Blu-ray vs HD DVD: No One Is Winning - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:38 AM
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Default Blu-ray vs HD DVD: No One Is Winning

http://www.tvpredictions.com/2007/10...s-winning.html

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Every few months it is time to read the tea leaves and try to decipher what is going on in the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray “format war”. With all of the recent pronouncements from both camps in the last few months, the sales numbers and the endless PR BS from both sides, I have made several observations and have come to several conclusions.

1. Neither side is selling well. Quite frankly, the sales numbers from both formats remain pathetic. This may be a war with no winner. A lot of fuss was made by Warner about the sales of 300 reaching 300,000 combined on both formats. One problem, the DVD sold several millions. Quite a difference.

2. The real war is High Definition media vs. DVD. With sales of a disc on either format being a small percentage of their DVD counterpart, it is clear that the public does not see enough of a benefit to either format to pay the extra cost. The public is very happy with the quality of DVD on their HD sets. The difference between HD and BD and DVD on sets under 50 inches is not all that great and not enough to get people to spend exorbitant amounts of money for the players and the discs. With upconverting players available for well under $100 and new releases available on DVD for $13.99 and catalogue titles for under $10.00, most people do not see the need for players over $200 and discs priced at $34.99 and up. Why spend $34.99 for the new Fantastic Four BD disc when the DVD can be had for $14.99? For most consumers, that is a no brainer.

3. New releases please. The only discs from either side that sell well are new releases. Some catalogue titles have not even sold 1,000 copies. Chicago on BD and Casablanca on HD-DVD come to mind. The lesson there is related to a point in 2 above, and that is that people are happy with DVD and see no reason to purchase a title on HD or BD that they already have on DVD. Just take a look at the low number of the Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2 that have been sold on BD. Why? Millions of people have both on DVD and see no reason to buy them twice. I would bet that even though it was a terrible movie, Pirates 3 will sell more than the first two did combined on BD in December. If I were a studio, I would concentrate on new releases. Catalogue titles would be limited to newly re-mastered classics. Blade Runner comes to mind. On the HD-DVD side, those discs would be combos only with no separate DVD release and will be priced accordingly to make them attractive to the consumer. Paramount is taking this approach with the upcoming Star Trek The Original Series box set, except for the reasonable price part.

4. Prices of HD and BD discs are way too high. They would sell a lot more of each at $19.99 than they will at $34.99.

5. The BD CE companies can’t be happy at the number standalones they are selling. For them, the whole point of BD was to sell machines at much higher price points than they were getting for DVD players. With the price cuts on the PS3, with a new $399.00 PS3 available on October 28th, companies like Panasonic and Pioneer will have to continue to cut the prices of their machines to compete. I don’t think they will want to have to sell machines at a loss or barebones profits just to compete with the PS3.

6. Sony may win the format war but at what cost? Sony’s gaming division is already suffering huge losses due to the PS3. While the PS3 has helped give BD the edge, although not much of one, the high cost of the players and lack of games has made it a loser in the console wars, which is much more important than the home theater market. HD media will be obsolete due to downloads long before the gaming market moves on to some other form of distribution.

7. I thought the war was over! The BDA (Blu-ray Disc Association) should just keep their mouth’s shut. They proclaimed victory back at CES 2007 and have continued to repeat that line ever since, even in the face of slowing disc sales and the Paramount announcement. Reading the various forums, even some of the fanboys wish the BDA would quit with these pronouncements as it makes them look bad. Every positive development on the HD side or bad news from the BD side is met with the same pronouncement to the effect “Never mind, we have already won!” The most recent questionable announcement from the BDA concerns the issue of their production yields on the BD50 discs. There were posting on other forums and websites claiming that the yield rates for BD50 discs was poor and that the discs were being produced with reduced capacity as a way to increase yields. Not true claimed the BDA, claiming that great strides were made in the last year getting the yields up over 75%. As was pointed out by David Vaughn over the UltimateAV, these same claims were made last year. Something clearly does not compute on that issue. Problems and costs associated with BD50 yields was one of the reasons Paramount cited in their decision to drop BD and is likely something Warners is watching very closely. While some puffery and spinning is to be expected in the PR battle, outright lies are not. Trying to lie your way to a victory is no way to win this war.

8. The Paramount decision has had an effect on the market place. There has been a clear increase in the sales of HD titles vs BD ones since Paramount’s switch to HD exclusivity as judged by the Nielsen numbers. While there are weekly ebbs and flows, the numbers have been improving in HD’s favor since the announcement. This week, BD only lead 54-46, a far cry from the 70-30 weeks common prior to the announcement. It will be interesting to see where these numbers tilt, if at all, in the coming weeks with the release of some blockbuster titles from both camps.

9. There are too many issues with the playback of discs from both sides. The problems with the recent Fox releases of Fantastic Four 2 and The Day After Tomorrow not playing at all in one Samsung and the LG BD machine is totally unacceptable, as were the problems with some HD combo discs. More coordination is necessary between the CE companies and the studios on both sides to iron out these problems. We are too far into this process to still have these problems.

10. Despite the claims of technical superiority from the BDA, both camps can produce outstanding looking and sounding products. With the VC-1 and AVC codecs, the BD capacity advantage is not much of one at all in the real world. Nor is the higher bitrate encodes possible on BD as evidenced by the recent Nature’s Journey disc reviewed here.

11. The war increasingly looks like it will be a stalemate. I can envision all studies, with the possible exception of Sony, publishing in both formats by the end of 2008. Each side will have a difficult time leaving all those profits on the table that could be made by selling to the other half of the market. The only way I foresee one side winning would be if Warner’s goes exclusive. If they go HD exclusive, game over and BD becomes nothing more than a niche format. The same is true should they go BD exclusive, although the war will last longer than it would if they went HD exclusive, but only a year at most.

12. If you have one player or the other, get one of each. Be format neutral. That way you get to enjoy all the content from both sides. If you can wait, get the Samsung Dual format player as it appears to be BD profile 1.1 complaint and fully certified for HD interactivity. Furthermore, it appears that it will decode DTS-MA internally and pass that through its 7.1 analog outs. For me, that would be worth the extra cost over purchasing one player from both camps.

13. Finally, people take this war too damn seriously. I am not paid by either side to buy their players or buy their movies. I do not own stock of any player in the war and am not employed by any of them. I like to watch movies at home with great PQ and AQ as it is fun. Getting angry or being as obnoxious fanboy makes no sense to me. I get no jollies and do not derive my self worth by picking the right side in the war. Guys, get a life.
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:44 AM
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Nah, the consumers are winning. Again, think back to your first DVD player in 1997. It must have cost near 1000.00 (more in today's dollars). And that first gen had a lot more problems than we might remember, couldn't play dual layer (flip!), couldn't play DVD-+Rs for home movies.

Today for 1000 (less actually) you get two players, one can play games too, full DVD support, upscaling, better sound etc:

So there is a winner, us. The losers are:
1) The CEs who push only one format.
2) The fans of those CEs.
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:47 AM
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14. It's extremely early in the life cycle of both formats. Keep in mind the VHS/Betamax war lasted approximately 10 years. So take all of the above with a grain of salt.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:48 AM
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I feel that some of his conclusions are premature... Neutrality is a fine thing.. just not yet Though it is yet a sobering read...
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:53 AM
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I am beginning to wonder if HD media will ever catch on. My cable company today announced a free upgrade in speed. I will now get 8 MPBs down instead of 4 MPBs. At speeds like that, I bet I can stream HD movies. In fact, I am starting to consider renting HD movies through XBox live because of this speed increase.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hi_i_am_wade View Post
I am beginning to wonder if HD media will ever catch on. My cable company today announced a free upgrade in speed. I will now get 8 MPBs down instead of 4 MPBs. At speeds like that, I bet I can stream HD movies. In fact, I am starting to consider renting HD movies through XBox live because of this speed increase.
XBL is nice, it was the main driver for me to get a 360 (just like BD was the driver for the PS3).

Do not bother with the latest Babylon 5, it is a snorefest.
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hi_i_am_wade View Post
I am beginning to wonder if HD media will ever catch on. My cable company today announced a free upgrade in speed. I will now get 8 MPBs down instead of 4 MPBs. At speeds like that, I bet I can stream HD movies. In fact, I am starting to consider renting HD movies through XBox live because of this speed increase.
Let's hope that streaming HD doesn't catch on. The quality will be sh**ty.

Even at 8Mbps, that is 4 times less bandwidth than HD DVD (maxes out at 30Mbps) and 6 times less than BD (48Mbps).

So in order to stream HD at 8Mbps, the HD download will be 720P at best, and still use so much compression that it will probably look no better than an upconverted DVD.

This does worry me, because something similar happened with the music industry. Ever heard of DVD-A/SACD? Those were the next-gen music formats that were locked in a format war. These formats never caught on, and most people switch to crappier-than-CD quality MP3 music downloads.
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:36 PM
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Really if you think about first must be the chicken and then the egg not the other way around. What I mean by that first every household in the us must have HDTV first and then blu-ray or HD-DVD player. Not the other way around. Right now HDTV market share is very low in the US and therefore sales of HD media is low as well. It is safe to say that the war between the two HD formats will take years as HDTV adpotion will take years too.
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:59 PM
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"No One is Winning!" Close the doors! Send the customers home! No one is winning! We all give up!

I'm not a big sports fan, but let's just say that you're a Steelers fan, and I'm a Browns fan. If a game is on, and by halftime the score is 28-Steelers, and 14-Browns: what do you tell a friend that calls you for the score?

"No one is winning yet."


(BD vs HD-DVD sales: 2-to-1. All year. BD is winning.)
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Old 10-07-2007, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damonous View Post
let's just say I'm a Browns fan... what do you tell a friend that calls you for the score?
I think it's evident that you are not a fans fan at all; Browns fans have no friends.
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