Bill Hunt defends his bias - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:17 PM
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Default Bill Hunt defends his bias

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Okay, everyone else seems to have had their say now, so I think itís time that I chimed in here with a few long-winded words.

Let me be clear and explain a few things...

We like both formats at The Digital Bits. They're both technically great. Each has its own subtle strengths over the other, but neither stands above the other quality wise, and both deliver great high-def video and high-res audio performance. We've said as much on The Bits many, MANY times. Weíve even reviewed more HD-DVDs than Blu-ray titles.

The high-quality of both formats aside, however, our experience tells us that the home video community - early adopters and high-end enthusiasts aside - does not need, nor does it want, two formats that serve the same purpose. Retailers don't want two formats, average consumers don't want two formats, most people who actually have to work in the industry don't want two formats. And we believe that combo players and discs are a solution ONLY to enthusiasts. Even awareness that they exist requires a level of knowledge and involvement in the subject matter that most average consumers just don't have, nor do they have the time or desire to develop.

Our experience also tells us that if two formats continue to battle it out for another year or more, consumer interest will wane even more than it already has and neither format will EVER have the chance to become a thriving business success. We've seen this result time and again with other format/standards battles. And while some of you, who can afford to purchase both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, might be enjoying what could be considered an embarrassment of riches right now, this situation will not continue indefinitely. If the industry decides that neither format really has a chance to succeed, theyíll start spending their money elsewhere looking for the next big thing, and the gravy train of titles and players will start to dry up. All enthusiasts - even the ones who love both formats - will lose in that eventuality.

Fearing this result, we at The Bits weighed the strengths and weaknesses of both formats and decided that we would choose to actively support the one that best met the needs of EVERYONE Ė not just high-end enthusiasts looking for all the newest bells and whistles, but the one that was in the better position to have a chance at widespread adoption. In our assessment, that was Blu-ray Disc. The format has significantly more studio and hardware support, even AFTER Paramount and DreamWorks' recent decision. It's been outselling HD-DVD on the software front more than 2 to 1 almost since it launched. Stand-alone Blu-ray hardware sales are now starting to pull even and possibly even surpass HD-DVD according to the latest retail numbers. It's not a bias to point that out, it's just how we read the facts. It's long seemed to us that Blu-ray has more momentum than HD-DVD, which translates into a higher likelihood for retailer support and consumer interest.

Those things that people site as technically superior about HD-DVD: more strict spec compliance, Internet connectivity, downloading options, better early high-res audio support... there is nothing preventing those things from being added to or improved in Blu-ray Disc. Indeed, as we saw with DVD in the first few years, it took time to add RSDL dual-layer functionality and DTS compatibility, along with any number of other features. They came with time. But few of those features are as important to mainstream consumers as the ability to purchase most of their favorite films. Every study that's ever been done on the subject indicates that the vast majority of people NEVER EVEN LOOK at most of the extras on DVD special editions, or if they do, they do so once and never again. It seems to us that emphasizing a format's bells and whistles over something so basic as studio support is putting the cart before the horse. And if you are upset that Blu-ray doesn't have the strict spec compliance, Internet connectivity, downloading options and better early high-res audio support that you want as an enthusiast... YOU ARE THE PEOPLE who have the power to change that. You can pressure the BDA to add those things, just as you pressured the industry to support anamorphic widescreen transfers on DVD.

We've been completely open and honest about why we chose Blu-ray Disc at The Bits, yet despite this HD-DVD supporters continue to spread rumors that we're being paid by Sony to back Blu-ray. Wishing it were the case just does not make it true. The fact is, plenty of professionals - in fact, in our experience, the majority of them - who work in and around this industry have come to the same conclusions we have without being paid by Sony. I'd also like to point out to those who continue to exclaim angrily about our bias, that there is a long history of publications taking sides in controversial issues. Newspapers have been taking editorial positions since the dawn of the press. The Digital Bits is and has always been an editorial publication. We post the news and then give you our perspective. If you donít like or agree with it, thatís fine. We understand that. But lately when some don't like our perspective, a few of them have chosen to lash out and attack our credibility and spread rumors that we're being paid. When that doesn't work, some go so far as to attack us personally. A few have even threatened us in more serious ways. Such behavior reflects not upon us, but upon those who engage in it. The fact is, we believe in our opinions and our choices, and we're going to continue to stand by our convictions. And while we're far from perfect, we've been proven right more often than not in the past, so it seems that we attract that much more attention not just from those who prefer HD-DVD but from those who are paid to promote it.

Letís face itÖ weíve seen empty promises from BOTH camps. ďBlu-rayís been promising BD-Java and picture-in-picture for months now and not delivering,Ē HD-DVD fans angrily tell us in e-mails. But what about the empty promises of HD-DVD? At CES this past January, we heard that porn was going to win the format war for HD-DVD (it hasnít), that TotalHD was going to be the salvation of both formats (itís not coming until next year at the earliest, if at all), that combo players would be the answer (only 4% of all players sold to date are combo players and only a few such models are available or announced), that cheap Chinese players would level the playing field (none have yet appeared and the only major one to be announced Ė the Venturer Ė wonít be here until the end of the year and even Wal-Mart apparently isnít carrying it). Now weíre hearing that triple-layer HD-DVD discs will solve all the formatís disc space concerns, when we canít get roughly 1 in every 3 DVD/HD-DVD Combo discs to work in our Toshiba HD-A2s. Iím sure HD-DVD supporters have a laundry list of similar empty claims made by the BDA too, and many of them are certainly legitimate. My point here is, NEITHER format has a monopoly on promises made and kept. And BOTH of these formats were a mess when they were first launched, and were released well before they were actually ready.

It goes without saying that BOTH sides are paying or otherwise offering incentives to studios, suppliers and retailers to support their format of choice. We can argue forever about whether Sony paid or did not pay Fox, Disney, MGM and Lionsgate to support Blu-ray exclusively. But I think we can all agree that whatever their reasons may have been, none of these studios has ever supported HD-DVD by releasing titles. And nothing Toshiba or the HD-DVD Group has done to encourage that situation to change has had the desired result. On the other hand, Warner, Paramount and DreamWorks HAVE all supported both formats, claiming that that was what they believed was in the best interests of consumers. And we now know, according to numerous press reports many by mainstream publications (and at least one studio exec has admitted) that Toshiba has offered these studios substantial financial incentives not just to continue supporting HD-DVD but to actually drop Blu-ray Disc. This has succeeded with Paramount and DreamWorks, though Warner apparently refused. So where two studios had claimed that it was important to let consumers decide which format they preferred - and market data seemed to indicate that by a 2-to-1 margin that choice was Blu-ray - now they've both suddenly decided that HD-DVD is the better choice for consumers, against tangible evidence to the contrary.

We have NO PROBLEM at The Digital Bits if Disney, Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and Anchor Bay were to start releasing HD-DVDs in addition to Blu-ray Discs tomorrow. It isn't likely to happen, but more power to them if that's what they decide to do. And if you're an HD-DVD supporter and that's what you want them to do, lobby them to do it. If you have enough like-minded people who agree with you, they'll listen eventually. What we do have a problem with is studios that have made a big deal about how great they are for supporting both formats taking money from the HD-DVD camp to STOP supporting Blu-ray Disc. You simply cannot say, "Every studio should support both and let the consumer decide!" then endorse studios that do support both dropping one after getting paid to do so by the competition. And for those of you who would argue that that's what Sony did with TargetÖ as so many HD-DVD supporters have been quick to remind us, Target still sells HD-DVD software in their stores. They still carry players of both formats on their website. As far as I can tell at every Target I've been to, the only high-def hardware they actually carry right now is the PS3 and maybe the HD-DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360. They haven't stopped carrying HD-DVD near as I can tell. If they've stopped selling HD-DVD hardware in their stores, is it so hard to believe that it's because it just isn't selling? As for Blockbuster, they say that they've expanded only Blu-ray software so far because that's what the majority of their consumers are asking for. You can accept that or not, but when you look at the software sales numbers, which continue to show at least a 2-to-1 preference for Blu-ray, as well as numbers that indicate that titles released on both formats (like Warner's 300) sell noticeably better on Blu-ray than they do on HD-DVD, we tend believe Blockbuster's claims. People e-mail us to say that Best Buy only has Blu-ray players on their displays up front, and the HD-DVD players are in the back - Sony must be paying them! Sure... or maybe these retailers REALLY ARE just responding to what they're seeing in terms of demand from their customers. I frequent our DVD Planet store here in Orange County, CA - the clerks there tell me that they're selling more movies on Blu-ray than HD-DVD. Same is true when I ask clerks at Best Buy, at Target, at Circuit City. Iím sure there are exceptions, but the general trend seems to be fairly clear.

The fact is, just as we predicted it would, this format war has split the home theater community and turned far too much of the discussion and debate online ugly and downright mean spirited. People are taking things personally, and they're launching personal attacks at the drop of a hat. People who dare to voice a preference and put forward logical arguments for one format or the other - both enthusiasts and those in the industry press - are attacked for it, accused of bias and blamed for all sort of untrue nonsense. Over the last ten years, we've worked hard at The Bits, just as I know you guys have worked hard here at Home Theater Forum, to see that great movies on DVD can be easily enjoyed by everyone, and that high quality became the rule and not the exception. I don't care how much you love either format and I don't care how fast hardware prices have dropped. I don't see how ANYONE can think that this format war has been a good thing... and I don't see how ANYONE can believe it would be a good thing if it continued for another year, or two years or even longer.

In the meantime, you are all entitled to your opinions, just as we are at The Bits. If you love HD-DVD, more power to you. If you love Blu-ray or both formats, ditto. But it would be nice if more people argued for their HD format of choice based on the logical merits of the actual format, and less on how much someone else is a biased asshole for disagreeing. Itís getting a little silly when even the people who actually ARE getting paid to promote each format spend more time in the online newsgroups attacking the competition as opposed to promoting the merits of their own. Seriously, as much as we all love movies and home theater, these are NOT matters of life and death. If one or both of these formats dies tomorrow, life will go on. You may have lost a few bucks on hardware and software, but that's the price you pay for being an early adopter.

People need to take a deep breath and think twice before attacking others over this stuff. Take it from someone who knows firsthand. Lord knows I've reacted without thinking a few times, and said some rash things. And we get attacked at every turn for everything we say, whether it's actually true or not Ė and most of the time itís not. Sometimes it's amusing, sometimes it's frustrating, occasionally it's actually valid criticism but often it's just downright unjustified and personal. This format war has really taken a lot of the joy out of home theater, at a time when high-def movies should be the best thing that ever happened to this community. Itís just a shame.

Anyway, thatís just my two cents. And hopefully, it puts our position in a little better perspective, whether you happen to agree with it or not. Take it for what itís worth.

REGARDLESS, let me just say that we have always had, and will continue to have, nothing but respect for everyone here at Home Theater Forum, both staff and members. As far as weíre concerned at The Bits, our longtime friendship and partnership will continue regardless of any disagreements we may have about HD formats.

Best wishes to all of you,
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can people finally stop posting his articles as if they're evidence now?
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:21 PM
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Too much to read from an idiot. What a sad human being.

PS: I did skim it though.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:29 PM
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Boy does he go on and on in this little opus of boredom....
He's an idiot.... Waaa waa waaa
Like a little spoiled brat.
Need some muzak to listen to for this.
Quote:
We have NO PROBLEM at The Digital Bits if Disney, Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and Anchor Bay were to start releasing HD-DVDs in addition to Blu-ray Discs tomorrow. It isn't likely to happen
Fix add this 'Because if it does I'm going to call for my ma maaaaaaaaa maaaaaa"

His two cents is worth about that. Not even.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:29 PM
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Same old same old. Multiple formats work fine for video game systems so can work fine for home video. Hunt is a stuck record and should shut up and go back to his blu-ray party. The guy is a serious bore.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:32 PM
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I think I agree with every single sentence in that statement. Nice job, Bill.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thulium View Post
I think I agree with every single sentence in that statement. Nice job, Bill.
Did you predict this before you read it?
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:41 PM
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Oh, man, this is seriously the saddest thing ever. I don't care who you support, that was an extremely thoughtful and intelligent post with no outright bashing of the over format. He clearly explained what he thought and did it without trying to "dig in" the other side. Yet, suddenly, here is 4 HD-DVD enthusiasts who say base and asinine things about him.

It was a great read and I don't see what there is to attack him for in that, unless you are an HD-DVD supporter. I'll take a thoughtful, coherent argument and post from Bill Hunt over the base crap you few just posted anyday.

It is plain to see here, who is the "idiot" and "sad little human being" and a "serious bore" and it's not Bill Hunt.

There was not one single solitary response to what he say, but just mere attacks on him personally. It's a sad day for HD-DVD when these people are part of the supporters.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:42 PM
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Yawn!!!! Someone wake me up when he has something new to say.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YouMakeMeLeery View Post
Oh, man, this is seriously the saddest thing ever. I don't care who you support, that was an extremely thoughtful and intelligent post with no outright bashing of the over format. He clearly explained what he thought and did it without trying to "dig in" the other side. Yet, suddenly, here is 4 HD-DVD enthusiasts who say base and asinine things about him.

It was a great read and I don't see what there is to attack him for in that, unless you are an HD-DVD supporter. I'll take a thoughtful, coherent argument and post from Bill Hunt over the base crap you few just posted anyday.

It is plain to see here, who is the "idiot" and "sad little human being" and a "serious bore" and it's not Bill Hunt.

There was not one single solitary response to what he say, but just mere attacks on him personally. It's a sad day for HD-DVD when these people are part of the supporters.
No outright bashing...did you read it?
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:43 PM
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wow. You guys proved his point. The home theater industry is split in half because of this war. And all your comments above prove how childish it is getting.

Read the article. We need one format. Video game consumers are not the same as movie buyers. Movie buyers will want only one format becuase that is what has been the NORM since film came on a media for home use.

If this war is to go on too long then both sides will lose. We will not get the adoption of the AVERAGE consumer. DVD is an easy choice for them. And they will stick with that as long as war is going.

I will support either format as long as there is only one.

I have noticed lately form BOTH sides that there has been a lot of childish attacks on the opposite format and even on posters. This is a smackdown forum between blu ray and HD DVD. Not between Home Theater Enthusiasts.
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