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High Definition DVD Format War

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My trusty Philips went tits up at the w-end, so I'm in the market for a nice shiny new player!

So I'm looking at this format war with great interest now. HD-DVD v Blu-Ray, in my opinion boils down to one thing and one thing only, the price the average Joe Schlep (myself included) is willing to pay for a new piece of kit.

With Blu-Ray prices roughly twice that of HD-DVD, I think Sony have made my mind up for me.

Average Joe Schlep might just follow suit...

Although, Combi players seem to be the obvious choice until there is an eventual winner in this ridiculous format war.

Methinks a sub €50 player will suffice for the time being.
Yes. It would be but he's since seen the error of his ways, kissed arse and is backing HD DVD after seeing 300 on it and saying 'it rocks'. Surely, if it does indeed rock, then it rocks just as well on BD. Is that beside the point? I don't know.

Harry Knowles
£uckasz
and now....

...Michael Bay. The hallmark of excellence.

Saw Transformers yesterday and it isn't much cop to be honest. I wasn't looking for a miracle with the film but it's too long (aren't they all this summer) and the FX, particularly the stereo/spidery thing (don't know or care to know it's name) was pish. I couldn't see a defined edge to the thing in some shots. It didn't look locked into the scene and had the sense that you could see through it.

Plus, I know it's a cominc book adap but the physics of the the transformers themselves is all over the shop. How is Bumblebee that tall when stood up? How is there any room in Bumblebee for a driver let alone a pasenger.

I digress.
Dave Brock wrote: Paramount's decision has pissed off Michael Bay ("I WILL NOT DO TRANSFORMERS 2' NOW"!)

Surely a good thing?
After having read various reports on this format war, I think that it seems like Microsoft see the outcome over the next 18 months as being decisive and reports are that they will be approaching the other studios (who are supporting both formats) with similar incentives as offered to Paramount/Dreamworks as a last ditch attempt to stifle sales and therefore kill off Blu-Ray.

If that's the case, and other studios do give in and take the money, it is feasible to assume that this would have a large impact on BD and Sony in general.

Can only hope the common sense prevails and the studios hold out for what will be IMO the superior format.
Michael Bay has now retracted his 'early in the morning' comments and is back on board the HD-DVD decision, and WILL do a 'Transformers 2'.  Hell, he should have stuck by his first gut instinct about this decision...  I guess I'll have to invest in that 'combi' player now... Sad
Dave Brock wrote: Paramount's decision has pissed off Michael Bay ("I WILL NOT DO TRANSFORMERS 2' NOW"!) and not pleased Speilberg supposedly who prefers Blu-Ray.Apparently the Spielberg films will be released in both formats - looks like Paramount does not want to piss off one of their greatest dollar earners...
I was thinking of making the jump from DVD to Blu-ray beginning with the Blade Runner Ultimate set but now i just can't be bothered. It seems that Microsofts cash incentives are alot more enticing for the studios than moving towards a single format and making millions upon millions from the consumers for years to come. It looks like HD-DVD and Blu-ray could become a niche market just like Laserdisc, while everybody else downloads straight to the harddrive.
Paramount's decision has pissed off Michael Bay ("I WILL NOT DO TRANSFORMERS 2' NOW"!) and not pleased Speilberg supposedly who prefers Blu-Ray.

But is there really that amount of difference between the 2 formats anyway!?

Just let one win and get back to making films again.
Well that sucks. I don't suppose it would do any good to start a petition for the paramount blu-ray titles.
Yep. They will stop producing the Blu Ray titles already out, and even the ones that are coming...Jack Ryan Collection, Face/Off SE, Top Gun, etc. Many fans will not be happy about this.
I read about that Paramount news a couple of days ago. Yet another  reason to avoid HD for me...
So will they stop producing the blu-ray titles they already have out?
Big blow for Blu-Ray...

Now it does seems more likely that both format will co-exist and the only ones who would suffer is the customer...

Once, The exclusive 'Godfather' set is release hmmm interesting to see the % of sales btw them by then.....

Just because they set out two formats, it doesn't mean that you have to pick a side - I mean the real purpose of HD content is for you to enjoy the movies you like in the best possible pic/sound/extras quality AMAP (even so some releases still doesn't live up to expectations)

and ofcourse the other purpose is to squeeze your wallet
Here is a big news I found just a moment ago. Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment has decided to go High Definition exclusively and drop support for Blu-Ray.
Read here....

Quote:
In the last few minutes, Paramount Pictures has announced that it will drop support for the Blu-ray Disc format and exclusively support HD DVD. The deal will see all Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks Animation titles appear in High Definition exclusively on the format, and affects all territories worldwide.

Snippets from the Press Release follow.
The first Paramount and DreamWorks title to appear exclusively on HD DVD will be the blockbuster comedy “Blades of Glory” on August 28th, followed by two of the highest grossing movies of the year - “Transformers” and “Shrek the Third”. These three films alone represent more than $1.5 billion in combined worldwide box office sales.

“The combination of Paramount and DreamWorks Animation brings a critical mass of current box office hits to consumers with a line-up of live action and animated films that are perfect for HD DVD,” stated Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, which is currently the leading studio in domestic box office. “Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our movies beyond the theater, and deliver the quality and features that appeal to our audience. I believe HD DVD is not only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for Paramount.”

“We decided to release “Shrek the Third” and other DreamWorks Animation titles exclusively on HD DVD because we believe it is the best format to bring high quality home entertainment to a key segment of our audience – families,” stated DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We believe the combination of this year’s low- priced HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home.”

Paramount made sure to mention that new releases on HD DVD will be day-and-date with their Standard Definition counterparts, but also reminded us that the announcement did not include the films directed by Steven Spielberg, which the HD DVD Promotion Group mistakenly announced and then retracted last year. Titles with Spielberg's involvement - such as Transformers - will still be exclusive to HD DVD.

The HD DVD Promotion Group, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), nor Paramount were available to comment at the time of going to press.

Yeah but it's a bit different this time around, Gabe. Hardware manufacturers and the major studios widely support Blu-ray over HD DVD for a number of reasons. There are a number of manufacturers making or planning to make Blu-ray drives, while Toshiba is the lone manufacturer of HD drives; this is the opposite of what went on with Beta and VHS players back in the 80s. Every major studio with the exception of Universal are producing movies on Blu-ray, which is again contrary to what happened with Sony's Beta format; Sony was widely reluctant in signing deals with major studios to have their films appear on Beta. I like both formats actually and own both, but if I were to bet on one it'd be Blu-ray.
I just don't see Sony winning this one, despite all the press to the contrary, it all mirrors the Beta/VHS battle far to closely. The better format is often not the winner.
When do they ever?
Surely the manufacturers must have known that by putting 2 formats on the market they would set themselves for the same situation as the VHS / Betamax format war. The Manfacturers certainly didnt have the consumer in mind when they were thinking these things up.
Just read Bill Hunt's excellent writeup over at thedigitalbits.com, and he's right about everything, except the part about the quality of the two formats being equal. This just isn't the case, or at least it won't be in the near future.

We all know about the added disc space advantage Blu-ray has over HD DVD, but the real difference between the two formats is the data transfer rate between the two formats. Blu-ray's video/audio transfer rate tops out at right around 54 Mbps, while HD DVD's transfer rate tops out at around 36.55 Mbps. So what's that mean? Simply put, with all things being equal (namely the compression algorithm now largely employed by each format, VC-1) Blu-ray is capable of producing a higher quality picture than HD DVD.
I'm taking the simple route and staying away from the format war totally. Until they either totally stop releasing dvds or have finally stopped arguing between themselves and all agreed on a single format I'll stick with my trusted dvd player.
YET ANOTHER format then!!!  Will this madness never end?...

Oh, and just to further confuse the masses, I nearly forgot about the new hybrids that are standard DVD/HD DVD combination discs coming...   Aaaaaaaaaargh!!!

May I suggest that all "undecideds" go to www.thedigitalbits.com for a look at a terrific article today about all this, titled:
6/1 THE SOAPBOX: HD-DVD:Buyer Beware (or... What Have You Done Headgeek?!)  A LOT of very relevant info. on it.
 
Warner Bros. has announced it is going to introduce a new format that will be compatible with Blu-Ray and HD DVD players....

Quote:
Warner Bros hedges its bets with Blu-ray and HD DVD

Warner Bros is hedging its bets in the High Definition (HD) format war with the introduction of HD discs compatible with Blu-ray and HD DVD players.
Warner is calling its new solution ‘Total HD’ and spokespeople for the company have said that major retailers across the US have agreed to stock the discs.
The hybrid HD Discs will be available in US in the second half of this year with the launch of MI:3, Batman Begins and Superman Returns. If the format proves to be successful in the US, expect to see them on these shores some time in the new year.
Executives from Warner have indicated that the price of Total HD discs will not differ substantially from standard Blu-ray or HD DVD. This will come as a relief to consumers who feel they have been pawns in the HD format wars.
Some industry insiders have criticised Warner’s approach, saying it prolongs the HD disc battle by creating a third format. Letting Sony and Toshiba do battle would lead to a quicker resolution, some critics say.
However, Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros. Entertainment stated that 'From our perspective, it's good for consumers. It's more flexible and it takes away the whole fear of buying the wrong format’.
The only thing certain at the moment is that the HD disc format war is not about to cool down just yet.


http://hdtvorg.co.uk/news/articles/2007051701.htm
Going back to my original concern, www.thedigitalbits.com today states that Blu-ray discs are outselling HD-DVD ones by a big margin...but the likes of "Wal Mart" and this large HD-DVD Player order is only serving to PROLONG this format war, which confuses customers, and gives studios pause for thought. Sad  
As more and more manufacturers are turining to places like China, this will soon become the norm.
For example, a few years ago I worked for a cellphone manufacturer and originally phones were made in the USA. Soon though, we started seeing phones made in Korea but with the same specs as the US ones. They used the same componants originally then Korea started producing their own. The quality was up there with the same standards as the US and after 6 months it was found that failures were even slightly less than the US produced ones! Still, even though the Korean built ones were a better unit, a large number of customers still insisted on US built ones.
Now 10 years or so down the track, most people are oblivious to where the phone is made and dont really seem to care...
Good one ADAM. Yes, I agree that it depends on the brand. But the article I mentioned had this very strange Chinese brand I never even heard of.
Be careful with those "cheap chinese players" you mention - alot of the major brands are being built there. There are also players and even receiver/amps and speakers coming out of China now which are of very good quality.
Cervantes wrote: Interesting stuff Mark Lim...but although you personally may not buy a "cheap chinese made player", there are many, many, who probably will...So does this now mean that we may end up with very cheap chinese made BLU-RAY players which will end up sold at OTHER outlets I wonder?  If so, there will still be one too many High Definition DVD format on the market to the detriment of us all...  Time will tell I guess.

Yeah, I guess the people who buy these cheap quality Chinese made players, is all they can afford. So quality is not important to them. As long as they work.
Interesting stuff Mark Lim...but although you personally may not buy a "cheap chinese made player", there are many, many, who probably will...So does this now mean that we may end up with very cheap chinese made BLU-RAY players which will end up sold at OTHER outlets I wonder?  If so, there will still be one too many High Definition DVD format on the market to the detriment of us all...  Time will tell I guess.
Mal
Last link is very significant. With both groups being obsessed with rights management, I didn't expect either to allow East Asian OEMs to make their own players. It was that lot who made DVD players so cheap and popular, so this deal will flood the market with HD DVD players. It will also make it cheaper for other importers and their OEMs to create their own models.
Here are some interesting articles on HD and Blu Ray...

Quote:
Sony feels good about Blu-ray's future
Posted Apr 20th 2007 8:26AM by Matt Burns
Filed under: Industry, Blu-ray

Some may question Blu-ray's future but not Sony. So much so that their Sony Digital Audio Disc Corp group is investing $75.8 million into their Terre Haute, IN manufacturing plant. Sony DADC has plans to retool this plant for Blu-ray disc production. Who knew that this format war was so healthy for the American worker but this plant employs 1,223 jobs and this expansion must be good for some type of pay increase. Sony must feel good about Blu-ray's future if they were going to drop that type of cash into the format - good thing Blu-ray has some dedicated fanboys.


http://www.engadgethd.comwww.engadgethd.com/200...

Quote:
Casino Royale Blu-ray Disc Is Top Seller In March

Over 59,000 copies sold
Written by Devin Zydel on 20 Apr, 2007
According to a report from High-Def Digest, the Blu-ray disc of Casino Royale was the top next-gen seller for the month of March.

Daniel Craig’s debut James Bond film sold over 59,000 Blu-ray copies, (after a record-breaking 100,000 units were earlier shipped to stores) easily surpassing the closest rival, The Departed on HD-DVD, which sold 16,000 copies in March.

As for the format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, ‘[The] fourth quarter is really going to be a telling time,’ said Ken Graffeo, Universal executive VP of marketing and head of high-definition, of the format’s planned marketing assault of more titles and cheaper players. ‘It comes down to bringing it to the general audience at a price that they’re willing to pay…’


http://commanderbond.net/article/4250

Now, this following article could be interesting!

Quote:
WalMart to sell $199 HD-DVD player in Q4 2007?

Breaking news may have great impact on format war.
by Gerry Block

US, April 20, 2007 - In breaking news today, it would appear that mega-retailer WalMart has contracted a Chinese manufacturer to produce millions of low-cost HD-DVD players. Though somewhat obfuscated by translation issues and the breaking nature of the news, the current internet consensus suggests that Taiwan based manufacturer Fuh Yuan, in cooperation with TDK, will produce the blue laser drives for 2-million HD-DVD players. Broadcom will reportedly supply the system-on-a-chip decoder, and China Great Wall will handle final assembly. The deal represents around US $100,000,000, and it is reported that a new manufacturing plant has already been opened to fulfill the order.

Speculation suggests the players will arrive at retail in late 2007 and will be priced between $199-299. At such cost, WalMart's HD-DVD drives will be far below the current low of $399 for Toshiba's HD-A20 player, and will look cheap compared to the lowest priced Blu-ray hardware on the market today ($599).

If the current details of the plan prove to be true, WalMart's support of HD-DVD will have a significant impact on the next-gen DVD format war. The American retailer operates on a high-volume, low-margin business plan of market saturation, which is exactly the approach required to drive one format or the other to preeminence.

Stay tuned for updates and confirmation as the story develops.


http://au.gear.ign.com/articles/782/782359p1.html

Why the hell would someone buy cheap Chinese made players? I know I won't! If I wanted quality, I know I won't get it from some Chinese manufacturer!
Mal
Well the current problem is that people don't want to waste a load of cash on a dud technology, so this uncertainty will be putting them off investing. Dual format players mean future proofing your choice.

But like I say, that's only part of solution, the dual format players need to be cheap and HD displays need to become commonplace in homes. Only then will the catalogue releases appear in a substantial volume.
I wonder... I just don't think dual-format players are going to make the masses more comfortable with what seems to be two different things.  
Once they release dual-format players, it won't matter who wins the "war"....
Too few back titles don't make it to DVD as it is.
Mal
HD discs have a future, just that future relies on cheap dual format players and cheap HD displays. Downloads aren't a short term solution because ISPs are too irresponsible in the way they sell their products and reinvest in their capacity.
High Definition DVD Format War
With no end in sight to this now protracted Blu-ray/HD DVD format struggle, with both sides continuing to claim "little victories" at every oportunity, is there anybody else here that is worried that TOO FEW back catalog titles with now end up on either format, and that it is just going to lead to the dreaded computer "download" idea taking more of a stranglehold in future, as that is where the majority of titles will only be available in a High Definition format in the foreseeable future?