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Old 12-23-2007, 12:19 AM   #55  
What's all this, then?...
BobY's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,197

Originally Posted by SLedford View Post

I own two HD-DVD players - both A2's, so I agree that HD-DVD is close to what Joe Public will pay for the player price. My second was purchased at Walmart for $90 when they had their early Black Friday sale.

The movies are another matter. Right now I am ordering from Amazon, which saves some from BB (which is more expensive and I pay sales tax). But new movies come out at BB for $16 or so during release week compared to mid $20's or higher for HD-DVD movies. Too much for Joe Public right now.

You made the comment "BD made several crucial errors in their technological road map which would condemn them forever to niche status." I am would love to hear a little more about this - the reason I joined this forum was to learn.

BTW, I am very happy with my HD-DVD player. My latest purchase (the Bourne trilogy) is outstanding in high def. Stardust is on the way from Amazon and should be in late next week.
I didn't say that HD DVD was there yet, just that they are positioned to be there soon and much sooner than Blu-Ray. In the not too distant future, HD DVD's will not cost significantly more to produce than standard DVD's. This was part of the HD DVD technology road map--basing the manufacturing on a mature process that didn't require expensive capital improvements, along with TWIN discs to phase out SD DVD while still serving the large existing market for SD DVD's.

The crucial flaws in Blu-Ray's technology road map:

1) Blu-Ray was conceived as a recordable medium for data storage (it started out using a plastic disc caddy to protect the fragile disc surface from damage) and they had not perfected a low-cost, mass-produceable read-only format for pre-recorded movies.

They are still suffering from this, as the yields of 50GB dual-layer BD's are no where near the industry standards for either DVD or HD DVD. Sony is the only producer who gets decent yields (even then, they say they are 75%-80%, which is awful compared to DVD and HD DVD in excess of 90%). Low yields and limited manufacturing capacity means higher production costs and backlogs.

2) Blu-Ray's technical superiority to HD DVD is not relevant to the mass consumer market. Like most failed Sony formats, Blu-Ray is more expensive than a perfectly acceptable alternative.

3) Blu-Ray requires new disc production lines, as opposed to HD DVD, which requires a relatively simple and inexpensive upgrade to existing DVD lines and which can then handle both SD and HD DVD production.

This is an enormous capital equipment investment for Blu-Ray, all of which needs to be amortized in the sales of discs--something that is going to add cost for a very long time at the current rate of disc sales.

4) In an effort to get to market more quickly and prevent HD DVD from winning outright, Blu-Ray decided to make many features that were expected to be standard, optional instead (advanced audio codecs, interactive features/PIP, internet connectivity). By making them optional, there is no guarantee that a given player will be able to play these disc features. Some players will require frequent firmware updates to handle new disc releases and new disc features that are hardware dependent will never work on players that lack the necessary hardware.

This is the major reason the PS3 has become the BD player of choice both of users and the popular press, who note all the problems with standalone BD players and see the PS3 can be more easily and quickly updated than standalone players and that the PS3 has the necessary hardware to support the updated firmware.

4) While being the single reason Blu-Ray has been able to sell more discs than HD DVD, the PS3 also represents the biggest impediment to the success of Blu-Ray. By building a Blu-Ray player into a product that was expected to have huge demand independent of Blu-Ray, Sony was able to get a large number of Blu-Ray players in the field and Blu-Ray benefited to a small extent by increasing disc sales above HD DVD. The increased cost of the PS3 however, hurt demand for the product, so it didn't achieve it's sales goals.

The PS3 is making it nearly impossible to sell standalone BD players, but consumers overwhelmingly choose standalone disc players for movies (over 80% of US households have DVD players while only 40% have game consoles).

In addition, the poor attach rate of BD discs to PS3's (less than 1 disc per player) makes it almost impossible for studios to predict disc sales. There are 7 Million PS3's in the field, a hot BD disc sells a few hundred thousand copies and a typical BD discs sells less than 10,000 copies. With such a huge variance in possible sales and little relationship between player sales and disc sales, studios are reluctant to bank on a game console to move discs for them.

Last edited by BobY; 12-23-2007 at 12:24 AM..
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