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Very interesting (and sobering) Cnet article

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Juan C

Juan C

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Posted February 27 2006 - 09:16 PM

HD-DVD's Xbox 360 strategy

Some interesting excerpts:

Toshiba hopes that, by being first to market and pricing its next-generation, high-def DVD players lower than the Sony-backed Blu-ray players from assorted manufacturers, it will gain the upper hand in the next-generation DVD war.

That is, more or less like MS tries to do with the Xbox 360.

The company [Toshiba]has two players launching: the $800 HD-XA1 will be available first, followed by the $500 HD-A1 a few weeks thereafter.

What? Either they're moving the HD-XA1 forward (unlikely) or pushing back the HD-A1 (which would mean no player by late March for those who bought the cheaper player).

But both models are priced at hundreds less than the upcoming Blu-ray players, and Toshiba can gradually lower its prices as the year progresses, possibly hitting the $399 or even the $299 mark by the holiday season.

I think $299 is very optimistic. Now, $399 might happen.

Now, a funny imagined conversation between a customer and a salesperson when both formats are available:

Consumer: Why is HD-DVD better than Blu-ray?
Salesperson: It's cheaper. And oh, it's got a better name. You hear HD-DVD, you know what it is.
Consumer: That's it?
Salesperson: That's it.
Consumer: And they're both backward compatible--they can play my existing DVDs?
Salesperson: Yep.
Consumer: So, what's better about Blu-ray?
Salesperson: The discs have a larger theoretical storage capacity (50GB compared to 30GB to 45GB). And there should be more Blu-ray movies because Sony owns several movie studios and it'll never make HD-DVD discs. Also, Blu-ray players can output in 1080p while HD-DVD players currently output in 1080i and 720p.
Consumer: What's 1080p?
Salesperson: I suggest you read David Carnoy's column on it. Here's a link for you.

Then complexities are discussed, and also Blu-ray's and HD DVD's strategy:

Like my imaginary electronics store salesperson, I expect the folks at Sony will try to keep their message simple and stay on it. Over and over, you're going to hear from the Blu-ray camp: More movies, more storage capacity, native 1080p resolution--and oh, by the way, we're going to be in the PlayStation 3--whenever it eventually comes out and however much it costs.

As for Team Toshiba, it just has to go out there and say, "We do the same thing, and we're cheaper." The only problem, of course, is that it won't get the same head-start on Blu-ray that the Xbox 360 has on the PS3--HD-DVD has only a two- or three-month lead time.

And the conclusion is really wise and sobering:

Of course, even at any price, the big question is: why rush? This format war is going to last a couple of years at a minimum, and the most compelling products have yet to be seen. Why buy a $300 HD-DVD player [possible error: it should be $500] before you know exactly when the Blu-ray-ified PlayStation 3 will be available and how much it will cost? Why not wait to see the HD-DVD and Blu-ray recorders that will likely be debuting at next year's CES? Or hold out to see if a combo Blu-ray/HD-DVD player sees the light of day? For now, I'm on the fence. Even if I do buy a player, I won't be buying any movies. With Netflix carrying both new formats, I'll be sticking to rentals--because I refuse to have a shelf full of movies recorded in a dead-end, Beta-style standard.

How 'bout you?

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Paul McElligott

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Posted February 28 2006 - 05:04 AM

Good article. Thanks for the link. Guy seems to know his stuff.
R.I.P. DVDSpot

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