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Lessons From the HD Format War

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the don't-go-down-the-dark-path-forever-will-it-dominate dept.

Movies 308

mlimber writes "The New York Times' Freakonomics blog asks a panel of experts, 'Is the battle between HD-DVD and Blu-ray really over? What can we learn from it?' The panel suggests, among other things, that Sony achieved a Pyrrhic victory because high-def DVDs will be outmoded before they reap enough profits to make up for what they (and Toshiba) paid out for both product development and bribes to win the support of content providers."

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Lesson #1 (5, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639744)

No one really cares.

Lesson #2 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640154)

The merits or flaws of either side can be overcome by paying people off

Lesson #3 (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640334)

Lesson #1

Nobody cares.

Lesson #2
The merits or flaws of either side can be overcome by paying people off

Lesson #3 - Re: Lesson #2 - see lesson # 1

And while we're at it, and before it gets out of hand ...

Lesson #4 - Re: Lesson # 3: see "recursive"

Re:Lesson #3 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640604)

Lesson #4 PROFIT!

Nobody will learn a damn thing (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640900)

Electricity wars (AC vs DC), tape wars (VHS vs BETA, 8 track vs cassette) or HD Format wars are nothing new and if nobody learnt then, why should anyone learn this time around?

uh (0, Offtopic)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639762)

do they read slashdot? bluray is out of production.

Re:uh (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639776)

You're either confused or a troll. It's HD-DVD that's out of production.

shhhh (5, Funny)

clusterlizard (1136803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639836)

Yeah, Brian, so now that the war has ended, go and buy that hd-dvd player you've been wanting! Don't forget to pick up a car load of hd-dvd movies while you're out!

What I learned (4, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639794)

The lesson I draw is that content providers are wholly opposed to consumers interests, and that open, collaborative standards are the only healthy way forward.

Re:What I learned (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639860)

content providers are wholly opposed to consumers interests
I wouldn't go quite that far. I would say that content providers are wholly interested in making a profit, and the consumers have a strong interest in getting the greatest possible value for their money.

-Rick

Re:What I learned (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640814)

True. But most consumers are also mind-bogglingly stupid, so the greatest possible value can be just above zero (in this case, improved picture and audio quality wrapped with a ton more DRM at a much higher cost than the alternative) and they'll still buy it.

You don't need to have much value, just more than your competition; lazy start-ups, take note.

(also worth noting is that you just have to convince them that value exists; it doesn't have to actually be there, you just need a plausible argument and to omit any counterpoints)

Re:What I learned (4, Insightful)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640876)

I would say that content providers are wholly interested in making a profit,

This isn't clear. With music, DRM is just about dead now: the content providers are really focusing on creating usable/buyable products. That is, they are trying to maximize their profit, rather than, say, Apple's or Pioneer's.

With video, though, DRM is far from dead. They are still trying to lock people into using specific players and monitors. This is perhaps a move to maximize profits, but not necessarily for the content providers. When you have big players like Sony, who sells both media and the equipment to view that media, things get complex. It looks like there's an effort to maximize profit for the equipment manufacturers and proprietary software companies, rather than the content providers.

It's accepted that you can now listen to music on whatever you want. (If I sell MP3s or CDDA/wav, I don't have to worry about who can buy it.) But with movies, there's still a fight over what customers should be allowed to watch the movie on. They're still acting like they don't want a free market in playback devices, even if that costs them content sales revenue.

When the content providers start moving to maximize their own profits (or the profits of their content division, in cases like Sony), you'll know it. It'll be about selling bytes to as many consumers as possible, instead of limiting their sales to the subset of movie watchers who have bought the "right" player products.

you crazy commie bastard (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639870)

Consumers' interests? Pfft. We're talking IP protections here!

And finding a reason to sell millions of people new DVD players.

Re:What I learned (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639920)

The lesson I draw is that content providers are wholly opposed to consumers interests, and that open, collaborative standards are the only healthy way forward.

Of course, it should be noted that the media companies who will be giving us content on these things are not going to participate in "open, collaborative standards" -- it's just not done.

There will be one, if not two, iterations of the "next next generation" of this technology before you get one that gets adopted as widespread as DVD was. The amount of people with next-gen displays is too small, and too many people are now leery about the next "new hotness" that they'll stay away even more now.

I'm not saying you don't make a good point. Just, they're not really looking out for your interests here, and they figure they can get everyone to buy a new generation of technology every time they think it's due. Once they come up with the next direction, they'll still change it to &^%& often.

Cheers

Re:What I learned (2, Interesting)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640136)

Of course, it should be noted that the media companies who will be giving us content on these things are not going to participate in "open, collaborative standards" -- it's just not done.
And up until now they'd have gotten away with it. But computer and internet technology is proving to be a great leveler. As humanity find its feet in this brave new digital age, we will find that these middle men are as anachronistic and obsolete as the proverbial buggy-whip makers of a hundred years ago.

Unite, comrades! (sorry, carried away...)

Re:What I learned (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640804)

And up until now they'd have gotten away with it. But computer and internet technology is proving to be a great leveler.

Sadly, so is the ability to lobby for copyright extension, have that written into international trade agreements, and argue that police should use the pretense of stopping piracy to combat terrorism when they don't have enough real evidence for a warrant.

The internet may have a natural tendency to push us towards an equal playing field and the like, but the ability to get the lawmakers to entrench your business model seems to push back against that.

But, me, I'm just cynical about the whole damned thing nowadays. The future is not utopian ... it's far more dystopian than we've hoped. :-P

Cheers

Will it ? (3, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640248)

When I was young, the number of people which did not have a TV was very small, and mostly it was due to economic reason. Now I don't have one, I know a few people which don't have one (colleagues, friends). Mostly due to lassitude reason (nothing worth to watch), some of us due to more ideological reason. Me I just did not watch it anymore. Entertainment ? I get a better quick "just" hanging out with friends. it is as time consuming but far funnier. Films/series ? Download or rent from video-club. Information ? TV is more biased than any other source, and nowadays the net fulfill that better than Tv will ever do. And I see an increasing number of people joining our rank. TV don't cut it. Internet replace it. TV might never totally disappear but it is getting less relevant as the central "point" of the family.

So when you say QUOTE "There will be one, if not two, iterations of the "next next generation" of this technology before you get one that gets adopted as widespread as DVD was. The amount of people with next-gen displays is too small, and too many people are now leery about the next "new hotness" that they'll stay away even more now." ENDQUOTE
Well I disagree. I think new generation teck will NOT bring anything more than DVD brought us. And if it will, it will be at a great loss of liberty (DRM) from a format which for all purpose can be considered to be DRM free so cracked it is... No what i think is that next generations will increasingly go toward the net and drop tv more. IMHO on the "film" playing device field, DVD is the last usable format, and HDDVD/Bluray was the last war. Unless a leap in TV teck happens (3D for example) there won't be any incencitive to really enhancethe format more.

Re:Will it ? (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640492)

TV is more biased than any other source

Try listening to AM radio some time.

Re:Will it ? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640606)

nformation ? TV is more biased than any other source, and nowadays the net fulfill that better than Tv will ever do
Here Here! I Unplugged the idiot box and have actually become better informed. Between my downtime at work and drive to/from said employment [npr.org] I get a lot of information not presented in the regular infotainment.

Besides, gave me time to catch up on my reading [slashdot.org]

Re:Will it ? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640620)

Download or rent from video-club. Information ? TV is more biased than any other source, and nowadays the net fulfill that better than Tv will ever do. And I see an increasing number of people joining our rank. TV don't cut it. Internet replace it.

I don't disagree that within some segments of the populace, the TV is trending down. But, more people have TVs than have computers and broadband connection, let alone the savvy to use them for that. It's going to take a long time for that to tip over.

Between the media companies trying to make sure you'll be able to do less on your PC, and the sheer advantage TV has in terms of installed base, we might eventually get where you're describing, but I see that as being a slightly longer term view than what happens with TV and formats.

Well I disagree. I think new generation teck will NOT bring anything more than DVD brought us. And if it will, it will be at a great loss of liberty (DRM) from a format which for all purpose can be considered to be DRM free so cracked it is... No what i think is that next generations will increasingly go toward the net and drop tv more.

Well, again, I don't think that any new format is going to catch up to DVD in terms of installed base. But, I also don't see as wholesale a shift towards internet as a medium. It's gaining, but a lot of people can't afford computers/don't know anything about them. The TV has such an overwhelmingly huge install base as to put it way out front in terms of what any new technology will have to catch up to.

I don't see that we're fundamentally disagreeing -- I see your vision of moving towards the internet being a more central part of everything happening in parallel to whatever is happening in the TV world. A lot of people in North America still live and die by their TV, and a computer isn't even an equation.

In either case, the media companies will try to assert greater control over how we use the stuff they sell us. They're going to try to reap as much payment from every time we're exposed to it as they can. And, they're going to try to tell us what it is we really need next so we'll be good little consumers and go out and buy their stuff.

Unless a leap in TV teck happens (3D for example) there won't be any incencitive to really enhancethe format more.

Never underestimate the ability of a marketing department to try to convince us we need the next incremental change as much as we need air. :-P But, since I'm ignoring the whole HD thing, I agree 100% with that statement.

Personally, I find myself moving away from both the TV and the internet as forms of entertainment as time goes on.

And, if either of us could really meaningfully predict how technology will evolve, we'd be getting paid too much money as consultants to post our WAGs here. ;-)

Cheers

Re:Will it ? (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641248)

You sound familiar [theonion.com] .

lesson 2 (1)

OrochimaruVoldemort (1248060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639802)

stay out of the format wars unless you can profit it either way

Re:lesson 2 (0, Troll)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640240)

[troll]
Simple solution: Just end the format wars for good. Merge all the large corporations into one huge conglomerate. The only risk would be that they may not have the best interest of the people at heart... Solution: Have the government run the new corporation! And, to avoid foreign influence competing with our new utopia, close all foreign trade except for raw materials. I've just fixed society! What could possibly go wrong?
[/troll]

Re:lesson 2 (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640638)

What could possiably go wrong?

5$ says it takes them longer to figure out what to name the damn thing than it takes the land to emplode on it's self

it just woln't work.. everyone will want to call it something diffrent - there will be mass confusion

Lesson? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639862)

I think the major lesson is, if you have a large pool of huge companies supporting you, your format will win. I can think of two reasons off the top of my head why Blue Ray won - Blockbuster and PS3.

Re:Lesson? (1)

OrochimaruVoldemort (1248060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639908)

a better example would be wal-mart and netflix

Re:Lesson? (3, Informative)

yo_tuco (795102) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640242)

"a better example would be wal-mart and netflix"

An even better example:
  • Disney (Buena Vista)
  • Fox
  • HBO
  • Lionsgate
  • MGM
  • New Line Cinema
  • Paramount
  • Sony Pictures
  • Universal Studios
  • Warner Bros.

Re:Lesson? (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640290)

I'd say WalMart, Blockbuster and Netflix were more influential than the studios. Most people don't care what format the studios are releasing in, they care what format their retail store of choice is selling.

Re:Lesson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640378)

Maybe, but those retailers wouldn't have anything to push if the source didn't create it.

Re:Lesson? (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640636)

Maybe, but those retailers wouldn't have anything to push if the source didn't create it.
True, but as long as some of the major studios are releasing BluRay movies, if WalMart exclusively carries BluRay, many consumers will buy a BluRay disc from WalMart rather than going elsewhere to find a movie that WalMart doesn't sell.

Re:Lesson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22641154)

Yeah, Microsoft wasn't big enough to make a difference.

simple (4, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639922)

If someone would have made a cheap combo player fast enough that could play both formats, they could have both been making profits instead of one losing money and the other probably still losing money from so many bribes. It's sort of like a betting on a drag race and then spending $20,000 to upgrade your car while the other guy spends $25,000 and the bet is only $1000 so that's all you win. By the time they start turning a profit on blu-ray, the next format will be released.

So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (0)

mozumder (178398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639946)

Players that aren't "PS3"?

Toshiba is right: the physical disc is dead. No one is going to buy Blu-Ray players like no one bought HD-DVD players. Everyone is going to download their HD movies onto servers.

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (3, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640036)

More standalone BluRay players sold than standalone HD-DVD players. Not counting the PS3 at all. So, yes.

As for downloads, they are currently a fantasy. Downloads could succeed if there were an outlet for downloaded movies similar to online MP3 stores. Download from a vast library covering a huge portion of recorded video, and keep the file to watch as many times as you'd like essentially forever... But no such thing exists on a large enough scale. Most content that is available is for limited time use and a restricted number of viewings, and the availability of titles is small. BluRay has nothing to fear from download competition until this is worked out, and there is no sign of progress.

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640348)

But no such thing exists on a large enough scale.
Are you sure? [thepiratebay.org]

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (2, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640614)

I actually consider the selection of actively seeded torrents on The Pirate Bay to be pretty poor. New releases are popular and easily available.. And a few classics... But other than that it's fairly weak.

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (2, Informative)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641108)

The same is true of almost any genre of stuff you can find on TPB. It is the way it is because it's a public tracker. Private ratio trackers have more incentive for people to seed older stuff.

Toshiba is right? (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640066)

Then what exactly was Toshiba doing this for?

One answer that I've heard was that they didn't care, but they were helping Microsoft out. Microsoft wanted HD-DVD because it would cause Windows Media codec to be standards.

Re:Toshiba is right? (2, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640902)

That would be bizarre, because the same suite of codecs is used for both Blu-ray and HD DVD. Including Microsoft's VC-1.

The conspiracy theory, that never made any sense, was that Microsoft wanted to create a war to prevent both formats from succeeding before downloads became available. It didn't make sense because the work they did on HD DVD genuinely made it two years ahead of Blu-ray, which has yet to catch up. If Hollywood had switched to HD DVD, the format wars would have ended and Microsoft's work would have made HD DVD a superb contender.

The other conspiracy theory, which makes slightly more sense though it's somewhat overstated, is that Microsoft didn't like the fact that Blu-ray used Java technology, which it does both in its interactive content system and in the BD+ access control system. Even that seems a tad silly, it wasn't as if Microsoft was pushing .NET on HD DVD; the HDi system it co-designed with Disney and Warner Brothers (heh. The two studios whose rejection of HD DVD caused the most damage. How ironic is that?) was essentially XML, JavaScript, and generally standards based, very transparent. And it offered it to the Blu-ray people, who turned it down.

In the end, it's not clear why Microsoft got involved, but the the Windows Media thing is obviously nonsense, and the Michael Bay "divide and conquer" crap makes no sense at all.

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (3, Interesting)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640258)

As great as that sounds, I'm not downloading anything other than rentals.

I rarely watch movies more than a couple times, but for music or some movies, I'm buying it on physical media. Why? Because like most of the populace, I don't have a server or the organizational skills to keep up with a media collection. Hard drives die, Windows needs to get reinstalled (again), or other catastrophic events tend to reduce my collection of MP3s and videos. If I have it in the closet on a disc, at least I can pop it in again whenever I want. Plus, I don't have to fight the DRM restrictions as fiercly.

In my own fantasy utopia (at the risk of getting Trolled), I would buy a license for the bit of media that I want and the distributor would allow me unlimited playing rights on any device. If I lost a copy of the media, I could download it again. After all, I own the license, right?

But no, media companies are obsessed with reselling the same content as many times as possible to the same people. How many special basement-THX-director's-cut-lost-hidden-import-bootleg versions of Blade Runner do I need?

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640314)

I'm waiting until they can beam movies directly into my brain. Servers are for wusses.

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640488)

I just don't buy that people are going to download HD content. You can't really compress it any more than it is on the disk without having lossy compression, which kind of negates the whole "HD" concept. I think people tend to view downloads differently from disks. They expect to be able to go online, find a movie, download it and watch it almost immediatly. I have a 5 Meg connection, which I will grant is pretty typical right now (yes there are people with more, but there are a lot of people with less). In reality, my 5 meg connection actually gets about 1.5 megs/s on a good day which means that for a 20 gig movie, it will take just about 4 hours to download, which means that I can't start watching the moview for about 2-2.5 hours. And that assumes current usage by everyone else thats sharing my cable bandwidth. If you have every household suddenly downloading 100+ gigs a month in movies, the current infrustructure will collapse. You'll be begging the ISP's to manage the data and bandwidth which will just give the the opportunity to manage for everything else while their at it. Ask yourself, do you really see every household in america paying for a 15 meg connection ($100+ in my location) just so they can watch movies? Or do you think that the telcos will suddenly decide to upgrade thier infrustructure, not just to your neighborhood but also to every rural area in the US (still more than 45% of the population). Throw in the fact that you physically have the disc. That you can take it easily to a friends house or let them borrow it. Not to mention how few people are really prepared to buy/build/maintain a dedicated media server in their home. I just don't see HD downloads as viable withing the next 5 years, probably not for the next 10 with the speed the infrustructure is being upgraded.

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640984)

5 Meg(abyte per second) = 40Mbps. Not sure where you live, but (FTTH/ETTH/VDSL/Docsis 3) not typical in most countries (yet).

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640734)

Everyone is going to download their HD movies onto servers.
Slashdotters may have (media)servers, most people don't. But even if they did have, there is still the issue that many countries don't have a decent fast broadband infrastructure. Even if you can get a 20Mb/s+ connection (which would be needed for streaming HD or decent downloading), that line is still overbooked xx times; it's not going to work if people start renting/buying movies online en masse. And I doubt that all ISP's are investing in backbones that are capable of handling such a large amount of traffic that will ensue if digital delivery takes. They are already complaining today about p2p.

Re:So does anyone buy Blu-Ray DVD players? (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640838)

"Everyone" will download their HD content? Well, that may be the future, but not the near future. That's the one point where I think the cited experts are off -- they mostly seem to assume that download / streaming services are already knocking on the door, whereas I'd say the market for physical media still has some running room.

Enough to make a profit? Don't know -- they did spend a lot of money on this war. But, sunk costs are sunk costs and can't be wished away; I'd rather be Sony than Toshiba in this situation.

Don't get me wrong; the technology moves fast. Someone "could" set up a download-based video store today -- though I'm not sure how well it would scale on the various network infrastructures they'd hit today.

But the technology isn't the only thing that has to move. The businesses have to move. Oh, they're making their plays, but they're not thinking big just yet; and they seem a long way from the insight that profit is not maximized by making the customer into the enemy.

Also, the public has to move. You may think that downloading a video is so easy anyone could do it; but even though you're surrounded by people like yourself, you are in the minority when it comes to the market of movie-watchers. A lot of people still have a VCR, with a clock that needs to be set manually, which they can't set. A lot of people don't have a PC with a broadband conection.

And of the people who "could" move to all-downloads-all-the-time, not everyone will; not right away, anyway. I'm not treating a subscription to a video stream as "equivalent" to a physical disc; I've watched how companies will leverage central storage and on-demand distribution into control and, eventually, extra money from your wallet. Or, the movie you want to see isn't popular to keep in live storage any more, so too bad for you. I'm also not putting up with extra "protections" that providers like to put in place to offset the perceived risk that I'll pirate the video (apparently if it's on a disc I'd probably be honest, but if it's pre-ripped that'll just push me over the edge...) -- or more likely just to again squeeze more money out of me for the same thing I was already getting.

What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (4, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639976)

Apple TV?

I agree that Sony's fiscal outlay was tremendous, but we're talking about the successor to the DVD. Frankly, I think it's WAY too early to be replacing DVDs--presently, only about 15% of U.S. households [tvpredictions.com] even own an HDTV!

But that means, when the HDTV revolution really reaches middle America (presumably, sometime after the present "downturn"), Bu-Ray will be there to pick up where DVDs leave off. Then Sony will be making money hand-over-fist. We tech-types like to talk about digital delivery, and digital delivery may very well take hold eventually, eliminating physical media wherever broadband penetration is significant and affordable, but what this additionally means for Sony is that they may have won the last format war, extending Blu-Ray's dominance as the physical medium of choice indefinitely into the foreseeable future. The "successor" to HDTV is going to have to be more than just a resolution upgrade, I think, and without memory-devouring video driving the technical expansion of removable media, Blu-Ray will become the de-facto standard for non-flash-based computer media as well.

So even if it is overshadowed by flash memory and digital delivery, Blu-Ray is officially here to stay, and in a lot of lucrative consumer markets (especially games and movies). "Pyrrhic" is a pretty short-sighted evaluation, I think.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640168)

Frankly, I think it's WAY too early to be replacing DVDs--presently, only about 15% of U.S. households even own an HDTV!

Yes, but the percentage of that 15% who will be interested in Blu-Ray is perhaps 30-40%, which gives you 5% of households today that are interested, a very good sized market. And the penetration of HDTV will continue to grow, with many sets already below $1,000 and several approaching $500, only kids/kitchen TV's will be 480i in the next few years, and given the size/weight/power advantages, I imagine 5 years from now we'll see even those turn.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640868)

People tend to get at least 10 years out of their TVs, so 5 years from now is when you can expect the majority of primary TVs to be HD. Probably closer to 10 years for the trickle down to secondary TVs.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640280)

People like to hold things in their hands. We're already seeing people who bought into digital downloads losing "their" content due to hardware failure and distributor's inability to allow re-authorization, as well as services simply closing down. Microsoft is in the former category (if your Xbox 360 dies, you will experience problems trying to play downloaded content on your replacement) and Google is in the latter (they closed a video download service, though at least they refunded people their money eventually.) If companies manage to address these issues, great. Until then, I won't be "buying" content online.

Apple's done a reasonable job, though you still have to authorize your account online. Once you authorize a computer, you never have to be online to play your content. You can easily back your content up and play it on any authorized computer. The only way this can really be a problem is if they stop authorizing computers for some reason (either they go out of business or decide to force people to upgrade in some way.) It's still a not-so-happy proposition, but it's a compromise I'd be willing to make for extremely lower prices. In addition, for their music at least, you can burn it to a non-DRM format, which means that even if the above situations happen, you won't be completely out of luck.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640536)


People like to hold things in their hands. We're already seeing people who bought into digital downloads losing "their" content due to hardware failure and distributor's inability to allow re-authorization, as well as services simply closing down.


And physical media gets scratched/broken/lost. What was your point?

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640524)

presently, only about 15% of U.S. households even own an HDTV!

So the egg has been laid (pun intended for the HD-DVD crowd), now we just wait for the chicken to hatch.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640594)

Apple TV?

That would be an exceptionally well-played business move on the part of Apple, considering they are one of the companies that collaborated on Blu-ray.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640844)

Don't forget that Apple does not offer Blu Ray in any of computers yet. It'll probably end up as an option in the Mac Pro line at some point, but I think the signs point Apple betting on downloadable content being the future. They certainly have the infrastructure, clout, and history of innovation to make it happen.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640740)

Apple TV?

Until such time as everyone has unlimited fast broadband and the wherewithal to set it up, I don't think physical media has much to worry about from Apple TV or the other similar services.

If VOD is to succeed it will have to become a no brainer to set up and install by mere mortals. It's going to have to be installed by a service provider and the bandwidth / service guaranteed by the service provider.

Even then I see VOD more suitable for rental. I have to wonder why anyone would actually *buy* digital movies for DD while there are so many issues about doing so. e.g. Why should I buy a movie from iTMS if its locked and only plays on Apple devices? The same goes for all the other fiefdoms that are popping up around Tivo, Sony, Amazon, Microsoft etc. The industry really needs to sort itself out and either adopt an industry wide DRM or do away with it entirely so that people can play their files wherever they like.

Re:What's going to replace Blu-Ray? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22641036)

We tech-types like to talk about digital delivery, and digital delivery may very well take hold eventually
Digital deliver already has so close to 100% of the market, that this just isn't worth arguing about. VHS and laserdisc are dead, analog TV will be dead within a year, and analog cable is something you have to ask for by special request. Everything's digital now. That fight is over. Digital delivery won, years ago.

What? (4, Insightful)

longacre (1090157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639984)

Is the battle between HD-DVD and Blu-ray really over?
January called, it wants its question back. Also, streaming video is the future, but the distant future. Until the cable companies begin delivering libraries of 1080p on-demand content through their set top boxes, Blu-Ray will pull in plenty of cash.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640530)

Why? just because some over zealous luddites want 1080p content does not mean the bulk of the Tv viewers do. 720P is more than enough to make people really happy. Hell most customers oooh and Ahhh all over their new 720P set watching Comcast HD signal that is so compressed it looks bad. but it looks way better than they know.

They can stream 720p highly compressed video right now. They can deliver this right now. and guess what the bulk of tv viewers will find it fantastic with only a itty bitty tiny percentage that want 1080p at full bitrate and least compression.

Consumers want better than what they already get. A good upscaling DVD player makes 90% of the people out there very happy with their HDTV set. And the costs of BluRay along with the overpricing of the discs is making many people look at DVD on their HD set and say, "looks good! I'll stick with this."

Re:What? (3, Informative)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640840)

just because some over zealous luddites want 1080p content does not mean the bulk of the Tv viewers do.

That word doesn't mean what you think it means. In fact, it means the exact opposite of what you think it means.

Also, everyone I know who has seen real HD content (either HDDVD or Bluray) agree that DVD pales in comparison. My wife and I bought 'Hot Fuzz' on HDDVD and watched it about 3/4ths of the way through when we ran into disc corruption problems. While we, of course, got the disc replaced, to finish the movie we flipped it over to the DVD side. A huge drop in quality was quite apparent. Ditto for a straight up DVD version of the movie.

Re:What? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641158)

You say the DVD side was a huge drop in quality, and yet that's the side you ended up watching? Does actual usability factor into your quality assessment somehow?

Re:What? (1)

bickle (101226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640918)

just because some over zealous luddites want 1080p content does not mean the bulk of the Tv viewers do.
You might want to check the definition of 'luddite'. Unless we're talking about something like people holding on to 1080p in the face of 4320p. It sounds like you are using it to refer to a minority of people that want advanced tech, but it's generally used to refer to a group of people that want to cling to obsolete tech/discourage the use of new tech.

Re:What? (1)

fragbait (209346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640674)

Until the cable companies begin delivering libraries of 1080p on-demand content through their set top boxes, Blu-Ray will pull in plenty of cash.
2004 called and wants its reality back [about.com] ? Granted, it might be 720p, but it is still HD. I watched Order of the Phoenix this past weekend.

-fragbait

Re:What? (1)

MaximvsG (611212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641082)

Agree. It will take a while for dish/cable/consoles/etc. to offer 1080p on-demand to a vast majority of consumers. Saying Blu-Ray may have won the battle but overall lost the war is incorrect. HDTVs are selling at an exponentially higher rate during the last 12 months and will continue to do so. This bodes well for Blu-Ray. I'm guessing Blu-Ray will be around for the next 5 years or more. To quote Bill Gates (one of the few quotes I'd ever use of his) "We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten." Blu-Ray is here for the foreseeable future.

Re:What? (1)

Scootin159 (557129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641114)

While I'm not sure if it's 720p, 1080i, 1080p, or even 480i (hard to tell on my 720p TV) - it is at least labeled as "HD", but Time Warner offers this already. It's about the same price as a regular DVD rental at Blockbuster, and has a reasonably good selection (maybe the most popular 60% of Blockbuster's "New Releases"). Biggest advantage though is that I don't have to drive to Blockbuster (about 40min for me), and I don't have to return it.

The most surprising thing (0)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640008)

The best format doesn't always loose out. Check out the history of NTSC vs PAL and VHS vs Beta.

Re:The most surprising thing (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640250)

Apples and oranges.

NTSC came first. PAL was developed afterwards, once people saw how NTSC worked and thought of ways to fiddle with it. There was no real battle; TV systems in new countries tended to be NTSC or PAL or SECAM according to which country gave them the best deal on TV gear.

I have multi-system video gear (unusual for Canada) and routinely watch PAL tapes and DVDs. The video quality is indeed better, but I'm not sure it's that much better.

...laura

SECAM (3, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640794)

Interestingly, SECAM [wikipedia.org] is still currently used by Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Rwanda, Libya, most of the countries of the former USSR ... and France. Coincidence? I think not! Note that one of the first benefits of the U.S. military action in Iraq has been to liberate the country from the grip of SECAM and migrate it to PAL. I rest my case.

Re:The most surprising thing (2, Informative)

JTeutenberg (1222754) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640478)

The NTSC vs PAL example doesn't work (assuming you mean that PAL is the superior format).

Where I'm sitting I see PAL DVDs, and it appears that most of the world are in the same situation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:PAL-NTSC-SECAM.svg [wikipedia.org] . PAL won.

Re:The most surprising thing (1)

Qender (318699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640948)

HD content such as blu-ray or HD-DVDs are all considered NTSC. TAKE THAT!

Re:The most surprising thing (1)

Qender (318699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640556)

Not only was there never an NTSC vs PAL war (each country has a different standard and neither one would be able to change to the other). But VHS won because it was superior in the ways that count. Betamax, as high quality as it was, had tapes that only lasted 90 minutes max. that means a 120 minute movie needed the tape changed halfway through. a VHS could fit a whole movie on one tape, and that made a huge difference to consumers.

Re:The most surprising thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640710)

The best format doesn't always lose out. Check out the history of NTSC vs PAL and VHS vs Beta.

It's not a battle between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640048)

Is the battle between HD-DVD and Blu-ray really over?

No, the question is whether people want Blu-Ray. With the exception of Playstation owners, who don't have the choice, the answer seems to be pretty universally no, because Blu-Ray is proprietary DRM suckage. By pulling some shenanigans to make it appear as if there was a battle between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray and that Blu-Ray beat HD-DVD, Sony accomplished nothing. Now, the alternative to Blu-Ray is simply good old fashioned DVD.

So far, the incumbent DVD is beating Blu-Ray quite easily.

And these are experts? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640100)

Why is it that the move to digital only for movies is considered a forgone conclusion?

I understand that all the cool kids are badmouthing physical media, but we aren't there yet. Full DVD quality movies aren't commonly available for download through licensed stores. It still takes a relatively long time to download the movies that are available. And services like netflix aren't doing a lot of streaming compared to the number of customers that are eligible for service.

We aren't yet to the point where we, at least Americans, are considered to have the right under the doctrine of fair use to put all of our movies, songs, etc., onto a single device at home, let alone streaming it over the net to just the person that paid for the files.

The way that things are moving, I hardly think that we've gotten to the point where Sony and the Blu-ray camp can't turn a profit on the format. Sure they can't turn the profit that they would have turned had they been able to settle this quickly, but I see no reason to assume that they won't manage to turn a profit on it.

There isn't any real reason why people need more resolution than either format provides. The only reason to have more resolution is to view it bigger at a closer distance, and with current HD technology, the size of the room required to properly view are getting ridiculous.

Re:And these are experts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22641326)

Why is it that the move to digital only for movies is considered a forgone conclusion?

Because analog is nearly completely off the market. Walk into your local video store: do you see much VHS or laserdisc? It's all DVD and Blu-Ray, and downloads are getting more popular too.

The move to digital literally is a forgone conclusion. It isn't something people are predicting; it already happened, past tense. The lone exception is TV itself, and even that will be settled by law in the US, in about a year.

Early Adoption (4, Insightful)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640170)

1) If you have not figured it out yet, early adoption can bite you is the ass. (Just wait for DR-DVD v2 to render every player but the PS3 obsolete.)
2) If you shell out enough cash to content producers during early adoption, the market never has a chance to affect the outcome.
3) Giving away the razors (PS3 compared to vanilla BR-DVD player) and selling the hell out of the blades is still a viable business model.

The only thing that remains to be seen is whether on-demand streaming content will come to market soon enough and be enticing enough to defeat BR-DVD before Sony sees a return on its investment.

Outmoded? (3, Insightful)

GroundBounce (20126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640326)

CD's were outmoded 10+ years ago but are still the dominant format for music distribution. Likewise, standard DVD's will be around for a long time to follow. The large installed base of players and other equipment will ensure that any format that gets widespread adoption will remain in use (and presumably profitable) long after it is technically outmoded.

So annoying... (5, Insightful)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640352)

I get really annoyed every time this gets brought up with the claims that any benefits Bluray gives will soon be overshadowed by HD download services. HD download services are great, except I see a few problems with it.

1 - Heavy DRM - Yes Bluray has DRM too, but you can TAKE IT WITH YOU. The technology is still prohibitively expensive to start making portable bluray players, and in dash bluray players for cars, but there is NO HD download service I'm aware that lets you burn the files and keep them forever to watch. They are mostly rental services - basically you download them on your Apple TV or computers, watch it in a 24 hour period and its gone. In time, those devices will be made cheaper, and will become reasonably priced.

2 - Downloadable content doesn't look nearly as good a trueHD stuff does. I realize that for many people it doesn't matter, because the majority of TV's that were purchased early on (and therefore a big chunk of the ones in households) are only 720P. But 1080 displays are becoming the new standard and fewer 720 displays are being made. a 3GB 720 file doesn't offer much more clarity than just a standard DVD. Yes I know, many people are going to shout that DVD's are GOOD ENOUGH. Fine. VCR tapes were GOOD ENOUGH too. So are YouTube videos for some people. Big whoop. Watching low quality 720p on a 1080 display just doesn't look as good as a true 1080 picture with 25-35Mbit quality.

3. To get a decent quality picture, you need to have download a big file, and that requires fast internet connections. American download speeds are pitiful compared to the rest of the world. If you wanted to download a 5GB movie, that's going to take you SEVERAL hours to complete, as opposed to just driving a few miles to the nearest blockbuster r RedBox (which WILL be getting bluray discs inevitably)

4. Bluray adoption has taken off faster than DVD adoption did. I somehow doubt people are going to give up on buying discs they can KEEP and watch OVER AND OVER, with a download service that offers inferior quality, short watching time, and long waits to watch. But who knows, maybe in 2 years from now I'll be eating those words, but I doubt. Anything you can say about HD downloads applies to SD quality movies as well, and DVD sales aren't really being eaten into like people predicted it would downloadable content. Begin modding me down...NOW!

Re:So annoying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640906)

Watching low quality 720p on a 1080 display just doesn't look as good as a true 1080 picture with 25-35Mbit quality.

Although what you say about lack of quality in downloads is true, there just isn't any reason to dedicate even 25Mbps to a 1920x1080@24fps video.

Most people think they need such a big number because of the fact that they see quality issues with HDTV from OTA, cable, satellite. Most of those issues are caused by some intermeidate tranmission mucking about with the bitrate or resolution so that they aren't seeing anything near original quality.

When viewing 1080i MPEG-2 from a good OTA station, it's damn good, and that's using real time compression of interlaced material at 30fps, which doesn't give you the best chance starting out.

HD on optical disk is 24fps, progressive, and compressed using however much time it takes to make it look good. Just that would mean that you could use MPEG-2 at 20Mbps and get great quality. But, BluRay supports MPEG-4 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), so 20Mbps is just insane overkill for 1920x1080@24fps.

Re:So annoying... (4, Insightful)

D4MO (78537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641004)

1. The rental services will come, quicker than bluray in dash players for cars. Until then, renting\buying DVD's that you can TAKE WITH YOU and will work in all that hardware that people have already invested money in will remain the status quo for some time. Expect amazon to build a kindle for movies.

2. Yes they are GOOD ENOUGH. TruHD does look better, but not BETTER ENOUGH. People don't really care. I don't really care if I watch Lost at 480p, 720p or 1080p, and I'm not mr.average.

3. There are solutions to this: The 360 will allow you to play the move while it's being download. Sky+ allow you to record a program via your phone, so expect ways to tell your provider to start content delivery so it's there when get home. Also expect them to be Tivo like and pre-deliver content based on your preferences. The top 20 rentals may already be downloaded. Episodes may already be download as soon as they are reldased. I hope to be just sitting there and a message pops up on my TV - "Latest episode of Top Gear ready for viewing". I imagine the content delivery will come from caching service on ISP's own network too. Downloading 5GB is already faster than buying from an online store and waiting for it to be shipped. Alternative is to get in the car and go to a store that may not even have it, and anyway I couldn't be bothered getting off the couch when I can order it with my remote.

4. Adoption for new tech is much faster now than in 1995, the lauch year of the DVD. Most people didn't have internet connections then. Information flows faster, people are more informed. The movie ownership facility will come too, just like MP3 stores today with no DRM.

New physical media and new hardware for digital distribuion will have a very short lifespan.

(Why can't I just download new 360 games? Because MS doesn't want to sour releationship with retail channel who are pushing the hardware, god damnit.)

Re:So annoying... (1)

SpartacusJones (848951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641296)

You said something that gave me a flashback. Remember back in the day the guy on the street who had the big bucks and bought 2(!) VCRs, then rented videos and played them on one and recorded them with the other?

Could the old VCR have a role here again? Is there a reason you can't record a ideo on a VCR you are watching with Apple TV or a similar product? Sorry for my ignorance about this, but since it's a magnetic tape simply recording what's on the screen, would it record in the high def resolution?

Re:So annoying... (1)

GroundBounce (20126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641300)

"a 5GB movie, that's going to take you SEVERAL hours to complete"

At the speeds I get where I live, a 5GB download would take over 10 hours, and during that time, my connection would be very slow for anything else. With a service like Netflix, I can keep disks coming almost as fast as I could download them without even having to leave the house or honk down my connection. Granted, they are still rentals and you can't (legally) keep them, but you will still get the quality advantage.

Yes, in urban areas where 6Mb/s connections are common, downloads may be practical, but there are still large service areas that can't yet get those speeds.

Quality and Marketing (1)

whitelabrat (469237) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640394)

Two things are going to make Blu-Ray successful. Picture quality, and Marketing. If you own an HDTV, especially a 1080p model, you want Blu-Ray. Sure standard DVD's look pretty darned good, but if you didn't care about quality you wouldn't have bought and HDTV in the first place right? Everyone else are just suckers for good marketing. I'm talking about the folks who really can't tell the difference between analog NTSC broadcast and ATSC 1080i. They are convinced that if they don't buy a 42" HDTV they won't be able to watch their Rosanne reruns when in fact all they need are cheapo DTV converter boxes. Likewise Blu-ray. It's new and your DVD's are poo so you'd better upgrade... like going from Windows XP to Vista. You need it! You need it! Now quit whining and give in! Arrrrrgh!

Ahem. So who exactly is going to stream 50GB of video over the internet? Uh... Yeah. I can see it happening just like the ignoramuses who think that mp3's are high quality and the obsessive compulsives who insist on 24bit/96KHz audio. Sure you can stream a movie over the internet... love that 320x240 picture full of artifacts and such. Do you really think the ISP's aren't going to flip us over and do us dry? Sure we'll have streaming, but you'll pay their Super Ultra Premium Video plan prices first. I think Blu-Ray has a strong case for many years to come.

Re:Quality and Marketing (3, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641174)

A Blu-ray or HD DVD movie generally weighs in at around the 10-15G mark, when compressed with VC-1 or MPEG4, the two decent codecs both formats support. So the answer to the "Who's going to stream 40G" thing is "Not many."

Now, you probably are about to question that. "If that's all, then why do some movies come on dual layer Blu-ray discs" you may ask. And you'd be right. And the answers are:

  1. Most movies come with several sound tracks, including, usually, a Dolby TrueHD track, two or three regular Dolby 5.1 track (one for each language), plus the director's commentaries, etc.
  2. Early Blu-ray movies were compressed with MPEG2.
  3. Some movies are more than two hours long.
  4. Most HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs have some extras on them

Now, if you want, you can halve the video data just by putting out 720p instead of 1080p. That's what Apple is doing with AppleTV. The vast majority of people who own HDTVs do not own TVs that are either large enough or close enough to their seats to see any significant difference between 1080 and 720. Indeed, the majority of LCD TVs for under $1,000 have only 768 lines. So this compression is actually more than acceptable. Restrict yourself to a single Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, and bearing in mind the Internet does its own extras - you don't need to send them - you can deliver HD content over the Internet in nice, easy to swallow (well, easier to swallow) 4-6G pieces.

Apple needs to market the hell out of AppleTV. Microsoft has Xbox Marketplace, with HD content, and now's the time for them to market the hell out of it too. Amazon needs to upgrade their Amazon Unbox system and do the same with HD TiVo.

And bear this in mind: virtually all the content delivery companies - Comcast, Dish Network, et al - are experimenting with video on demand systems of their own. My new Dish Network VIP622 (an HD DVR) does VoD over the Internet. Meanwhile, a DVR will get you high quality, widescreen, movies watchable on terms you're happy with from outlets like HBO and Cinemax - things you'd not have considered in the past as being a better option than DVD, because DVD's quality was so superior to NTSC.

Against this background, a format whose players are currently not even viable, and are stupidly expensive, is going to have severe problems making headway.

Physical Media (1)

MURPHtheSURF5 (1250764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640414)

Physical media is on the verge of becoming obsolete. Downloadable content is cheaper and easier, and will inevitably replace 90% of just about all media.

Apple pushes forward (1)

Kev647 (904931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640436)

I honestly think that we are moving away from CDs and DVDs in general, and all the effort here was wasted. Apple sees the future and has pushed it. They got rid of technology and invented new ones time and time again. And because they get to create the hype, people jump on the wagon and go with it...software, movies, games, they are all moving forward to wireless stores online. I am sorry that these companies had to spend so much money on technology that will only last another 5 to 10 years. These are my predictions, at least.

Who cares about HD movies? We need data storage. (5, Insightful)

200_success (623160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640468)

This format war was fought through movie studios, but interestingly most consumers don't really care what discs their movies come on. Whether on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, the movies play essentially the same way. Hell, DVDs are good enough for movies -- the resolution is good enough, and the run-time of a DVD is longer than the length of time that you can sit still on your butt.

On the other hand, DVDs will soon become obsolete as a data storage medium. Remember when an entire OS came on a CD-ROM, and you could back up your hard drive onto a couple of DVD+-R? Now operating systems come on DVDs, and only sane backup medium for most consumers is another hard disk. For that, I'm glad that the higher-capacity Blu-Ray standard won, and hopefully Blu-Ray burners will be cheap enough by the time the need arises.

I wouldn't be surprised if Blu-Ray movies never replace DVDs, but Blu-Ray burners become standard on computers.

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! (1)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640476)

The most famous is never get involved in a format war in media, but only slightly less well-known is this: Never go in against Microsoft when death is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *thud*

But seriously, I had zero intention of buying EITHER format until it was all sorted. My XBox buddies ran right out and got themselves HD-DVD. Foolish, but then again, the fact that they owned Xbox 360s already proved that. Now I'll CONSIDER a Blu-Ray player - if the prices drop sharply, and if I can find one that will let me play both my R1 and R2 DVDs.

The next big technology? (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640806)

Interesting that most of the economists talked about downloads as if they would slay Blu-Ray.
Until Comcast allows me to download 50GB of data in 5 minutes, Blu-Ray (along with Netflix and the USPO) wins.
Not to say that streaming isn't nice, but until hiccups in the delivery system are ironed out, along with some ownership rights, physical media will always win over electronic media.

Digital downloads? How? (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640808)

Tell me please exactly HOW digital downloads are going to happen. There is a reason a new disc was needed for HD, movies take up a LOT of space. Even recompressed a HD movie is several GB, how are people going to download this when there are plenty of ISP's that limit you to several GB per month? That's right, thanks to our ISP's we could MAYBE just download a SINGLE movie before being cutoff. What about the speed? What if I got only a work laptop? Meaning I can only leave it on for a couple of hours when I am home? Do you think your average ISP connection is fast enough for that? Where do I store it all?

Oh sure DESKTOP HD's are getting bigger all the time but what is a blue-ray or HD-DVD movie, 40-50 GB? That means a large HD can only hold 10 movies. Not much if you consider how many DVD's movie BUYERS got. Some people I know got large enough collection to stretch the capacity of pro-sumer level NAT storage, how the fuck are they going to find enough computer storage to store all this in HD?

Then offcourse you need to hook up this storage to the TV, how is this done?

Oh yes, there are solutions and workarounds a plenty, but I don't see any it being adopted anytime soon, just as MOVIE projectors BEFORE VHS were NOT popular.Oh right, some of you younger ones may not know this. No VHS did NOT mean the start of the movie rental business. It was available LONG before. You could always just rent a projector and some movies and real enthousiats had their own setup. But it was far to much of a hassle for the general public.

VHS made it easy NOT just to record your own shows, but to simply pop down the corner rental story, rent a movie and watch it.

This lead to a huge boom in the industry for a bit with countless stores opening.

It lost its luster a bit, partially because many more TV channels became available all catering to their own crowd. Simply watching whatever the tube feeds you after all is still easier.

But watch HD movies from a PC, that is a lot of hassle, NO, we on slashdot CANNOT judge this. People who compile their own kernel are naturally going to be a bit more inclined to be tech savy then those whose VCR has a blinking clock.

iTunes? iTunes is a joke, its sales are pathetic if you consider the market it operates in. Do the math, how many BILLIONS of consumers does it reach and how many SONGS (SONGS! Not full albums) has it sold? iTunes is the biggest online store, but compared to offline sales it just doesn't compare.

There have been several attempt at on-demand and download services and THEY ALL FAILED.

Don't get me wrong, it is OBVIOUSLY the future, but the future ain't here yet. At the moment we just don't have the tech to handle that amount of content without a shiny disc to put it on.

What people tend to forget is how slow things really change. DVD's didn't replace VHS for years. LP's sold for ages beside CD's. Digital download has been a dream for as long the internet came into existence and it just isn't ready yet. Just ask youtube why they don't serve all their vidoes in HD. Their servers, would choke and it would mean you would have to pick your movie now if you want to watch it over the weekend.

And then their is that shiny Blu-Ray disc in a store or rental place, you can pick it up, slot it in and watch it. No PC whining, no ISP complaining, no harddisk screaming for mercy. It just works.

I think downloads are going to have to wait a bit until those parts of the world who are willing to pay for their content can get their downloads as easy as a disc.

Re:Digital downloads? How? (1)

D4MO (78537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641304)

I imagine when you buy (not rent) a movie through a service you can download it whenever you want, like Valve's Steam game download service. So you'll only need enough space to store whatever content (not just 1080p HD movies) you currently want to watch. There is a content delivery battle going on, and 1080p movies are just the high end part. People want a unified service.

Storage connected to the TV is achieved by, TiVo, Xbox360, PS3, AppleTV, your own HTPC, Sky+ or any number of cable setop boxes that are on the way.

it was far to much of a hassle for the general public
What is easier? ordering content via remote for immediate delivery or ordering online and waiting for it?

Things change much faster now, technology is moving at a faster pace.

LaserDisc? (3, Interesting)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640810)

Why do people always call that out as an example of a "lost" format war?

They were available for 20 years with virtually every movie released on them that anyone would want to own. (Keep in mind they predated the VHS/Beta "war"). The only thing that took them out was a new technology two generations removed which offered significant savings to content producers.

What I learned from the format war (5, Insightful)

hudsonhawk (148194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640884)

I learned that the kind of insane balkanization of consumer products that we see with gaming consoles is spreading to other areas. That the us vs. them rhetoric that was once only found in the realms of religion and politics is now bleeding into online flame wars about which corporate-backed digital movie format is better.

Sounds similar to... (1)

ficken (807392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640894)

the BETAMAX vs. VHS war
the DVD-R vs. DVD+R war
the LP vs. CD war (LPs do sound better!!!)

"Format" wars will happen. It's a good thing: it shows progression in technology. Get over it.

lessons from the corepirate nazi life0cide (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22640930)

hopefully, something will be learned. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Uhm (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640966)

That industry didn't learn their lesson from the Betamax-VHS war.

PS3 (1)

just_forget_it (947275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22640976)

The format war was evenly-matched for a while, but I think the PS3 tipped the scales just enough. The PS3 sold really well despite its high price and put Blu-Ray into over 1 million extra homes.

Let these experts share their hindsight... (2)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641150)

In December, one month before the Warner Bros. announcement, you could read such things:

"Both formats will be established and co-exist for the foreseeable future," said Helen Davis Jayalath, senior analyst at Screen Digest. "By 2012, U.S. high-def software will be evenly split between the two formats, where Blu-ray represents 55% of the market and HD DVD represents 45%. But high-def formats won't boost volume sales [for home entertainment] to the degree that DVD did [over VHS]. Backwards compatibility and upscaling reduces consumers' desire to replace existing DVDs."

Globally the software split will be 60% Blu-ray; 40% HD DVD, she added.

By 2012, standard DVD discs will total $10 billion in U.S. consumer sales, HD DVD $5 billion and Blu-ray $5 billion, estimates Adams Media Research, which recently became a subsidiary to Screen Media.

You may be an expert in your field, but that doesn't mean you can read into the future, as there is no such thing as a crystal ball. I am sure a lot of corporations would like experts to always make correct predictions on market trends. That would make their life much easier. But this is not really how it works out.

HDTV vs Blu-ray vs downloads (1)

ryanw (131814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641236)

To explain where I come from, I own an HDTV, have a PS3, and want an AppleTV.

I just realized something.. For YEARS TV broadcast quality was much better than VHS home entertainment. Came along DVD's and that leveled the playing field and actually made home entertainment better than broadcast quality.

HDTV is around now. Blu-ray is better than broadcast quality, but it's too expensive for the masses. The consumers of today want instant gratification and complete turnkey solutions. History shows us that a majority of consumers don't mind if home entertainment is less quality than broadcast quality. Before they would goto a video store and rent a VHS. These days people like the internet to instantly get everything. So I pick the winner as the "apple tv". I have been concerned about the quality not being as good as broadcast television, but the more and more I think about it, I don't care as much. Eventually the quality will be better.

The Reason (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641250)

BluRay won the war, because the name BluuuuRay is way more cooler then HDDVD, just like pirates

HD technology does have value over DVD (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641368)

I do think that the reason for standards has been shown to be important. it has delayed the acceptance of HD disks by years and delayed them becoming more common. I dont think it can be argued that several competing formats is a good thing, you want a choice of players and manufacturers, a format does need to be well designed but there isnt room for many of them in this area.

I also do think HD disks due offer significantly better picture. I have seen both DVD and HD disks and the latter are much better, the difference is noticeable and very obvious to me, and worthwhile. Although this does not mean I am ready to pay $400 for one of these players. I think i would be willing to pay $100, if the players came down in price to that level I think the format would take off. Right now the main thing that is holding it back is price.

Whoever sells the most blank discs (2, Insightful)

rla3rd (596810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22641386)

HD-DVD does not necessarily have to become a niche product. I have had a DVR-R burner in my PC for a few years now, and I only use it for backing up data. I don't own a HDTV, so having a commercial HD player doesn't make much sense. Just because the major multimedia companies are all backing blu-ray does not mean that HD-DVD loses. The first format that offers me a HD writer at a reasonable cost for both the DVD writer and blank media will get my wallet.
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