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Sony Paid Warner Bros. $400 Million to Go Blu-Ray?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the beats-having-to-say-hd-dvd-all-the-time dept.

Media 487

eldavojohn writes "How much would you pay to be the leading video media technology right now? Is $400 million too much? Sony didn't think so and this article speculates that's how they won the Hi-Def format war. 'With billions of dollars in global sales at stake, experts had predicted the Toshiba-Sony battle would go on for years - not unlike the 1980s battle of videotape formats between VHS (Matsushita) and Betamax (Sony). That war lasted a decade, leaving Sony battered and humiliated. So how did this epic battle come to such an abrupt end? The answer lies in part with the bruising Sony experienced with Betamax, which, like Blu-ray, was also the better product on paper.'"

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free market? (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520336)

Now all those woffling on about free market eat your own hats.

Re:free market? (-1, Offtopic)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520396)

The quota is "I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine"

Sorry for the OT post but every time I read your sig Vader kills a puppy

Re:free market? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520420)

i use mac with my brother sometimes... its very cool... my brother is 30 years old hes pretty smart... he has 45 iq its the same as heis shoe size.. pretu good considaring 100 is full.... mac is cool but visat is beter... i am takeru on msn... bcz when i play halo for the second time i knew what was going too happen befor eit happend... so im takeru... its pretty cooll... is anyone else here mac... thatwould be prety cooll... sonic is cool... i dont like tails though bcz hes sonics girlfrend... i want2 be sonics girlfrend.... sonic is so fast and handsome its increddibnle... sometimes... mac... together... my mom and dad are brother and sister... its prety cool i gess... i herd its prety normal in america.... they love eachother like a father and daugher... theyr so cute together... together... sometimes... mac... my brother is in wheel chair... but hes cool because hes smart... yea... the boy in the basements said he isnt smart and he say bad thing about my dad... but its no mater... he is chained up... in basement... together... vista... yea... maybe... mac is pretty cool bcz they are like copmuters... and the y hav leaf powers btu in mac their in the sfrari... and im there too because im takeru... together... sometimes... i hear screaming from basement... dosnt mater... the boy there is happey.... yea...

Re:free market? (4, Insightful)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520414)

No they won't. For that crowd, bribery, collusion and cartelism are all part of the free-market experience, and they like it just fine! Just so long as the gummint doesn't butt in on all the fun.

Re:free market? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520850)

Yeah i'm talking to you. The wannabe computer programmer who thinks they are good at computers because they can click around the computer enough times and find the reboot button and 'fix' an inherently flawed windows system. You think you're cool because you can pirate photoshop but not know anything about it, get Microsoft Office for free but have the literacy of a 1st grader when writing a paper, and get a copy of Norton Anti-virus because your inherently flawed system is useless without Administrative privileges. Get a clue, you are not smart, you are just a corporate sheep for a company that will bury you if you ever tried to write any software that did anything remotely useful. You are a clickaround and all you know if your ugly gray existence that is Windows.

Want the sourcecode to windows vista?

head -n 1000000 /dev/random > Windows.com

Re:free market? (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520470)

Beat me to it. This is why I can't support unregulated capitalism (cue downmods from the /. libertarian brigade).

Here's a thought exercise for you guys: Wipe the slate clean, everybody starts from zero, Adam Smith's extreme younger brother is in the hizzy.

Now, exactly how many seconds pass before two or more similarly skilled people start pooling their resources to reduce cost/corner the market? You'd go from 0 to Microsoft in no time flat with this method.

Re:free market? (4, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520630)

This is why I can't support unregulated capitalism

Not to worry — there is no such thing.

Re:free market? (3, Funny)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520938)

My pot dealer says othwerwise.

Re:free market? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520602)

Free-market is not without its troubles, but its still a far better solution then letting the 'state' run things.

Re:free market? (5, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520680)

the 'state'

It's spelled 'we, the people', dumbass. The 'problem', such as it is, isn't the system, but your particularly shitty implementation of it.

Re:free market? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520816)

In a perfect world, yes 'the state' would be 'the people'. However, we don't live in a perfect world by any stretch of the imagination. Any form of government by its very nature degenerates, regardless of its so called 'implementation'.

Re:free market? (0, Flamebait)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520904)

What kind of crap is that? Of course we don't live in a perfect world, that's not the point.

The point is, when you've got retards and war profiteers running the ship, the problem isn't with the ship.

And just because you can't attract somebody for the job over the level of "drunken wretch" doesn't mean you should give up and quit like a fucking pussy.

Any form of government by its very nature degenerates,

So what you're telling me is you can't be arsed with basic maintenance? That's your problem ,not mine, you lazy bastard.

Re:free market? (3, Insightful)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520954)

I think a better question would be how and what can be done differently, on an specific level, not just an answer of " 'the state' is bad and we need to change it".

Cheers.

Re:free market? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521022)

I think a better question would be how and what can be done differently, on an specific level, not just an answer of " 'the state' is bad and we need to change it".

That's just how these rat bastards want it, though. Pilfer and pillage, exhibit the rotting remains with a triumphant smile: "See, we've been saying for ages it's a piece of shit!"

It's working, too. Maybe if Obama gets in, I'll be convinced that there is a chance for improvement, but he's as proto-capitalist as the rest of them, so I'm not holding my breath.

Re:free market? (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520994)

the 'state'

It's spelled 'we, the people', dumbass. The 'problem', such as it is, isn't the system, but your particularly shitty implementation of it.

...shitty implementation of which system?

We got to see at least three major (and differing) implementations of Marx' setup. The number of deaths from it climbs up into the hundreds of millions, all told, and in places like North Korea, still climbing at horrific rate. Problem is, too many people are eager to claim their actions in the name of "the people", but the reality ends up being just the opposite. I think the USSR lasted approximately three years before it stopped being about "the people" and started being about "the state" (and yes, there is a distinction).

Capitalism (as practiced) isn't exactly a perfect system either (far, far from it). Quite frankly, it can outright suck at times. OTOH, it does have a tendency to keep its body counts down to a much more acceptable level.

Socialism? Cool... now who gets to fund it all when the majority of a populace figures out that they can do just fine without actually having to work for what they get? Ayn Rand may have been a nut case, but she does have a point - even economics has an ecosystem that requires each part of it to function well enough to survive. Humans are too damned lazy in nature to be eager about providing excessively for others in a system where they objectively don't have to.

Now here's the weak link in your arguments as per the free market... Collusion only works for as long as the people are willing to fund it. If not enough people buy Blu-Ray gear to justify the costs going into it, it eventually dies. If something freer, easier, and cheaper comes along (pick at least two) Last I checked, a lack of Blu-Ray gear won't prevent me from eating tonight, nor will that lack prevent me from drinking clean water, or having a nice warm environment in which to sleep tonight. This in turn leads to apathy among the larger population, which in turns leads to...

...fact is, the problem isn't the system per se - the problem is that too few people actually give a damn enough about forcing a change in the nastier incidents within it, at least not until the impact of any aspect affects them personally.

/P

Re:free market? (4, Insightful)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520876)

Without some regulation, what happens is the gap between the haves and the have-nots increases even further. This isn't good for the economy of a country as a whole, by the way.

There's nothing insightful about your post; it's typical anarchist rhetoric, bound to no historical precedent or foresight.

Re:free market? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520694)

There is no free market depsite what is claimed. The Tucker automobile story is just one example of how "unfree" the markets really are... and that is only one example

Re:free market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520718)

Now all those woffling on about free market eat your own hats.
OK, genius, your proposed alternative is...?

Re:free market? (2, Insightful)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520864)

So you take un-cited and speculative numbers from a random journalist? Werner Bros told why it dropped TotalHD, it was they pitched their hybrid-disc to other studios and none bought it. Even saying they're real, $400 million dollar bids are virtually meaningless, Werner Bros needed to be on the winning side, not one that just gave them money, even with the 400 million they could have taken a much larger hit then that if they chose wrong, that's why they wanted the hybrid-disc in the first place. Secondly, fta...


The answer lies in part with the bruising Sony experienced with Betamax, which, like Blu-ray, was also the better product on paper.

Why do they say that? Because Blu-Ray can hold more data? How about the $/Gb ratio, which HD-DVD holds a much higher number. Second how about which is a simpler technology, remember simple can be a good thing, HD-DVD wins that hands down. HD-DVD uses concentric circles where as Blu-Ray uses an outward spiral, that's why it's able to edge out in terms of size. The problem is writing/reading a disc like that, and doing it fast is extremely hard both on the hardware and software required. That's part of why blu-ray would always be more expensive then HD-DVD.

My hope is that this format is completely destroyed by the rise of computers and the internet sales market, which I think will happen. The adoption rate is still very small, and if the movie companies have any idea what they're doing at all they're going to move into the internet distribution market. Bottom line though, both formats suck, when i think back to the IBM floppy being surpassed by the Sony Compact Disk, is see real improvement, nearly 3 orders of magnitude difference in storage capacity. Then I look to DVD possibly being ousted by this new format, the Blu-Ray disc, and it's not even a full order of magnitude between a dual-layer dvd and a Blu-Ray disc. Sure there was DVD upping CD, but everyone still uses CDs. DVDs are more of a tweener, you put on them what you cant quite fit on a CD. Blu-Ray is another tweener, but it's for DVD, which is already barely over its next competition the CD. And yes, my argument is strongly based on the disc's viability for computer usage, but just think about it, they really arn't a huge improvement over the regular DVD, they're just barely good enough to give you true high-def, locking them in to serve only one purpose really well, if that.

I'm not sure what you think you've proven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520920)

Company A has a resource. Companies B and C bid for said resource, company B wins. That's what happened here, Sony outbid Toshiba.

Sounds exactly like the free market at work, so I'm not sure what your point is.

I mean all you did was say "fuck you free marketeers!!!" (paraphrasing) without any real substantive argument.

Re:free market? (4, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520928)

Why? Sony made a smart business move wooing their competitor's biggest supporter with money. Toshiba lost out but if WB was the only thing keeping them alive, then it wasn't like their planning was exactly stellar. They deserved to lose at that point. WB doesn't care one way or another as long as their content sells. They don't really have a horse in this race even though they've acted like it. They could easily abandon BluRay tomorrow. The only party that didn't get what they wanted out of this deal was relying on another company's non-binding agreement to keep their entire product line alive. If you're that upset about it, then feel free to release your content on some other format. The free market lets you do that.

First (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520350)

First to sell my HD-DVD on ebay.

Re:First (3, Funny)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520392)

First to sell my HD-DVD, listed as Blu-Ray, on ebay.

Re:First (2, Funny)

andphi (899406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520532)

Why even send the HD-DVD? Just send a bobcat.

Re:First (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520900)

the world's strange enough as it is, and the bobcat's probably worth more, not to mention the postage.

Yeah right. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520352)

Next they'll be saying Sony would put rootkits on CDs or something...

No more HD-DVD? (4, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520368)

Third, the company sold Blu-ray to rival movie studios with the promise of superior digital copyright protection.
There you go right there.
  1. Promise the movie companies that your formats are less prone to being pirated.
  2. ?
  3. Profit!

We know step 2... (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520390)

... and it involves a $400M cash payment. No need for question marks for these gnomes.

Re:We know step 2... (2, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520440)

Neither side has confirmed the size of any bids or payments.
We may know, but they won't acknowledge it.

Re:We know step 2... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521078)

I read it the same way I read "the company admits no wrongdoing, but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed."

Market Isn't Even Ready (3, Interesting)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520388)

I don't even think the market is ready for HD, we barely have downloads that offer DVD quality. The hardware feels a bit immature in my opinion, with perhaps the exception of the PS3. However my personal experiance with stand alone players comes to one thought, "Why the fuck am I waiting for my movie player to boot up?"

Now call me when we have the bandwidth to stream HD, and we're not paying a premium for discs and when we all have large screen hi def tvs that actually can utilized the enhanced resolution.

That being said, let Sony blow their wads.

Re:Market Isn't Even Ready (5, Insightful)

robizzle (975423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520528)

I don't think the availability of high quality downloads should effect whether or not the market is ready for HD media. Instead, the limiting factor is the ubiquity of high def TVs in the household; there is no sense in getting a blue ray player if you have a 480 TV.

Conversely, I think the lack of high quality downloads would actually spur increased demand for the delivery of high quality content though other means (in this case, HD discs.) If people have high def TVs, they are going to want high def content. If they can't get high def content from the internet, they will try to get it from high def media.

Re:Market Isn't Even Ready (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520878)

Conversely, I think the lack of high quality downloads would actually spur increased demand for the delivery of high quality content though other means (in this case, HD discs.)
And how is DVD-A doing in comparison to AACs from iTunes? In the music industry, people value convenience a huge amount more than quality (or, rather, fidelity). It will be interesting to see if the video industry is different. DVDs gave better quality and convenience than VHS and CDs gave better quality and convenience than analogue tapes. I can't think of a single instance where consumers have been forced to choose between the two and gone with quality.

Re:Market Isn't Even Ready (2, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520590)

It's definitely a few years away. The stereo industry always loves to soak the "hi-fi" consumer; but meanwhile, mainstream consumers have been going nuts over MP3s, which generally have lower sound quality than CDs.

But remember, the industry holds the strings. All they have to do is start releasing new movies on Blu-Ray before they release them on DVD, and DVD dies sooner or later. Downloading DVD images that have been reformatted to 4.7GB with DVDShrink is one thing. Downloading DVD images of movie that you could get in hi-def for $20 is another.

I think it ultimately depends on what the consumer really wants. CDs had great audio quality, but they became mainstream maybe ten years after the Walkman. Portable CD players always sort of sucked. Enter the iPod, and the die is cast. Similarly, if consumers value being able to watch a movie right now more than they value building their own home theater -- the modern equivalent of hi-fi -- then in a few years it won't really matter what format the plastic discs come in.

Re:Market Isn't Even Ready (5, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520672)

Why is everything about download? The primary reason people download is for file sharing sites so some how I don't think Sony is bemoaning loosing that business. I'm old enough to have spent my whole childhood preVHS. The early Betamaxs hit in my late teens but only recorded an hour and there were no prerecorded tapes. We didn't have cable in my area so unless you saw a movie the first week or so of it's release you had to hope for a cut down TV version of the film. I find it amazing how spoiled people have become in a little over a generation. Technology just isn't moving fast enough to suit their own personal needs. A hundred years ago most people still rode horses or walked, there was no radio and TV was decades away. Even movies were a rare treat and they were all shorts. These days if they can't get HD video beamed directly to their iPods they think we're still in the stone age. BluRay was never meant as a download format. Apples and oranges. When transfer rates get up to the point of supporting HiDef downloads I'm sure there will be yet another format. You might as well complain about not being able to download Hi8 movies. It was never intended as a download format.

Re:Market Isn't Even Ready (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520780)

it's about downloads because slashdotters are about theft. if this user just wanted to pay for the disc to watch the program he'd have no problem with the current technology. it's that simple. slashdot's game has always been about paying nothing for something but complaining when they didn't get exactly what they wanted.

a den of thieves. that's all this place is anymore.

Re:Market Isn't Even Ready (5, Informative)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520978)

I wish we could stop hearing about streaming video. I like having my content conveniently on actual media that I can access instantly whenever I want without having to go through or ask anyone else. Most of the world doesn't even have broadband at all, which I think is a far more important problem than people not being able to download and redownload gigantic movie files because they've never heard of a disc binder.

I hate Sony... (0)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520400)

But whatever gets more high-def movies onto Usenet is good news for me.

Re:I hate Sony... (0)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520512)

Sorry, that's a "first rule of Usenet" violation.

Re:I hate Sony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520604)

What's the second rule agai... oh yeah. Sorry to bother you.

Or... (4, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520408)

Has anyone considered the remote possibility that Blu-Ray won out because it was the better of the two formats? It stores more data. From an end user perspective, isn't this pretty much the #1 thing that matters?

Granted, geeks know that the DRM on blu-ray is harsher than that on HD-DVD, but if your just joe Movie Watcher does it really matter?

Just a thought.

Re:Or... (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520524)

No, nobody has considered that because it's meaningless - especially to Joe Movie Watcher. Both HDDVD and BluRay have more than enough space to provide existing movie content. Look at most HDDVDs, there's usually quite a bit of free space even with extras etc...

HDDVD also had a path to higher capacities. From a movie-watcher's perspective, BluRay has absolutely 0 technical advantages. In terms of a storage medium it has some advantage, but not one HDDVD couldn't have matched easily enough.

Re:Or... (2, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520592)

No, nobody has considered that because it's meaningless - especially to Joe Movie Watcher. Both HDDVD and BluRay have more than enough space to provide existing movie content. Look at most HDDVDs, there's usually quite a bit of free space even with extras etc...
Well, yeah, there is enough space on there for the current model we have for watching, but what if we change the model? What if instead of a season of television spanning 4 DVDs it just spans 1 blu-ray disk and is all in 1080p?
If you're at best buy, and you ask the sales guy the difference between Blu Ray and HD DVD, what is he going to tell you that is relevant to your inerests?
Is the DRM model on each relevant? Well, if you need to talk to a sales guy at best buy, then chances are you don't even know what this is; so no.
Is the capacity relevant? Well, not really (of course they both have enough space to hold a movie), but if you need to decide between two (seemingly equal) players, and you're told that one of them can hold more data, which are you going to choose?

The answer is, obviously, blu ray.

Re:Or... (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520712)

Nah, I don't buy it. It was all about politics and business, not technical merit. HDDVD could have scaled capacity easily, and in fact already had. This just came down to Sony being better at playing the game.

Re:Or... (1)

Fezmid (774255) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520774)

"Well, yeah, there is enough space on there for the current model we have for watching, but what if we change the model? What if instead of a season of television spanning 4 DVDs it just spans 1 blu-ray disk and is all in 1080p?"

You want to fit 13 hours of 1080p video (not to mention hi-rez audio) on one blu-ray disk? Not going to happen.

You could potentially fit an entire season at 480p on one Blu-Ray disk -- but then what's the point of the expensive player?

Re:Or... (3, Interesting)

Bigboote66 (166717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520908)

The model doesn't need changing. The current model is that a disk holds enough content based on the amount of time people are willing to sit on their fat asses. You're going to take a break to stretch your legs or go to the bathroom. You may as well change a disk while you're at it. Content that lasts over 4 hours is so uncommon as to be irrelevant to the issue.

I don't see a real compelling reason for something to be able to play 8 hours of uninterrupted content for the home market. Those that need that kind of play time are a insignificant minority. The only reason for increased capacity would be when the move comes to the next higher resolution format, which will involve new hardware anyway.

-BbT

Re:Or... (5, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520684)

From a movie-watcher's perspective, BluRay has absolutely 0 technical advantages.


Not entirely true. It had at least ONE major advantage, less market confusion with DVD.

I've seen at least two instances personally (not counting the numerous anecdotes mention here on slashdot :) ) where consumers were confused that they needed a new player to watch HD DVD discs, since they owned a DVD player and an HD TV.

With Blu-Ray, there was much more of an instinctual "This is a new format that needs a new player".

I'd also wonder if Blu-Ray's choice of using Blue for their media vs HD DVD's Red made a difference from a psychological point of view. Most people associate Red with Danger, while Blue is usually associated with Calmness.

Re:Or... (1, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520742)

Not entirely true. It had at least ONE major advantage, less market confusion with DVD.
But that's not a technical advantage. BluRay had many non-technical advantages, all related to Sony's market power and good decisions not BluRay's technical superiority with respect to movie watching.

Re:Or... (1, Informative)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520588)

I don't really think Blu-Ray was a better format in any real sense. Yes, initially it had 5-10GB more space allowed, but Toshiba figured out how to top 50GB using HD-DVD discs as the technology got more mature. Also, HD-DVD players and discs were cheaper to produce as far as I can tell, and the HD-DVD spec was finalized long before Blu-Ray's was. This resulted in Blu-Ray players being released that only supported the 1.0 spec and could NOT be upgraded. Basically when all the fancy Blu-Rays come out a couple of years later, the people with 1.0 spec players are hosed. They can't use any of the neato features that HD-DVD had in from the very beginning. As far as I know, Blu-Ray did not have things like dynamic Picture In Picture with real-time overlays etc in the 1.0 spec. They added that stuff in 1.1 and alienated early adopters.

Also, Sony may have "won" by shoving Blu-Ray players into every PS3 and jacking their price up, but how much money are they making off of software sales on the PS3? I'd say not a lot since the software attach rate for PS3 is fairly low (Wii is also not that great - I think many of the casual players just want to play Wii Sports which comes with the console for free!). It also does sound like Sony just was willing to throw more cash into the "pay for exclusive" war. I really am torn at this point as I did not buy Blu-Ray merely because I did not want to support Sony due to their DRM-happiness. Now that i'm stuck with a mostly useless HD-DVD player I guess i'll have to pick up blu-ray eventually if I want 1080p movies for my HD TV.

Re:Or... (5, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520770)

but Toshiba figured out how to top 50GB using HD-DVD discs as the technology got more mature.

3-layer HD DVDs was just a PR stunt. None were ever produced, and I'm willing to bet that none of the existing HD DVD players could read them, so it might just as well have been a new format that nobody would have adopted.

Sony demonstrated much, much higher numbers of layers on Blu Ray discs as well.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22521040)

You are a terrible businessman. For every person who buys a PS3 for Bluray is automatically a potential customer for games too. So what if not every person with a PS3 buys games? A lot will, and a lot will simply because blowing another $300 on a 360 seems dumb when they own a PS3. Sony also makes $$$ off every BD sale, so they won't even care about people using the PS3 just for movies.

So shut up with your attach rates and other crap you don't have any concept of. This isn't PS2 vs Xbox, this is a whole different playing field now. You have a competitively priced BD player that's also a PS3, a wide-audience friendly Wii, and a hard-core gamer-only 360. The 360 did well out of the blocks because of game library and time to market (failure rate obviously didn't matter to anyone). But now it's a completely different story with BD winning, now the PS3 is instantly better for the money and a ton of titles are coming out this year.

I know everyone has a hard time accepting that the PS3 is suddenly looking to be in really good position because of the nerd-rage over the pricing. But it was always a more powerful, more capable, better engineered platform. It's the Apple to Microsoft's console, I mean, just listen to which one sounds like a hair dryer and breaks all the time. It runs Linux without any modding, you /. nerds love that don't you?

Then we approach the real value of the BD capabilities, HD games. There will come a point, probably this year, when a tiny little DVD just isn't enough space for all of those textures and lossless sounds. The 360 is stuck at 9GB until the next gen in 2010 or beyond. The PS3 will outlast the 360 by a year or two based on optical storage and horsepower, then Sony can put out a technically superior platform just because they waited 2 more years than MS. Sony knows what they're doing, PSX and PS2 were huge and PS2 was no mistake, they really know how to make a good console. MS knows how to shove a bunch of hardware and a leaf blower in a case and stick games on it.

Re:Or... (4, Informative)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520606)

Uh, HD-DVD's are: 1) region free 2) not a rushed to market technology (no customer screwing profile x.x limitations) 3) half the price 4) has more interactive features in contrast blu-ray store more space. Are you guys that obtuse?

Re:Or... (1, Informative)

BigMattyC (969603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520836)

Oh, and they are required to be played on a player that runs a Microsoft HDi application that uses 2x the resources of BDJ. If you consider subsidizing the DRAM industry to be a design win, then yeah, HD-DVD is great.

Umm... no. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520608)

Almost no one cares about which format is "better", only which one will become the popular one that everybody supports (network effect). And most people don't even care about that, having no need or desire for higher resolutions than DVD already provides. Face it, HD is still niche technology that fewer than 10% of households are equipped to take advantage of (with multi-thousand-dollar HDTVs and multi-hundred-dollar players, etc).

Most people simply don't care. And the two formats were neck-and-neck for the past year for mindshare (some studios supporting this one, some studios supporting that one) until the Blu-ray camp staged a series of PR stunts to make HD-DVD look bad, and simultaneously did the backroom wheeling-and-dealing and forked over hundreds of millions in cash to certain movie studios, to make them switch sides from HD-DVD to Blu-ray. Perception is reality. Once news outlets started to crow that HD-DVD was dead, in effect it was dead. And the studios were happy to take the money and switch camps, because they see how much the format war is hurting the (small to begin with) market for HD movies.

Sony won by playing dirty, but who really cares -- most of us don't want or need HD anyway, and those who do mostly just want one format to be the clear winner and don't especially care which one it is (unless they were stupid enough to be early adopters of the losing format while the format war was still going on).

Re:Or... (1)

BigMattyC (969603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520658)

Do you honestly think that Joe Movie Watcher gives a flying fig about how much data you can put on a Blu-Ray? The movies fit on either disc, and approximately 3% of the population gives even a cursory glance at the extra features. They do not care what Seth Green has to talk about over the soundtrack of Austin Powers. They. do. not. care.

Blu-Ray won by default because they were better organized, not because of any technology differences. In terms of media (A/V content) there is exactly 0 dfference. They both use VC-1 and h.264, they can both support the same advanced audio codecs (Dolby TrueHD, DD+, whatever else), and they both have more space available on disc than could be used for a movie. Hell, some movies, even long ones, can fit on a disc TWICE.

So.... nonsense.

Re:Or... (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520710)

Blu-Ray was different.. I'll give you that much...

Better? No... Won't go that far.
The fact that it uses DRM at all makes it lose at least 90 out of 100 points on scale of usability.
The fact that early adopters are out however much they spent on players that cannot be upgraded to watch current rev media, drops another 90 out of 100 points.

Right now, we're at -80 out of 100 points on usability scale.

Next we have media costs. blu-ray media costs more to manufacture, therefore raises purchase price. Drop another 50 points.

-130.

Next we have longevity. Downloadable content will soon surpass quality and availability to blu-ray, without the hassles and headaches. Drop another 90 points.

-220.

There, we have it.... On a scale of 0 to 100 on usability and viability, blu-ray comes in at -220.

Woo-hoo - we have a winner. Not!

Re:Or... (0, Offtopic)

DirkGently (32794) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520826)

Woo-hoo - we have a winner. Not!

1993 called. It wants its catch-phrase back.

Re:Or... (1)

justinlindh (1016121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520740)

Has anyone considered the remote possibility that Blu-Ray won out because it was the better of the two formats? It stores more data. From an end user perspective, isn't this pretty much the #1 thing that matters?

Not really. Your average end user doesn't know anything about the amount of data storage available on a disc unless the sales person used it in the sales pitch. They know about as much about disc capacity as they do about DRM.

Assuming the above to be true (my personal anecdotal evidence seems to suggest it is), from an end user's perspective who DOES understand DRM effects AND storage capacities, there was no clear winner. HD-DVD had less restrictive DRM, and a bit less potential capacity. It's also worth mentioning that very few (if any) discs reach the storage cap limit on HD-DVD OR Blu-Ray, and that's with full 1080p res video.

Another benefit for HD-DVD, on paper at least, was that all players had to implement certain interactivity standards (whereas I believe some Blu-Ray players were made that won't be 'future proof' due to partially implemented Java, please correct me if I'm wrong on this). Standalone Blu-Ray players (not PS3) will apparently be obsolete circa 2010 since their spec can't be upgraded via firmware downloads (allegedly, I'm only parroting what I've read). Of course, I don't expect your average end user to understand or care about this piece of things; I'm just pointing out that Blu-Ray's superior storage doesn't necessarily make it the superior format. Ignoring the storage capacity and considering the above almost make choosing the 'superior format' a coin toss.

Understanding the above, I bought an HD-DVD player 8 months ago. I actually thought that Joe Consumer would see the 'HD' in 'HD-DVD' and logically match it up to their 'HD' in 'HD-TV' and assume it's what they needed. I honestly thought the name alone would ensure HD-DVD victory, but I was naive.

Re:Or... (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520744)

The DRM is a non issue. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD DRM was sidestepped last year. Simple 1 button ripping has been available for a while now.

The only thing Blu-Ray had going for it was its data density. I would hardly call it a supperior format when it costs 2-3x as much for the media and the hardware.

Re:Or... (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520824)

It stores more data. From an end user perspective, isn't this pretty much the #1 thing that matters?

No, I'd say capacity was the #2 thing that mattered.

#1 was: Blu-Ray discs don't get scratched.

Granted, geeks know that the DRM on blu-ray is harsher than that on HD-DVD,

"Geeks" here on /. "know" a lot of things that aren't true...

Better for who exactly? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520842)

Bluray wasn't better for me, more storage space for what exactly? HD-DVD was capable of upto 51gb which is fine for any movie even with high quality audio (higher than will make a noticeable difference over most people's sound setups anyway). Of course you could argue that something like Planet Earth might fit on less discs, but it's not the sort of thing I'd watch back to back anyway so I'm only going to be changing discs between sessions in the same way I would for any film. What did matter for me however was a format that was finished, that wasn't going to require me to buy a new player to get access to new features. Also what mattered was being able to get films as cheap as they are in the US/Canada and without having to wait 6months+, something I'm not going to be able to do with Bluray's region locking. Sure Bluray was slightly better technically, but the slight improvement technically was negligible compared to the areas it was weaker in for me as a consumer - that of an unfinished spec, region locking and even DRM that can (and already has [arstechnica.com] ) cause issues with viewing the film that I've paid to view. I'd argue Bluray may be better as a generic data format, but for a simple HD video format that the average consumer wants in their living room? HD-DVD really did seem the better, more consumer friendly choice. With Bluray particularly, I, as a British consumer am going to continue to get ripped off whilst having to wait an additional 6 months to get ripped off in the first place or even face the possibility of never getting to watch some films in high def if they simply aren't released in Britain.

Stores more ... per layer (1)

bkaul (1235970) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521056)

Blu-Ray does store more per layer, but HD-DVDs can be manufactured with more layers; there's a 3 layer spec there that's comparable to Blu-Ray's 2-layer spec (51 GB vs BR's 50 GB).

But HD-DVD players were full-featured from the get-go, while Blu-Ray rolled out with a limited subset. HD-DVD players could typically upconvert existing DVDs. HDi offered more interactivity "features" than Blu-Ray's Java-based alternative. HD-DVD was inherently region-free. The video and audio resolutions are basically identical between the two formats. And HD-DVD players were much less expensive. So, from a consumer feature perspective, HD-DVD had the early advantage, and "should" have won.

Blu-Ray had two major advantages:

  1. Number of studios offering titles
  2. Better marketing
Getting Warner to jump ship was what gave Sony the victory, plain and simple. From an end-user perspective, Blu-Ray did not offer material advantages, and if anything had a few disadvantages. From the studios' perspective, Sony was offering "more secure" DRM features, and more money to side with them.

Holy rumor mill, Batman (4, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520410)

What remains a mystery is just how big a push Warner needed to pick sides. Analysts say Sony only prevailed following a heated bidding war against Toshiba, with the reward reaching as much as $400-million (U.S.). Neither side has confirmed the size of any bids or payments.

Other than analysts' speculation of payoffs, there's nothing that could be considered fact in this article. Pass.

I guess free market means bribes (3, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520412)

A couple points:

(1) The betamax people like to claim that betamax was "better" than VHS. This is simply not true. It had some features that were better than VHS, but VHS had features that were better than Betamax. It all came down to the fact that VHS was cheaper and allowed for longer record times.

(2) The amount of money Sony just sent is proof that Blue-Ray sucks.

Re:I guess free market means bribes (5, Insightful)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520636)

(2) The amount of money Sony just sent is proof that Blue-Ray sucks.

BS.

The HD-DVD camp did the very same thing, yet where is the moral outrage? Hypocrisy is alive and well on /.

Re:I guess free market means bribes (1)

KirkH (148427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521050)

There was plenty of outrage. How could you have missed it?

Lots of people here said similar things about Toshiba: that they could only prop up their losing format with a cash payout to Paramount.

It was everywhere, so no hypocrisy that I can see.

Betamax wasn't better. (5, Informative)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520428)

VHS had longer recording times, and that is what the customers wanted. This is proved by the fact that VHS "won", and ergo VHS was "better". Betamax did have better video quality, but it was not "better" in every dimension.

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (5, Insightful)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520504)

Well, that, and VHS had porn.

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520546)

Well, that, and VHS had porn.

      Betamax had porn too. My dad's collection was all betamax... uhh, don't ask me how I know.

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520782)

The odd thing is, most of the *cough* porn I've seen in high-def has had the HD-DVD label at the top, not Blu-ray.

And here's me thinking the porn industry was going to decide this battle.

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (3, Funny)

flimflam (21332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520856)

The odd thing is, most of the *cough* porn I've seen in high-def has had the HD-DVD label at the top, not Blu-ray.

And here's me thinking the porn industry was going to decide this battle.
What's *cough* porn? Some sort of wierd fetish I don't know about?

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (2, Informative)

ashridah (72567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521024)

Looks like i was misinformed anyway. Someone i know has mentioned that many major pornographic studios have switched to blu-ray recently as well.

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22521058)

It only takes 20 minutes for a liberal to become a conservative thanks to our new outpatient surgical procedure!
A frontal lobotomy?

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (2, Insightful)

Bigboote66 (166717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520988)

The "porn drives the technology" argument was irrelevant to the HD wars anyway. Nobody wants to see their porn in HD, unless they have a fetish for bad skin and razor burn.

-BbT

Re:Betamax wasn't better. (3, Informative)

thtrgremlin (1158085) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520870)

This really seems to be the common theory across the web (and theory like theory of gravity). Sony had a great format that was higher quality, and more compact... but they wanted to be big brother. "We got the big movie format, so we're going to 'fix' the morality of the world". Sony with BetaMax, and originally with Blu-Ray, they said "no porn on OUR format"... but they didn't really consider that despite how much people may talk about loving their favorite big screen movie, there is a market for porn flicks 10x the size of "normal" films. So when your format is out sold 10/1 by people that are a little more quiet about their movie buying experiences... well the rest is history. Oddly enough this time, the big players in porn knew Blu-Ray was better, and they wern't going to settle for less (I think this was on slashdot last year). Likely money had something to do with it again, as Sony quietly gave in to the Adult Industries request.
 
As far as disruptive DRM and rootkits, as much as people complain, this has virtually no influence on people's buying habbits. Just look at the number of people that use Windows.

PS3 (1)

quibbs0 (803278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520438)

I for one can admit that I was much more likely to purchase a PS3 after hearing of Warner Brother's move to Blu. And I love being able to make fun of my co-worker that bought an HD-DVD player and now says he bought it simply as an up-converter...hahaha yeah right!

Re:PS3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520646)

And I love being able to make fun of my co-worker that bought an HD-DVD player and now says he bought it simply as an up-converter...hahaha yeah right!

And that right there is the aspect that I've hated most about this whole format war - small people who have to stroke their egos to make themselves feel superior to others around them. It's just plain sad really. And for the record, I have no preference with regards to the two formats. They both have (had?) their plusses and minuses.

Re:PS3 (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520840)

Well, at least the GP will waist his money on buying a PS3 while being so little toward the thrifty co-worker. It just won't see the irony.

Blu-Ray was the better product? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520516)

Lets see Blu-Ray has the following

1. Costs more to create players
2. Worse DRM scheme in the spec
3. More capacity for the stuff you don't watch

What exactly did I miss about Blu-Ray that made it better?

Re:Blu-Ray was the better product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520666)

It's not a dead format. So that is pretty high on the list there Shecky!!

Re:Blu-Ray was the better product? (1)

Lained (1078581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520730)

According to TFA, you're missing about 400 million reasons on why it is better.

Even for /., bad summary and headline (5, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520558)

The article does not say that Sony paid Warner $400 million. It merely states that there was a bidding war between Sony and Toshiba and that unnamed "analysts" have suggested that payout may have been "as much as $400 million", though no one who knows anything is saying anything. Actually, the summary could have been good with a small change:

Is $400 million too much? Sony didn't think so and this article speculates that's how they won the Hi-Def format war.


Should read:

Is $400 million too much? This article speculates that Sony may not have thought so and goes on to speculate that's how they won the Hi-Def format war.


Really, other than the really obvious things we all know (Sony won the format war), there aren't any facts in the article, just speculation and some rather weird ideas from a variety of sources. Like Professor Xavier Dreze and his suggestion that "PlayStation buyers ... unwittingly embraced Blu-ray and undermined HD DVD." As if PS3 buyers were shelling out the high price of the console without realizing that it was a Blu-ray player, and just started purchasing Blu-ray discs without any consciousness of their actions. To the extent that PS3 owners embraced Blu-ray at all, they didn't do it "unwittingly".

Re:Even for /., bad summary and headline (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520698)

As if PS3 buyers were shelling out the high price of the console without realizing that it was a Blu-ray player, and just started purchasing Blu-ray discs without any consciousness of their actions. To the extent that PS3 owners embraced Blu-ray at all, they didn't do it "unwittingly".

Yes, they supported blu-ray over hddvd incidentally. Ie if the PS3 had been hddvd they would have bought it all the same. The market skew toward blu-ray by way of ps3 sales was NOT on blu-ray's merits over HDDVD, it was simply by virtue of the fact that that is what the PS3 came with.

Everyone picking a stand alone player had to agonize over whether to go bluray or hddvd.

If the PS3 had somehow been available in two flavors ... one blu-ray and one HDDVD and customers were actually selecting the hi-def format they were going to gamble on you could argue they were 'wittingly' involved in the choice, but as it stands, no, they were not.

It came with hidef (which they wanted or at least saw value in), it happened to be bluray which they mostly didn't care about, so that's what they got. People buying a ps3 wanted a ps3 and took whatever hidef player it came with.

Re:Even for /., bad summary and headline (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521076)

But most PS3 owners have never used it to play a Blu-Ray movie. The last survey showed that half of them weren't even aware PS3 was HD capable (similar for XBox360). About a quarter of the PS3 owners actually used it as a Blu-Ray drive. That said, a quarter of PS3s still dwarfed HD DVD's total numbers (computer + X360 addon + standalone players).

So maybe most owners unwittingly bought a Blu-Ray player, but that didn't mean much unless those owners actually used them as such. What those figures are, whether that quarter bought them intending to use a lot as Blu-Ray, or whether they would have preferred the other format or at least a choice, we don't know.

in other words (1, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520750)

sony = john mccain

the globe and mail = the new york times

paying warner $400 million = giving a female lobbyist romantic influence

complete speculation = front page news

Re:in other words (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520896)

format war over = priceless

Well there's an explanation I didn't see coming (1, Redundant)

idontgno (624372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520572)

I mean, after "Never get involved in a land war in Asia" and "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line", the most famous rule is "Never back Sony in a format war." And here they are, winning one!

So yeah, throwing flagrant amounts of money at potential customers kinda changes the calculus a bit. Sony media format marketing without bribery* is like the getting the dog to play with the ugly kid without the steak tied around his neck.

*Well, to be perfectly fair, Sony's 3.5" floppy diskette format did win. Maybe there was some bribery involved there too?

$ony? (5, Funny)

krazycraft (983109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520580)

So we should starting calling them $ony?

Re:$ony? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520760)

Its sad that it took this long to suggest it.

I had the 1980s Batman on Beta (1)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520582)

It was two tapes, if I remember correctly. That sucked.

  VHS would have been one tape.

That, and Beta really wasn't noticeably better than VHS... not sure why this idea still circulates...

Just like the $urge in Iraq (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520808)

So many competitive events aren't what they appear.

Much like Blue-Ray, the "surge" in Iraq is about paying people off ($10/day).
They pay people cash [yahoo.com] to not fight and it works... as long as we keep paying. The news media will constantly talk about troop levels but it is really about the cash.

Money makes the world go around.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22520880)

It's not like the HD-DVD camp didn't do the exact same thing [slashdot.org] .

Plus and Minus (4, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520892)

VHS won the consumer war over Betamax, but Betacam [wikipedia.org] (that used the same tape cassette) went on to become the dominant professional video format.

Now BluRay won the consumer war, but it is unclear if the professional disk version called XDCAM [wikipedia.org] will win the professional format, as pro video folks moving beyond tapes are also looking at flash-based systems like DVCPRO P2 [wikipedia.org] , and even Sony now offers professional XDCAM EX on SxS [wikipedia.org] flash memory.

Just Sony? (4, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520918)

A lot of people don't realize that Blu-Ray is more than just Sony, there are three levels of membership in the Blu-Ray Association. Currently there are 18 board members (top level), 65 contributers, and over 200 members. Sony is the obvious front company for the association because of their reliance on the technology for the PlayStation 3, but there are a lot of groups that have a big stake in the project too.

Maybe Sony did pay Warner the big bucks for the commitment, but I'd be surprised if they're the only ones making deals like this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc_Association [wikipedia.org]

Payola? (1)

voss (52565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520932)

Doesnt this seem like payola to anyone here?

If electronics companies are paying off companies to not support their competitors products and selling their
products below cost isnt there an antitrust issue???

And when MS invents PURPLE RAY (tm) (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22520974)

they will spend BILLIONS and simply buy the entire media industry. Technology quality has nothing to do with anything. Capitalism is NOT a meritocracy. It's a Dollarocracy. And if you're an idiot with craptacular technology (like MS) or an asshole with superior technology (like Sony) it doesn't matter if you ain't got the green and They Do.

yay. let's hear it for watching re-runs of "Friends" on bleeding edge video technology.

clap.clap.clap.

RS

Rehash of rumor from HD-DVD fan blog (3, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521004)

Ummm old and unsubstantiated/busted rumor:

The Original source is Dan Lindich, he has since edited the story to remove all references to money changing hands. Read some of his blog, he hates Blu-Ray with a passion and has always recommended HD-DVD, still doesn't recommend Blu-ray, even it won the format war, here is his now eidited story:
http://www.soundadviceblog.com/?p=758 [soundadviceblog.com]

From Digital bits:
"As it happens, I've actually spoken about this today with Fox's senior VP of corporate and marketing communications, Steve Feldstein, who echoed something Warner's Ron Sanders has also said in recent days: "The kind of money they're talking about [in these stories] isn't worth jeopardizing a multi-billion dollar business." In other words, payoffs would not have impacted Fox and Warner's decisions. Feldstein also told me that when The Pittsburgh Post Gazette piece broke, he contacted Lindich immediately to let him know that he was being misled by someone. When Don posted the same piece on his own blog, it was edited to reflect this. Specifically, the references to $120 million and $500 million payoffs were gone - something that's worthy of note."
http://www.thedigitalbits.com/mytwocentsa149.html [thedigitalbits.com]

Basically bitter Fan can't see writing on wall, sees conspiracy instead.

The facts were Blu Ray disks outsold HD-DVD disks for every single week of 2007, by the last weeks of 2007 there were more standalone Blu Ray players sold than HD-DVD players sold, despite HD-DVD being massively cheaper. HD-DVD was toast before Warner announced.

Slashdot, all the quality of Digg, without the quantity.

I wonder if Nintendo and Microsoft see... (4, Interesting)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521014)

I wonder if Nintendo and Microsoft see the opportunity for a semi-proprietary disc format here. They've got a stable and cheap format that's already gone through all it's development phases and is proven to hold 50 gigs. Five years from now getting a hold of a consumer level HD-DVD burner will be a real rarity, so piracy would be really hard. Blue-Ray may have won the movie format war, but there's still a lot of potential in this format by virtue of it's soon to be obscurity.

$400 million USD is nothing to Warner Brothers (1)

david_craig (892495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521052)

I find it unlikely that the $400 million USD that Sony may have paid would have been a major factor for Warner Brothers. While a substantial sum of money (enough to fund two or possibly three big budget films), I'm not convinced that it is enough to sway their decision of format for the next twenty years.

It's much more probable that Warner Brothers had already made their format decision (by waiting to see where the rest of the market was going) and tried to time it right to the maximum payout they could get from Sony.

The major film studios had much more to gain from ensuring that there was only one high definition format than from backing any particular format. I would argue that if Toshiba had offered $500 million USD then Warner Brothers would have rejected that as an extended format war could have cost them more in the long run.

are people actually buying Blu-Ray players/discs? (1)

bball99 (232214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22521064)

- anyone with a linky to some sales figures?

(as for me (a sample of one), i'm definitely not going to invest in a whole new set of hardware/video formats - i think the future is in portable players and high-capacity flash drives, not optical media) :-)
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