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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Stephen_J_H, Apr 11, 2007.
I found this interesting:
Link at http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2007-04-10
I'm wondering how early DVDs fared by comparison. I think people are being much more restrictive about their HD purchases, and renting until the format war sorts itself out.
Taking the PS3, and to be fair, the HD addon out of the equation, DVD has far outshined either (or both HD and BD combined) sales numbers in all categories, from released titles, disks sold, disks shipped and hardware sold based only on the 1997 figures, and that was less than a half year of release.
Of course, the other factor that has to be considered is that DVD also had a ~100% installed base of displays, compared to a 10-15% installed base for HD. Given that data, and reassessing the numbers to account for the number of players sold as a ratio of displays installed, I think you'll find that HD has outsold DVD by a very large factor.
But you can not take those factors into consideration when looking at the numbers. The number are what they are, and there is no positive way to spin the mediocre numbers currently being touted by the camps, and with what looks like losses based on QTY sold most studios have been incurring, the outlook is not bright.
Your DVD numbers aggregate total sales distributed across the title base.
Looking at your 1997 figure of 2million units spread across 900 titles, if they also sold equally, they'd have sold 2222 units each.
More likely though, there were certain titles selling in the tens of thousands, and others barely breaking through the hundreds.
It is true that DVD to HD is an unfair comparison, because it doesn't have the installed base of viewing units, nor does it have the marketing that DVD had at it's inception. There is a lot of attitude that DVD is "good enough", probably because VHS lasted so long and DVD is such a significant upgrade.
Mind you, I was in best buy yesterday talking to someone who insisted HD formats were a waste of money because we'll just be getting them over the internet. I don't see music studios looking to stop pressing CDs, no matter the success of Itunes, et al.
Don't discount the impact of Netflix and Blockbuster online. When DVD initiated, Blockbuster and other video stores didn't even carry DVDs for a while; only VHS. Then they slowly integrated DVDs after player sales increased. Renting online was not available at that time. Nowadays, sales take a hit to online renters. I know I'm one of them. I nearly bought every new DVD release back in the late 90s and while I do buy some HD DVDs/BDs today, I also rent some through Netflix I would have otherwise bought if Netflix wasn't around.
You have to take those factors into account or you aren't doing a rational comparison.
If only roughly 12% of U.S. homes have HD displays, then that is an obvious constraint on the number of hi-def players that can be sold, and consequently the number of discs. When DVD was introduced it worked with 100% of U.S. televisions. Therefore its potential market was huge.
Let's say there were 200 million TV households in America in 1997, and that all of them bought DVD players that year. Let's also say that each household bought 5 movie discs. That's a billion discs.
Now, assume that every HDTV household buys either a Blu Ray or HD-DVD player this year. Further assume a 50/50 split, and that each of those households buys 5 discs. That's 60 million discs for each format or a total of 120 million with 100% penetration of the available market.
When comparing the relatively success of the two formats how can you not take into account this difference?
This is an excellent point. Netflix has changed my buying habits (both DVD and HD DVD) dramatically. Probably half of my DVD collection consists of stuff I couldn't rent prior to joining Nexflix. Some of it is good, some isn't. I still buy things I want to have a copy of, but almost never have to buy something just to check it out anymore. I'd own quite a few more HD-DVD's if it weren't for Netflix. Basically, it's kept me from having to buy movies like Children of Men or Babel which I liked, but probably won't watch again.
I'm sure that the Big Box stocking habits have a lot to do with slow sales of some titles too. I had a terrible time finding Bullitt, which apparently has been a slow seller. Same with Casino and Casablanca. Obviously, if it's not on the shelf, people aren't going to buy it. Unless you actually keep up on the releases, you probably wouldn't even know it was out there. Obviously, you can get these online, but I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that a lot of my movie purchases are impulse buys.
Yeah, because ISPs are all suddenly going to invest in the infrastructure necessary for millions of people to download hi-def movies, and we're all going to have terabyte drives to store them on. And it won't cost us a penny more. And everyone will have a pony.
Loved this. VoD is not the panacaea everyone hopes it will be. I think we'll see HD software on memory cards before VoD for HD replaces physical media.
That's a possibility, but I think it'll be an extension of HD-DVD/BR, an extra feature.
As far as VoD goes, we're about 10 years out. The bandwidth and storage req's are impressively high, but not impossibly so. Petabyte drive arrays(Or whatever succeeds magnetic media, Solid-State, Holographic) will probably start appearing in 5-7 years.
The only major holdups are the backbones, which are being upgraded as we speak and will only get faster, the local distribution points which again will be a realistic and economical upgrade.
The big problem will continue to be "The last mile" issue. Getting the service to people at speed, and doing so without bandwidth sharing, will be the deal-breaker in 10 years. Bandwidth sharing won't work anymore, because sustained transfers of Gigabytes of data for just one TV per household will be more than bandwidth sharing can handle. Considering that many households have 2-3 TV's all of which might be on different media, 2-3 times the bandwidth consumed.
I suppose though, they could go with a wireless network with setups every X feet to maintain bandwidth, and offset bandwidth requirements by broadcasting 1 signal for each media regardless of how many are on it. I.e. if 1 person requests 24, one copy of 24 is broadcast. If 5 people request it, one copy is broadcast and 5 receivers pick it up. But if the bandwidth isn't there, some neighborhoods will really suck if everyone's watching 1 copy of different things. Might even require additional lines and wireless transmitters for "trouble" neighborhoods.
It'd work though. Until someone cracks the encryption signal...
I'm always skeptical of such reports in this area because there is so much confusion about HD among the general public and because you never know the methodology used to arrive at the numbers. (Did CEA actually do a survery of x number of TV households or did they take the total number of HDTVs sold and take a guess as to how many households would own more than one vs. owning only one. Because if they did that, I have a feeling that people like us are wrecking the curve. I own 4 HD sets - 1 56" LCoS RPTV and 4 LCDs ranging in size from 26" to 32", two of which double as computer monitors.)
NPD Group, a nationally-recognized market research firm, had to essentially scrap a survey on Blu Ray and HD-DVD sales because the people responding - supposedly HDTV owners - kept saying that they had purchased or rented "hi-def" titles that had never been released in either format. How many of those "HD households" that CEA is reporting really own ED plasmas or "digital ready" CRT sets? How well did they control to weed those out?
I have an HD-DVD player and have purchased about 25 movies. I am firmly in the "HD discs will never be more than a niche market" camp. I think the article cited in this thread just helps prove it. I think that 90% of people are more than satisfied with the quality of standard dvd, and will not upgrade for years, if ever. You cannot look at the interest expressed in the format on these forums and use it as a barometer of public opinion on HD. I am telling you most people do not care. Even if there were not competing formats, it would make little difference. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are the Laser Discs of our time. It is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the studios don't decide to abandon both formats because of a lack of sales.
I disagree. "Never" is a long time and absolute statements on this kind of thing rarely hold up over time.
90% of people were satisifed with the quality of ordinary TV, too. The general public was not clamoring for a new TV standard. But given a new standard, most people who have a choice prefer the best quality. There aren't a lot of HDTV owners watching the standard-def feeds of their favorite networks. They like the quality of HD and they're getting used to it. (I have a nephew who is a sports nut, but not a big videophile or movie guy, and an aunt who is neither. Both bought HD sets in the last year - he a 46" DLP, she a 42" LCD - because they needed new TVs and figured they might as well upgrade. Both of them then signed up for the local CableCo's HD service because they had the hardware. Now they say they find it hard to watch TV at other people's houses because they're so used to HD.
My aunt has already tried to rent an HD-DVD to watch on her new set, not knowing that she'd need a special hi-def player. When I told her there were two kinds of these and how much they cost she said, "Well, I'll wait a couple of years. You let me know when the price comes down and tell me what to buy." (I helped her pick out the TV and calibrated it with DVE the night it was delivered.)
Neither of my relatives has an extensive collection of DVDs. They mostly rent movies, my nephew from Netflix, my aunt (who doesn't even own a computer) from the local brick & mortar. They don't have to worry about "replacing" titles or double-dipping. When there's a cheap enough player that will let them rent hi-def DVDs they'll do it in a heartbeat because they've seen the advantage of HD (we've all been talking about how incredible The Discovery Channel's Planet Earth has been) and they want more of it - but not until the price is right.
I think their experience is going to be shared by millions of others as HD sets and services continue to gain market share.
As for the LD comparison - sorry, apples and oranges again. LD was not a new and improved alternative to VHS. It as an original competitor of VHS and Beta, launched commercially at about the same time and vying to be the first big in-home movie watching system. It flopped by comparison for a host of reasons, only one of which has a direct analog in the hi-def/standard DVD situation. Three of the main ones?
1) LD was playback only. Videotape not only both played and recorded, but it was also sold (originally) as a replacement for the family movie camera, projector and screen. (And film processing store.) The ability to play movies was an added bonus. Why buy a dedicated movie watching system when you could own a multi-purpose system for much less money?
2) LD's superiority wasn't always visible on the equipment commonly in use. In the late 70s and early 80s big screen TVs (meaning anything over 30") were still really in their infancy. On a typical, maladjusted 13" to 27" set, LD simply didn't look that much better - not enough to justify the price (for films as well as player) so it never got beyond the niche. This is the one real similarity betwen LD and hi-def DVD, but as we've seen, that's changing. (This is also one of the reasons why DVD succeeded where LD failed. By 1997 people already had a home movie and TV-time-shifting recording format, so they didn't mind added a high-quality playback only system to supplement what they already had. This is why the "DVD will never take off until it can record" meme was such nonsense. But the thing that probably most helped DVD in the early years was the huge increase in the installed base of big screen TVs - largely driven by sports - in the years in between the launch of VHS/LD/Beta and the launch of DVD. Suddenly people had screens where they really could see the difference, and could appreciate OAR even with the letterboxing bars - which is why widescreen VHS became a big item right at the end of the format.)
3) And this can't be emphasized enough - price. LD was very expensive, digital surround sound more so (I paid over a grand for my first "AC-3" receiver and that was considered low end in those days), and discs sets were insanely priced. And because LD never became a mass-market item for the reasons mentioned above, the prices stayed relatively high throughout the format's life because no one ever acheived the economies of scale that follow large scale success. Hi-def DVD has a much clearer path to a growing market, the automatic and inevitable replacement of SD TVs with HD versions just through sheer attrition, accelerated by the DTV cut-over in 2009, and therefore a much better ability to bring down prices while remaining profitable. HDTV has already acheived several times the market penetration that LD did after many years on the market. In fact, BD and HD-DVD are probably already well ahead of LD a couple of years after that format was introduced. How easy was it to find a store that sold or rented LDs near where you lived back in the day?
I think there is every chance that a hi-def DVD format could break out of niche status within 5 years, but only if one of the formats fades or the format war disappears as a practical matter because combo drives and/or combo discs become affordable and easy to find, and the Blu Ray/HD-DVD choice becomes moot.
And how many of the televisions available at the release of DVD had nothing other than RCA jacks or worse limiting the quality of the DVD playback. HD players work on all sets, and price wise, are no more expensive then DVD players at the time.
Additionally, for most of the first year, you had to go out of your way to find either the hardware of content for DVD's. They were not released into the main retail market until quite some time after their initial release.
I see no rational way of comparing the DVD and HD releases. Way too many variables that do not correspond to each other. My original post was to put some real figures to the discussion.
DVD also outsold (sometimes by a 10 to 1 margin or better) Beta, VHS and CD at the same points in those product life-cycles. Does that somehow retroactively "prove" that those formats also "failed"?
DVD was the most successful single product launch in the history of consumer electronics, and it succeeded because of a "pefect storm" of conditions coming together at the same time. It was the solution to a real need in the marketplace. Hi-def DVD is a response to a desire within a segment of the marketplace, but a growing one. Eventually there will also be a perceived "need" for the product once the installed base of HDTVs is there and more people have become accoustomed to HD content from other sources. So, again, expecting the one to replicate the success of the other is simply silly. The initial conditions are totally different, why would anyone expect the experiments to produce the same results?
(One knock against LD that I forgot to mention above was size. LD discs were big and clunky and alien looking to a generation already forgetting what LPs were. DVDs had the same 5.25" form factor as the friendly CD, and people were already conditioned to think "digital" meant "better". A CD-like disc with a movie on it was an easy concept for consumers to grasp and embrace. Psychologically, this is a big deal, and one reason why both hi-def formats stuck with that size when there were other options.)
But if the numbers can't be used for comparisons or anaylsis, what is the point of posting them?
I'm willing to bet that you needed an RF modulator to plug into one of those 13-inch black and white ones. I know I certainly had to make a quick trip to Radio Shack to get my first DVD player to connect to my TV at the time.