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NYT Confirms Movie Studios Paid to Support HD DVD

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the money-makes-the-world-go-round dept.

Movies 441

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times has confirmed the story that Paramount and DreamWorks Animation were paid $150 million for an exclusive HD-DVD deal that will last 18 months. 'Paramount and DreamWorks Animation declined to comment. Microsoft, the most prominent technology company supporting HD DVDs, said it could not rule out payment but said it wrote no checks. "We provided no financial incentives to Paramount or DreamWorks whatsoever," said Amir Majidimehr, the head of Microsoft's consumer media technology group.'" We discussed Paramount's defection on Monday.

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Yeah... So? (3, Insightful)

MattZ3 (939241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314069)

Did anyone really expect anything different?

Re:Yeah... So? (3, Funny)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314193)

I did. (Nah I'm just kidding)

Re:Yeah... So? (3, Interesting)

Divebus (860563) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314369)

And in 18 months, Paramount will [happily] open the doors to Blu-ray. At these market penetration levels for either format, it doesn't matter much yet but by then they may be tired of having the only next-gen DVDs sitting on the shelves collecting dust. You never know.

Isn't it ironic that the consumer vigorously defends his right to "choice" but won't make a move until the choice is made for him?

Re:Yeah... So? (5, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314851)

Isn't it ironic that the consumer vigorously defends his right to "choice" but won't make a move until the choice is made for him?
Yeah. After all no consoles were bought in significant numbers until the Wii was chosen, oh wait....

Consumers want and demand choice all the time. They've simply learned that the market supporting two high-end video formats simultaneously is unlikely (see Beta vs VHS) and so are unwilling to invest in a format that will soon die.

This only delays our money (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314565)

I will be a glad late adopter of HD DVD/Blu-ray since this is the same BS ploy used to delay previous generations next generation technology from being widely adopted (e.g., dvd-r/+r/ram, DAT audio tape, etc).

There is plenty of profit to be made by a) adopting an optical media standard and b) adopting a almost zero cost media encoding method

The least appealing aspect of the new video standards will be that they embed many dollars of fixed hardware costs by using high cost patented technology when almost equivalent low cost patented technology exists.

My guess is that the hardware makers and content producers want to milk their existing DVD investment for another few years.

Obviously, the money is to buy an inferior format. (5, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314675)

There is only one reason why someone would pay $150 million to buy the adoption of a particular format: The HD DVD people realized their preferred format was inferior, and could not possibly win in the marketplace in a fair competition on the merits.

In other words, the people who paid believed that the format they don't want to win, Blu-ray, is worth $150 million more than their HD DVD format in true value, so to even the score they had to pay.

That shouts very loudly to me. Someone with $150 million to spend has set the value of Blu-ray as being worth that much more than HD DVD. Thanks for the information. You have voted with your dollars, and shouted to everyone who thinks about it that Blu-ray should win.

From the New York Times article: "The battle over the competing high-definition DVD technologies has sputtered in recent months as Blu-ray discs have emerged as the front-runner. Blu-ray titles are sharply outselling HD offerings..."

Not only the corrupters, but the marketplace also, agree that Blu-ray is better.

I wonder how much it would cost to get Paramount and DreamWorks Animation to adopt 8-track tapes?

I wonder how much it would cost to get Paramount and DreamWorks Animation executives never to take showers or baths? Obviously, to them, everything is for sale, even their technical integrity.

If that kind of thing continues, the word "executive" will become synonymous with the word "sleaze".

Obviously, the money is to buy an inferior post. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314709)

"There is only one reason why someone would pay $150 million to buy the adoption of a particular format: The HD DVD people realized their preferred format was inferior, and could not possibly win in the marketplace in a fair competition on the merits. "

And what merits would that be? They're both roughly comparable to each other, and the differences don't make much of a difference.

"Not only the corrupter's, but the marketplace also, agree that Blu-ray is better."

Sony would love you.

Re:Obviously, the money is to buy an inferior post (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314927)

They probably show their love to his bank account already.

So what? (4, Insightful)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314085)

Let's drag out all of Sony and friends general ledgers and see how much "promotional consideration" Target and Blockbuster got. I really don't get why people are making a big deal about a company making promotional deals. Let's be serious, these days $150 million is about enough to cover one big budget movie.

Re:So what? (3, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314169)

The reason people get upset when they hear about promotional deals is not because it is unexpected, but because it violates the ideal of capitalism that the best ideas will rise to the top and result in the most efficent solutions. In truth, capitalism has a huge bias towards the ideas winning in the marketplace of those with assets to reinvest and use to promote their agenda. However, when it becomes overly blunt, people have a viseral reaction due to what they learned in 8th grade civics classes (in the US at least).

Re:So what? (-1, Offtopic)

etymxris (121288) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314221)

Copyrights are basically a government granted monopoly. Given the century long copyrights successfully lobbied for by the movie industry, the traditional rules of capitalism have long meant little when it comes to movies and directly supporting technologies.

Re:So what? (2, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314345)

Can we drop this nonsensical meme. All property rights are "government-granted monopolies". Do you mind if I use your car to go to the grocery store? Or, to use as analogous a real-world situation to that advocated by the destroy-all-IP crowd, what if I lived in your house while you were on vacation, as long as I don't use electricity/water or disturb your stuff (assume I use your internet/cable off a generator I run because that's not pay per use)? After all, it's not as though you are losing anything in that situation. Or is there a distinction between copying and me using your stuff when you're not around.

Or hell, the government-granted monopoly is all that keeps the random people from just taking your stuff. It's that whole "law and order" thing without which life is nasty, brutish and short.

Re:So what? (0)

etymxris (121288) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314479)

Or, to use as analogous a real-world situation to that advocated by the destroy-all-IP crowd, what if I lived in your house while you were on vacation

Well that's a border line case. Why do we eat animals and not humans? Some may say that it's because most animals that we eat are far from sentient. Well, that's not a universal criteria because we don't eat retarded or brain-dead humans. And it's not simply that "meat" animals are of different species because most agree that if we came into contact with sentient life, we should have a mutual understanding not to eat each other. There are few, if any, "pure" natural kinds, and certainly no "pure" natural kinds. But the division between "intellectual" and "physical" property is much more clear cut than that between, say, "desire" and "intent", and the law can distinguish these latter two well enough.

Back to the case at hand. Can you really use my home while I'm on vacation without making it impossible for others to use? There's only one house. If you think it's OK to use while I'm on vacation what about the next guy that wanders in? With intellectual property there's no collision of space and time. So there's still a fundamental metaphysical difference between using my house when I'm away and copying something I wrote or made.

The metaphysics of copyright does eventually break down. I can't copy something infinitely without having infinite matter to store it on, for example. And there doesn't seem to be an infinite amount of matter. But it's pretty damn close to infinitely copyable. About as close as anything ever will be.

Re:So what? (3, Funny)

Bartab (233395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314787)

We don't eat humans because that would be a huge disease vector. Duh.

Should we drop quantum physics as well? (1, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314779)

> Can we drop this nonsensical meme.

Nope. Just because you are not able to understand something doesn't mean we should drop it. The particular meme happens to both correct and useful.

> All property rights are "government-granted monopolies". Do you mind if I use your
> car to go to the grocery store?

On the other hand, that is an analogy we should drop, not because it is old and tired, but because it is misleading. No real property rights denies you the right to drive an identical car to the grocery store. Only that particular car. So no monopoly in any useful (economical) sense of the word is involved that way.

Re:So what? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314785)

copyright is not property you moron. are you so stupid as to equate an mp3 with the same value as your own house?

Re:So what? (4, Funny)

ThePiMan2003 (676665) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314811)

I lived in your house while you were on vacation

Sure! I need someone to look after the place when I am gone. First week of October good for you?

Re:So what? (0)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314825)

Your use of my house and car is an invasion of my privacy. Whose privacy am I invading by publishing a 95 year old book without the copyright owner's permission?

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314975)

not quite. how about: "what if you had already lent me your house on an eternal lease and i made a copy of your house in another state for me and my family to live in when i was visiting my friends there?"

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314225)

Huh? Since when does this violate the ideals of capitalism? Capitalism has nothing to do with the "best ideas rising to the top" unless you are ascribing some sort of Randian idealism. What is happening here is pure capitalism. People with wealth are using it to further their own agenda, which ultimately they hope will generate a suitable return.

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314287)

Huh? Since when does this violate the ideals of capitalism?

Not the way capitalism really operates, the idealistic way American (and possibly other) children are tought to think capitalism operates in middle school.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314411)

Not the way capitalism really operates, the idealistic way American (and possibly other) children are tought to think capitalism operates in middle school.

*taught GRAMMAR NAZI!

Re:So what? (0, Offtopic)

telbij (465356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314445)

*taught GRAMMAR NAZI!


*SPELLING NAZI, Insufferable Pedant!!!!!!

Re:So what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314557)

If you taught people that capitalism was *really* about the wealthy and powerful increasing their wealth and power at the expense of the common man, you might not get the deep, negative feeling about socialism that we want.

Re:So what? (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314773)

This is pure free market capitalism, as I was taught. Not the watered down gov't interfering way we have in the good 'ol US of A.

Re:So what? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314435)

The reason people get upset when they hear about promotional deals is not because it is unexpected, but because it violates the ideal of capitalism that the best ideas will rise to the top and result in the most efficent solutions.

When, in modern times, has this ideal ever been true? Has it ever been true at all? People need to stop fooling themselves that one mega-huge company is "less evil" than another; in fact they are all about the same in that creating quality products that people need and want, sustaining a good profit and treating their employees well, is not part of the business plan. Continuous exponential profit growth at any cost is all that matters for *all* publicly traded companies (and most private ones as well). WAKE UP!

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314665)

Yeah, but America isn't Capitalist anymore; it's a Fascist Empire. People just haven't got that figured out.

Re:So what? (1)

blackicye (760472) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314793)

the ideal of capitalism that the best ideas will rise to the top and result in the most efficent solutions.


Huh? What?
I thought the ideal of Capitalism was that the rich get richer, and everyone else contributes to their wealth?

Re:So what? (1)

forlornhope (688722) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315001)

Not so much. Capitalism generally doesn't like the concentration of wealth. What your talking about is Corporatism or perhaps a Fascist economy. They generally seek monopolies and the concentration of wealth into the hands of the few.

Capitalism generally wants to keep money flowing through the economy to generate more wealth. Its also pretty agnostic about who is rich and who is poor as long as the money keeps flowing. Any time someone starts hording money, thats bad for Capitalism.

As for this particular incident being against Capitalism? Not at all. Its one entity exchanging money for a service. Its the same type of deal where you pay an electrician to wire up a new building. The HDDVD people expect to get some benefit out of paying these movie studios to only use their format. Don't for one second believe similar things didn't go on when the VHS/BetaMax thing was going around.

Re:So what? (3, Informative)

hudsonhawk (148194) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314493)

There were also a lot of murmurs around during the lead-up to Blu-ray's launch that many of the studios declaring exclusivity to Blu-Ray were being paid to do so.

legality? (2, Interesting)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314095)

if they were paid to support one technology over another, isn't that illegal, anti-competitive and/or monopolistic behaviour by the HD-DVD consortium? If so, would it be illegal if the consortium were innocent but the payoff came from some backer who stands to gain from HD-DVD beating out Blu-Ray?

Re:Who Cares (3, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314473)

if they were paid to support one technology over another, isn't that illegal, anti-competitive and/or monopolistic behaviour by the HD-DVD consortium? If so, would it be illegal if the consortium were innocent but the payoff came from some backer who stands to gain from HD-DVD beating out Blu-Ray?

The market has a strange way of sorting some of this stuff out. While the players are several hundred dollars and the movies are well over $20 each, this is just a niche format at the moment. When the players are under $60 and the movies are under $15, wake me up. In the meantime, I'll stick with a Linux MCE setup and use the format that works in the movie jukebox. The last DVD player I bought retailed for under $30. Pre-viewed movies at Blockbuster are either 2 for $20 or 4 for $20. Only those with lots of cash will bother with the expensive formats. Right now they are in the Laserdisk catagory. Nice format, but limited selection at high prices. I did the Laserdisk thing. It had an advantage.. No copy protection. It met broadcast spec NTSC output unlike videotape.

Re:legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314953)

There's no monopoly here to abuse.

Re:legality? (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315029)

don't be pedantic. does anyone believe that the 2 formats will split the market or that they'll both go the way of laserdiscs and DVDs will continue to reign supreme? no? then you have a duopoly with HD-DVD attempting to create a monopoly for itself.

consider the screams if the article was about microsoft paying off intel to quit making chips for Apple. sure apple still has alternatives, but you'd hear the anti-microsoft screams on mars.

my original point remains: is this legal and if not, what if hd-dvd was innocent?

Checks (5, Funny)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314097)

Microsoft, the most prominent technology company supporting HD DVDs, said it could not rule out payment but said it wrote no checks.
The mafia always pays in cash.

Re:Checks (2, Interesting)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314205)

Microsoft, the most prominent technology company supporting HD DVDs, said it could not rule out payment but said it wrote no checks.
The mafia always pays in cash.
Or they could have simply wired or direct deposited the money. That way they could say that they "wrote no checks" while sending the money electronically.

Re:Checks (3, Insightful)

jgc7 (910200) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314541)

"Microsoft, the most prominent technology company supporting HD DVDs, said it could not rule out payment but said it wrote no checks. "We provided no financial incentives to Paramount or DreamWorks whatsoever," said Amir Majidimehr, the head of Microsoft's consumer media technology group."

The statement begs the question; how is it possible to make a payment but provide no financial incentive? There is no such thing as payment, that is not a financial incentive. A contingency is a financial incentive but not a check, but there is no such thing as a payment that is not a financial incentive. Either the reporter is an idiot, or Microsoft is full of shit.

Re:Checks (4, Funny)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314997)

Either the reporter is an idiot, or Microsoft is full of shit.

I suspect those aren't mutually exclusive options.

Whither the Consumer's Choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314109)

So, where does this lead the general consumer? Should we be asking which technology will "win" or just who can get the checks cashed first?

not a big deal? seems like a double standard to me (5, Interesting)

wooden pickle (1006975) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314113)

My initial reaction too was "Big deal! No story here!" But then I got to thinking. Is this really different than Microsoft using various incentives to get governments/schools/other customers to buy Microsoft products? Does it just feel different because it's a bunch of big evil corporations using shady practices to try and outdo each other?

I've been saying since this format war started though that if someone REALLY wants to win, they should just pony up a ton of money to get George Lucas to release the unmolested, Greedo-shoots-first Trilogy in their format.

Re:not a big deal? seems like a double standard to (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314251)

I've been saying since this format war started though that if someone REALLY wants to win, they should just pony up a ton of money to get George Lucas to release the unmolested, Greedo-shoots-first Trilogy in their format.
Sweet! Mr. Ballmer's going to love this idea! Mmmmm, I can almost taste that big bonus now...

Yes, this is a big deal. (1, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314293)

You know, we could live in a world where people had real choices and standards were formed by excellence. Right now you can get both. Blue Ray was the clear winner and that's why the deals were made. It would be one thing if they were just trying to keep their format alive, but they are using it to kill the competition instead. That's one big dumb business scratching the back of another and both of them screwing you and me.

This has anti-trust written all over it and we can only hope there's a conviction and a real remedy this time. It's funny how the Viacom executives did not stay bought and squealed on the deal. Crooked deals are like that because you can never pay off everyone. Now that they are caught, the investigation should start.

Re:Yes, this is a big deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314403)

Blue Ray was the clear winner

That's just your opinion, and it's no more valid than anyone else's.

Re:not a big deal? seems like a double standard to (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314459)

But then I got to thinking. Is this really different than Microsoft using various incentives to get governments/schools/other customers to buy Microsoft products? Does it just feel different because it's a bunch of big evil corporations using shady practices to try and outdo each other?

Actually, the other part we're talking about here is Sony... remember the payola scandls?

I agree on this story not being a big deal. Not because what these corporations do is right (by any standarts), but because of the names involved in the discussion. Actually, i don't think a story about Howard Stringer selling crack to nuns in order to somehow sell more PS3s and Blu-Ray movies would shock me much either.

Re:not a big deal? seems like a double standard to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314877)

So... which is it? Unmolested, or Greedo shoots first?

Re:not a big deal? seems like a double standard to (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315059)

according to george lucas, the version of A New Hope with the school of humorous singing animated spacefish is the unmolested version.

Re:not a big deal? seems like a double standard to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20315043)

Um, I think you mean "Han-shoots-first".

Yawn (5, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314155)

Wake me when one format bites the dust and players for the other format are $100. Till then I'll make do with DVD's.

Re:Yawn (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314339)

I hear you.

I'm waiting to see if the floppy drive dies before DVD, or if the DVD will last as long as the floppy drive eventually does.

Re:Yawn (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314801)

Isn't the floppy already dead? I mean, what can you do with one that you can't do with a USB thumb drive?

Note: Machines without USB connectors are either so out of the mainstream or so old that they don't really count as keeping floppies alive.

Re:Yawn (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314437)

Precisely. With only decent eye-sight, and mediocre contrast resolution, I really don't care to buy a super-expensive piece of hardware, and more expensive videos, in order to get a better picture than the one I have which is already good enough that I can't really tell it has flaws. Honestly, to me at least, the whole super-high def war is kinda irrelivant. HD-DVD could win (honestly I'm rooting for them, simply for the HHD DWDD BVD jokes :P) and I'd still watch DVDs, same goes for Blue Ray.

Honestly I don't really see how this is any different from Sony using it's games to promote Blue Ray. Even if Microsoft actually payed them off I don't think that's any different from Sony forcing people to have a Blue Ray player to play their games...except it's a lot smarter, and more effective...and probably cheaper...

Re:Yawn (2, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314649)

Your thinking the difference from 480i to 1080p is the same as going from 192k mp3 to 256k mp3's. It's actually more like goign from a 96k sample to a 192k sample. It's really noticeable. But it's only worth it if you enjoy spectacles because smaller scale fare like Borat is equally good in 256k You tube video to 1080p Blu-ray.

Re:Yawn (1)

canadian_right (410687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314757)

I can't tell the difference between a DVD and a HD Disk unless the TV is over 42". My TV isn't that big so I don't care.

Re:Yawn (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314965)

no you can tell on any tv. even the 480i. the difference is non trivial.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314765)

$100, i would be content with $300 but then again every time i turn on my tv there is more and more hd on demand content so it will prbly not be an issue

Paramount and Dreamworks were smart... (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314157)

Well they let Sony know that it will cost at least $150million for their loyalty. Blockbuster and Target were a steal hehe. Brilliant move.

Re:Paramount and Dreamworks were smart... (1)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314495)

I'm drafting a letter right now to let Sony know that my loyalty will cost at least $150 million. If I stop posting on /., you'll know they took my offer.

All this money flying around (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314161)

just so you can see a zit on a gnat's butt.

Re:All this money flying around (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315063)

just so you can see a zit on a gnat's butt.

See how educational HD DVDs are? I bet before you didn't know gnats got zits, or even what their butts looked like.

But I can see an up side: cellulite shows up much more clearly in HD, so if we're lucky music will go back to being about music rather than who looks impossibly good in music videos. Then again, if we're really unlucky cellulite will become fashionable instead...

Payola: Si or No (2, Insightful)

pedropolis (928836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314177)

Main Entry: payola Pronunciation: pA-'O-l& Function: noun Etymology: 1pay + -ola (as in Pianola, trademark for a player piano) : undercover or indirect payment (as to a disc jockey or perhaps a movie studio like Paramount) for a commercial favor (as for promoting a particular recording or for promoting a flagging HD format) We report, slashdot decides...

Payola - or Endorsement? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314731)

If a studio chooses one format over another, why is it simply not an "endorsement"? Seems to me TFA clearly mentions various "marketing" partnerships.

Try to find a picture, of, say Tiger Woods that doesn't have a Nike Swoosh... details of the endorsement deal are "secret". That is an endorsement and marketing deal, not a shoe payola scandal.

Re:Payola: Si or No (1)

HaloMan (314646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315009)

Nope. How is it uncover and indirect? How has anyone tried to hide it?

I'm more disappointed in this... (2, Interesting)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314197)

because this looks like it will help broaden HD DVD's slipping ground to even it out more with the Bluray camp. I'm not a fanboy of any kind, but I am hoping that Blu-ray wins, simply because DVD5 and DVD9 discs do not cut it for backing up data when my computer has a TB hard drive. 25 and 50 GB discs are FAR more useful, and will inevitably fall in price once a format is established and large-scale production/adoption begins. I've seen films in both format and I think both are great. I'm sure as hell not going to pay for an overpriced player, because when I get my own PS3 when FF13 comes out and Sorny releases another SKU with stripped down hardware for 400$, I'll have a player (Even though I realize consoles aren't the best movie players by ANY stretch of the imagination.)

I see this as the Iraq war, a seemingly endless struggle that will be good for everyone when it comes to an end. Somebody WIN already!

Re:I'm more disappointed in this... (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314605)

For terrabyte drives you might as well wait for holographic DVDs. In fact, since this idiotic format war is going into extra innings, I might wait for it myself.

Re:I'm more disappointed in this... (1)

demi (17616) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314707)

Even though I realize consoles aren't the best movie players by ANY stretch of the imagination.

Apparently this isn't like playing DVDs on the PS2 was, and the Blu-Ray player and software in the PS3 is excellent, and well-regarded.

HD may be a more reliable medium (1)

Cafe Alpha (891670) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314209)

Having the write layer near the bottom surface should make it more vulnerable to scratches than HD. But other details matter like the plastic used, coatings, error correction.

Has anyone compared HD and blueray on reliability?

Re:HD may be a more reliable medium (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314219)

I don't know if there have been comparisons, but BluRay *requires* the scratch resistant coating. The HD DVD standard makes it optional.

Re:HD may be a more reliable medium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314705)

Yes, but what would you rather as a consumer ... seriously.

HD is certainly not a more reliable medium (1)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314335)

bluray has substantial scratch resistance. Insofar as this is an issue, blu-ray wins hands down. CNET did a test a while back to that effect.

No test is really needed when only one platform requires this universal protection. I doubt this is a huge deal, but bluray discs are extremely durable. http://www.gametrailers.com/player/usermovies/5724 9.html [gametrailers.com]

Bluray wins in movie quality as soon as you unmute your TV, so who cares about scratch resistance?

This format war isn't about whether bluray is better than HD-DVD, this is about how much money Microsoft has. bluray has the supposedly better DRM and accordingly has most studios, so I would assume it's got the advantage. At this point, I would assume that you will see more dual format players, but you will also see far more bluray movies.

Thanks to Sony throwing away its game system brand for the lion's share of the HD player market, a studio would be crazy to release only on HD-DVD. But this gives Microsoft more time. Time for the XBOX to still be a valid competitor, time for Sony to suffer financially, time to spit out a next generation in two years. That's worth 150 mil to MS. A stupid download for GTA 4 was worth 50 mil, and this is a much bigger problem for Sony.

Re:HD is certainly not a more reliable medium (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315021)

Bluray wins in movie quality as soon as you unmute your TV, so who cares about scratch resistance?

Well, people who doesn't want to buy a new movie/game each time they want to use it?

Some anecdotal evidence: My local gamestore doesn't even accept second hand PS3 games. Because they scratch so easily, they can never resell them. They do however accept Xbox360-games, since they still work.

So...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314223)

And BluRay wouldn't be around, period, iof it weren't for the shitty PS3 no one would care....The difference is that the morons who bought the PS3 are funding the BluRay, whereas HD DVD backers are funding the HD DVD...big deal.

Apparently (5, Funny)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314229)

the checks were actually written by some Canadian company called BayStar Capital.

Unfair.. and I'm a HD-DVD supporter.. (4, Interesting)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314239)

This is unfair competition, imo. Here's why...

You should never be able to pay a customer to specifically exclude a competitor. For example.. If you're paying a company a sum amounting to $10 to go with your product Y that costs $100 and exclude product X, it would mean your competitor would have to sell at $90 in order to compete - assuming both products essentially do the same thing. It artifically lowers the competitor's price... kind of like what has happened with AMD and Intel.

Re:Unfair.. and I'm a HD-DVD supporter.. (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314289)

You mean like videogame companies paying for exclusives to shut each other out? It's business. My biggest issue with Blu Ray is that the spec isn't even finalized. Unless you buy a PS3 there is a good chance buying a BR player might leave you in the lurch when new interactive features come out. For instance HD-DVD players have 2 video decoders and not all BR players do, so no pic-in-pic extras a la 300 for people that bought BR early.

Re:Unfair.. and I'm a HD-DVD supporter.. (2, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314521)

Better tell that to Coke and Pepsi, apartment complexes who have exclusivity deals with telco providers, and all sorts of other businesses. Do you just "not like it" or do you have some rational reason why not? I certainly can't think of any rational reason. Both parties are willing to sign the contract, so I'm not sure whose rights are being violated.

Re:Unfair.. and I'm a HD-DVD supporter.. (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314867)

You mean how Pepsi demands a fastfood chain not stock Coke?

Re:Unfair.. and I'm a HD-DVD supporter.. (1)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314907)

Easy there, Andrew Ryan. The market isn't always the answer.

Re:Unfair.. and I'm a HD-DVD supporter.. (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314919)

Just wondering, why are you an HD-DVD supporter. Personally, BluRay won me with its better specification. HD-DVD: 2 layer today: 3 layers in spec/lab: 15GB/layer BluRay: 2 layer today: 8 layers in spec/lab: 25GB/layer All drives in both formats are SUPPOSED to support all 3 or 8 layers when those discs ship.

With Dual Players Becoming Common, Easy Money (5, Insightful)

CubeNudger (984277) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314249)

Now that combo Blu-Ray HD-DVD players are becoming increasingly available and cheap, any studio would be stupid to not take a cash payout for (what may end being an ultimately meaningless) format switch. With the format war continuing for at least another few years (by all likelihood), it's conceivable that mass adoption of combo players as they become affordable will mean that format difference will ultimately be of as little meaning as DVD+/-R is now. Besides, with adoption rates lagging so badly, the losses from switching to a less-popular format over the next 18 months are probably outweighed by the cash payment. Great business decision by Paramount.

Re:With Dual Players Becoming Common, Easy Money (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314453)

Yep. Roughly 3M HD and BD discs have been sold since the first one went on market like a year and a half ago or so. Last year over 1B, that's B as in Billion, DVDs were sold. This whole HD vs BD spat is but a tiny drop in the bucket. A drop that may just as easily evaporate into thin air as become a torrential rainstorm.

It's a $150M of free money to Paramount.

Ok, so we wait a year and a half. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314313)

I can do without their movies for that long.

-jcr

meh (1)

dashslotter (1093743) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314353)

I don't hate MS nearly as much as I hate Sony, so reading this is sort of a guilty pleasure, but more of a meh.

Re:meh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314639)

Because?? Sony may have put a rootkit on your machine.. but Microsoft put WINDOWS on it!!

Re:meh (2, Funny)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314887)

No, I put Windows on it. I (unfortunately) knew what I was getting when I installed Windows. When I put in a Sony music CD, I was expecting to get music, not spyware. Slight difference.

Arghhh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314387)

I have a 720p projector. It looks fantastic showing HD-DVD, which I picked at random. It is really nice to get away from lame DVD artifacts, and I figure if blu-ray wins, I'll finally have an excuse to buy a PS3. But let's summarize the other options, based on previous slashdot articles:

0) "I haven't watched anything on a TV since 1970 and now I'm Jesus Christ"
1) "Even if you don't watch broadcast TV, all movies are crap too. Ditto for music."
2) "I watch TV and movies, but who would pay for them when you can steal, I mean find them online?"
3) "I've never bought a DVD, so they'll pry $25 out of my hands for a blu-ray/hd-dvd disc when hell freezes over - I get them from the library, which is also my only social outlet"
4) "I'll buy hd-dvd/blu-ray when it costs $10 and the discs are $1. My VCR is still running."
5) "Physical media is dead anyway, in fact I don't even _type_ anymore because it involves physical contact."
6) "All video formats are the same, and anyone who says otherwise is blind... I love my 12" vga monitor!"
7) "LINUX LINUX LINUX!!!! Microsoft can suck my dick."
8) "They all use DRM, so I'm going to boycott life, as soon as I get one."
9) "First post!"
10) "All companies are run by Nazis who also control your congresspeople, and you live in a police state that just wants to monitor what you watch. It's too late to do anything about it, but I'm Canadian, which means I'm an expert on how the US sucks."
11) "DVI / HDMI / HDCP / WTF"

So in summary, I have seen an actual HD-DVD played back on a quality LARGE screen, and it looks very very nice.
Probably too good for you, if you don't care about movies. Or if you have anything less than a 60" screen,
which is the same thing. I am COMPLETELY PISSED that there are two formats, and that the movie studios won't do both formats. Is it that big of a deal to master two discs? What a cluster fuck. If money changes hands, whatever. Hopefully there will be a decent dual format player soon. And don't get me started on why I can't rip a movie I paid for legally!

$150 million for a Disc the same size? (1)

ozialien (953181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314475)

Hey for 150 million I would have at least expected some physical incompatibility.

Sphere drive would have been cool, but not very child safe.

wow just wow (-1, Troll)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314549)

Another attempt by Microsoft to destroy the free market and dominate the entertainment industry. Paramount cashes in big time, consumers get screwed over.

I will never buy another Microsoft product again. I'm sick of this anti-competitive monopolist company.

NYT confirms it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314593)

Blu-ray is dead.

Region coding (5, Interesting)

orangepeel (114557) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314635)

I'm glad someone's making a revitalizing effort on the part of HD-DVD, even if it means handing out buckets of cash. My biggest reason for supporting HDDVD over BluRay (other than a long-time dislike for Sony) is that HDDVD does not have any form of region coding, while BluRay does. I haven't seen that point raised here on Slashdot before, so I'm at the point of wondering if A) it's even correct, and B) if I'm really the only one who cares.

We've seen big companies embrace globalization when convenient many times before, and then immediately turn around and implement artificial barriers so that consumers can't take advantage of that same global market (the stories here on Slashdot a few years ago about textbook manufacturers come to mind, where they would sell English versions of their textbooks in foreign countries at hugely discounted prices, and then fight over efforts of other companies and individuals to make those same books available back to customers in the USA).

Region coding ought to be universally despised. So far as I know, with HD-DVD I don't have to worry about it. But Sony, showing their true stripes once again, embraced it with BluRay.

Re:Region coding (4, Informative)

oGMo (379) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314827)

I'm glad someone's making a revitalizing effort on the part of HD-DVD, even if it means handing out buckets of cash. My biggest reason for supporting HDDVD over BluRay (other than a long-time dislike for Sony) is that HDDVD does not have any form of region coding, while BluRay does. I haven't seen that point raised here on Slashdot before, so I'm at the point of wondering if A) it's even correct, and B) if I'm really the only one who cares.

Everything seems to point to HDDVD region codes:

If anything, you should support BD over HDDVD simply because it's better technology (higher capacity storage), and if you want to go down the "corporate evil" route, Microsoft is far more evil than Sony, so BD wins by default.

So far as I know, with HD-DVD I don't have to worry about it. But Sony, showing their true stripes once again, embraced it with BluRay.

First off, BD is not a "Sony" format, anymore than Cell is a "Sony processor"; they're just part of the committees. One of many. Secondly, if anything, the lack of region codes on PS3 and PSP games should point in the opposite direction. The inclusion of region coding is like the inclusion of DRM---it's a feature that studios will want before they support the format, regardless of how ineffective or stupid it is.

Re:Region coding (5, Informative)

orangepeel (114557) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315025)

Everything seems to point to HDDVD region codes:

To me, no, everything does not seem to point to HD-DVD region codes (thanks for those links though). From that Amazon page, if you follow their "Read more about region encoding and how it may affect you here" link, you wind up at this page [amazon.com] . As you can see, regular DVD and BluRay region coding is detailed, but there is no mention of such a thing for HD-DVD.

Furthermore, as you noted the other two links you provided are from last year, and refer to discussions that they were expecting to have this year about implementing region coding. Do you happen to have any information about whether those expected discussions have actually happened or not, and if so what the outcome of those "working groups" were?

I'll also point out that the relevant Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] -- that fount of information that is never, ever wrong -- states that, "there is no Region Coding in the existing HD DVD specification, which means that titles from any country can be played in players in any other country." Alternatively, if you check out the Wikipedia article on BluRay [wikipedia.org] (which comes complete with a pretty map), you can see that the opposite is true.

I'm sorry but the very concept of region coding bothers me so much that, until I see clear evidence that the same thing is going to be implemented with HD-DVD some day, HD-DVD easily wins over BluRay. Higher capacity be damned. I'll take at least some level of consumer-oriented freedom over that any day, thanks.

Re:Region coding (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314863)

Technically you're correct, HD DVD doesn't support region coding and Blu-ray does. In reality it's a non-issue because the region encoding for blu-ray is optional and (as far as I know) not a single title has made use of it so far and no studio has any intention of using it.

Paramount's Alan Bell presents additional reasons (2, Informative)

BAM0027 (82813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314641)

According to this article [yahoo.com] , Alan Bell says there are additional reasons including:

For one thing, the lower prices of the players: It's good for consumers, it's good for our customer base. For another thing, HD DVD came out of the DVD Forum. The DVD Forum is very experienced at developing and managing specs. [HD DVD] was launched in a very stable way, with stable specifications, and they had specified a reference player model, so all players had to be compatible with the HDi interactivity layer, and all players had to be capable of the interactivity. So when we publish titles in the future that have interactivity, we can be assured that every HD DVD player will be able to handle this content.

Re:Paramount's Alan Bell presents additional reaso (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314697)

HD DVD has an additional value for those who are currently manufacturing DVDs: it can use the same production lines as existing DVDs. BLU-RAY requires new production facilities. These are expensive. One way or another that cost will be passed on to the consumer. In the long run HD DVD may or may not be cheaper, but in the short run this is an advantage to HD DVD.

no payments up front and MS comments are true (0, Troll)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314651)

just the way the answered the questions seems to imply they are the ones behind the payments and THAT is no surprise. Customers asking for HD-DVD you say? And what is the truth but a state of belief or perception of a belief... Glad to see Microsoft hasn't changed one bit.

LoB

Re:no payments up front and MS comments are true (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314833)

If you even bothered to RTFA, you would have seen there is no Question who is behind the funding TOSHIBA. They have a huge vested interest in HD-DVD success, MS while they prefer HD-DVD will not lose either way. TOSHIBA will be paying for the rights to several popular movies like Shrek 3 to bundle DVD players with the movie to boost their sales.

Re:no payments up front and MS comments are true (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314915)

I did RTFA and I did not see where Toshiba admitted to the financing. And, had I seen that, I would have wondered why Microsoft was asked about the financing and why they were so coy with their answer. Sorry but I walked away from the article with the sense that Microsoft was involved in a big way in this deal regardless of Toshiba's involvement.

LoB

HD-DVD ftw! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20314685)

booooyeee

Porn (0, Troll)

Porn Perez (1146003) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315019)

. . . WWW.PORNPEREZ.COM Less than $10 bucks a month for thousands of minutes of erotic movies. . . . . .

low price? (1)

GodsBlood (1143061) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315065)

What's 150mil in the film industry these days? 3-4 non-blockbusters, 1-2 major releases? To go to one format just for 18 months at that price seems ridiculous.
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