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Who is going to win the Format War and why?

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#1 of 166 OFFLINE   Austan


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Posted May 26 2006 - 03:16 AM

Let’s have a logical non-emotional discussion about the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray Format War. I do not like to have debates based solely on “opinions” because you can not prove "opinions" right or wrong. But if you backup your beliefs with “facts” or “reasoning” then it’s fair because we can argue your "facts/reasoning" and prove them valid/invalid. Also let's keep this thread as a debate on which format is going to win and why, instead of a technical debate on which format is better. Try to list your "facts" then give us your reasoning/opinion... It makes it easier to follow... Keep in mind that facts can change (ie: sales figures or dates)...

Possible Facts: Please feel free to debate…
  • Blu-Ray has all the studios support
  • HD-DVD has most studios support except the few affiliated with Sony Pictures
  • Blu-Ray player included in PS3 at $599 ($499 has no HDMI)
  • HD-DVD has a Toshiba HD-A1 player at $499
  • Blu-Ray PS3 release Nov 17
  • HD-DVD already available
  • May 17, 2006 http://gear.ign.com/...9/709082p1.html
    “The most recent sales figures show that Toshiba has only sold a worldwide total of 7,500 HD-A1 units (1,500 in Japan, 6,000 in the US)... 2 million PS3's Sony will ship on November 17, the additional 2 million that will ship by the end of the calendar year…”

#2 of 166 OFFLINE   Shawn Perron

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Posted May 26 2006 - 03:17 AM

We don't have enough threads already covering this? It's not like we won't all just use the same facts and opinions covered in atleast 10 other threads that already exist.

#3 of 166 OFFLINE   Austan


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Posted May 26 2006 - 03:22 AM

I've read all the other post and each one goes on a tangent... they end up being an emotional flaming war based on opinions... or they end up being a technical ramble...

#4 of 166 OFFLINE   Austan


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Posted May 26 2006 - 03:32 AM

Here are my main points: 1)The better technology does not necessary translate into better products ie.Ipod not the best mp3 player but it’s the market leader 2)First out does not necessary translate into first victory ie.Apple Newton was years ahead of Palm which was ahead of Pocket PC 3)Cheaper price does not always increase sales ie.Divx was like 1/3 the price of DVD 4)Media sales will sway the studios to drop one format ie.It cost money to produce 2 versions 5)The consumer will decide what media format they want to buy ie.Self explanatory 6)“Fanboys” will be “Fanboys” ie.Can’t deny someone that wants one to not buy it 7)Consumers weary of Format War and most will hold off ie.Evident by low sales volume 8)BUZZ words reign supreme in the Consumer Mass Market ie.Its all about marketing

#5 of 166 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 26 2006 - 03:38 AM

Austan, I am inclined to agree with Shawn -- i.e., already enough threads debating which format is better and which will win. But I'll keep this one open for the moment.

#6 of 166 OFFLINE   Austan


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Posted May 26 2006 - 03:42 AM

im trying not to start a thread on which one is better.. just which one is going to win and why...

#7 of 166 OFFLINE   Paul McElligott

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Posted May 26 2006 - 04:35 AM

Honestly, I don't think that techological superiority matters. I think either format can deliver sufficiently eye-popping content.

Three possibilities, then.
    [*]Blu Ray wins due to greater studio support, specifically Disney. Ultimately, the inability to buy Toy Story or The Lion King on a given format will doom that format if it is available on the competing format.[*]The two formats continue to split the marketplace which, given that relatively small size of the HD market, will lead to:[*]Both formats ultimately fail because they are trying to divide up a small slice of the HT pie and SD-DVD is good enough for the mass market.
I don't think HD DVD can win in the long run unless they can get Fox and Disney to support the format, putting the studio support on an even footing.
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#8 of 166 OFFLINE   FrancisP



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Posted May 26 2006 - 05:26 AM

The number one question is whether people are willing to buy hi-def versions of movies they already own. If the answer is no then neither one will win. Look at what is going on in the SD market. Dvd sales are down and the number of re-releases are up. That would certainly suggest that people are not willing to pony up to buy multiple copies of movies. The average person will determine if SD or hi-def are the standards. The average person is not looking for the best possible picture. They are looking for a good picture that SD can already deliver. Bottom line is that I see hi-def being nothing more than a niche market.

#9 of 166 OFFLINE   Austan


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Posted May 26 2006 - 06:37 AM

Well, I have the THX release of StarWars IV-V1 on VHS and the DVD versions. I also have the regular release of the LOTR trilogy as well as the Extended release... I replace my cars even though they are still in good condition. I also plan to move a perfectly good working HDTV set into another room to make room for a new set. Also have a collection of good working 1.1mp, 3.1mp, 4.1mp Digital cameras. Geeks will be geeks and we have the need to upgrade Posted Image ...

At some point in time, the HD media "niche" market will become mainstream... The number of HDTV sets increases every year because cost has come down... The question is in 4-5 years, which media format will be available for purchase when HD players cost $150...

When HD players are that cheap, there will be a huge swing in media sales. It took about 10 years for CD sales to out pace cassettes and I believe it was 5 for DVD to outpace VHS.

As of this week with Canon announced that it has stopped the production of 35mm cameras... Digital has killed Film and eventually HD will kill SD.

#10 of 166 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted May 26 2006 - 07:07 AM

Right now, in May 2006, I don't think we have enough information to predict a winner in either format.

HD-DVD has been selling players and discs for two months. Blu-ray has yet to even hit the market yet.

HD-DVD has a (tiny) head start; Blu-ray has more long-term potential.

I think that Blu-ray will ultimately become more popular than HD-DVD due to its larger software library. You implied above that all the studios except those explicitly owned by Sony (Columbia and MGM) would also be releasing discs to HD-DVD. At this moment in time we don't know that. Both Fox and Disney have indicated that they will definitely be releasing Blu-ray discs; neither has stated that they will also be releasing HD-DVD titles. On the HD-DVD side, only Universal has stated that they will not be releasing discs to Blu-ray.

My best guess right now is that neither format "wins". Both will co-exist in the marketplace indefinitely, but DVD will remain the media of choice for the mainstream public. I predict that around the middle of 2008 combo players will be offered by all the major hardware manufactures that will play HD-DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD; and that device will become the standardized player of choice for the rest of the decade.

After that, it's just possible that VOD will be the mainstream choice for viewing movies at home!

#11 of 166 OFFLINE   Richard Kim

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Posted May 26 2006 - 08:25 AM

Blu-Ray on the PS3 is not an advantage, considering the negative reaction from the public and gamers to the expensive $599 pricetag.

#12 of 166 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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Posted May 26 2006 - 12:30 PM

1) studio support. The biggest concept to keep in mind here, imo, is that studio support does not translate into video on demand. in other words, Just because studio A is supporting format #1, that does not mean that you will automatically see your favorite studio A title released immediately, or even neccessarily sooner, on format #1. it just means that your chances of seeing it eventually look better...at this point in time.
as to how studio support will influence buyers who are finally inclined to pick up one or the other HD formats on disc...I tend to believe it will not be based on what titles may be released in the future, rather what is available on the shelf as they are moving around the store with the player in their shopping cart. Fox has some very high profile titles that would generate a lot of buzz and are the 'perfect' vehicles to stimulate enthusiasm for Blu-ray. If these are on the shelves for the Christmas shopping season it will definitely help.
on the other side, HD DVD only has Universal. In general, this doesn't look like much of an advatage, however they do control the new Battlestar Galactica. I haven't seen it, but apparently this has a very strong, very rabid fan base and being shot in HD, and it hits a prime demographic for this kind of technology - so that title may be enough for some people to buy into that format.

2) PS3 factor- doubt it will affect much at all.

3) the $500 price point is a very important factor, imo. With DVDs, for the longest time I said that a $15 price point, vs a $20 and up price point, was the difference between a blind buy and "eh, I'll pass on this for now". I think alot of other people used the same price vetting- and when it comes to hardware, I see the $500 price as the equivilent of that $15.
I think people will be more inclined to try the technology out, or add it to the 'shopping cart' when they go to purchase a new large screen tv. When the price is $800 on up, I think it loses as an 'impulse' buy for most people.

4) Fox won't have titles until Sept. Disney doens't look to have titles until Bd50s are up and ready for prime time, so that looks like Fall at the earliest too. Even assuming they went full bore once they officially stepped into the ring with content, they are still inhibited by having to author any new discs as well as replicate them. On the authoring side, this should be compounded by the fact that , for instance Disney wants more interactivity. More interactivity seems to imply that authoring the disc is going to be that much bigger of a pita. which means these will take longer get right and get out.
By November and the start of the holiday shopping season, Fox and Disney will have had at the most, only 8-10 weeks to get titles on the shelves.
Sony/MGM and the others will have had a few more weeks, but most of those titles will be of limited appeal or have already been released and rereleased on DVD so often (hasn't Fifth Element already had 3 releases already including a new one just last year?) that it can't help but dilute the enthsuisam a bit.

I don't know who will will this 'war'. I've got a HD DVD player, and despite a few quirks, I am extremely pleased with it and feel the price/performance ratio is truly excellant. If nothing else I hope that it (the format) lasts long enough for me to compile a good sized collection to get several more years out of.
I had intended to pick up one or the other this fall, but the price point of the Bds just make them a non starter for me at this point. For $500 I can afford to be a little more tolerant of the quirks with this one (and I have to say- so far none of the quirks have affected playability of the movies- the movie experience has not been compromised on my player so far).
At $1K and up, any quirks or issues would be absolutely infuriating.

#13 of 166 OFFLINE   Austan


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Posted May 26 2006 - 01:38 PM

Thanks everyone for not flaming!!!

Here's what I see... True, studios wont determine the winner... but consumers will... How does Walmart become Walmart? It's called turn over... Walmart will not hesitate to drop a slow moving item. Shelf space is the most valuable restate!!! New titles will sell the most volume within the first few months of release. Stores stock up on new releases then dump it as quickly as possible to make room for next Tuesday's new release. If one format is selling significantly lower volume than the other, I dont see retail stores ordering both for long. There comes a point in time when stores make the hard decision and pulls the plug. Cassette tapes and VHS were still being produced by the studios when the retail stores decided to not stock them.

Beleive it or not, but PS3 sales will be a factor. HD-A1 sales has been painfully slow due to price, demand and supply. How many players will be sold by the end of 2006? 50k? 100k? 200k? 250k? By the end of the year approximatly 4 million PS3 will be sold.

$499, $599, $999 is alot of money and only HT buffs will spend that much. But PS3 owners invested $599 in a gaming console. They have already commited... Dont expect any PS3 owners to go out and by a HD-DVD player. You are not going to stop a Sony "Fanboy" from buying a PS3 and those PS3 owners wont hesitate to try out HD movies... UMD failed right? but 8.2 million UMD titles sold is still a huge number... http://www.tgdaily.c....mes/index.html

Back to the Walmart example. If Walmart doesnt place multi million unit orders for a format, studios might not produce it.

Face it, we're a disposable nation. Once we've committed dollars for something, we don't mind spending the pennies. Case in point: iTunes downloads are in the millions. DVD sales are strong. cell phone ring tones and all the accessories. skins and cases.. etc..etc..etc..

#14 of 166 OFFLINE   BrionL


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Posted May 26 2006 - 02:42 PM

You guys forgot to mention the HD DVD add on drive for the Xbox 360 that is going to come out sometime before Christmas. Brion

#15 of 166 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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Posted May 26 2006 - 02:52 PM

I do agree with this. From my own standpoint though, I've already gone thru this phenomena with DVD, and I'm a bit more committed this time, as well as circumspective, to avoiding collecting a lot of discs just to justify the equipment. Again, at $500, there is much less of a pull to feel as though I have to justify the purchase. I've only bought 4 of the released titles so far, and nothing that has been announced so far holds any interest for me, yet I'm content to be patient. Maybe if I had sunk $1K into the player- I may not be as lacsidasical about getting content- even though I had spent more money up front, I might be even more driven then to pick up things I don't neccessarily want as much, just for fear that my 'investment' was going to waste.

#16 of 166 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted May 26 2006 - 03:32 PM

I am not sure why technical superiority would not matter? It is important because Blu-ray's supperior storage capacity does translate to more options, more flexability and more content on a disc. Blu-ray will offer Mpeg 4 just like HD-DVD so there is something they both have in common. While yes HD-DVD has a very nice picture it does not offer the flexability that Blu-ray does. IMHO HD-DVD will not offer the flexability to remain a viable HD format that will last 10+ years. While HD-DVD offered a low price player and Toshiba is most likely not making much of these players. What would have helped HD-DVD is for them to offer a player that was not riddled with problems and flaws. I originally going to back Blu-ray only and had not intention of even giving HD-DVD a chance. However I decided that attitude was the the best way to go about chosing a HD player. I looked into HD-DVD and was almost ready to pull the trigger after seeing how good the picture looked on HD-DVD. After hearing of all the issues with Toshiba's HD player and also weighing the facts and what format would give me the best bang for the buck. And what format would give the best value and flexability in the future. IMHO I came to the conclusion that Blu-ray not HD-DVD was the choice I should be making. This has not been an easy decision and its a topic that has been very intense in this forum. I just can not justify buying HD-DVD even at $500. I am just glad I only purchased one HD-DVD disc before deciding not to purchase the player. I will be purchasing the Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray HD player and hopefully Denon will release new models with Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD surround formats. I will be buying Blu-ray movies before I own the player!

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#17 of 166 OFFLINE   Sebastien S

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Posted May 26 2006 - 09:43 PM

Except that most people buying a PS3 won't be buying it for movies but for games... Heck, most people buying a PS3 won't even own an HDTV and certainly won't be able to take full advatage of Blu-Ray... "If" these people do buy movies, they will stick to standard cheaper SD DVD's.

And though initial sales of the PS3 will be strong, I don't think that it will sell quite as many as some people think. In fact, (it's too early to make predictions of this nature but) if I had to make a prediction, I'd say that while the PS3 will by no means be a flop, by the end of the next console wars, it will finish 2nd to the Xbox 360.

And I am by no means a Microsoft fanboy, if anything one might accuse me of being a SONY fanboy. I owned a PS1 in 96 and I bought a PS2 on it's launch day back in 2000. I have supported SONY for a long time but I for one refuse to buy a console for around $725.00 CAN with taxes and have nothing but the console itself and one controller! I may yet buy a PS3 but "if" I do, it will be a year or two after it's launch date (so roughly not before 2008). In the mean time I do intend to buy an Xbox 360, something that up until about two months ago I had not seriously considered... So by the time I am ready to buy a PS3, I will have so many games on the Xbox 360 that I may not even care about the PS3 anymore (not to mention that both consoles actually share many of the same games). I think SONY has done a very big mistake with the price tag on the PS3 and that it will end up hurting them big time! The worse thing is that if they had not placed a BR drive in this thing, the price tag of the PS3 would have been much lower. So they are basically forcing people to buy this new tech that most gamers can't even take advatage of and quite frankly don't care about... They just want to play games! And BTW: The cheaper PS3 is no bargain, it will still arrive at around $620.00 CAN with taxes and you again have no games no component cable, no extra controller. I believe that many SONY PS fans may defect to Microsoft as I am about to do.

All in all, I don't believe that the PS3 will help Blu-Ray by much if any at all.

Even if Blu-Ray were to win over HD-DVD, I wouldn't want my BR player to be a PS3... I would want a stand alone player and the prices on those are just insane to say the least! Just the Samsung is $1400.00 CAN with taxes! Maybe some of you here don't mind paying that but your all in the minority, the average person will "NEVER" pay that much! And that's nothing, the SONY, Panasonic and Pioneer BR players will be much more... Your looking at around $1800.00 to $2200.00 CAN with taxes! For the difference their is in PQ (which most people won't notice or care about) and the difference in price tags (which most people "will" notice and "will" care about), it's just not worth it...

In the end when all is said and done, I believe HD-DVD will come out on top and price/cost will have much if not everything to do with it.


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#18 of 166 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted May 27 2006 - 12:30 AM

If it were easy to predict the winner (or indeed if there is even to be a winner), the companies would already be on the winning bandwagon and not sinking money into a losing format.

While I suspect that Blu-Ray will wind up with roses around their neck, this remains to be seen (and proven).

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#19 of 166 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted May 27 2006 - 01:22 AM

Again, I don’t see this as a factor either. Right now, we’re seeing boatloads of SD “Deluxe Editions, Super Deluxe Editions” with a second disc holding nothing more than a few deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes, a trailer or two all of which translates into a ton of real estate being under-utilized. What reason do we have to believe that the studios are all of a sudden going to go whole hog and start cramming these discs, utilizing their full potential…? And even if they did for the sake of doing so – what would the quality of the feature be (filler…)? Let’s use TV sets for example – in fact let’s use the “Friends” series. Is the average consumer going to walk in and buy the Complete Series on a couple of discs and pay (potentially) $399.99 for 10 seasons…. Or will they opt to buy each season individually for $39.99…? Even if the Complete Series is heavily discounted… which one will be a greater seller…? Sure, there is a potential for various soundtrack options etc… does the average DVD consumer care…? Those of us here indeed care, however, we’re not going to dictate the eventual outcome as our numbers are small. It’s great to say that a product is superior (in the case of BD having greater capacity), but if it is not utilized, is it a better product…? I’ll probably join in on the BD parade as well when it shows up (as I have with HD DVD) however, I don’t see a winner (for lack of a better word) anytime soon. I see two formats that will co-exist for a multitude of reasons. If there is to be a winner, it will boil down to one thing and one thing only; The almighty dollar. Much to our dismay, quality, brand, availability, capacity etc. etc. will have very little to do with it.
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#20 of 166 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted May 27 2006 - 01:46 AM

Yet, why do I feel that the same persons who appeared to be strong proponents in other threads of format X, will predict that the winner will be.... format X? Cees

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