Infinite Format War: Get Ready for Five Long Years of Set-Top Battle Royale - High-Def Digest Forums
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-13-2008, 03:17 PM
bowl-o-rama's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,746
Default Infinite Format War: Get Ready for Five Long Years of Set-Top Battle Royale

http://gizmodo.com/5013346/state-of-...-battle-royale

Quote:
One year ago, we predicted that the infinite format war would rise from the ashes of the HD DVD/Blu-ray format war—that a million online services and set-top boxes would suddenly promise to deliver movies and video to your computer or TV. And that each one would essentially be their own format, since none of them are compatible, and each would promise only a fraction of available movies. We were right about our fears, but we also have a solution to a decent download collection.

Today, as new boxes and services are announced, there has yet to appear one that can give you every movie, let alone a single format you can use on your various everyday devices. Thankfully, what we're hearing now is that while this infinite format war may not go on forever, the state of video will suck for the next five years until every service has the same baseline catalog. If you believe the studios. In the meantime, you'll be looking for the set-top box with the best catalog, and the one that can deliver you your films in the best way possible.

If you thought the HD DVD/Blu-ray split was bad, at least there was an easy order to it, an alignment by studios. Warner, Universal and Paramount were on HD DVD, everyone else (plus Warner) put their movies on Blu-ray. Sure, no Big Lebowski on Blu-ray, but at least you knew why. There is nothing even approaching logic when it comes to the movie options from VOD set-top box to the next, at least not from the user perspective. Warner Bros. put out Ocean's Thirteen. You can watch it on Vudu and Amazon Unbox, but not iTunes. Warner also put out I Am Legend, which is on all three, and Xbox Live Marketplace. Paramount's Shooter is on all three, but only for purchase, not rental (and totally MIA from Xbox). And you could rent Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille a few months ago, but now it's only for purchase. "WTF?" is a natural response. (On a side note, it's a bitch to really search or go through any of the catalogs, so it's even harder to tell if it's an accidental or intentional roadblock.)

To explain our current clusterfuck, you need a quick trip back to 1999. Remember the state of digital music back then? It was messy and ugly. The music industry had no idea what to do with this whole internet thing, and they were involved in assorted, competing ventures. Then along came iTunes, which basically organized the music universe and, to the chagrin of the RIAA, set up a sane pricing structure, too. It's not a complete catalog of all music ever (Beatles, hello?), but it's the closest thing there is, and it's pretty damn good. It brought order to the chaos, and now claims 85 percent of the legal download market. So it has the music industry by the balls, enough to speed their efforts to fortify a worthy number 2—Amazon, which was the first store to boast a catalog exclusively made up of DRM-free music from all four majors as a result, a perk deliberately withheld from iTunes to curb its power.

We're basically at that same, nebulous 1999 point with video, though Hollywood has learned from the music industry's mistakes—and iTunes is not the guaranteed champion in the case of online movie sales. The industry is eagerly putting stuff out there, and on as many services as it can—we're at the point now that most of the major studios release movies on online services on the same day they release them on disc.

A problem gumming up our dream of the one box is that each service requires a different format—one studio told us that a big issue is digitizing and formatting a film to meet each service's specs. It just takes time, though they're going as fast as they can. And new releases are gonna take priority, obviously. We are at least a little skeptical of this claim—we don't think it takes that long to digitize a flick

From what we were told, there's surprisingly little worry of a single company dominating digital distribution. A studio we talked to said that it's all so new, the fear of a monopoly (by Apple or otherwise) is at worst simply a thought skulking around in the back of their mind, not an actual concern. So no service is getting any favors to promote one over the other, or keep another in check. (At least not yet, though Blu-ray-happy Sony may well have the most incentive to keep the online space anemic.) Again, here, we're a little suspicious—obviously they wouldn't come right out and tell us they're afraid of iTunes, but when you look at the measly catalog and consider the studios' close study of how the music industry complete botched online music, the idea of Apple becoming the single biggest distributor of most digital media and holding serious sway over the entire entertainment industry has to weigh on their minds.

I mean, if you were in their shoes, and could prevent making iTunes into the all-powerful Walmart of the digital video generation, wouldn't you?

The one bit of protectionism going on that was copped to is the push to purchase, rather than rent. It makes sense that a studio gets more money when you buy a movie than rent it, since it's the same set of bits headed to your hard drive, and both are guaranteed you'll watch the movie at least once, but one costs three to four times as much as the other. So you are going to see a lot of them not open a flick up to online rentals until a month after it's available for purchase, and even see rental options disappear, as recently happened across the board with Pixar movies.

Ultimately, and somewhat shockingly, Hollywood does have the same vision we do—a single god box that'll deliver the entire catalogs of all the studios. Only, unlike in the iTunes hegemony, every home could have a different god box, be it Xbox, TiVo, Vudu or Roku.

Forgive the buried service journalism. Enough of this theoretical talk. So, what does it take to get a decent download collection? Until the god box, you will need several, two at least. Right now, Vudu is good for latest and greatest plus some older favorites; Netflix Roku has better TV options and some interesting deep cuts (plus a $99 box price and unlimited streaming for 10,000 so-so titles for any plan over $9 with discs by mail as a backup); Xbox 360 has a surprisingly large amount of HD movies, and a nice catalog geared towards the gaming demographic; Apple TV has its own legion of fans for its ability to move movies to iPods and computers, though it still has a lot to prove in the catalog section. That's not even counting the TiVo with Amazon Unbox or the cable box you likely already have, each with their own assorted VOD options. Even if you owned all of 'em, you still might not find what you want, even if it's something that should be slapping you in the face. Take Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, for instance. We could not legally find it on any service, even though the sequel hit theaters just a few weeks ago—and got a surprisingly good buzz from usually snooty critics. Did Warner miss the perfect opportunity? They wouldn't say.

The other major issue is the state of broadband and the guys controlling the pipes. For the online video revolution to fully take off in HD, we need bigger pipes. For most people, that's years away. This is deeply threatening to the cable companies, and they're pretty clear that they're not happy about content moving online—you can see the fear in the recent moves to limit all kinds of data consumption (most of which is already video), not just the supposed protocol of pirates. What if limits or overage charges were put in place for people who were simply doing their best to buy copyrighted video? Why would someone give up DVD and Blu-ray rentals from Netflix in order to pay twice—for both the bandwidth and the content—and have to wait somewhat impatiently for the download, too?

So friends, while all of this gets ironed out, the infinite format war rages on: Lots of boxes, lots of online services, none of them complete, none of them that'll fully satisfy your wife's desire to rid the shelves of DVDs. Hollywood just can't move fast enough for this revolution, as arguably eager as it is, and the ISPs may not clear the way when the show does get on the road. From what we can tell, the stuff will all get sorted out in time. How much time? Give it five more years. If you believe the studios. [Insert groan of impatience here.]
There's a good article over at giz that you should read if you get a second. Seems good for blu-ray fans though. all the compitition of set top boxes and downloads means users will stick with what they know: optical media.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-13-2008, 06:07 PM
steaky's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,616
Default

100% agree.

Downloads = rentals, and even then you rent at one location. There is no going over to your friends with your rental, going on a road trip unless its a portable device which may or may not handle the file format, etc..

BD plus an included digital copy is what I want in my future options.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-13-2008, 06:12 PM
Lee Stewart's Avatar
Formerly "HDTV Addict"
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 18,405
Default

Meanwhile . . . back in the real world . . .

The studios are pursuing VOD with the CST operators. (CBL/SAT/TELCO)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-13-2008, 06:19 PM
Badger3920's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 23,784
Default

THe studios are pursuing blu-ray even more.

And that has nothing to do with negating that a slew of companies (your beloved netflix for example) will be offering a set top box along with several others very soon. This article says it's going to be an unappealing mess, and I don't see why you'd say otherwise. I happen to think it's because you're stubborn, and because of your agenda

I, for one, don't see a reason to disagree seeing as everyone always talks about a lack of standards.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-13-2008, 06:47 PM
steaky's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,616
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post
Meanwhile . . . back in the real world . . .

The studios are pursuing VOD with the CST operators. (CBL/SAT/TELCO)

And they have a long way to go to over come the barriers that are mentioned in the article. Try talking about those rather than making an empty statement like you have done.

Im sure the Corn Growers of America are pursusing new popcorn prodcts with Orville Redenbacher, and am I EVER excited.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-13-2008, 07:35 PM
tolitzpogi's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,833
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post
Meanwhile . . . back in the real world . . .

The studios are pursuing VOD with the CST operators. (CBL/SAT/TELCO)
Same thing goes for companies seeking alternative fuel sources vs. fossil fuel, but I'm not holding my breath on that happening anytime soon, either

The real world sucks, eh?

- T
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-13-2008, 09:34 PM
Lee Stewart's Avatar
Formerly "HDTV Addict"
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 18,405
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by steaky View Post
And they have a long way to go to over come the barriers that are mentioned in the article. Try talking about those rather than making an empty statement like you have done.

Im sure the Corn Growers of America are pursusing new popcorn prodcts with Orville Redenbacher, and am I EVER excited.
Empty statement?

You should read more of the articles posted here and at other forums.

Or you read them and don't understand them. Like that very recent article from WB's CEO. The one discussing a cutback in movie production for 2009.

And I am surprised at you - this thread is about downloading. Streaming is a form of downloading.

BD? Optical physical media . . . . OFF TOPIC!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-13-2008, 10:43 PM
ack_bak's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 20,623
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post
Empty statement?

You should read more of the articles posted here and at other forums.

Or you read them and don't understand them. Like that very recent article from WB's CEO. The one discussing a cutback in movie production for 2009.

And I am surprised at you - this thread is about downloading. Streaming is a form of downloading.

BD? Optical physical media . . . . OFF TOPIC!
Well how many threads and posts do we have posted everyday by you and others regarding standard definition media in a hidef forum? Yet you tell others to stay on topic? Since this is a hifdef forum let's discuss hidef. I specifically remember Warner Bros stating that they will be moving away from DVD and focusing more on their home video division. Specifically with Blu-Ray and VOD. Because they know that movies are costing more and more to make and that DVD has peaked. Hopefully they will work with Comcast and others to improve the PQ of their HD offerings for VOD.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-14-2008, 12:14 AM
Lee Stewart's Avatar
Formerly "HDTV Addict"
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 18,405
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bak View Post
Well how many threads and posts do we have posted everyday by you and others regarding standard definition media in a hidef forum? Yet you tell others to stay on topic? Since this is a hifdef forum let's discuss hidef. I specifically remember Warner Bros stating that they will be moving away from DVD and focusing more on their home video division. Specifically with Blu-Ray and VOD. Because they know that movies are costing more and more to make and that DVD has peaked. Hopefully they will work with Comcast and others to improve the PQ of their HD offerings for VOD.
Studios say all kinds of things.

Fox once said that ALL their movies would be made in Cinemascope . . well how did that turn out?

And the studios have NOTHING to do with the PQ of the image over CST. THAT is the problem of the delivery system. They all get the same HD Tape.

In case you don't realize it - we are in a transition stage . . we are moving to HD and away from SD. The same thing happened 50 years ago when we moved from B&W to Color.

All kinds of teething problems . . and we had less than 12 channels to deal with! Not 200 like we have today.

82 % of all USA households have CST. Almost 40% have an HDTV. Only 5% have a BD player. And you think a studio is going to concentrate it's efforts on the 5% when the 40% is already there with the remaiunder of the 82% just waiting to get an HDTV?

You have to own an HDTV to see HD - You think people will look at BD as a natural progression up from DVD? Well - so far they haven't.

The world exists outside of the EA market - the market that BD is in now and will continue to be in for the rest of this year and probably all of next year.

Downloading is a joke! You have 10 companies offerring DNL's 10 different ways and all of them require cash up front, just like BD does.

CST - no cash up front - you pay small amounts monthly.

Take a look outside of this forum . . at the economy . . at the price of gas . . that give you confidence?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-14-2008, 02:18 AM
ack_bak's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 20,623
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post
Studios say all kinds of things.

Fox once said that ALL their movies would be made in Cinemascope . . well how did that turn out?

And the studios have NOTHING to do with the PQ of the image over CST. THAT is the problem of the delivery system. They all get the same HD Tape.

In case you don't realize it - we are in a transition stage . . we are moving to HD and away from SD. The same thing happened 50 years ago when we moved from B&W to Color.

All kinds of teething problems . . and we had less than 12 channels to deal with! Not 200 like we have today.

82 % of all USA households have CST. Almost 40% have an HDTV. Only 5% have a BD player. And you think a studio is going to concentrate it's efforts on the 5% when the 40% is already there with the remaiunder of the 82% just waiting to get an HDTV?

You have to own an HDTV to see HD - You think people will look at BD as a natural progression up from DVD? Well - so far they haven't.

The world exists outside of the EA market - the market that BD is in now and will continue to be in for the rest of this year and probably all of next year.

Downloading is a joke! You have 10 companies offerring DNL's 10 different ways and all of them require cash up front, just like BD does.

CST - no cash up front - you pay small amounts monthly.

Take a look outside of this forum . . at the economy . . at the price of gas . . that give you confidence?
Did Warner say they would drop DVD right now this minute? No. But DVD has peaked. The CE's know it (there are now more members in the BDA than the DVD forum), the studios know it, and the retailers know it. They all want more revenue and profit and they know they can make more money by pushing Blu-Ray than trying to push DVD. It is not rocket science Lee. They did the same thing with DVD when they began pushing that format over VHS. They like the idea of VOD because there are higher margins and I am sure they are tired of seeing all those $3.99-5.99 catalog titles on sale at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'Battle Royale' & 'Battle Royale: The Complete Collection' coming March 20 Landy Blu-ray Software General Discussion 3 01-01-2012 11:12 PM
Battle Royale (Blu-ray, 3-Disc Set) Limited Edition Like New FT spaceace Blu-ray Disc Exchange 2 04-12-2011 04:56 PM
Battle Royale 3 disc Blu ray set for sale Deke Rivers Blu-ray Disc Exchange 2 02-03-2011 05:41 PM
Audioholics Article - Blu-ray: After the Format War Will there be Format Civil War? mikemorel High Definition Smackdown 191 02-06-2008 12:06 PM
A Long, Long Time Ago....(30 Years Ago Friday) Arkadin Film Forum 6 05-22-2007 11:29 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off