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HDTV DVD War Is Not Over

eHDMI
04-14-2007, 07:27 PM
Looks like Sony was premature in their declaration of victory in the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray format war. Samsung's announcement of their dual format player is evidence that cracks are starting to form in the BD camp.

At this time last year, Samsung was proclaiming publicly that they were BD exclusive and had no plans to develop, manufacture and market a dual format player despite rumors to the contrary. Now they have formally announced their dual format player and have not ruled out selling an HD-DVD only player.

Why that change of heart?

Perhaps it is due to Sony's sales of the PS3 at prices substantially below what standalone BD players were selling for, cutting BD CE manufacturers such as Samsung and Panasonic off at the knees, as sales of standalone BD players are anemic at best. Samsung clearly can't be happy with this result. I can't imagine that Panasonic and Pioneer are happy with their sales either.

The second reason is the Nielsen Videoscan sales numbers released by Sony which show how few discs of each format are selling. Despite the sale of over a million PS3 consoles, well fewer than a million BD discs have been sold since the sale of the first BD player, the Samsung BDP-1000, back in June 2006. The best that BD could do was Casino Royale, at less than 40,000 discs despite Sony's claim that they shipped 100,000 of those discs.

Many titles have sold less than 1000 copies, even some big titles such as Chicago. HD-DVD sales were comparable despite the fact that HD-DVD has sold somewhere under 250,000 players. Batman Begins and The Departed on HD-DVD have sold similar numbers as CR.

Given the number of players sold by each camp, one would have expected BD to far outsell HD yet they haven't. The attach rate of HD discs far surpasses that of BD.

With the recent sales triggered by the reduction by Toshiba of their A2 player to a MRSP of $399 and the upcoming release of The Matrix on HD-DVD only as well as the flurry of recently announced HD-DVD titles, it is not unreasonable to believe that HD-DVD sales will soon match or exceed those of BD, even with the BD exclusive releases of Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2.

What is clear is that, despite the protestations of Sony and Fox to the contrary, the format war is not only not over but far from it. In fact, one can see the two formats existing side by side for years. It would be difficult to see were that to be the case, why BD exclusive studios such as Fox and Disney would want to remain so and ignore sales of their content to HD-DVD buyers, losing out on significant profits. Remember that Fox and Disney also supported the failed DIVX format as well and then supported DVD.

Maybe they have made a similar mistake in this format battle? Should they switch, this war may in fact end, with BD on the losing side.

Source (http://www.tvpredictions.com/whip041407.htm)

paulc
04-15-2007, 09:25 AM
I realize some may be unhappy, but not selling a whole lot of discs seems good news to me. If these idiots sit there with a lot of unsold stock, just MAYBE they'll get the message that the world does NOT need to have competing formats on the market.

I guess it's lost of these idiots that both CD and DVD did really well... maybe partially because there was ONE FRAKKING FORMAT for folks to buy?

rbinck
04-15-2007, 10:03 AM
It seems to me that Sony is going down the same path as they did with their Beta-Max tape technology holding up the license costs apparently unless exclusive.

It seems to me one practical answer is to have all dual format players and the two formats should work out cross licensing agreements so that they could be facilitated. It appears that Sony is the stumbling block here.

Now I know there are currently dual format players available but they are very expensive compared to the single format players or have reduced functionality of one format. The cost to build the dual format player can't cost much more that a single format player leaving out the license fees, can it? I think not.

To ask for a single format at this point to me is not going to be productive. The Blu-ray group has their production facilities for the discs in place and so do the HD DVD folks. To ask them to abandon them is fruitless, in my opinion. With dual format players both groups can continue as they are and the consumer can buy whichever format they want.

The bottom line for me is to abandon this Ford-Chevy type braggadocios battling and pressure for dual format players.

bruceames
04-15-2007, 11:08 AM
I agree 100%. At this point dual format is the only real answer and the sooner dual format players can get to market, the sooner this will all come to pass (the format war)

unotis
04-15-2007, 01:17 PM
I agree 100%. At this point dual format is the only real answer and the sooner dual format players can get to market, the sooner this will all come to pass (the format war)

This is exactly what I've been thinking for some time.

I love my Toshiba XA1 but, I would still like to have ability to own a DF player so I may choose what DVD I want to watch. :yippee:

Chris Gerhard
04-19-2007, 06:00 AM
I agree 100%. At this point dual format is the only real answer and the sooner dual format players can get to market, the sooner this will all come to pass (the format war)

A dual format player is not a good answer, it may be the best we see, but the hobby suffers gravely compared to how it would be with a single format. Dual format players will always be more expensive than a comparable Blu-ray player would be. I believe too many people won't buy either as long as both exist and a dual format player won't change that. When you consider there is no good reason to have two formats for the same thing, all a dual format player does is add extra cost and confusion. It is only the better of two terrilbe choices, and a long way from being a good choice. Given the choice of having separate players or a dual format player, many will prefer the dual format player. Given the choice of a more expensive dual format player or a single format player that plays all releases, everyone will prefer the single format player. The market stays with DVD in huge percentages if the dual format player is the best conclusion to this mess.

We will see if the Samsung player does well in the market and performs well with both formats. I expect a good player that bombs in the marketplace and nobody follows suit with a competitive offering. Two formats is dumb beyond belief and one player to play both is only a lame compromise.

Chris

hdtv4me2
04-19-2007, 07:10 AM
I wouldn't buy a DF player until it's cost is significantly less than if I bought a stand alone of each.

bruceames
04-19-2007, 10:02 AM
I don't how price will hurt dual format players adversely in the long run. In a few years they should be available for under $200 and in 4-5 years maybe $50. By that time manufacturing costs would only be a few bucks more (than if they were making single format players). Zero dollars more would be ideal, but we don't live in an ideal world.

ah802
04-19-2007, 10:52 AM
I doubt that I would buy into an HD player of any kind... The interest for me is in an HD recorder, and at this moment there is not a lot of reasonably priced offerings on the market, and the cost of the media is out of proportion to the storage. I use the VCR as history of market acceptance... right down to the Beta vs VHS fight equating it to the HD disk battle now raging.

These technologies never take off until there's a clear consumer benefit. Hollywood is quaking in their boots that with digital HD, they will giving away the farm.. yet they make more money on DVD's and TV distribution than they ever did on theater release. People who would otherwise never buy and collect movies, find themselves building a collection and stimulating a huge hardware industry. Theaters are on the same page and now offer better PQ, superior sound and a social environment to attract customers.

I don't see any losers and in truth, I find this 'milking of Americian wealth' obscene but predictable.

paulc
04-19-2007, 11:26 AM
IMO, dual format players are in no way an answer! XCrock and PS3's have good numbers that will only increase, so there's a built in market for each format. The you have the enthusiasts who are buying stand alone players.

Lastly you have the dual format players. Which I just can NOT even imagine every getting into a decent price range. If they were the ONLY player one could get, then MAYBE there's a chance for the to get under 200 bucks. As it stands now, no way in hell they can make these things for 200 bucks when they are only looking at maybe a few hundred thousand (if that) sold. $50/unit in 4-5 years? Not a chance in hell, DVD took a good 10 years to get to a 60-80 price range for the bottom end players.

BobY
04-19-2007, 11:49 AM
It won't really cost much more to make a dual-format player as the level of integration increases. Compared to a single format player, they will likely have the exact same electronics and a variable OPU which will read SD, HD DVD and BD with the same head. Actually, if it's cheap enough, the variable OPU would probably be used even in single format players, as they still need to read both SD and Hi-Def.

The biggest cost difference would be having to pay the licensing fees to both the DVD Forum and the BDA instead of just one of them.

Lee Stewart
04-19-2007, 12:19 PM
Trying to be a realist is not easy. But i will give it a shot;

I don't believe there is any answer that will ignite the HD Disc market more than it already is. Not cheaper players and maybe not cheaper software (unless we are talking half the price of todays HD moives).

I also don't believe a DF player is going to do anything other than to bring some more people into the market (I believe 100K was mentioned and that is a good number as far as I am concerned.)

I am stuck on this belief that people are already enjoying HDTV and that for the cost, HD Disc really offers more a convinence then a sharp rise in PQ as DVD and LD did.

I see the war never ending. I see two formats. I see a slow progression of buyers over the coming years just like HDTV has had until the price gets to the point that you sort of have to own one but with that, the HD movies have to be available to rent from Blockbuster or other large rental stores. People forget that it was this issue which really sent DVD into orbit - when BB said they would start carrying DVD's for rental.

Just MHO :)