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Format WAR!

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From Studio Briefing @ IMDb.com:

Format War Likely To Break Out Over High-Definition DVDs

With the first high-definition DVD players due to be introduced in the U.S. and Japanese markets by the Christmas season, the time for an agreement between the developers of two competing systems appears to be quickly running out, setting up the likelihood of a format war like the one between Betamax and VHS in the 1980s, the Los Angeles Times observed today. Josh Peterson, director of strategic alliances for Hewlett-Packard, which backs Sony's Blu-ray system, told the newspaper that a format war "looks more and more inevitable every day. We're approaching the point of no return." Toshiba's HD DVD system is scheduled to be introduced for the holidays, but the Times observed that Sony is expected to include a Blu-ray system in PlayStation 3 after the first of the year and that consumers are likely to hold off buying a high-definition DVD system until Sony's video game console hits the shelves. However, the Times interviewed several retailers who expressed reluctance to devote shelf space to two competing systems. And James Penhune of Strategy Analytics told the newspaper: "When you introduce an element of confusion, you're encouraging the consumer to put off the purchase."

&
Toshiba in High-Definition DVD Alliance with Microsoft

Like belligerents preparing for war, Sony and Toshiba are continuing to announce powerful new allies backing their incompatible systems for high-definition DVD's. Toshiba announced its latest ally on Monday as its president, Atsutoshi Nishida appeared at a news conference with Microsoft's Bill Gates in Tokyo where the two said they plan to develop high-definition DVD players together and also cooperate in developing a new line of mobile PCs. Toshiba has developed the HD-DVD format, which is due to compete against Sony's Blu-ray Disc.

My thoughts, (well, questions, now that I look back on them)...

Didn't the format war of the 80's leave the consumer with the lesser product (VHS)? Will the same thing happen here? Wasn't Sony involved with Betamax as well, and refused to budge on the patent thus bringing VHS to the fore? Does anyone have experience with either of these new DVD formats? If so, what is the +/- of each?

Regardless, Sony does not seem to have the best strategy here, or is taking the greater risk, in 1) assuming the consumer will wait for the Blu-Ray format after the holiday buying season (given Toshiba's alliance with Microsoft and what that will mean regarding new products available) and 2) just plain holding off the release of the new Playstation until after the holidays.

Of course I'm coming to this late, having not even studied the issue beyond those two newsbits. - but I can be taught.

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Not sure if this warrants an ahem, since Blu-Ray only comes up near the end of that post-DVD thread, but FWIW, that appears to be the only other thread we've had that ties into this.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I think we have a couple threads on this, but since this one links to an older one, and since "blu-ray" is impossible to find because the search engine ignores everything with less than four letters ...

- - -

DVD format war looms as Blu-ray backers plan launch

Chances looked slim that consumers will be spared a DVD format war, as the backers of one standard said on Friday there was no common ground for a unified format and it was on track for a market launch within a year. . . .

On top of that, consumers should expect punishment for tinkering with their Blu-ray players, as many have done with current DVD players by, in some instances, removing regional coding. The new, Internet-connected and secure players will report any "hack" and the device can be disabled remotely.

"A hacked player is any player that is doing something it's not supposed to do," Setos said, adding the jury was still out on whether regional coding would be maintained or scrapped. . . .

Reuters, September 2

- - -

Why "Internet-connected"? My dad informs me:

- - -

Blu-Ray players will use encryption algorithms that can be upgraded over the Internet. As each algorithm is hacked or broken, new movies will be released with a stronger algorithm, and the players will need to be upgraded over the Internet to be able to play the newest discs. If you don't ugrade, you will only be able to play older discs. How are they going to sell these things in Africa or South America?

Sony Play Station has used this method for over a year. They put the upgrades for the players on the discs of the newest games, so any player can play any disc, but the discs get harder to copy over time.

PS: Look for the cost of prerecorded CDs and DVDs made in the US to rise soon. A major US supplier of the polycarbonate plastic used for making them was lost to Katrina. Coffee, too, is expected to rise in price because New Orleans was a major centre of coffee importing, warehousing and trading.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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HD-DVD Beats Blu-Ray On Reputation

The battle over the next generation DVD format threw another interesting punch this week with independent market analytics firm Cymfony releasing figures from an extensive study showing that Blu-ray lagged far behind HD DVD in positive opinion. According to Yahoo, the report distinctly cites that unlike many studies in this field, this one was not sponsored by any manufacturer or other organization affiliated with either of the formats. It cites that 'the buzz' for HD DVD is 46 percent greater than that of Blu-ray, and that's among both high-def early adopters and the gaming community.

DarkHorizons.com, December 8


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Blu-ray leads HD-DVD sales

In the hi-def DVD format war among gamers, Blu-ray has an early lead getting into homes. But since every PlayStation 3 comes standard with Blu-ray player, whether buyers want one or not, there's no way to tell whether that lead will translate into DVD sales for studios.

Variety, December 14


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Two new attempts to call a truce: LG introduces a player that will play both formats (though not the interactive features on HD-DVD discs), and Warner Home Video introduces a disc called Total Hi Def, which will put all the HD-DVD content on one side and all the Blu-Ray content on the other.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Two new attempts to call a truce: LG introduces a player that will play both formats...

...that will go on sale for $1199 when it's finally released. That's only $200 less than the total price of an individual HD-DVD player & an individual Blu Ray player.

Still too pricey for me and the Munchkin. Wake me up when they knock the price down to $500!

Edited by utzworld

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Brit developer enters DVD fray

HD VMD boasts the capacity of HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, but uses existing DVD technology, making for much lower costs. The catch: None of the major studios have signed on yet. . . .

Initial HD VMD discs will have similar capacity as the first hi-def discs released by the majors. But players will cost much less: Next month, the company will release software enabling users to play the discs on their computers, likely for free. Actual players cost less than than $300 -- a significant savings vs. the $500 to $800 HD DVD players or the $1,000 Blu-ray decks -- due to lower manufacturing costs.

The company's now eyeing March launches in India and China. Potter acknowledges the studios might take some convincing -- especially after having invested in the other high-def formats -- but believes they will come around to the affordable alternative. . . .

Variety, January 14


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Oh, one other angle I don't think has come up in this thread yet: Apparently the porn industry has opted for HD-DVD -- possibly due to resistance from Sony re: using the Blu-Ray format -- and some pundits think this will result in HD-DVD being triumphant over Blu-Ray.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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We bought our Playstation 3 for the Blu-Ray player as well as the games. (Blu-Ray DVDs look fantastic!!)

I've put my money on Sony for this round, but I'm a little worried since the porn industry often leads technology...


"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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Well... I also didn't want to unnecessarily tie myself to Microsoft either. Currently the only non-corporate connection I have to Microsoft is that I have purchased Office for Mac and I have purchased a few of their mice. I didn't register it (activation has not been required on the Mac side), so Microsoft does not have my personal information. (I really resent Microsoft's demand for private information and their activation system -- which assumes that their customers are thieves.)


"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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I really resent Microsoft's demand for private information and their activation system -- which assumes that their customers are thieves.

Hm. A simple case of projection, maybe?


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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The registration has nothing to do with antipiracy, although I share your privacy concerns.

Is it pure marketing, or is there actually a good reason?


"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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Marketing, some support/"update" emails, data mining, etc.

You forgot to mention "bait for identity-theft rings" when Microsoft loses control of that data (like they have on a number of occasions). :P

Yep. I want to skip all that.


"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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The news item popping up all over the 'net today is that Blockbuster is going to go with Blu-Ray EXCLUSIVELY when it expands its HD offerings to more stores. Is that HD DVD's death knell we hear?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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High-def format war moves to Europe

Spreading counterintuitively in regard to most global conflicts, the war to determine which high-def disc format will take over the world began in the U.S. before moving to the Western European home theater. As the largest region in the worldwide homevid market, accounting for around 40% of all DVD households, Europe proved crucial in cementing the standard-def disc's stature over the last decade. And in the six months since HD DVD and Blu-ray made their respective Euro debuts, both camps can claim small victories as they struggle to appeal to a broad market that encompasses dozens of languages, often favors locally produced content and remains largely without HDTV screens.

Variety, June 22

HD format victory rides on local content

As in the U.S. -- where six out of seven Hollywood majors publish in the format, four of them exclusively -- Blu-ray Disc has the upper hand over HD DVD across Europe when it comes to breadth of blockbuster titles. . . . The combined international high-def market share of Disney, Fox and Sony is about three times that of Universal, notes Amy Heller of global industry consultancy Media Control GfK. Nevertheless, top new releases like Warner's "300" and BBC's "Planet Earth," which are available on both HD DVD and Blu-ray, net virtually the same sales for each format, whether in France, Germany, Spain or the U.K. "This proves the appetite for both formats," Heller says. As the format war drags on, local distributors and titles could tip the scales. . . .

Variety, June 22


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Is This A Desperation Move & Cash Grab? Or Bloodier Blu-ray/HD-DVD Format War?

I've learned there will be two new developments announced later this week in the ongoing Blu-ray vs HD-DVD format war: separate HD-DVD deals with Paramount and DreamWorks Animation that involve major millions of dollars. . . .

Nikki Finke, Deadline Hollywood Daily, August 19


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Warner Bros. backs Blu-ray

Warner Bros. will throw all its weight behind Blu-ray mid-way through this year in what could serve as a death blow to the rival HD DVD format.

The studio, which hinted a move could be coming after the holidays, said it was making the decision to back only Blu-ray due to customer preference for the high-def format developed by Sony. Announcement comes on the eve of the annual consumer electronics confab in Las Vegas next week.

For the last few months, Warner has been the sole major backing both formats. Paramount initially backed both formats but decided to drop Blu-ray in favor of HD DVD mid-way last year, due in part to marketing incentives proffered by Toshiba and belief the lower cost of HD DVD would drive greater sales. . . .

This move leaves only Universal and Paramount supporting HD DVD. Paramount's exclusive deal with HD DVD is believed to run through this year. Warner sister studio New Line has also released discs on both formats, but Warner distributes those, and New Line is expected to follow Warner as a Blu-ray only studio. . . .

Variety, January 4

- - -

Nikki Finke has the Warner Brothers press release.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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HD-DVD Cancels CES Dog-&-Pony Show; Cites "Impact" Of Warner Bros' Blu-Ray

I'm told a costly full frills two hour showcase was planned in Las Vegas by the North American HD-DVD Promotion Group for this weekend timed to the giant CES technology expo that officially kicks off January 7th. That is, until today's huge Warner Bros announcement that its titles will be produced exclusively in the Blu-ray format scuttled the HD-DVD press event. Oops. Here's the sudden announcement . . .

Nikki Finke, DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com, January 4


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Blu-ray could win high-def battle

The two remaining studios backing HD DVD could switch sides soon, ending the high-def format war instantly.

Daily Variety has confirmed that Universal's commitment to backing HD DVD exclusively has ended. And Paramount has an escape clause in its HD DVD contract allowing it to release pics on Blu-ray after Warner Bros.' decision to back that format exclusively.

Neither studio is ready to throw in the towel immediately, however. . . .

Variety, January 9


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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That, and I'd really like HD-DVD to win, even though I haven't bought a player yet and don't intend to. I might never buy one, actually, if NetFlix or (preferably) Amazon unbox offers HD downloads anytime soon.

Given that HD movie download file sizes will be anywhere from 15-25 GB each, do you really think that companies are going to do downloads anytime soon?


"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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Paramount Denies Report It Will Drop Toshiba's HD DVD:

"Paramount's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format,'' Brenda Ciccone, a spokeswoman for Paramount, said in an e-mail today.

Of course, that's only their current plan.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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