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Sony Calls Current Blu-ray/HD DVD Format War a 'Stalemate

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the feeling-a-touch-insecure dept.

Movies 547

unger814 writes "Sony CEO Howard Stringer says that Blu-ray and HD DVD are currently in a 'stalemate' and is 'playing down the importance of the battle.' Stringer addressed a crowd at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y cultural center Thursday, where he said that 'it was a matter of prestige' which format wins. Stringer pointed to the switch by Paramount from producing movies in both formats to only HD DVD as a turning point. 'We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides,' Stringer said."

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Hmm (4, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295069)

The first person to believe they have lost momentum is often the loser.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295225)

Momentum! What momentum?

Blu Ray never gained momentum, for that matter, neither did HD DVD. However its looking more and more that HD DVD is slowly gaining momentum. Paramount Switch, 100$ HDDVD players [yahoo.com] .

Re:Hmm (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295857)

Considering the amount of money both sides have been pumping into studios to get them to exclusively release on one format or the other (it cost LOTS of money to switch studios...), BOTH sides are losing to the indifference of the general public. Warner's still backing both.. IIRC. And I don't think anyone who wasn't affiliated with the HD/Blu Ray backing companies would go exclusive at this point without a pile of cash to go along with it... (and a time limit... so they're not selling themselves short...)

Disney's Blu-Ray (because they love the DRM, I guess)... so who knows where it will go?

Re:Hmm (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295925)

The first person to believe they have lost momentum is often the loser.


I think you mean that the first big OS vendor to bribe Paramount is often the winner.

Wow (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295093)

Frosty piss!? Since the formats are roughly equal, then it is down to who does the dirtiest deals and knocks out their opponent with copious amounts of cash..

Re:Wow (5, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295217)

I willing to accept large amounts of cash and electronics in order to accept one format as the winner.....

Layne

Re:Wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295553)

well...if Sony is behind it...I want nothing to do with it.

Re:Wow (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295743)

Mmm. That makes a lot of sense, since Toshiba, Microsoft, and a bunch of movie studios are *so* much more appealing than Sony.

Not sure what he means. (5, Insightful)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295113)

'We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides,'

Now what? Are you going to try to win by unlawful or dishonest tactics? Not sure why you wouldn't try to win on the merits, unless you know that your product isn't as good...

Re:Not sure what he means. (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295261)

As tends to happen in most asymmetrical warfare situations, Sony will be turning to terrorism. If HD-DVD really gets a big lead, I would avoid the Electronics section at the local Wal-Mart if I were you.

Re:Not sure what he means. (2, Interesting)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295485)

Now what? Are you going to try to win by unlawful or dishonest tactics? Not sure why you wouldn't try to win on the merits, unless you know that your product isn't as good...


This is very simplistic thinking. The fact is that Toshiba paid Paramount a lot of money to drop Blu-Ray support. Toshiba could pay everyone else to drop Blu-Ray support as well. So maybe you could explain how sticking to being "honest", and relying on the merits of the format would help win here? What an idiotic thing to say.

It is clear how this is heading, just as Sony and Microsoft fight over exclusives for their consoles, Sony and Toshiba are going to fight over exclusives for their HD formats. Sony may have a superior format in some ways, size of data on the disc, but that wont win them the war.

Re:Not sure what he means. (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295587)

The fact is that Toshiba paid Paramount a lot of money to drop Blu-Ray support.

Source, please?

Re:Not sure what he means. (3, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295683)

As usual, it's an idiotic Slashbot simplification - if you don't like the results, pretend it's all about bribery. Paramount was paid for switching to HD-DVD, but it's not the only reason [arstechnica.com] . Paramount does appear to believe HD-DVD is technically a superior system.

Re:Not sure what he means. (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295759)

did you even look/google? This info has been public for a few months now and was even discussed on /.
It was admitted by Paramount that they took money and IIRC, there were some DreamWorks payouts too. Spielberg refused to by a part of it.

they original poster didn't lie, it's all out there for you to find and it's pretty current. And remember, Microsoft is betting and backing HD-DVD and with their history of payola, you can bet comfortably their hands are dirty. IMO.

LoB

Re:Not sure what he means. (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295679)

This is very simplistic thinking. The fact is that Toshiba paid Paramount a lot of money to drop Blu-Ray support.

Are you suggesting there is something wrong with that? Paying for exclusive contracts is a normal business practice. Nothing unethical about it.

Re:Not sure what he means. (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295533)

More like cognitive dissonance.

You see, they suggested they were winning (in a war where "both" sides are loosing to a third, unmentioned side). Now that people accept that lie, they will accept the other (merits) more easily.

There's a reason people aren't switching to the new formats. Even if they do eventually, I hope it wont be to the one from one of the most consumer-abusive companies on the market...

Winning on its own merits (2, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295557)

Is the polite phrase for saying the other sucks.

In other words, they want to call the other side names, make claims the other sides technology is inferior, but can't do it and remain professional.

Right now, in the DVD war the only thing BluRay has over HD is Disney. Thats the most important line they have which seems to be limited to BluRay.

Since HD DVD players have recently hit $99 on special deals, hell even regular price $199 versions can come with up to TEN movies, its only a matter of time before BluRay is just another Sony product unique to Sony.

Re:Winning on its own merits (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295977)

Tell that to the soccer moms who want to get "Beauty and the Beast 37: Hell Wars" for little Suzie. :) They'll pay $200 for a player, because the little brats want DIS-NEEEEEY!!! :) I don't favor one or the other, but I can see that this isn't as simple as "UMD" or other proprietary formats that Sony has backed over the years.. Truly, the lack of sales for both formats shows that neither has caught any momentum...

A pox on both their houses (5, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295121)

This comes down to greed, pure and simple. Rather than sitting down and coming to a standard acceptable industry-wide, these corporations decided to go it alone and try to beat the other guys in a format war. The result has been market confusion. I heard one NPR analyst estimate that this format war has reduced the market for next-gen DVDs by 90% - in other words, 90% of potential consumers stay away until the war has a clear winner. And there's no end in sight. I hope the format war continues on indefinitely, to teach companies a lesson not to do this in the future.

Re:A pox on both their houses (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295291)

I agree, ultimately, I think that HD-DVD is probably going to be the winner, but really only because the equipment is less expensive, and seems less prone to manufacturing problems.

I think from the consumer perspective that the formats aren't really different enough to justify two of them. Perhaps if blue ray could offer something compelling that wasn't available in HD-DVD, then they'd have something, but all you get is a bit of extra run time that'll rarely be used and more encryption. Most consumers don't even use all the functionality that regular DVDs provide. Few use the surround sound capabilities that most DVDs have.

I haven't really seen anything which makes me think that one is really better than the other in a significant way.

Re:A pox on both their houses (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295323)

You have to admit these companies have balls though. Betting the company future on the toss of a coin. Heads we win, tails we go under. I wonder what their shareholders would say if they had been asked early on?

Re:A pox on both their houses (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295363)

That's interesting. I'm in the same boat with the 90%. Heck, I'm not even willing to buy a HDTV until the format war ends. If more people are like me then this isnt just hurting next-gen dvds but the entire HD industry. Oh well, the faster Sony loses the better.

Re:A pox on both their houses (1)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295477)

I have a 1080p HDTV
I love having high def programming
I cringe when I watch DVDs on my TV because they look worse than over-the-air.

You'd think I'd be Sony's perfect customer, yet I'm thinking about a HD-DVD player. Why? Rumor is that they're going sub-$100 this Christmas.

I will spend $100 on a HD-DVD player which may be obsolete in a couple years. It's at the price point that it doesn't have to be a "sure thing" anymore.
I will not spend $400 on a Blu-Ray player.

Re:A pox on both their houses (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295517)

Of course, the other problem is that the difference between DVD and HDDVD/Bluray is not clear enough.

When I first went to buy an HDTV, I was very excited. I got to the store, looked at everything... And then realized: I couldn't tell the difference between the HDTV and regular TV... Both were CRT at the time. I went away very disheartened.

It wasn't until a couple years later that I finally bought an LCD HDTV for gaming, instead of TV, and I was very happy. To this day, I still can't see much difference between HD and regular TV on my 50" LCD. And while I can tell the difference between Bluray and DVD, the difference isn't big enough for me to justify spending twice as much on the discs.

So, if I can hardly tell the difference and I'm fully invested in the system... What about normal people? All they have is the hype... There's no proof.

I must say one thing has impressed me, though: Over the Air HD broadcasts. The same channel that is a mess of colored fuzz with sound in regular broadcasts is a perfectly clear channel in HD. (I admit, that could be my crappy antenna, though.)

Re:A pox on both their houses (2, Insightful)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295569)

This comes down to greed, pure and simple.

This is a foolish statement. It has nothing to do with greed, everything to do with profits. (How can a company be greedy anyway, they are supposed to make as much money as they legally can) How can something like this be modded up. Why do people persist in calling companies greedy, when it makes as much sense as calling your car greedy for oil, or your hat greedy. The fact that you got modded up to 5 only proves that there are a lot of fools that make the same mistake.

Re:A pox on both their houses (2, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295935)

It's greed because instead of being content to try to get the industry to agree on a standard (which would have resulted in a fully functional market, in which everyone makes a fair profit) they decided to try to standardize in their own proprietary formats, resulting in a confused market that people stay away from - and nobody profits. That's greed, by definition.

Re:A pox on both their houses (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295947)

Oh, I think I can predict who the winner [thepiratebay.org] is. I think the pain threshold is around "put it on when you go to sleep, done when you get home from school/work" which comes out to 30GB/16hrs = 4Mbit sustained. Now we're not quite there yet, but we're getting there. For several years now our main telco has been lying fiber to all new housing, so even if it doesn't happen overnight more and more buildings will be directly linked with fiber. At that point it's really just a question of how much you're willing to pay...

I'm curious.. (1)

moseman (190361) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295133)

... how much money has been exchanged under the table between the studios and the format owners?

Blu-ray vs HD DVD (5, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295143)

In this war, there may not be a winner, but I guarantee the consumers will be the losers. From high priced product ( which may go down in time ) to DRM shens ( Explain to your mom why the new movie she just bought for 30 bucks doesn't work in her 600 dollar player ).

And like cattle, we line up to hand over our money.

Re:Blu-ray vs HD DVD (3, Insightful)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295279)

"And like cattle, we line up to hand over our money."

What's actually happening is that people are just not buy HD discs and sticking to DVD. That's not what I would consider cattle like.

Re:Blu-ray vs HD DVD (1)

johanw (1001493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295297)

That explaination is easy: "you shouldn't have BOUGHT a movie in the first place but waited until my download was complete". Downloads have no DRM shit.

Re:Blu-ray vs HD DVD (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295707)

The format war has been a very good thing for consumers. First, it has cause people who would normally not care, to ask what the difference between the formats are. This gives a very good opportunity to explain the DRM, since that is one of the two main differences. Secondly it has kept the movies on DVD from being discontinued. At the time that there is a 90% adoption rate on the next gen disks, you can be sure that the will try to force the last 10% by just not releasing movies on DVD. We don't use DVDs in my house for watching movies.

Sounds like Surrender (0)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295159)

Sounds like the guys at Sony are giving up.

Without the two P's (price, and porn) it's hard to win this war. Sony lost most of the Porn and they seem to not be able to bring down production costs enough to match prices. Since the are loosing so much money in other areas, they probably can't afford to take the loss.

Re:Sounds like Surrender (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295241)

Since the are loosing so much money in other areas

So maybe they should try to TIGHTEN their money. You lazy fuck, learn some spelling and grammar.

I call $99 HD-DVD Players the winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295165)

Plus 5-10 discs for free after rebate/in the box.
Or haven't you been paying attention to the sales this month.

What I really want though is a $50 internal HD-DVD reader drive
($100 burner would be nice too but first things first I guess)

I see a pattern (4, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295181)

With all the formats out there, they all have one thing in common: they're all unpronounceable words. VHS and DVD. Try pronouncing them. I'm thinking HD DVD will eventually come out on top if the historical track record continues.

Re:I see a pattern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295447)

I pronounce "ThatSkinnyGuy's Law": The unpronounceable technology is always victorious.

If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (5, Informative)

TFer_Atvar (857303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295199)

If Sony's calling it a stalemate, then HD-DVD is already ahead. If all Sony can manage with it's PR department is to call the situation a "stalemate," then HD-DVD likely ahead in real terms. Incidentally, I just conducted an informal, non-scientific poll here in the office. Of 20+ people, only two had heard of Blu-Ray. Half had heard of HD-DVD, but almost all were able to figure out what it was by the name alone. It makes me think that HD-DVD has an advantage just because of its name.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295245)

You nailed it right on the head. The name recognition alone gives HD-DVD an instant advantage. I think you will see more and more studios switching to HD-DVD, or at least producing on both medias, and not just solely Bluray.

By the way, couldn't they have thought up a better name than Blu-Ray? WTH is a Blu Ray?

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (4, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295425)

If Sony's calling it a stalemate, then HD-DVD is already ahead. If all Sony can manage with it's PR department is to call the situation a "stalemate," then HD-DVD likely ahead in real terms. Incidentally, I just conducted an informal, non-scientific poll here in the office. Of 20+ people, only two had heard of Blu-Ray. Half had heard of HD-DVD, but almost all were able to figure out what it was by the name alone. It makes me think that HD-DVD has an advantage just because of its name.
From all sources Blu-ray is still outselling HD DVD 2:1. Has so for the last 9 months, Blu ray is in a comfortable lead. But sony may have correctly spotted that widespread adoption is hindered by the format war. So While it's 2:1 lead may eventually kill off HD DVD, it will for sure delay the adoption of a HD format. This is likely a preamble to some sort of reconciliation with Toshiba and maybe an attempt to merge and enable hybrid players for the good of the industry.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (2, Informative)

jmauro (32523) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295573)

I believe the 2:1 ratio existed with Betamax as well, before VHS cleaned it's clock in the consumer market.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295839)

"From all sources"? Which sources? Are you counting the PS3 as a Blu-Ray player? I'd be surprised if, after taking out the PS3, Blu-Ray were anywhere neat HD-DVD in terms of sales.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (1)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295431)

Then please explain how Blu-Ray is outselling HD DVD nearly 2-1 YTD, and 60-40 over the lifetime of the formats (source: http://www.thedigitalbits.com/ [thedigitalbits.com] ).

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295693)

That's not a source, that's a website. I checked. If it's there, I didn't see it. Link deeper.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295777)

To use a phrase from the financial market world: "Past performance does not necessarily indicate future results." It does not really matter how many disks of each format happen to be floating around out there right now. When DVD first came out there were a lot more laserdisks out there then DVDs for a while. But it quickly became obvious that laserdisk was going extinct quickly. I see the same thing starting to happen with blueray. Blueray got an early sales lead, but HD-DVD is setup to win the race.

Facts: HD-DVD has blue ray by the balls when it comes to price. The price gap is just sad. Given that, HD-DVD is attracting more "casual" buyers now while blue-ray sales will stagnate as only the higher salaried people can afford blue-ray. Studios are starting to favor HD-DVD. In past months, most "release to video stores" trailers I saw mentioned the film being available on Blueray as well as traditional DVD with a few offering HD-DVD as well. As of about 3 weeks ago, the blue-ray references have dropped off sharply and now almost every movie I see an ad for is mentioning HD-DVD.

I think the opportunity still exists for Sony to fight it...but they would have to do something drastic like mark down all the blue-ray players to $200 or mark down all the movies to $10. Of course the technology is too expensive (we knew that before), so they can't do that without bleeding cash like there is no tomorrow. The battle is pretty much lost Sony, give it up and move on to something else...and this time be a tad more innovative and make something that everybody and their brother can't emulate for lower cost.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295597)

Works both ways though. Do a search of "HD-DVD player" on Amazon.com and you'll find a huge number of matches - only a handful of which are actually HD-DVD(tm) players. Most are... wait for it... HD DVD players. Note the space, and lack of a (tm). These are DVD players that "support" HD, usually by promoting the same, tired, old up-convert/de-interlace features that already are in every modern HDTV set, and the (commercially unsupported) DivX codec. So while it's obvious what it is from the name, it's not obvious what players really are HD-DVD players, and which are just "good" DVD players. Most consumers are going to face confusion looking for a such a thing.

Name recognition is over-rated anyway. A visit to any electronics store will show you HD-DVD and Blu-ray in the same place, with panels explaining that they do more or less the same thing. Once you're ready to part with your money, you will find out about Blu-ray.

Another problem is manufacturer support. HD-DVD(tm) (heh) has, from what I can figure out, only two major hardware manufacturers supporting it, and LG, one of the two, swings both ways.

Not that I particularly want Blu-ray to win, personally I prefer the slightly thicker (and therefore less likely to cut the flesh) metal used in HD-DVD's DRM handcuffs, you can struggle a little longer without causing permanent nerve damage than you can in Blu-ray's razor cuffs. (HD-DVD supports DVD jukeboxes, and has only one form of DRM; Blu-ray supports multiple schemes and those additional DRM schemes have already proven themselves to be as disastrous as the hacks used to hamper the copying of CDs. Additionally, HD-DVD permits unencrypted content to be made, and even ordinary DVD media to be used.) I just think it's far from over at this stage and simple "Everyone knows what HD-DVD is" type logic falls flat when you investigate it.

The whole thing's stupid anyway. A modern codec with ordinary dual-layer DVD media would have given us full length HD movies and could have been incorporated into new DVD players without adding significantly (if at all) to the costs. But noooo, we had to go the untested blue laser route.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (1)

BrerBear (8338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295799)

It makes me think that HD-DVD has an advantage just because of its name.
Or a disadvantage. There have been plenty of reports of people buying HD-DVDs to play with their HDTV and DVD player, not realizing that it also requires new hardware.

As for HD-DVD being already ahead, it's been trailing Blu-ray significantly in disc sales all year, and Blu-ray is just putting out its biggest sellers now. We'll find out today if the super-discounted HD-DVD Wal*Mart special made a difference in disc sales. But lower prices haven't helped HD-DVD win a single week all year, and it seems unlikely that $20-$30 discs are going to be that attractive to the bargain-buying crowd.

Re:If Sony's calling it a stalemate... (1)

CmdrNachos (1156063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295971)

Does the report also mention that when the consumer gets the $100 player home, it upconverts the buyers standard DVDs? Mistake or not, the consumer still isn't getting that bad a deal on that measure alone. He's overpaying a little but not too much. Oh and now it plays HD-DVDs too.

I think there will be a tipping point... (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295315)

And I think that will be for those who have HD DVD players already and kids when shrek 3 comes out it will help HD DVD.

Stalemate == Loss.... (3, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295327)

I will not be getting either one until there is a clear winner. So a stalemate is a loss for both sides.

Rediculous (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295335)

There is no stalemate, because the "war" is not over. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are just, for the most part, dead even in an ongoing race. As they say in Highlander, "There can be only one". As time goes on, prices will come down, and consumers will start to get the itch and start buying whatever brand happens to capture their attention and the scales will tip one way or the other. Soon after that the other technology will slowly fade into the background and a winner will emerge.

Re:Rediculous (1)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295581)

The war could be averted in the future if dual-format players become the standard. Then issues like licensing fees and manufacturing cost will govern which format gets which films, and the consumer will forget that there is a difference between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Remember back in the dark ages when you cared about the difference between DVD+R and DVD-R?

TV Advertisers are already using the terms "HD Blu-Ray" and "Blu-Ray DVD", soon they can combine the two and call it HD-BR-DVD, and then abbreviate that to HD-DVD

Price Points (4, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295359)

These things are still far to expensive. The jump between VHS quality and DVD quality was HUGE!! Not only did you start getting things like director's commentary and deleted scenes, but you got a much more "cinema like" experience. 5.1 dolby (in multiple languages if you need it), 16x9 Aspect ratio etc. etc. etc.

Blu-ray/hddvd don't offer THAT huge of a jump from DVD....certainly not enough of an improvement to justify their [still] astronomical prices, not to mention the limited selection of titles.

The first one to come out with a 30 dollar player will win the war.

Re:Price Points (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295439)

I don't even want to buy the disc itself. $30 for a move is outrageous! I prefer not to buy the DVDs until they get to *at least* the sub $15 dollar range. I even find great joy in picking up a DVD for $7.50--the cost of a single movie ticket at the theater!

Re:Price Points (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295681)

$7.50--the cost of a single movie ticket at the theater!


Or, at least around here, quite a bit below the cost of a movie ticket at the theater! At my local theater, they just raised the prices to an even $10 USD.

Personally, I'm waiting until I can easily rent HD media at the local video store, although I know Netflix is already/currently supporting both formats. Plus, I need to buy an HDTV first.. which I think is the other big hold-back. Slashdot might be surprised, but most people outside silicon valley do *NOT* have a high-def TV.

Re:Price Points (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295543)

These things are still far to expensive. The jump between VHS quality and DVD quality was HUGE!! Not only did you start getting things like director's commentary and deleted scenes, but you got a much more "cinema like" experience. 5.1 dolby (in multiple languages if you need it), 16x9 Aspect ratio etc. etc. etc.

Blu-ray/hddvd don't offer THAT huge of a jump from DVD....certainly not enough of an improvement to justify their [still] astronomical prices, not to mention the limited selection of titles.
It depends on your TV. if you have a standard 480i, then no there isn't much of a difference. If you have a 720p or 1080i/p then in fact there is a huge difference. A difference that no one can deny. It's the same or greater as the difference between VHS and DVD in quality. As well the adoption of HDTV's have increased drastically in the past year. So arguements of about few HDTV's no longer hold.

Re:Price Points (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295663)

Well, the idea that consumers en masse really want massively more pixels per second being pumped onto their screens is faulty. Broadcasters are taking advantage of digital TV, not to offer stunning hi-def transmissions, but to turn their single channel license into multiple channels. YouTube is by far the most popular video web site, and it offers video quality which would be ashamed next to VHS.

This is just one of those behavior driven things -- not consumer behavior driven, but corporate behavior driven. Technology means more bits can be put on a platter, and where that platter has heretofore been a commodity, it means a chance to differentiate your product and (if you are lucky) reap bigger than normal profits using a variety of sometimes questionable means.

Really, I see the most important thing about more bits on a platter not as being more bits on the screen. It's just more bits on the platter. Even a reasonably normal household has more data these days than can fit on a DVD. 25GB on a platter would be a godsend for many data archiving and transfer purposes. A 25GB disk in overnight mail is like having over 2Mbit/sec bandiwth, and is cheaply scaled by dropping a few more disks in the envelope.

Re:Price Points (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295789)

I thought the big jump between VHS and DVD was not so much the quality of picture (and cut scenes, directors commentary etc.) as the convenience of being able to jump to whatever scene you want pretty much instantaneously and not having to rewind the bastard after you have finished watching.

Hd DVD and Blue-ray don't have any such advantage over DVD. It is DVD just a bit* better.

*OK maybe a lot better if you have the hundreds/thousands of dollars worth of equipment to tell the difference but not everyone does.

They should have known better (2, Insightful)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295369)

When BluRay and HD DVD first came out, DVD *just* became the standard. People like the latest and greatest in general, but give consumers some time to play with their toys before trying to sell them new ones. With recent news of uncertainty in the economy, BluRay and HD DVD are on the back-burner of the back-burner for a good while to come.

Chess (1, Interesting)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295387)

In chess, if you know you're going to win (which is often the case, sometimes several moves before it happens), it's customary to offer a draw out of courtesy, rather than to drag out the inevitable. While Sony may be trying to use this analogy, from popular opinion it seems more like admitting defeat.

Re:Chess (4, Informative)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295609)

In chess, if you know you're going to win (which is often the case, sometimes several moves before it happens), it's customary to offer a draw out of courtesy, rather than to drag out the inevitable.


What a load of drivel. If this was true, then nobody would ever win a game of chess...yes, that would be exciting, wouldn't it.

Re:Chess (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295889)

You offer a draw when you think you're going to lose. If your opponent doesn't recognize that he's in a winning position he might accept it.

Screw them both (1)

spectro (80839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295411)

We can fit a whole 1080p XViD movie into a single layer DVD, just need to come up with a format standard for menus, have a few hardware players support it and give a free license to the porn industry.

Re:Screw them both (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295561)

Agreed dude.

Ever read the old OVD threads? One of the ideas on there could even be used to give studios their protection from casual thievery as well, encrypt the video stream not to some massive keyfile that could be brute-forced, but instead to a barcode within the disk itself. Equipment to manufacture the disks is expensive, and bulky, so to be a massive piracy operation you'd not be running in a basement. But as the stream could be decoded on the fly and recoded for other formats, end-users would not be limited either. But, by re-encoding, you do loose some clarity, much like when you copy VHS tapes, thereby allowing fair use.

Stalemate? (4, Funny)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295451)

Well - if Sony PR is calling it a stalemate, thats the equivalent of declaring HD-DVD the winner.

Did anyone expect otherwise though? The statement "Never Get Involved in a Land War in Asia" has pretty much been replaced with "Never Get Involved On The Sony Side Of A Format War". Seriously - Betamax, Mini Disc, Memory Stick, A-TRAC - Why would anyone expect Sony to come out aheard this time? They have no idea how to trumpet a format.

Re:Stalemate? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295639)

They have no idea how to trumpet a format.

But what about Minidisc, SACD, Sony Memory Stick, UMD, and the ATRAC music format? Are you saying they were all failures?

Re:Stalemate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295813)

Don't forget what a rousing success UMD was.

Not Just Prestige (2, Insightful)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295461)

Despite what Howard Stringer says, it seems obvious that there is much more than just prestige on the line for Sony. Specifically, if Blu-Ray loses to HD-DVD, the PlayStation 3, which is already overly expensive, would lose it's secondary selling point - as a Blu-Ray player. This would be disastrous for Sony, as even more people would choose the 360, which can be made to play HD-DVDs for a relatively small premium over the basic package.

It's actually worse than that (4, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295643)

Specifically, if Blu-Ray loses to HD-DVD, the PlayStation 3, which is already overly expensive, would lose it's secondary selling point - as a Blu-Ray player.

Actually, it's even worse. If Blu-Ray loses, Blu-Ray players will stop being manufactured. Sony is relying on economies of scale to drive down the costs of Blu-Ray diodes and drives, which will make it even harder for them to make a profit on the PS3.

In the past 1.5 years they've already lost half the profit they made on the Playstation brand since 1997 (you can check it on their financial reports).

Combine that with the astronomical price cuts they're being forced to do, and you have the recipe for financial disaster at Sony's game division. There may never be a PS4 if things keep going the way they're going now.

Easy way to win. (1)

Hodar (105577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295535)

To make a High Definition movie, you do not need to add pixels or bits. They are already there. If the movie wasn't recorded in High Definition, it's a waste of money to pay for 'artifical bits'. This is a laborous and pretty poor way to do things. But, if a DVD is the movie - with extra data compressed or removed to fit the DVD. Thus, the acutal production cost differnce between a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD is pretty much only the materials cost, plus whatever (if any) extra material the production company chooses to include. So, why not price the High Defintion movies at $2 more than a standard DVD format? All other factors being near equal, price will be the deciding factor.

DO NOT LET SONY WIN! (-1, Flamebait)

itzsm00th (1079405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295545)

I hate any product made by Sony, they can just die for all I care. If we let Sony win with Blew-Ray, then we're enabling them to continue producing poor quality products in our market and selling them at over-inflated prices. Besides, HD-DVD has much better video quality than Blew-Ray. Boycott Sony!!!

Re:DO NOT LET SONY WIN! (4, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295631)

Thanks. Everyone was wondering what the Sony-haters were thinking on this. Turns out they were thinking "I hate Sony". Who could have guessed?

As a consumer (2, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295567)

I really don't care which format wins. By the time I invest in an HD TV, I fully expect that the hybrid HD-DVD/ Blu-Ray players will be out and that is what I will buy. At that point, anyone who was an early adopter of wither of these technologies will probably pick one of them up as well. It's not like VHS vs Beta as in that case, the formats required tapes that were physically different in size. The discs don't have that limitation.

I love PR logic flaws (1)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295625)

'We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides,' Stringer said.

If they were trying to win on "the merits", then why would that have any bearing? The blu-ray technology did not change when a content provider stopped using it.

Unless, of course, you define "the merit" as "having more content providers".

- Roach

Sony doesn't understand that it's evil (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295689)

Sony doesn't understand that it's evil. Their hardware functionality is dictated by their ownership of content. Everything they do is infused with copy protection; another word for that is "preventing the creation of value for the customer." They would generate a LOT MORE MONEY for stockholders by splitting themselves up into a hardware company and a content company.

Re:Sony doesn't understand that it's evil (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295805)

Sony doesn't understand that it's evil. Their hardware functionality is dictated by their ownership of content. Everything they do is infused with copy protection; another word for that is "preventing the creation of value for the customer." They would generate a LOT MORE MONEY for stockholders by splitting themselves up into a hardware company and a content company.
The copy protection thing, it sort of defacto for almost every industry that has any IP at the moment. I agree sony occasionally makes good hardware and if sony music/movies weren't hindering them Sony could be a powerful brand again.

xbox vs psx3 (1)

badpupil (1144999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295739)

I bet it is all down to the PS3 being a failure. I bought the HD-DVD just because it was the only one available for 360...

From a purely technical standpoint... (0, Troll)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295769)

BluRay should win. It has more space to store data. Of course when you take into account Microsoft and their underhanded acts and all the marketing hype then HD-DVD might win. It will be a sad day though because the technically better format should win.

My comments as an HD-DVD Owner (1)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295783)

There isn't anything about Blu-Ray players that I see worth getting for "merits". As others have pointed out, the space differences don't matter a whole lot when there isn't any more content to put on the discs. I own about 20 HD-DVDs so far and what i've noticed is almost all of the extras are just the DVD extras so they aren't even in high-def anyway. Only on newer movies do you also get HD extras since they are filming them with higher-res cameras instead of your typical hand-held camera that a lot of the "behind the scenes" type stuff is filmed with.

Also, HD-DVD's format specification was finalized a long time before Blu-Ray (is Blu-Ray's spec even finalized yet!?). That allows for all HD-DVD players to support a standard set of features when some early Blu-Ray players won't be able to play later Blu-Ray features because the spec wasn't (or still isn't) finalized. Also, HD-DVD has an overlay layer so they can do some neat things with running special features in Picture in picture or sliding menus up on top of the movie so you can browse around without pausing the movie or having to go to a "root" menu.

Both formats have slow booting players right now though. When you turn on your HD or Blu-Ray player, it will be at around a minute and a half before you are watching the movie because of how slow the players are to first boot up, then to actually load the movie. This problem is still there even on the third-gen HD-DVD players that are out now (I have the Toshiba 1080p HD-DVD player that came out last month ~ $320 on Amazon).

One big thing in HD-DVDs camp though is the price, the cheapest blu-ray player is the PS3 at $400 and it doesn't have all of the same level of functionality as a high-end stand-alone player would. You can get an HD-DVD player for around $150 now and they're rumored to be even cheaper at Christmas.

As for the movies, it is hit and miss on how good a job they did of cleaning up the image and re-scanning the original film on older movies. Some have the occasional dust pop from where the film they scanned from was dirty. The newer movies do look really good though, and you notice the HD in the finer details (facial hair, textures on clothing and faces). The funny thing is, HD basically lets you see more blemishes where clothing might have lint on it or there is a blemish on an actor or actresses face! Also, the movies are pretty expensive, the cheapest you will find HD-DVDs that are new is around $24 compared to $12-15 for the same movie on DVD.

Ultimately, I think the winner will be whoever strikes some more "We give you $50 million in cash and you only release on our format for minimum of 2 years" type deals. There are very few movies out on Blu-Ray right now that I really miss having other than Spider Man and Pirates of the Carribean. There are a LOT more that are exclusive to HD-DVD that I wouldn't want to miss having: Shrek 3, Transformers, Oceans Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen, some Jet Li movies, Unforgiven, The Searchers and about 30+ more.

Got an HD-DVD (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295793)

I picked up an HD-DVD this weekend during the über-blowouts. Naturally, I missed out on the $99 ones, but I went ahead and picked up an A3 with 10 movies for $200. My take on the whole thing is this: both media types are the same form factor and can be played in a single player if it supports both formats. There are already some of these players out there (although they're 800-1000 bucks). Eventually, prices will come down low enough on the dual-format players that a "winner" will be more or less irrelevant. Even if BluRay eventually "wins", I'll still be able to pick up a dual format player for years to come (maybe paying a hair more than a regular BD player [2011: Oh no, 50 bucks instead of 40!]). But based on how the DVD-R/DVD+R "wars" eventually panned out, I'm betting both formats will stay around for a while and the players will make the whole thing irrelevant.

As a PS3 owner... (1)

mihalis (28146) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295797)

I'm very happy with my purchase and have already spent about a hundred bucks on Blu-Ray movies, and I've only had the thing two weeks. So to me it seems Blu-Ray is healthy enough.

Nevertheless the format issue is a problem - if my player did HD-DVD also then I'd buy some of the HD-DVD only titles such as The Matrix. But as it is those movies are just out of the question to me now. I'm not buying ANOTHER player, so I'm stuck with my 1999/2000 era original matrix DVD (definitely showing its age now!).

So some consumers are holding back entirely, but those of us who have taken the plunge end up (realistically speaking) having to pick one format and then our choice of movies is diminished. Now that I have a high-def player I am less likely to want to buy many movies in standard-def regular DVD any more.

So it's a real problem for consumers either way - buy now or wait, it sucks.

Ideally dual-format players would come out, and at much lower prices, then the consumers wouldn't care so much and the technical war could go back to a back-room debate for engineers over laser wavelengths, number of layers etc etc.

New format already? Advantages? (1)

hellergood (968199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295855)

Are they selling old movies in HD-DVD/Blu-ray? I don't imagine that many people want them, given that the switch from VHS to DVD really wasn't that long ago.

Does the average consumer know the advantages of either format? I for one don't even know how they are better than DVD except perhaps higher resolution or longer play time. Then again, I don't particularly care. :)

Holding Out (1)

quibbs0 (803278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295877)

I am just waiting so I don't buy the equivilent of a VCR/Laser Disc player/walkman. I wish one of them would win already!
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