Blu-Ray/HD-DVD (Marketing Perspective)

Larry Sutliff

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Discovery HD has been running a Blu-Ray commercial that includes clips from SUPERMAN RETURNS and the X-MEN movies(not just X3). The commercial is very well done and will hopefully spur some interest among the general public.
 

ppltd

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Blu-Ray is proprietary in the fact that a single company (Sony) pretty much controls the spec. HD-DVD specifications are controlled by the DVD organization controlled by 20 companies on a steering committee Steering Committee Companies. This list includes Sony.

I believe all HD-DVD drive assemblies are made by Toshiba, and I believe there is only one company currently making BD drive assemblies.

If we are talking about hardware support, then BD has Sony, Pioneer, Samsung, Panasonic and numerous computer companies: HD has Toshiba, RCA, Microsoft and numerous computer companies.

Both formats require licensing and royalties are exchanged.
 

AaronSCH

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Doug --

Sorry to disagree but this is how I understand the whole thing played out:

Jim Armour, Toshiba: ...A lot of this "format war", in inverted commas, is politics. Patents and licenses are a good way to make money. Sony, however, does like to be pretty exclusive on the patents and licenses they have, they've made a damn good living off that for the past 30 years or so. The DVD Forum does not actually give them a lot of opportunity to make the kind of exclusive license money that they'd like to. So, of course they have to go out and make a completely new format. Both formats were proposed to the DVD Forum. The DVD Forum actually did choose AOD - which is the Toshiba name for ...

DVDTimes: ...for what became HD DVD.

Jim Armour, Toshiba: Both were proposed, but AOD - the Advanced Optical Disc - was accepted, and it's now HD DVD.

DVDTimes: That's interesting - I must have been wrong then, because I read somewhere else that Sony didn't even submit Blu-ray to the DVD Forum.

Jim Armour, Toshiba: They did. Basically, with the DVD Forum - we don't own everything on HD DVD. [...] As far as the media format is concerned, we don't really have any licenses on that. I think we do on the error correction, or something. We only have lisenses on certain parts of hardware, and of course the video codec which is being used. Blu-ray is now using AVC as well, and they'll have to pay licenses on that too. As far as physical formats are concerned, the spacing, the writing method, and things like that, Sony basically wants everything under Sony. The DVD Forum would not accept that. "Not proposed" - not necessarily. If they got at least 40% of the patents pushed through, they'd be doing fine thank-you-very-much.

DVDTimes: So, the issues with patents and licensing - does that go any of the way to explain why the current Blu-ray players are so much more expensive?

Jim Armour, Toshiba: I don't know really. I know past licensing conflicts in the Forum, I get that from my Japanese colleagues, but, why it's that much more expensive... I think it might have something to do with the history. They started selling Blu-ray recorders at something like $4000 about 15-18 months ago - before there was really anything else, to say, "we've got a couple of hundred out there".

DVDTimes: That was the version that used the cartridge around the disc.

Jim Armour, Toshiba: That's right, exactly. And they couldn't just come down and make it $500 when they were charging $4000 - and if they can get it, damn right. Somebody on the internet did a breakdown of the cost of the Toshiba [HD-A1], and they had an estimate of what it was actually costing. They said, Toshiba's paying $150 for each unit - how many dollars do you think Sony's going to be paying towards the PS3?

Jim Armour, Toshiba: That's going to hurt them big time. We read on the internet, a couple of pages, people estimated it's going to cost them [...] a lot of money. They're putting their money in there.

DVDTimes: I think the console way has usually been to sell at a loss and make it back on software.

Jim Armour, Toshiba: That's exactly right, probably every single game that's going to come out for that console will be on Blu-ray disc, and Sony will get a piece of the licensing for Blu-ray disc, and also for the game of course. For every physical disc that's sold, they'll get money from that as well. I think they consider this more important.

DVDTimes: OK, I guess this, then, would be the last question - could you just tell us again, why you think HD DVD would be the better choice?

Jim Armour, Toshiba: Blu-ray's been pushing the studios to boycott us. I mean, we know that. But the studios are more are less open and have said, "We'll support both - go with whoever wins, we don't care so long as we can get our content out there." We know for a fact that - and it is a fact - that to produce an HD DVD, it's much cheaper than to produce a Blu-ray disc. So basically, the content manufacturers, apart from those that are bound to the Blu-ray Consortium, basically, they're welcoming it. It's cheaper to produce. We did enter the market lower, as far as players are concerned, than BD, and I think we'll continue to do this, because we have the opportunity to produce it cheaper. And we're giving this [reduction] to the customer. And basically, if the customer is getting a decent amount of media at the right price, that does exactly the same as the more expensive system -

This is largely why I resist buying into Blu-ray and all Sony products. Sony is clearly the spoiler and Blu-ray the proprietary format.

Read the whole interview here courtesy of DVD Times
 

Robert Crawford

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If you read and accept just one side of the story then you can come to that conclusion, but there certainly is more to the story than what this Toshiba executive is saying about this situation.



Crawdaddy
 

PeterTHX

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Yeah, Aaron.

Point us to a HD DVD biased site with a frikkin Toshiba PR flak.

How about a neutral third party?

How do you explain Matsushita (Panasonic, JVC) siding with the BD side even though they have been traditionally on the other side (VHS, SD disc, etc)? Not only that, they are one of the BIGGEST proponents of the format, and the ones who said "no" to combo units.
 

AaronSCH

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The facts should speak for themselves. If his recollection of events is skewed show me proof that supports your beliefs. Don't call someone biased implying that he is a liar because you don't agree with what he said. Sony has a history that points to this behavior so I am inclined to believe his version of how these events unfolded. Many of the "players" in the Blu-ray camp came aboard because of their belief that the PS3 was gonna blow anything else away...motivated by fear and profit. We'll have to see about that assumption. This hasn't played out quite yet.
 

PeterTHX

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Gimme a break. How about the fact that it's a better technology?

PS3? Why would Matsushita or Samsung or Sharp or Pioneer or any other of the major CE companies be motivated by the PS3? Studios, maybe. CE companies are NOT interested in making Sony any money.

Saying that and pretending Toshiba isn't motivated by patent money...
 

Chris S

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Found a bit of marketing in fairly popular recent movie.

I just got back from seeing the new James Bond film, Casino Royale, and noticed that in one of the early scenes where Bond infiltrates the surveillance system at a hotel that all of the video back ups are stored on Blu-ray discs. Bond uses one of the 3 Sony BDP-S1 units sitting in the rack to then play back one of the discs.
 

Chris S

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Costco does carry both the Samsung and the Phillips model of Blu-ray players. I have yet to see the Toshiba HD-DVD players though. Here is a direct link. Their site was down earlier so it may or may not come up.
 

Doug Miller

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Chris --

I actually meant movies, but thanks for the link. That's good to know.

Doug
 

Dave>h

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Chris, I noticed that too. What company put out that movie? Is it Paramount?

Funny how we both niticed that was a Blu ray player.

Dave
 

Chris S

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Yep it's a MGM release, who in fact was bought by Sony not too long ago. Just before the "war" started.
 

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