Like Best Buy, Target or Wal*Mart will even carry HD DVD in 6 months! Thats the one thing everyone leaves out...the big boys who are tired of carrying both formats. Course that being said, in a year or two Blu-ray could be dropped just as well if they dont sell. We may have another laser disc (niche), or worse SACD DVD-A (all but dead).
Hey, I agree! As far as I'm concerned both studio's "sold out." I think it's a sad state of affairs, and indicates a fundamental weakness with HDM as an industry, where studio's can make more money by going exclusive with payouts than by selling software.
That was true with Paramount, because Paramount's decision PROLONGED the format war and helped keep overal HDM sales low. They reasoned that they would make more by the payout of that 18 month contract than they'd make in HDM profits and they were right.
However, Warner's shift has effectively started a cascade of events which will END the format-war and bring the consumer *and* the industry a single format that consumers won't be afraid to embrace. That will start an increase in adoption and software which will make them much more money in the long-run than the profit from the payout they put in their pocket to get things rolling.
A few years from now when HDM is dramatically out-pacing sales today, many of the "keep the war going" arguments that are popular pro-HD DVD sentiments now will seem pretty humorous. It HDM may never catch up with DVD sales volume, but it certainly has much more vast potential as a sinble format for consumers to embrace than it ever would in a VHS-Beta-battle lock-down.
David, I disagree with you 100% but...so what else is new.
I think Warners' payoff paled in comparison to what Paramount/Dreamworks received and justly so. In effect, they brought to the bargaining table a decision that could potentially determine the "winner" of the format war. They settled for short term gain over uncertain future profits. I don't blame them. Hell...they probably got a bonus for announcing their decision just prior to CES 2008. It sure shook up the HD-DVD camp which was, no doubt, their intent.
I don't agree with the rosy picture you paint for HDM as an industry. I see niche status all the way very similar to the way the Laserdisc format was ignored by the majority of consumers. For smaller HDTV sets being sold, upconverting standard DVD players are a much cheaper viable option. Want to watch HD movies on that expensive HDTV you just bought....just subscribe to the HD channels via cable/DBS venders and record them on leased HD-DVRs with their big hard drives. I just don't see the average consumer rushing to embrace a NEW format dominated by an expensive gaming machine. Just too many cheaper options.
I am so curious about what Toshiba's going to do. Absent evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume that they will continue manufacturing HD-DVD players. If so, I think Universal and Paramount would be smart to delay Blu-ray adoption. I mean, what's the hurry!!! It's not like Blu-ray software is flying off the shelves. Both studios have rich libraries of catalog titles which are not selling very well right now, anyway, and won't sell till HDM has a sufficient base to support profitable introduction of these catalog titles. We're talking years down the road, folks. As long as one or both of these studios remain HD-DVD exclusive, the war continues as well as the studios market value if they choose to "flip" or not "flip" down the road.
One thing Universal and Paramount could do is introduce 1 HD and 1 Dvd sets instead of combos and keep the price low . This makes the consumer a HD owner by default and satisfies their current SD needs while keeping the HD community happy . I just got the German edition of 'Crank' on HD which used this twin disc format .
Just browsing these forums , I dont get a sense that people are itching to ditch their SD collections but rather compliment them . Until BD output can be ramped to include some of those favourite discs you had to wait years for in SD big sales numbers will be limited to 300/Batman/Spiderman3 type releases .
These new formats were wanted by the studios ( particularly BD IMO ) predominantly , so when Warner's proclaim 'the consumer has chosen' it doesn't ring true . Most consumers were only dimly aware that there was a choice in the first place anyway
(Although I'll now be tempted by that infernal dancing banana)
The interesting thing about the "peace offering" is that as Toshiba seems to be gearing up to battle to the end it would help to undercut their remaining options. So in that sense Sony wouldn't have to "pay anything for actually winning the war," but it would be part of the BDA's strategy to hasten the true end. Of course, I still like Cees idea the best.
On a lighter note, this format war reminds me of the ROCKY series of movies. Tosh justs keeps taking those punches and getting knocked to the floor, but still manages to get up off the mat and continue the struggle.
It's too bad that the ROCKY movies are Blu-ray. If I were in advertising, I would hire 'Ole Sly as spokesman for Toshiba. I'm sure the symbolism would not be lost on viewers.
Yeah, but when this war is finally over I don't see all the Blu-ray supporters coming to their feet to chant "Toshiba, Toshiba!" because they were impressed by the fight they put up. It seems to be more of a beer throwing, popcorn dumping kind of situation.
Wait, maybe it is more like Rocky IV. Sony: "I must break you."
At this point Toshiba cares only for their own interests, regardless of what damage it may do to HDM adoption. If they can drag this out a little while longer and get a pay-off, even it high-def media suffer as a result, they don't care.
Of course, if either universal or paramount decide to cut a deal with the BDA first, that will leave Toshiba out in the cold with no chance of getting any cash: once only one studio is standing beside them, the industry won't even consider HD DVD a conversation to bother with.
" At this point Toshiba cares only for their own interests, regardless of what damage it may do to HDM adoption. If they can drag this out a little while longer and get a pay-off, even it high-def media suffer as a result, they don't care."
Just speculation . Why on earth should they bury a working HD product just to smooth 'HD' ( read BD adoption ) ? Even if HD-Dvd ends up being a niche product they still have the right to promote it .
Anyway , BD fans wouldn't be happy if they had nothing left to beat
I agree, this format war has never been about what's best for consumers, and Warner's decision and Toshiba's refusal to roll over and play dead for the good of HDM are further proof of that.
All of these decisions are made in pursuit of the money, especially short-term money. If Toshiba figures they can recoup their investment by discounting their HD DVD players (which, by the way, are still the only to enjoy movies like The Bourne movies, Transformers, Batman Begins, Casablanca, and many others in HD), that's not inconsistent with the decisions made by anyone else in this format war.
Do I think it's the best way to get us to a single HDM format that has a chance of gaining momentum against SD DVD and downloads (the first major shot of which was just fired today by Apple)? No. This is business, and Blu-ray is going to have to work for their win, not just have it handed to them.
To bring this back to the original topic, this is exactly why I think the Blu-ray manufacturers and studios need to do everything in their power to gain as many evangelists as possible. They've proven that they're willing to spend money on speculative ventures, so throw some in the direction of the buying public and watch what happens!
Just picking nit here, but do we *really* know that Warner is just going for the short term $$$ w/ their decision? I don't doubt they're getting paid big, but I also don't know the actual terms of the payoff (or what they really plan to do w/ the $$$) though. If most of it is spread out across many years and/or involve mostly promotional spending and/or hinge on certain conditions regarding the success of BD, etc, then that's certainly *waaaay* better than what's being painted about their decision so far. Also, their decision to commit to one format right now *and* the actual choice they made do seem to point in the right direction if a single HDM format is the goal.
But yeah, I agree w/ pretty much everything else you said.
I take issue with the "short-term money" comment. None of these companies got to where they are by going after short-term money and the majority of shareholders would not stand for that kind of strategy. I will concede that if they think that they have truly lost the battle, it does make sense to cut losses, recoup benefits, etc., but I am not sure that they are thinking that way. It seems to me that they are still thinking long-term while trying to adjust to the current market that just got turned on its head.