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Postby TC on 05/01/08, 13:23:15

i don't really care what the politics were that made any given studio arrive at this decision. what i do care about is that the consumer ends up with the best product. for that, i rely on you two or three people here that actually have and/or have seen both to tell me. i am not an early adopter and probably won't have any HD anything in my house for another year or two.
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Postby darkness on 05/01/08, 14:18:26

Personally I liked HD-DVD a bit better. When it's all boiled down, the two technologies are pretty much the same. HD-DVD however didn't have region encoding (unfortunately the reason New Line didn't support the format very much) nor as bad a DRM (which is why Fox went Blu). So those two reasons are why I give the nudge to HD-DVD. But blu-ray certainly is no slouch. For that matter, Warner uses the exact same VC1 encodes on both formats, so a blu-ray disc of their title looks exactly the same as an HD-DVD disc of the same titles.

As for Warner being paid off. I don't think that was entirely the reason. Certainly the market forces did have something to do with it. Blu-ray has for the most part had the sales lead on discs and players. But both formats have had slow adoption rates due to the format war. I think Warner probably looked at it as by there being only one format it would help speed up adoption as those sitting on the fence wouldn't have reason to wait anymore. Now, that said, since both sides were offering large incentives to go one way or the other, I'm sure Warner, having decided to go blu anyway, probably took them up on some of the offers. Might as well get a little something extra out of it.

The reason there are several Warner titles on hd-dvd only is because all hd-dvd players have met their final spec, including secondary video decoders and such, since the start. The affore mentioned titles include things such as picture in picture video and such that the inital blu-ray spec wouldn't support. Rather than release blu-ray discs without the features, they just decided to wait. As of November of last year all new blu-ray players have to meet the 1.1 spec with does allow for secondard video decoding. So now Warner will probably start releasing those titles on blu-ray. Blu-ray rushed things to market a bit to not allow hd-dvd to have to much lead time. So HD-DVD released players that met all the final specs (though tended to be a bit buggy), while blu-ray is releasing things in three spec incriminates. Profile 1.0 was the original and pretty much just played video and audio. Profile 1.1 which all new players have to conform to now adds a secondary video decoder and 256mb of onboard storage. Profile 2.0 will add an ethernet connection and 1gb onboard storage.

This isn't too big a surprise, the writing has been on the wall for some time now. I've been suggesting people go blu-ray when they ask, just because I had a feeling it'd be the ultimate winner. And about the middle of last year I switched to buying my Warner titles on blu-ray instead of hd-dvd, seeing which way the wind was blowing.

Off to go watch my ubermega bluray Blade Runner briefcase set....
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Postby TC on 05/01/08, 14:29:54

And about the middle of last year I switched to buying my Warner titles on blu-ray instead of hd-dvd, seeing which way the wind was blowing.

ah, it's YOUR fault!!

Off to go watch my ubermega bluray Blade Runner briefcase set....

that came in blu-ray too? wow.... *drool* as good as it looks on my SD TV and SD DVD, i can only imagine....

in fact, i think i'll watch it today too. :)
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Postby darkness on 05/01/08, 14:44:17

TC wrote:that came in blu-ray too? wow.... *drool* as good as it looks on my SD TV and SD DVD, i can only imagine....

Yep, it actually came out in all three formats, HD-DVD as well.
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Postby klimov on 06/01/08, 02:42:17

Can't really see this driving adoption as Sony players are so fucking expensive. And then, of course, there is the region coding which is a major crock of bullshit outside the US. Added to the increased cost of a blu-ray player, I'd then have to ship it via a US postal forwarding service, paying huge internationl shipping fees and then have no recourse if the fucking thing broke. So I won't be doing that anytime soon.

i see there's a couple of sites selling hacked players now (they're not cheap) but with the constant firmware updates, etc, is a hacked player really going to go the distance? Also, Sony are borderline illegal in the way their pursue retaliers who don't tow the line with their product. They corruptly won a UK court case not too long ago against a bunch of Hong Kong online retailers simply for shipping hardware to European customers, so its quite likely the folks selling these hacked players will be receiving some nasty letters round about now.

The biggest crock of shit is that I heard the HD-DVD Blade Runner set was outselling the Blu-Ray and that adoption rates for HD-DVD players have been increasing whilst sales of the PS3 were levelling out and most of those folks are teenages who buy a few blockbuster titles and then buy games after that, so HD-DVD could well have been on top in another 12 months.

Heard that Toshiba may sue Warner Bros over all this. Let's hope.
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Postby darkness on 06/01/08, 03:59:32

The Sony players aren't that expensive, they've dropped the price a lot. The one I paid $1000 for a little over year ago now goes for $500. The newer model is around $399. Panasonic and Samsung both have players around $399 as well.
Content is king and that matters more here than slight price differences. What good is a cheap player if there's nothing to play on it? Very few people in the US are going to care about region encoding, and not all studios use it on blu-ray discs anyway.
Blade Runner and Harry Potter were selling well on hd-dvd, but not by a huge margin, and not that much better to reverse the trend. And blu-ray player sales still far outnumber hd-dvd player sales. Even if you take out the PS3, blu-ray player sales were gaining and about to overtake hd-dvd player sales. Most retailers here have been pushing blu-ray over hd-dvd. Honestly, hd-dvd kind of did it to themselves with piss poor marketing and poor strageties. They just tried to drop the price on players and hope people would come a runnin'. Blu-ray on the other hand, has been pushing huge disc sales (there was a bogo sale almost ever week for the last couple of months it seems), buying ads all over the place there were full of high energy and clips from popular films (unlike hd-dvd's ad which was so low key it probably put people to sleep) and buying lots of display space at retailers. Put simply, blu-ray just played the game better. I like HD-DVD a bit better, but they almost don't deserve to win for such a piss poor effort.
There actually was a whole bunch of fun behind the scenes stuff leading up to Warner's decision which I don't have time to go into right now. Needless to say many companies were involved as were major incentives (from both camps). I'll post about it tomorrow.
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Postby klimov on 06/01/08, 06:40:44

yeah, they're not so ridiculously expensive - IN THE US (HD-DVD Players being even cheaper again). And no-one is going to care about region-coding - IN THE US. And maybe the marketing campaign was bad... guess where? They do need to sell these things outside your shitty country as well you know. It's no coincidence that Dam, chain and myself all chose to go HD-DVD. Yet another case of America fucking it up for everyone else.

The best option I've seen so far is to import a Japanese PS3 from a company called PriceJapan. It's still a good $200 more expensive than the HD-DVD Player that's going back, though, and I don't even know what their shipping costs are. Out of my current price range. Basically this now means I won't be getting involved in HD for another 1-2 years now if at all. Warner just lost a customer.

I hear that Fox bullied Warner into going Bluray because they like the DRM and region coding and that, originally, Warner were going to go HD-DVD exclusive. I also heard a figure of $500,000,000 being bandied about. I repeat - what a crock of shit.
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Postby Draesk on 06/01/08, 21:21:29

Further speculation that HD-DVD is not going to make it.

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/ ... ath-throws
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Postby darkness on 06/01/08, 23:27:00

Nothing really new in that last article.

klimov wrote:yeah, they're not so ridiculously expensive - IN THE US (HD-DVD Players being even cheaper again). And no-one is going to care about region-coding - IN THE US. And maybe the marketing campaign was bad... guess where? They do need to sell these things outside your shitty country as well you know. It's no coincidence that Dam, chain and myself all chose to go HD-DVD. Yet another case of America fucking it up for everyone else.

Sorry, but when it comes to consumer electronics, as Japan and America goes, so goes the world. If you guys stopped spending all your time drinking tea and eating cheese and started buying more electronics companies would listen to the desires of Europe. :) As for you three buying HD-DVD, don't come crying to me, I told you the tide was shifting blu and they'd probably win the war in the end.

Apparently Warner's defection was a last minute deal and it almost went the other direction. Originally a deal was worked out where Fox and Warner would switch to HD-DVD. Then at the last minute Fox pulled out of the deal. Warner's main goal was to get enough companies on one side to end the war. Since Fox wasn't switching, they decided it was better to go blu. Personally, since Fox is so paranoid about DRM, I suspect they were playing Toshiba all along and had no intention of switching. They probably used it to extract some better terms and cash out of Sony and are now laughing all the way to the bank.

BTW, at CES today Samsung announced a new version of their combo player for release later in the year. $599 is the list price. that's not bad for getting a player of each format. Though if HD-DVD even still exists by the end of the year remains to be seen.
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Postby darkness on 08/01/08, 19:04:21

More details from Warner on their decision:

Economy and DVD sales slip drove Warner to Blu-ray

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Fears of a deteriorating U.S. economy and falling DVD industry sales helped drive Warner Bros's decision to back Sony's Blu-ray next generation DVD format exclusively, a top executive told Reuters on Monday.

Hollywood's biggest seller of home movies tipped the balance of power on Friday in favor of Sony (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) in a fight for the next generation of DVDs between the electronics giant and Toshiba Corp. (6502.T: Quote, Profile, Research), developers of the HD DVD format.

"We've typically been recession proof," Warner Bros Entertainment Group President Kevin Tsujihara said in an interview at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"But the thing that we saw in the fourth quarter...was gas prices beginning to affect sales. And since we're considered an impulse purchase, it's beginning to impact us," he said.

Tsujihara said the company needed to quickly erase consumer and retailer confusion over dueling DVD formats before economic conditions deteriorated.

Toshiba vowed the format war was not over, but Warner's move was seen as a major setback, at least, in the race to develop a potentially multibillion-dollar market for high-definition discs.

Warner executives said the consortium of companies backing Blu-ray, including five of the seven big Hollywood Studios, could spend more than $50 million in 2008 to convince consumers to upgrade, or more than the amount spent by the backers of both HD DVD and Blu-ray in the 2007 holiday season. Budgets have not been finalized, Warner Bros said.

The movie division of media conglomerate Time Warner Inc (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research), out of respect for Toshiba, has kept a low profile at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the neon-lit gambling oasis in the Nevada desert not known for its subtly.

Even Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer kept his remarks about Warner brief in public presentations.

Warner's decision is seen cementing Blu-ray's victory in what could possibly be the last physical format for movies and TV shows as technology and Internet companies race to build online distribution channels, according to Citigroup analyst Tony Wible.

A 2007 decline in DVD sales, which account for half of Hollywood's profits, and anticipated further declines in 2008 sped Warner's decision making process.

Merrill Lynch said on Monday the United States had entered its first full blown recession in 16 years.

The economy had little impact on the fourth quarter's higher sales of high definition televisions, which in turn helped boost sales of next generation DVD players, Warner Bros Home Video President Ron Sanders told Reuters.

But worsening conditions in 2008 could scupper sales of new players, and movies, even if only one format survived.

"We've hit the first 30 million" households with high definition televisions, Tsujihara said. "As we go in deeper, they'll be more cost conscious."



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Postby klimov on 08/01/08, 22:05:28

Thailand isn't in Europe last time I checked. Actually, they don't sell HD-DVD players here at all - and Bluray players are ridiculously expensive apart from the PS3 - I had to import mine from the UK. And then it turned out to be a dud. Possibly fortuitous as it goes (!!!) although I'll still be stung for the price of the discs... Anyone want to buy HD-DVDs of Zidane, The Wild Bunch, Full Metal Jacket (remastered), Eyes Wide Shut or Blade Runner...? I'll keep Miami Vice given it's a combo...
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Postby darkness on 08/01/08, 22:26:51

klimov wrote:Thailand isn't in Europe last time I checked. Actually, they don't sell HD-DVD players here at all -

I know Thailand isn't in Europe. But Dam and Chain are and I assumed that's where you imported yours from.
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Postby Draesk on 08/01/08, 22:55:47

Blah blah, not much new, but the fact that the Beeb has actually picked up on it is something, considering their notoriously thin on technology articles.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7176185.stm

HD-DVD had better booth-babes. :(
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Postby TC on 09/01/08, 11:04:39

In a shot that might just decide the format wars once and for all, the Financial Times is reporting that Paramount pictures is "poised to reveal" it will be releasing its films only on Blu Ray.

"But TheFeed...I thought Paramount made a $150 Million HD DVD deal!"

They did... but apparently, the company had a clause that allowed them to back out of the deal if Warner Brothers wouldn't back the new format. That happened Friday.

Blu-ray is currently backed by 20th Century Fox, MGM, Walt Disney, and most recently Warner Bros.; if Paramount jumps ship, Universal will be left as the biggest HD DVD backer.

There's controversy of course. Bloomberg's is reporting that Paramount told them that "Paramount's current plan is to continue supporting the HD-DVD format."
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Postby darkness on 09/01/08, 11:55:56

Actually the financial times article just said Paramount had a clause they could use to get out of the deal. It didn't say they were going to use it, nor has Paramount said anything other than they have no current plans to change support. But at this point they'd be foolish not to switch.
If anything else this whole format war as been a fun example of how modern journalism works. A comment in one story gets picked up and repeated by other press outfits, each embellishing a little on what was originally said.
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Postby darkness on 10/01/08, 13:02:20

Most of this is old news, but the news that Universal is set to go blu-ray is new:

Blu-ray could win high-def battle

HD DVD backers could switch sides soon
By DIANE GARRETT, BEN FRITZ

The two remaining studios backing HD DVD could switch sides soon, ending the high-def format war instantly. Daily Variety has confirmed that Universal's commitment to backing HD DVD exclusively has ended. And Paramount has an escape clause in its HD DVD contract allowing it to release pics on Blu-ray after Warner Bros.' decision to back that format exclusively.More than one option(Co) Daily Variety
Filmography, Year, Role
(Co) Daily Variety

Neither studio is ready to throw in the towel immediately, however. Universal is committed to a series of promotions for the high-def format in coming months, and Par has said its current plans are to keep supporting HD DVD, which it backed exclusively in August.

Should Toshiba concede defeat on the format, the decision to drop HD DVD would be made for both studios. But Toshiba doesn't appear ready to do that. At the Consumer Electronics Show, the manufacturer reaffirmed its commitment to the format, noting strong sales during the fourth quarter and indicating it would continue marketing its hardware through 2008.

But retailers may force the HD DVD camp's hand: They're unlikely to keep devoting premium shelf space to a dying format, and at this point, the odds are not in HD DVD's favor. With Warners' defection, only Par and U remain in the HD DVD camp; Sony, Disney, Fox, Lionsgate remain ardent Blu-ray backers. Warner sister companies New Line and HBO are also shifting allegiance to Blu-ray.

Last summer, Blockbuster also threw its weight behind Blu-ray, though some HD DVD discs remain in stores.

And Warner will continue to release HD DVD discs for the next few months to honor its previous commitment to Toshiba, which extends through May 31. Paramount's HD DVD deal, which covers DreamWorks releases, was to run through this year.

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Postby TC on 14/01/08, 11:46:29

Universal NOT going Blu-Ray...

Betanews wrote:Universal: We're staying with HD DVD

By Scott M. Fulton, III and Nate Mook, BetaNews
January 10, 2008, 5:00 PM

5:00 pm ET January 10, 2008 -- Universal Studios has officially dispelled the rumors from Variety that it will drop HD DVD and switch to Blu-ray.

"Contrary to unsubstantiated rumors from unnamed sources, Universal's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format," said Ken Graffeo, executive vice president of HD strategic marketing for Universal Studios Home Entertainment and also co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group.

The response would have come sooner, but many HD DVD executives were on flights home from CES when the story from Variety broke.

2:00 pm ET January 10, 2008 -- The HD DVD Promotional Group is expected to release a statement this afternoon refuting claims that Universal is jumping ship to Blu-ray.

While it's not clear what the statement will say, HD DVD indicated at CES that it still had full support from Paramount and Universal -- the last two major Hollywood studios to be backing the format exclusively.

However, without actual exclusive contracts in place, Universal could still decide to switch allegiances in the future.

It's not clear what led to the Variety claims, but they follow similar rumors reported by the Financial Times -- and later disputed by the studio -- that Paramount would go Blu-ray only.

Sources close to the matter say that neither Variety or the Financial Times bothered to contact HD DVD for confirmation before publishing the rumors.

Posted at 9:23am ET:

The entertainment industry publication Daily Variety is reporting this morning that Universal -- the only HD DVD stalwart we haven't talked that much about during CES week -- is preparing to gracefully back out of its commitment to that format.

The studio would first fulfill its remaining promotional commitments to HD DVD, which is what Warner Bros. has also committed to do through May. Variety also confirmed what had been stated as rumor yesterday that Paramount, the other HD DVD backer, does have a clause in its contract with the HD DVD Promotions Group to back out should Warner Bros. also back out.
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Postby darkness on 14/01/08, 12:23:34

TC wrote:Universal NOT going Blu-Ray...


Ah, but read what the official statement from Universal said. It didn't say, "We're not going blu-ray." It said they would continue to support hd-dvd. That doesn't mean they can't also start releasing in blu-ray as well. In fact at this point if they don't, they're foolish.
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Postby O-dot on 14/01/08, 12:35:38

darkness wrote:It said they would continue to support hd-dvd.


Well sure, all those "everything you know about DVD just got better!" ads on each of their titles cost money. :wink:
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Postby darkness on 14/01/08, 12:52:40

O-dot wrote:Well sure, all those "everything you know about DVD just got better!" ads on each of their titles cost money. :wink:

Actually Warner paid for part of that ad as well. Its narration and some of the clips are the exact same ones their were using on most of their initial hd-dvd titles. Universal just changed out the Warner clips to their own.
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