-buy all their movies or use 2 players and 2 different hook-ups, and can just buy all their NEW movies (and re-buy their favorites) in the HD format.

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (1)

drix (4602) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757404)

I second that.. convenience is totally underrated when it comes to the factors driving DVD adoption. I was stunned when my girlfriend couldn't see the difference between VHS and DVD, or distinguish between 128kb MP3 and FLAC. "Oh sure I can tell the difference now, but I never would have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out." I know it's a hard sell for the /. crowd but a lot of people don't care about audio and video quality that much. Or at least, not nearly enough to justify the $3,000 investment that it takes to get a decent HDTV/digital cable/HD-DVD setup.

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758024)

Its not a hard sell at all to some of us. I've had people point it out, and I still can't tell the difference between mp3s and cds. They sound just as good to me. I don't have a HDTV for much the same reason- I can only see a slight difference between standard TV and 1080, and that slight difference isn't worth money for. I might pay an extra 5 bucks if you showed me an HDTV and a regular TV of the same size, but no more. Its just not worth it to me.

Re:VHS - DVD was NOT due to visuals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757622)

Current HD-DVD players do play regular old DVDs. They (oddly enough) actually don't seem to be pushing this as a "buy everything again" but more of a "if you are going to buy it, might as well buy the better version."

I don't own a BR player so I can't comment on that, but I would assume they play standard DVDs as well.

Is it just me? (3, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757170)

Or is anyone having a hard time getting all excited about this debate? It's like they're not playing nice together solely to drag up media attention ... oh ... wait ... I see what they're doing :-)

Crap + Higher Resolution == Shinier Crap.

Only a small niche of humanity actually require fancy technology to be entertained. Remember that people used to see "live performances", and later on "black and white" programs on the over-the-air TV, etc...

The sooner they realize this the better. Maybe then they can focus more on script and acting lessons and less on CGI and camera resolution.

tom

doomed for failure (4, Insightful)

osho_gg (652984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757174)

High definition video formats such as HD-DVD and Blu-ray are doomed for failure from the beginning, IMHO. Apart from DRM, HDCP, different formats, expensive players, expensive media, limited availability of titles and the ongoing war between the two formats: the main reason for its failure is that for most customers it doesn't deliver anything. Most of the customers out there have 27" or smaller non-HD sets - the different in quality between DVD and HD-DVD/Blu-ray is negligible. DVD was so successful because it provided better picture quality for everyone - no matter what is the display. DVD picture was consistently better than VHS for all customer's displays, had superior navigation capabilities and was more reliable/long-lasting than the tapes (which deteriorated after multiple use/got tangled in player etc. etc.). Also, DVD manufacturing was much more cost-effective and that savings were passed on to customers (albeit a bit late).

Still, this war is going to be long and hard-fought. Ultimatley, both camps will lose to online video content delivery. And, just like for audio, online content will be of lower quality than the one on optical disks of various kinds; and still it would be the winner. MP3, AAC, WMA are all lossy compression format which are lower in sound quality than CD (let alone DVD-Audio, SACD etc.) but they are winning more than anything because of the content delivery innovation and content mobility.

There will be one saving grace for HD-DVD and Blu-ray though and I think that will be computers and gamers use. This format will be more popular for people to back up their data on due to their larger size. It will also work well for releasing games for consoles with amazing amount of data to create more real-world-like experience.

Osho

lack of hype maybe? (1)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757234)

I'm a Slashdot nerd and I haven't heard any compelling reasons why I should upgrade to a HD DVD or Blu-Ray.
Hell, I've barely heard any mention of them outside of Slashdot.

I would imagine Joe Average has barely even heard of them.
That could be part of the reason behind the slow sales.

the end has already been decided... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757236)

dual players will only prolong it.
the pr0n industry settled on hd-dvd. the war is over.

When I Jump (1)

ab (5715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757250)

Much as I like DVD, neither a Blu-Ray nor an HD-DVD player has got me excited enough to get on board. What I'm waiting for is a good HD recorder on some removable format. That'll be enough to get me into the fray. Without it, I can sit back and wait. I was hoping someone would get one out this year.

I have personally recorded more TV than about anyone (my tape library is something like 20k volumes- I've been at it a while). Come up with a good HD recorder and I'll buy several of them. I doubt I'm the only one.

ab

Hate this idea (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757332)

Raise your hand if you bought a player because it plays both SACD and DVD-Audio... Um hmmm.

The first problem is the amount of titles. I don't doubt that there'll be more compelling titles coming out faster for both HD formats combined. But I subscribe to the theory that combo-players will prolong the eventuality or even kill the chances that one day one format will win. It sort of gives both sides an excuse to continue releasing titles in their format.

So why should consumers care? Maybe they shouldn't if combo players become prolific. But I don't think they really help out the economies of scale thingymatheory, because there will continue to be two HD disc formats. Meaning two types of factories making these discs instead of all plants pressing one type of disc.

Then again, maybe one day I won't be able to resist diving in when the number of titles grow. :(

Re:Hate this idea (1)

mattbrundage (856096) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758182)

Raise your hand if you bought a player because it plays both SACD and DVD-Audio... Um hmmm.

Well, that would be me. I paid a premium for it, too. After 3+ years with the unit, I now have a grand total of two high-def audio discs -- one in each format. It's a shame, really.

Waste of Money (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757364)

Buying a duel format player would just be a waste of money. Afterall, the real winner of the format war is going to be media-less digital delivery. With respect to movies and TV shows, there's nothing wrong with the current DVD format. So both HD-DVD and Blu Ray are going to be losers as far as the living room is concerned. I think there's a good chance that HD-DVD will be adopted by computer users for storage and PC games, while Blu Ray will live on for PS3 games. The only reason I don't think Blu Ray will make it on PCs is just the hunch that Sony will make it too expensive and restrictive, in part to protect PS3 games from piracy.

Hard to call it a format war... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757388)

When the writers players still cost between $300 and $1000...

Why the age old VCR - DVD comparison? (1)

Merlin_ (22156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757416)

Why does the "took 10 years to replace the VCR" argument keep coming up. Last time I checked, a DVD player could not play VHS tapes. That's why is took so long to replace the VCR. The new HD-DVD and BD-DVD players support the old DVD format, so what's the big deal?

Re:Why the age old VCR - DVD comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757616)

The gay is strong with this one

Hybrid players and licensing (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757438)

Is was my understanding that Sony won't license blu-ray to anyone making a dual-format player. I'm not sure if HD-DVD is the same, not that it makes any difference. I assume there's currently no legal way to manufacture blu-ray without a license. Of course, I suspect companies aren't supposed to make region-free players, but they still do...

I agree with the post to an extent; I only brought a DVD-RW drive when I could get one that did plus, minus and ram formats in one unit, and cost less than $80, and could be made region-free.

My criteria in this situation are similar: Either a decisive winner or a dual format drive, costing less than $80. I'm guessing I'm not one of those 'early adopters' I've heard so much about.

There can be only one (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757466)

The format war isn't over until there is one format.

And I still won't buy it.

Same play, different night (5, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757472)

DVD players needed over a decade to supersede the VCR in the living rooms of the United States and there is little reason to believe that HD DVD and Blu-ray player adoption will outpace that of the DVD
Not only will HD/BR adoption not outpace DVD adoption, but it will lag tremendously behind it.

I'm not certain why this is hard for a lot of tech sites, as well as the companies that pushed these technologies, to figure out. The reason the DVD is widely accepted now is because it offered a multitude of benefits over VHS:
1) Larger storage capacity
2) Instant skipping
3) Smaller
4) More durable
5) Cheaper to produce
6) Higher quality
7) Longer lasting

The only thing that HD/BR have over DVD is an even larger storage capacity and higher quality, the latter of which most consumers can't even make use of right now. They keep all the problems that DVD had, such as possibility of scratching and moving parts. The only reason they were pushed out was to sell more HDTVs, as well as to give movie companies better DRM.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: HD/BR are just bumps in the road. The next turning point in terms of mass media storage will be flash memory.

Something the size of a mini-DVD (think Gamecube games), but likely squarish (like a floppy). It will have the internal flash memory inside a thin-but-durable plastic shell. Small pins slightly inset on one side are what transfers the data.

A storage system like this will be cheap, modular (only need a certain capacity? Save money and just buy that capacity), and durable. From there, it's just a matter of choosing a compression format for films to make standard. The lack of moving parts (aside from what is used to eject it/hold it in place) will make for less failures.

All that's needed for this to happen is for the companies to toss BR/HD to the wayside, come up with a good format standard across ALL studios, and then wait for the price of flash memory to drop more.

Re:Same play, different night (1)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757874)

Not only will HD/BR adoption not outpace DVD adoption, but it will lag tremendously behind it.
Meh.. I dunno. I can see adoption going faster than DVD's. When BD/HD drives get cheaper (everybody gripes about the prices, but for the first year, DVD players were $700+) and burners/readers for the PC become more common (remember the first DVD burner for $1500? - somebody's got a BR burner in the $800 range already, expected around $500 by April or May), adoption will speed up. My prediction? Next year around this time: burners $250, players
Plus, in way less than 10 years, digital tv's will begin to saturate the market. All televisions sold in the US after March 2007 have to have a digital tuner and the broadcasters have to go all digital by Feb 2009 (no more analog) and regular analog tv's will have to have a converter box. After that, it's just a matter of time as old tv's break and people see new tv's in somebody else's house running HD that they'll be itching to go to the store and get a new TV and get rid of the set top box converter.

Re:Same play, different night (1)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757932)

Doh.. damn HTML characters.. That middle part was supposed to read:

My prediction? Next year around this time: burners $250, players < $300.

What does the consumer expect? (2, Insightful)

Badmovies (182275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757526)

I think the problem for new technology is overcoming the hill of an established format. In the case of CDs, this was pretty simple. The quality improvement from tape to CD was dramatic and reached the level of what consumers expected. DVD did this too, being much higher quality than VHS and more portable (the latter is one reason LD never reached critical mass).

What it comes down to is: what does the consumer want and expect? Moving everyone from VHS to DVD took some time and that was making a change to a much higher quality and compact format (you cannot put 50 VHS tapes in a little wallet storage case). Nor can you jump to chapter marks on a VHS - more added functionality that people wanted. Also, the picture and sound quality was something you could enjoy without upgrading the other parts of your entertainment system. In the case of Blu-ray and HD-DVD, the high quality has extra costs. The television and players required to get the full effect are much more expensive.

I wonder if the next format should not be based on discs, but more like flash drives with your movie. The great part about that would be plugging it into your "home entertainment hard drive" and installing the movie for future viewings. I love the idea of having all my films on a hard drive array, though it would be bad news for companies that make shelving. Of course, then some sort of offsite backup service will become important (if not mandatory).

How many are dissatisfied with regular DVDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757636)

The problem with HD-DVD/Blu-Ray is that regular DVDs are pretty good as they are - unless you're nose is up to the screen, the picture is still pretty damn good. When you're sitting back on your couch (as most movie watchers prefer to do), will the extra pixels really matter? What if you don't have perfect eyesight? Is an infinitely clearer picture really going to matter? Add to that the fact that people are learning the 'wait and see' strategy...new formats or content delivery methods will be out before HD discs really ever take over the media market. HD discs for movies are DOA.

The Question is Moot (1)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757684)

Formats are irrelevant.

Digital delivery is already here. (I downloaded my first HD movie on my 360 over the weekend).
As I see it "on-demand" HD digital delivery is going to make this "format war" seem primitive.
The entire concept of digital media burned into plastic already feels last-gen.

Now as soon as someone figures out how to permanently save those digitally delivered
HD movie 'rentals' onto external drives -- then things are really going to get crazy.

Frist 5top (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17757726)

Digital downloads will replace discs (2, Interesting)

ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757742)

I think digital downloads will replace physical ownership of discs. It will be a few years before high definition televisions become mainstream affordable. Many people are still using dial up, but how many of them can afford a high definition plasma screen. A few people with high incomes who live in an area without high speed access may be screwed by this, but I think they are far and few between. Portable players will be much better served by a digital download to their hard drive or (more likely) flash memory.

The high definition television downloads through the Itunes service and the Xbox 360 seem to be quite popular. I think we will soon see free downloads supported by ads within the content brought to the customer with torrents.

My guess is the following schedule:

first day: movie theatre release/network television debut

three months: direct download for payment

one year: torrent based delivery with advertisement for free (you download a television show with advertisements).

Walmart will continue to sell DVDs until the number of people who can't download content is small enough to make it unprofitable.

Sure the content industry wants the new disc standards for "unbreakable" copy protection, but I think they'll realize that downloads would make more sense.

No. (1)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757750)

Hybrid players are a nice idea but the format war will continue until one dominates in the long term because it will be cheaper for all involved, and there are pretty significant differences in the two formats, unlike the DVD +/- R/W fight. The unasked question is whether the end of the format war will boost sales? No. A lot of my friends got dvd playback for free when they both their PS2s. The PS2 cost 200 bucks a year after launch. That won't be happening anytime soon with any next gen player. The dvd worked with existing TVs. Based on price alone, I cannot buy a PS3 even, let alone a HDTV - especially since the cheapo Westinghouse ones I could have afforded on my grad student stipend apparently don't work so well with the PS3 as it is. Then theres getting a HDCP compliant audio system next (something that people seem to forget about). Then there is the total dislike of HDCP to begin with. And my feeling that DVDs are good enough after I saw this comparison http://www.cornbread.org/FOTRCompare/index.html [cornbread.org] and figured I'd not really notice any difference without a good HDTV. Oh and then there is entire piracy thing, which IMHO will only get worse as we start to have PCs connected to the internet as "Media Centers."

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

petehead (1041740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757796)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to ending the format war. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

(x) Blu-Ray doesn't want to allow dual format players
(x) Nobody cares because either format is only an incremental improvement over DVD
( ) Remember Beta vs. VHS?
(x) DVD-R and DVD+R isn't a valid comparison
( ) Either way, there is too much DRM
( ) There is already a workaround for AACS
( ) Users of will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from consortiums
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many people don't even have HDTV anyway so there isn't enough consumer influence
(X) Sony doesn't care about anyone

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Which ones can be played on Linux?
( ) Eternal arms race involved in DRM
( ) Extreme profitability DVDs
( ) The MPAA
( ) The installed base of PS3s
(X) The vested financial interest of some media companies in the hardware
( ) My Dad's old black and white TV isn't HDCP compliant

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever worked
( ) Which format has Pr0n

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down

P.S. just kidding, I think this will be resolved without a clear winner.

Q:Which format won the DVD format war? (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757842)

I know this is probably off-topic but has there been a clear winner in the old DVD format war?

Re:Q:Which format won the DVD format war? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758162)

The only competing DVD format worth mentioning died a long time ago (divx). The other DVD formats are now a non-issue anywhere outside of their current markets, due to the release of these HD formats.

I'd like some accuracy, please (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757908)

From the summary (and TFA):

DVD players needed over a decade to supersede the VCR in the living rooms of the United States

Umm...no. DVD was finalized in 1995, and by 2002 DVD was outselling VHS. That's a lot less than 10 years. They probably mean that it took ten years for every home that owned a VCR to also own a DVD player. That's a meaningless statement.

DVD was mainstream less than five years after launch and dominant in seven. It's the consumption of the media that is important, not the number of installed players. In another five years there will probably still be a huge number of VCRs, but VHS is about to be bumped off the store shelves in favor of DVD and its successors.

DVD could very well win the format war right now. Joe Consumer doesn't see a point in switching to HD-DVD or BluRay. When he does switch, HDDVD gets points for its name. That should be apparent from its install base...only 25,000 BluRay players are non-PS3, and most of the PS3s probably aren't being used as players.

My money is on HD-DVD winning the race, but BluRay sticking around indefinitely thanks to hybrid drives. HD-DVD has the name going for, a larger base of installed non-console players, and those nifty hybrid disks that will work in your DVD player today and your HD-DVD player next year. Talk about a seamless upgrade path.

Hybrids just won't matter enough (1)

unfortunateson (527551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757912)

First off, the big players in this high-stakes format war, won't make hybrids. Sony didn't produce VHS machines for years and years, and it would just kill them to make an HD-DVD machine (they'd have to license Microsoft's codec, for one). Too much of their profit line depends on them dominating this format war. The same can probably be said for the HD-DVD big guns.

Second, when DVD came out, only a few otaku actually owned much media -- sure you had some treasured Babylon 5 taped off the air, and the last week's worth of her "stories," but did you shell out $79.95 for a two-episode set of ST:TOS or even $29.95 for bulky VHS movies? Kid-vid, yeah, but those wear out from use and get replaced (Disney's on the HD-DVD side, BTW).

On the other hand, DVDs were designed for sell-through: I own a few full series of shows, a lot of favorite movies, obscure movies, anime, etc. I'm not replacing them any time soon.

Third, for most people, DVD's are good enough!. Especially with older TV sets... would you really buy Friends on Blu-Ray, just to see how much makeup Ross is wearing on screen? It's not going to add much.

Fourth, it doesn't matter, because digital delivery is already here. Between iTunes, HD DVRs, NetFlix online, etc., you just don't need those silvery coasters anymore. I know I've cut down on purchases and rentals since I got a TiVo. There's always something to watch.

No, HD over IP will end the format war. (2)

PowerEdge (648673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757938)

No, HD over IP will end the format war.

No. They will not..... (3, Insightful)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17757974)

Hybrid players will do the same thing for the format war that the Big Three video game platforms ave done for the video game industry: Change the game but not finish it.

There are now three formats out: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD. If you bought a player that would play all three, why would you need to switch? Of course, in the future, DVD will definitely become obselet, since it is the only format that is not HD as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD already are. So, that leaves two high definition formats for 100% of the HD disk market share. If you start selling hybrid players that can play both of them, then what does it matter if you are buying Blu-Ray or HD-DVD? Unless you are a videophile or always have to have the biggest and best of anything in your neighborhood, it doesn't matter what format you use. So, if companies no longer have to worry about compatibility issues and the criticality of those issues in determining a commercially viable product, no one is going to back out and let the other take over. If companies realize that they no longer have to worry about getting customers to buy their products as a matter of life and death, then we will be stuck with the same problem facing video game developers: Platform contracts, format conracts, and proprietary content issues that just irritate the customer because they would have to buy multiple expensive platforms so they can play all the games they enjoy, not just be limited to a specific few.

A hybrid player would further the multiple format problems that just flat out irritate users, since they would have to buy a hybrid player to be able to fully enjoy video media. If movie houses and studios got locked into contracts depending on what Sony will pay and what HD-DVD manufacturers will pay. If hybrid players come out, then good, I won't have to buy a different player for certain movies. BUT, then ALL players that you bought in the future would have to be dual format. The same thing can be seen in video media files: .avi, .wmv, .rm, .mpeg, .mpg, .xvid, .umd, .mp4... It's just another pain in the ass thing to complexify the problem. Sure media players can goup all of these into a single player, but the contractural and legal issue that arise, since these are proprietary formats, make updaes and compatibility a h uge headache and pain in the ass.

They should do it like TV: "We're gonna switch from analog to digital in 2010. Do what you need to change. If you want something else, buy it, but it's you're problem.". There needs to be standard format for media, and someone needs to put practicalty above profits for that to happen.

If you want to see what runaway formats can be like, just look at a complete list of Centerfire Rifle Calibers (Wikipedia has a short list). They all do the same thing, but everybody wants to make there mark on the industry.

WTF 2009 !?! (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758010)

$200 in 2009 for a dual format player? Come on now. If there is a dual format player by the end of this year for less than $300 I will be buying it, and I bet there will be.

Decade? (1)

dbialac (320955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758108)

"DVD players needed over a decade to supersede the VCR in the living rooms of the United States"

Over a decade? Basic math rules that idea out. The DVD format was released to the public in the spring of 1997. We're still a few months shy of a decade. I still use my original Toshiba DVD player from November of that year, which was a bargain at $500. Not my primary player anymore, but still good for the bedroom.

Prediction: Neither format will win (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758126)

I find it more likely a codec upgrade that provides HD resolution on a standard DVD (with graceful fallback) will become popular than a DVD-based solution. The HD/Bluray upgrade isn't as big when you think that DVD players are doing for $25 bucks, and for all purposes, look pretty good.

This scenario is even more likely if online services and BW ramp up, but that's not likely to happen in the USA - but could happen elsewhere.

As usual, it'll probably be the pr0n industry that decides..

I dont care about resolution that much (1)

FireHawk77028 (770487) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758178)

I dont care about resolution enough to go buy a new player and new media for movies. I found myself switching to DVD's (and CD's for the same concept) because they didn't wear out like our old magnetic tape VHS. VHS are not tolerant to heat at all. Try moving with a VHS collection in the summer. In only a short time you'll have ruined movies. VHS tend to survive children better than DVDs however.
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