*** Official HTF HD Formats Comparison Thread *See Post 957, p. 32*

ManW_TheUncool

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Personally, I don't know if this particular case really indicates anything *BUT* if one can gather enough circumstantial evidence, one can build a pretty good/reasonable case for the argument. Well, at least that's how it usually works w/ debates and such where one cannot really rigorously prove something either way, including in a court of law.


Still, have there been other releases where the HD-DVD came first, but the BD used a different encode (or have been announced to use a different one, if not yet released)? I honestly do not know. If not, I'd think this case does probably mean at least a little bit more than you believe. But yeah, it's still circumstantial of course.

And anyway, IMHO, if one really cares about the overall concern of the matter, don't completely dismiss such potential indicators as not being "evidence"...

_Man_
 

Cees Alons

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True, so it might be interesting to Warner what other studios will do if Warner would choose a format exclusively. And if they would sell a patent, BTW, they themselves would become "another studio using it".
There's certainly more at stake.


Cees
 

Ensign Eddie

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I would like to thank Bill Hunt for pointing out an article in the New York Times in his Two Cents yesterday that I think sums up much of my feelings on this "war". Of course, he only cherry-picks one comment out of the article to bolster his position:


As I said, this sums up my feelings pretty well. The only holdout (in either format) I can see is Sony.

However, my other feeling is that HDM will never go mainstream (another idea discussed in the article Mr. Hunt references). I think that this "Format War" is really a "Format Battle". The real war is with SD DVD. And, unfortunately, I don't think it's one that HDM is going to win unless the companies actually replace SD DVD with HDM. In other words, they have to stop (or significantly reduce) the amount of SD DVDs they produce and force consumers to switch. I can't see this happening until after the HDTV switch in '09. And that particular event, I believe, is going to leave the average consumer in such a bad mood that they aren't going to reward the CE companies by rebuying their media collections in HDM (even though that aggression may be misplaced). Again, that's just how I see it.

But at this point, I can't recommend HDM to anyone except enthusiasts. My mom, for instance, has no need or interest. Even friends and family that usually get interested when I invest in a new toy (full disclosure: I am one of those pigs that had the gall to buy a $98 A2 during the "firesale") have shown no interest in joining me on this new venture. And, in some ways, I can't blame them. But it has almost nothing to do with competing HD formats (sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Hunt).
 

RobertR

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It could be relatively painless, though, if HD players are very cheap (under $100) AND the discs are priced about the same as DVDs (although that seems to be a big if at this point). People could still play their old DVDs, and buying and using the new HD discs wouldn't involve much of a learning curve.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I tend to agree w/ you, Eddie, on most points though I obviously hope for a better outcome than that, but I probably wouldn't mind too much if the HDM market does end up staying niche kinda like LD though I'd like to see pricing not go through the roof as a result -- if software pricing stay more or less like now, that's fine by me.

The one thing I do fear though is whether HDM might go the way of hirez audio (ie. SACD vs DVD-Audio) and die a slow death. I doubt it will since the climate for HDM looks quite a bit better than hirez audio. For one thing, we don't really (yet?) have the video version of the MP3 phenomemon to worry about on top of SD DVD. For another, the movie industry just seems to be much better at/about marketing to consumers than the music industry. And then, there's the fact that we're generally moving toward HD for broadcast/network TV, etc., so that would indrectly help the marketing push. Still, I agree the actual shift might be much slower than we like, and the average consumer's perception of benefits will also depend a whole lot on whether he/she is changing viewing habits, eg. display size-to-viewing-distance ratio.

But while I agree it'll be a tough sell to get average consumers to update all their existing SD DVDs to HDM -- heck, there are enough HTF-ers, including myself, who don't plan to update every title as it is -- I think the studios could probably still do well w/ day-and-date releases of new films on top of certain releases of catalog classics. From what I understand, those are the kinds of releases that generate the most sales (and profits) for studios anyway. So that might not be a big problem for HDM unless one expects HDM to completely replace SD DVD. And as RobertR implied above, hardware makers could help facilitate the switch by only producing HDM players (that also play SD DVDs) at affordable prices. Heck, look at how Sony's doing w/ the PS3, using a game console to help facilitate a switch to BD -- works for me and many others.

In the end, I think everything is still very much up in the air though. There are so many variables involved -- some we touched on and some we haven't. It's really hard to predict where we'll be w/ this say 5 years from now. But I think we can probably all agree that HDM would have a better chance to succeed if this format battle gets resolved asap...

_Man_

 

Patrick Sun

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I will still contend it's about market penetration of HDTV sets, so we are still about 3-4 years (even with the 2009 deadline for digital broadcasting) away from 50%-60% homes having at least 1 HDTV set, but once HDTV sets are commonplace in homes, HDM purchase levels will follow. Then the battle between HD and SD will turn in HD's favor. This is why HDM will not stay "niche" like naysayers propose. It's just a matter of time. In 10 years, NTSC will not impact the HDTV landscape, and SD DVDs will be like VHS in terms of shelf space in stores. Whether HDM is 1 or 2 formats in 10 years (or a totally different HD format), it'll be more the norm than one based on NTSC (or PAL). We are still in HDM's infancy.
 

Marc Colella

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The problem is a lot of people own more than one DVD player in their house, one in the living room and another in the bedroom... even the kids room could have one. There's also computers, portable players and the one in the mini-van. Unless they have an HD-DVD combo disc, they'll only be able to play the movie in the one part of the house. It also makes lending titles out to friends useless.

People have only just recently (relatively speaking) adopted the DVD format and are fully committed to it. It's too much to ask of them to adopt another format for a slight improvement in video quality being the only difference.

As I've been saying, HDDVD/Blu-Ray arrived 10 years too late and about 15 years too early for mass consumer acceptance.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Pat, I would agree w/ this if we didn't also have to worry about some other form of HD video delivery like VOD/downloads (as mentioned by some others). I was just thinking like you myself, but then 10 years is a long ways off, and many things can happen to keep HDM from taking over. Perhaps, it won't quite be niche like LD, but it also might not dominate the landscape like SD DVD has now. In the earlier days of SD DVD, there were also some concerns about VOD potentially taking over, but VOD just didn't have the infrastructure in place in time to compete before SD DVD won over the public. But maybe this time around, HDM might not have quite the same leg up on VOD as SD DVD did.

Also, don't forget about upconversion of SD DVD too. There are enough HTF-ers who seem to think that's good enough as it is. Who's to say the general public won't also feel upconverted SD DVD is good enough on their HDTVs? And remember, VHS (and analog cable TV) did very well despite the fact it actually offered only ~1/2 the resolution that NTSC was capable of. Of course, if hardware makers stopped producing players that upconvert SD content, that would help. Then again, in 10 years, who knows if the CE business would still be quite the same as today as we continue to move towards convergence between computers and general CE gear. At that point, hardware makers might not really be able to stop people from upconverting SD content at all.

Personally, I do hope BD wins the format battle as I feel it has the better chance in the long run to succeed given the nature of its technology beyond being an HDM format. But again, who knows how these things will shake up?

_Man_
 

BrettB

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HMM Jan 6 - Jan 12, 2008



Titles Released Dec. 18, 2007
Blade Runner (Complete Collector's Ed.) (Warner)
Blade Runner (Ultimate Collector's Ed.) (Warner)
Shakira: Oral Fixation Tour (Sony BMG)
The Simpsons Movie (Fox)
Sunrise Earth: American Sunrises Vol 1 (Discovery Channel)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Warner)
That’s Entertainment: Complete Collection (Warner)
Underdog (2007) (Walt Disney)
Balls of Fury (Universal)
Blade Runner (Complete Collector's Ed.) (Warner)
Blade Runner (Ultimate Collector's Ed.) (Warner)
The Moody Blues: Lovely to See You - Live (Image)
R. Kelly Live - The Light It Up Tour (Image)
Roy Orbison: A Black & White Night (Image)
Stardust (Paramount)
Sunrise Earth: American Sunrises Vol 1 (Discovery Channel)
That’s Entertainment: Complete Collection (Warner)

Percentages
BD / HD
61 / 39 Week
64 / 36 Year
62 / 38 Since Inception

Top 10 Titles
1 The Bourne Ultimatum HD 100
2 The Simpsons Movie BD 84.47
3 POTC: AWE BD 63.85
4 Harry Potter OoTP BD 57.28
5 Harry Potter OoTP HD 44.38
6 Planet Earth HD 42.31
7 Spider-Man 3 BD 34.61
8 Transformers HD 32.76
9 300 BD 29.96
10 Planet Earth BD 28.51

Number of Titles in Top 10
BD:6
HD:4

Weeks Won In 2007
Blu-ray 51 IIIII IIIII IIIII IIIII IIIII IIIII IIIII IIIII IIIII IIIII I
HD DVD 0
 

Ensign Eddie

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Frankly, in ten years I hope we have moved beyond spinning platters for anything. Even today, you can 4G on an SD (Secure Digital) flash card. You could probably get the content of a double DVD set on something the size of a Nintendo DS cartidge. And these numbers are only going to go up. I doubt it is inconceivable that the entire Star Trek Season One in HD could fit on a prom cartridge the size of a standard DVD.

This, I think, points out one of the other advantages that SD DVD had that HDM does not -- form factor. Going from VHS or (especially) LD to DVD was a significant reduction in size for the media. DVD also had the advantage over VHS of being random access, of course.

HDM doesn't have any of these ancillary advantages pushing people towards it. This isn't really a consideration for HT enthusiasts, but I think it does make it a harder sale for the general public. Again, that's just my opinion.



I'm sorry, Man, but I really can't agree with this (but I do agree with most of the other things you have said). I just don't think competing formats is what's keeping most people out of the fray. If both formats survive (and that's an admittedly big "if"), people and retailers will adapt. Just as they have with video game software. I know some don't think this is a good analogy, but I just think of my local Best Buy. Somehow multiple versions of "Guitar Hero" co-exist quite well. And if Aunt Mildred buys it for little Johnny on the wrong format, little Johnny knows this before opening it and most likely can get it exchanged. Why can this not work for HDM?
 

Cees Alons

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I agree. The competition "battle" hasn't hurt the consumer at all. We're paying less than we would have if there had been one format only. And that goes for almost any aspect - even the PS3.
And the consumers who know *all* about both formats but cannot decide, are like a tiny minority.

I think it's hurting the industry more, in their view, so this is why they would possibly work to get it ended one way or another. Especially Sony, who has much to lose, and in fact had to swallow terrible losses in their PS3 department (even forcing the long-term head of the department to resign) should be able to find the means (do I need to spell it mean$$$?) to convince one or two few pivotal parties to help them.

As I said before, nothing filthy about that in sheer business terms: one party has something the other wants and vice versa, so a deal is possible.
It might not be in our interest as a consumer, but I think "the industry" would be very busy talking now.

Whatever outcome, and whenever, I personally hope some of the competition will stay anyway: I want the ICT-bit to stay in the OFF-position, I want region-code to disappear, I want the script-reading-of-each-individual-disc functionality of BD+ to stay unused... and a few other consumer-friendly aspects to be continued (BOGO-sales anyone?
).


Cees
 

Douglas Monce

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I agree with you that its a matter of time. Just as it was with color television. It took from 1954 when color TVs first became available till 1974 before more color TVs were sold than B&W TVs.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association in April of 2007 28% of American homes had HDTVs. Thats actually more than I would have guessed. I think once analog TV goes away in 2009 that number will jump considerably. Particularly when you think about how quickly the price of an HDTV has come down. I'm guessing you'll soon (with in the next two years) be able to get a 42 inch 1080p TV for between $600 to $800.

Doug
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I'm not saying the HD format competition is the only or even biggest issue, which is why I agree w/ many of your points. But since there are already other significant obstacles to overcome, I just feel having one less obstacle w/ this would help the chances of mainstream adoption. Afterall, if you feel that chances already aren't so great, then I'd think each obstacle will matter unless you think the odds are overwhelmingly against adoption and one less obstacle won't make a difference.

RE: the gaming analogy, that's a good point though I wonder how much of that has to do w/ how there has never really been just one dominant format for gaming -- and people never needed to overcome any instilled mindset about wanting/needing one single format for it. Also, the gaming demographic isn't quite the same as the movie-buying/renting demographic either although that has gradually changed over the years. And finally, it'll also depend on whether having 2 HDM formats means both sides will still have exclusive studios. In the gaming world, most people (other than enthusiasts) probably don't buy into multiple competing formats -- unless you count portables vs at-home consoles. However, if studio exclusivity continues w/ HDM formats, the average consumer might not be willing to adopt until/unless uni-players become affordable, eg. perhaps fall below the $200 mark. There are enough other obstacles already. They don't need one where they're forced to choose one over the other (or having to go w/ 2 separate players).

Again, I'm just saying the chances of success is better if there's only one format, instead of 2 competing formats. And no, I'm not just trying to justify my own recent jump into BD as I don't really mind going "Purple" if I feel confident both formats are here to stay.


_Man_
 

ManW_TheUncool

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But there will be competition even if there's just one HD format since the average person don't just buy everything that the studios and hardware makers put out -- and there's still SD DVD to overcome afterall. At minimum, you still have competition between retailers, if pricing is your main concern -- and I don't know that BOGO sales are strictly the territory of format battlegrounds...


_Man_
 

Cees Alons

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You are forgetting how small this market piece still was (and is). Currently they "had" to offer prices and advantages to us they'd rather not, much to our advantage.
When the competion between two formats come to a halt, that will undoubtedly disappear.

And you (or other consumers) are paying the losses on, say, the PS3 to Sony already: through anything in cameras you buy from them. Last year they had a terrible loss in their PS3 department, but it was more than balanced by the gains in the Optic department (and a few others).


Cees
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I don't know how this has to do w/ this particular part of the discussion. If I buy some other Sony products to subsidize PS3 losses, that's separate from HDM, no? If you mean Sony can do likewise and just absorb losses in HDM market via gains in other CE products, I say maybe. They'd have to derive additional other gains they don't already have in order to subsidize such additional losses. And actually, I don't think Sony is making quite as much $$$ from cameras anymore at this point unless they can actually win over the DSLR market -- they still have the market shares in compact digicams, CCDs, LCD parts, etc., but the actual profit margins seem to be dwindling over the years. And the last Sony camera I bought was an 8mm camcorder; I'm a Nikon/Canon/Fuji guy w/ cameras since then though maybe I'll go back to Sony for an HD camcorder someday, but that won't be anytime soon me thinks.

_Man_
 

Sanjay Gupta

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One look at the release schedule for the first quarter is enough to show that Universal and Paramount/Dreamworks cannot carry HD-DVD by themselves and that this "format war" is all but officially over. In fact, the extra ordinarily low number of titles, a grand total of 7, announced so far by the two studios for release on HD-DVD in the entire first quarter, is quite telling in itself.

The list below only takes into account 'NEW' (non catalog) titles only.

TitleSt. DateResident Evil: Extinction01-02-08SonyShoot 'Em Up01-02-08New LineWar01-02-08Lionsgate3:10 To Yuma01-08-08LionsgateDragon Wars01-08-08SonySunshine01-08-08FoxWhite Noise 201-08-08UniversalGood Luck Chuck (Unrated)01-15-08LionsgateMr. Woodcock01-15-08New LineGame Plan, The01-22-08DisneySaw IV01-22-07LionsgateDaddy Day Camp01-29-08SonyInvasion, The01-29-08Warner02-19-08King Of California, The01-29-08First LookAccross The Universe02-05-08SonyAssassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The02-05-08Warner03-18-08Brave One02-05-08Warner02-26-08Elizabeth: The Golden Age02-05-08UniversalJane Austen Book Club, The02-05-08SonySuburban Girl02-05-08ImageBecoming Jane02-12-08MiramaxGone Baby Gone02-12-08MiramaxNo Reservations02-12-08Warner03-04-08We Own the Night 02-12-08SonyAmerican Gangster02-19-08UniversalIn the Valley of Elah02-19-08Warner03-11-08Michael Clayton02-19-08Warner03-11-0830 Days Of Night02-26-08SonyBeowulf02-26-08ParamountJustice League: The New Frontier02-26-08Warner03-18-08Into The Wild03-04-08ParamountMr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium03-04-08FoxThings We Lost in the Fire03-04-08DreamworksAppleseed Ex Machina 03-11-08Warner04-01-08August Rush03-11-08Warner04-01-08Bee Movie03-11-08DreamworksDan In Real Life03-11-07TouchstoneHitman (Unrated Edition)03-11-08FoxNo Country For Old Men03-11-08MiramaxSaawariya03-11-08SonySleuth03-11-08SonyEnchanted03-18-08DisneyI Am Legend03-18-08Warner04-08-08Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story03-25-08Sony

January - March '08Blu-RayHD-DVDSt. DateWarnerNeilsenNPD11513276148Day/Date New Titles37801-02-0830001-06-0865%35%01-05-0851%49%1525714558Exclusive36701-08-0831001-13-0885%15%01-12-0893%7%21770175801-15-0820001-20-0883%17%BBC0001-22-08200Disney201-29-08310Dreamworks202-05-08510First Look1102-12-08400Fox302-19-08211HBO002-26-08211Image1003-04-08121Lionsgate403-11-08712MGM003-18-08202Miramax303-25-08100New Line23787Paramount2Sony10Touchstone1Universal3Warner10Weinstein0

PS: Although Warner has announced that they will continue to release on HD-DVD till the end of May '08, they have also stated that titles will not be released on HD-DVD day and date with DVD & Blu-Ray. Thus Warner titles have not been counted in the HD-DVD release column for the purpose of this post.
 

Averry

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As I'm on the edge of buying a PS3, I came to realize why I went HD-DVD.



There are easily 4 times the amount of movies on HD-DVD that I wanted compared to Blu-Ray.


It's just a personal preference thing, and definately a reason why I'm not sad that I ever bought HD-DVD, I flat out wanted the movies offered on the format.
 

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