Posts Tagged ‘Blu-Ray’

Last few nails…

Monday, February 18th, 2008

And now we see the last few nails in the coffin for HD DVD.  I had mentioned a few days ago that the format war was over but the news over the past couple of days is just rubbing salt in the wounds.  Retail leviathan Wal-Mart has announced that it will no longer carry HD DVD following Best Buy’s earlier decision.  And though there were rumors of Toshiba completely dropping HD DVD over the weekend, we still don’t know if those rumors are true.  According to Toshiba today, they are still weighing their options in this increasingly Blu-Ray market.

In my opinion Toshiba should just get out while they can and before the downward spiral catches more unwary consumers in it’s wake.  Everyone knows that most people who buy technology are at least relatively clueless (much to the dismay of us obsessive research techies) and it won’t be long till stores that are still selling the remainder of their stock of HD DVD hardware and movies start looking with customers with the word “SUCKER” stamped on their forehead.  It will happen; it always does.  And those unlucky people who invest in HD DVD at this stage of the game (or later) are going to be very upset when they can’t find any more red cases floating in the sea of blu.

Bummer, Blu-Ray wins

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Well, the format war between HD DVD and Blu-Ray DVD for HD format dominance was basically over when Warner Brothers announced that they would stop producing HD DVD versions of their movies as of the summer of 2008.  Considering that Warner Brothers makes up a ton of DVD sales this is pretty much the death blow for HD DVD.

Of course the speculation becomes a moot point now that Netflix has announced that it will only carry Blu-Ray discs as their Hi-Def format of choice.  Might as well side with the winner on this one.  Netflix hasn’t gotten where they are by making stupid decisions.

And then the next day, Best Buy announces that its stores will still carry some HD-DVD but they will be focusing on the sales of Blu-Ray equipment and discs from now on.  Their sales staff will be trained to push the Sony format over HD-DVD as the future of Hi-Def.

So what if Paramount and Dreamworks have sided with HD DVD at this point.  Their sales numbers are nothing compared to Warner Brothers and with Netflix’s dominant user base and Best Buy’s saturation of retail stores globally it’s pretty clear that this format war is over.

Which sucks.

I was really hoping for HD DVD to win this war because it’s much better for the consumers.  HD and Blu-Ray picture and audio quality are basically identical so no big deal there.  Blu-Ray has more top-end capactiy per disc so that’s good except movies and all their special features and soundtracks and languages don’t take up all that much space on either format.  So again no real advantage.

However, there are two features that made HD DVD stand out to me.
One was that since HD DVD is more similar to current generation DVD discs, you had many movies coming out with HD versions of the movie on one side of the disc and the standard defintion version on the other side of the same disc.  Why is this important?  Say you have a beautiful Hi-Def home theater in your home to play your HD DVD in.  Then you want to go to the mall in your SUV or Minivan and take the movie with you.  Well you could do that because you just flip the disc over and the conventional DVD player in your vehicle can read it no problem.  Blu-Ray can’t do that.

The other reason is that while Blu-Ray followed the tried and true and much reviled region coding that standard DVDs started so many years ago, HD DVD movies are completely region-free.  This means that if you want to order a movie from the United Kingdom or Japan, you can and you don’t have to worry about your USA HD DVD player not being able to play them.  Perhaps that’s not a big deal to you, but I guarantee its a huge deal to collectors and people living overseas like me.  Or perhaps you live in Europe and Hi-Def moviescost twice as much as they do in the States. They have the option of ordering from the States and shipping back for half the price and not having to worry about being able to watch their new movie.  Blu-Ray was designed to keep this from happening and I think that is one of the major reasons that Blu-Ray was always going to win the fight.  Aside from profit, there is nothing in the world that the movie companies like more than total control over who can and can’t watch their movies.

So I’m a little upset about this.  It means that it will probably be a long time before I get into the Hi-Def market myself.  Blu-Ray equipment costs more as do the movies in general compared to HD DVD.  And with the death of HD DVD, there will be little incentive for Blu-Ray prices to come down at all.  And there is no way in hell I’m buying a Sony PS3 just to play movies on.  Which considering there’s still not a single must-have game for the PS3 is all it’s good for in my opinion.

Ready for a new Wii?

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Nintendo’s been saying that they’ve got some big news coming up for their golden child of a console. According to the rumor in this article though, this surprise may be a bombshell big enough to put some hurt on Sony and Microsoft. What if Nintendo sold a slightly more expensive Wii that included a Blu-Ray DVD player?

If this is true then this is going to be big. And if you think about it, it would be a seriously smart move on the part of Nintendo. How much do you think that would solidify the market against the flailing HD-DVD format (and by extension Microsoft and the XBox360)? And since you know the price of a Blu-Ray enabled Wii would be nowhere near the cost of the outrageously priced Sony PS3, how many sales would Sony lose to Nintendo? Especially when one of Sony’s big selling points was that you got the added benefit of Blu-Ray.

The only losers in this deal would be the millions who’ve scrambled to get their hands on a first gen Wii. Unless of course they also sold an add-on, but that seems unlikely as the current gen consoles have no HDMI outputs. I would assume that a new Blu-Ray version would require this to be competitive.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.