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HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Merger Possible?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by John C, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

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    This is good news.

    -Reagan
     
  2. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    I admit I don't know the whole story, but isn't the real "war" over who gets the royalties on the sale of each disc? Like Warner would continue to get royalties with HD-DVD as they now are with every DVD because they own patents that will continue to be used in some way. And Sony and it's partners would get royalties with each Blu-ray disc sold?

    If that's the case then maybe the compromise is not on the disc format, but an agreement on the hardware - that all players will be made to read both types of disc right from the get-go. Then both HD-DVDs and Blu-ray can be sold, with their respective royalties being paid, and consumers could view both?

    Maybe universal PC/Mac drives would be a problem though?
     
  3. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    I would welcome that solution, even if it drove up player costs by a hundred bucks. No format war, all studios providing content. I see no losers here.
     
  4. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    The new CEO of Sony is Howard Stringer, a Welshman with dual British/US citizenship; former head of US operations and vice chairman in charge of the entertainment business division. Stringer lives in New York and will continue to reside there, commuting to Japan regularly. He is the first non-Japanese CEO in the company's history, and the first CEO not to speak Japanese. Before joining Sony in 1997 Stringer worked as a journalist, and producer for CBS/Viacom.

    The company also has a new president, Ryoji Chubachi, formerly in charge of production operations. Chubachi will act as CEO of worldwide electronics production. Joining them at the board is Katsumi Ihara, formerly president of Sony Ericsson and now chief financial officer and deputy president. He will act as an adviser on corporate strategy. That's a pretty impressive new team.

    Stringer has no background in electronics, and is known as a supporter of 'content-focused' business models; he was the driving force behind the acquisition of MGM. This could see a paradigm shift from Sony's traditional stance of 'software to support hardware' (eg. DVD and MiniDisc) to 'hardware to support software' (eg. PlayStation). Bypassing a format war would be the preferred option for this strategy, allowing them to get on with the business of selling content and avoiding a format war that they simply can't afford.

    Things are definitely changing over at Sony, as demonstrated by their recent acceptance of native MP3 compatibility on portable audio devices. This was a radical change in policy following years of dogged and exclusive support of the proprietary ATRAC compression system.

    Adam
     
  5. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Thanks. That's good news for Sony and DVD fans, I hope. When did this happen?
     
  6. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    I'm not sure Sony meant to imply they were giving up,
    it may be that they were going to make it easier for
    multiformat players to be made. Here is an excerpt
    from CDFreaks visit to CeBit, where they talk to
    someone at the Samsung booth. Check out the last
    sentence of this excerpt.

    http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/190/5

     
  7. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Sheesh. All this Sony talk.

    What you folks fail to understand is that with the exception of Toshiba, NEC, and Sanyo, there is pretty much NO major manufacturer of HD-DVD product.

    BluRay isn't just Sony! It's Panasonic. It's Hitachi. It's Mitsubishi. It's EVERYONE except the HD-DVD companies I listed.

    Studio support is evenly split with no exclusives EXCEPT BluRay (MGM, Columbia).

    All Sony is doing is trying to avoid a format war.
     
  8. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Yeah, true. But everybody knows the big dog and main driving force in the Blu-ray camp is Sony.
     
  9. DanR

    DanR Supporting Actor

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    You sure? I would think the flip side to that is that Warner/NewLine will be exclusive to HD-DVD.

    Regards,
    Dan
     
  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The key advantage HD-DVD has though is that it will have software on the market by the end of the year. Blu-Ray doesn't have any such commitment.
     
  11. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    My way of thinking is that all this speculation is pretty much a moot point until both those camps debut HARDWARE that is going to appeal and be affordable to the general MASSES. We hobbyists tend to forget that just appealing to US isn't going to do it for either camp. The profits are going to come when Joe Average decides that he needs an HD/Blu-Ray DVD player to go with that 2k dollar Hi-Def display he/she just bought. IMHO Joe Average is NOT going to fork over 1k for a player. Heck, I'm a video hobbyist and neither one of those formats is gonna get me to fork over 1k bucks at debut when the battle is still raging. I know of many people who will gladly pay 2K-3K bucks for a TV but wouldn't even think about paying 1k bucks for a DVD player since most of those folks have never even heard of or even care about HD DVD or Blu-Ray. I think this forthcoming format war is going to be won by the consortium/format that gets Joe Average to jump in feet first....in other words, make their product AFFORDABLE to the average Joe, period.
     
  12. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    We'll see. I remember the same thing about DVD in 1996. It wasn't until around this time in 1997 that software was widely available.

    Not to mention that there will be only a couple HD-DVD players, and those will START at $999.

    BD-ROM readers and writers may be available this fall from HP and other companies. It's been available in Japan for some time now. HD-DVD, for all intents and purposes, is vaporware.
     
  13. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    They are the biggest. However Masushita (JVC, Panasonic, Quasar) is easily #2. They dwarf any of the HD-DVD companies, even Toshiba.

    Even though HD-DVD may be first (and by no means this is certain) there will be thousands (Tens? Hundreds?) of BluRay players in homes in 2006: PlayStation 3.
     
  14. Bryant Frazer

    Bryant Frazer Stunt Coordinator

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    Structurally, it's true, Blu-ray and HD-DVD are very different technologies. And economically, it's true, the real impetus behind a "format war" like this one isn't the best interests of consumers or even of Hollywood but rather of the companies that get to collect dimes, nickels and pennies in royalty fees for every blasted disc that's manufactured using their patented technology.

    All that said, it was fairly late in the game (late 1995) when the forces pushing Toshiba's Super Density (SD) Disc and Sony and Philips' Multimedia CD (MMCD) heard the voices of reason and banged out a quick compromise known as DVD in time for the early 1997 launch of that format. It worked out OK for everyone. So if Sony, Toshiba and NEC can figure out some way to combine Blu-ray with HD-DVD in a way that protects (some of) the patent interests of both groups, maybe we can yet avert a format war. But the clock is ticking.

    -bf-
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    My idea of the perfect unified-format-compromise:

    Take BluRay and rename it HD-DVD.

    Best of both worlds...the technically superior BluRay format with name-recognition that "HD-DVD" is bound to bring along.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    One thing that has to be kept in mind is that Sony has a LOT invested in BluRay technology and has an entire professional video line tied to the format, XDCAM . (The discs are called Professional Disc, not BluRay, btw.)

    We've been using it for several months now and the image quality is spectacular. Quite a few reality shows are aready switching to it and Sony has a clear winner in the acquisition and ENG market. Indeed, many folks expect to see a couple of major announcements around XDCAM at NAB in a few weeks.

    The good news is that Sony already has a place for BluRay in their product line. I'm sure they want to extend that to the consumer space (and perhaps they will with their home BluRay-based DVRs). But they may be willing to bend a bit on the DVD format now that they have a proven profit plan for the technology.

    -greg
     
  17. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Cinematographer

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    HD-DVD has Warner, New Line and HBO as exclusives. I don't have the quote in front of me, but I believe Universal stated "We have no interest in releasing product on Blu-Ray" (paraphrase).

    I hope BR wins and they clearly have the hardware advantage. HD-DVD has a slight advantage in the studio support 50% marketshare vs. 38%.
     
  18. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Rocket Science Department
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    Let's just hope Sony can keep from infringing on copyrights with their format. I read in the business section today that they've been ordered by the courts to immediately stop selling the PS2, dualshock controllers, and 40 or 50 something games (using force feedback technology they "lifted" from another company a couple years back) in the US and pay the plantiff company close to $100 million in damages and interest. Sony, of course, is appealing. The funniest thing about it is that in 2002 Microsoft was sued and had to pay out the wazoo to the same company for copyright infringement for something else.

    Back to the main topic though, as a consumer, I would love to avoid a format war at all costs.
     
  19. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    (Doing a quick search I found over 30 different threads most of which have been or are discussing basically the same things regarding Blu-Ray and HD-DVD - maybe it might help if some of those threads were merged?)

    Frankly, I am really surprised by the positive reactions many here are having about the news of a possible agreement between the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD groups.

    The reason manufacturers and distributors would like an end to the format war is so that they can charge more and have more control over what they chose to release to the consumers. This is not about "wanting to give the consumers what they want", it is about enhancing their potential profits and allowing them to dictate to the consumer what features they wish to offer and not what we might want. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but as consumers instead of rejoicing we should be disappointed.

    If it were not for this format war, instead of all these lengthy debates about how terrible the format war is, we would see lengthy threads wondering why HiDef (high capacity) DVD players are taking so long to come out, and asking who is going to pony up the +/- $3,000 for the initial units and the +/- $50 for the few discs that trickle out. In addition, if HD-DVD were the only format, we would be stuck with a minimal increase in capacity over SD-DVD, and if Blu-Ray was the only format, they would not have adopted VC1 and we would have been stuck with lesser quality, lower density codecs.

    The format war has
    • made developers of both formats find ways to maximize their product’s performance capabilities
    • pushed the release of these new formats forward instead of backwards
    • caused studios that support a specific format to release far more titles than were originally planned for
    • created a price war for both hardware and software even before either format has been released
    Who knows, maybe the format war may even help push the powers that be to allow full-rez output via component and not just HDMI as many speculate will happen. However, playing Devil's Advocate, the one company (Sony) that has a controlling interest in Blu-Ray hardware, also happens to own a massive library of films (Columbia-TriStar & MGM). This would give Sony the opportunity to push the issue if it meant being able to sell ten times as many products, both hardware and software if they opted to allow full-rez over component, after all, the number of HD displays with DVI or HDMI is a small fraction of the HD units already in the homes of consumers.

    Personally, I do not see it happening, but that is the great thing about a format war... if it meant dominating the market, Blu-Ray could possibly go that route. I very seriously doubt though that the HD-DVD forum would ever agree to allowing full-rez over component which may even give Blu-Ray the added incentive to offer this as an exclusive feature. I know if they did, it would certainly be the nail on HD-DVD's coffin.

    The best scenario for consumers is for the format war to continue until a year or so after their release. By then numerous competitively priced quality products would have made their way into the marketplace and the majority of consumers would not accept a large increase in prices if one format decided to bow out.

    If however the format war were to end today with an agreed upon royalty structure such that both the Blu-Ray Group and HD-DVD forum members all got a piece of the pie, then rest assured, it will be the consumers that will suffer, and for many years to come.

    So for those who continue to pray for the end of the format war… ”Be careful what you ask for, you might get it and it might not be what you had hoped for.”
     
  20. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    In the short run - indeed!

    But not for the long one, IMO.

    Lets say that HD comes out in Nov. with $1000 players & 100 new titles. Knowing that Blu-ray is just a few months away I won't be buying, and that goes for 80% of the people here that voted in the poll too.
    "Joe" won't be buying either - not at that price. K-mart and other mass merchandise stores won't be carrying $1000 players. They don't cater to that crowd. Niche.

    --- and now, the studios. The studios know that some retooling will be required for their selected new format. The alternative would be to build a new plant. Retooling is cheaper. When that is done, that percentage of their production is only for the new format.

    It won't matter what percentage of their output for that is. If it is 1% or 10%, they are going to expect to sell the new disks at the same rate the SD's sold. If they don't, profits will go down, and as we all know, that is a no-no.

    Fast forward to next Spring, when Blu-Ray comes out with their $1000 players. Again, 80% of us aren't buying, and "Joe" just shakes his head.
    Oh, so now the player prices will drop? You think? How far below cost will both sides sell these - just to get another customer? The plants cranking out the new players had to retool for the new machines, and they want to make sure that their retooling is paid for before they lower their unit costs.

    What are they going to do when only 20% of their new machines sell? After the initial release (when the 20% buy them up), the rest are going to collect dust on the store shelves. What store is going to continue to carry an item that doesn't sell, or at best sells 1 or 2 machines a month?

    The new disks? The same thing. All stores need [​IMG] is an SD FS version, and an SD WS version, and now HD and Blu-Ray too? Where are they going to put them?

    Short term fine, but at this rate the whole thing will fold up and blow away by next summer.

    Glenn
     

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