CES 2008: High-Def video wars

HD-DVD took a hit this week with Warner Bros. defecting to Blu-Ray. But anyone walking the show floor today at CES would be hard pressed to argue that there is a clear winner at this stage in the high-definition video wars.

With over 60 million HDTV sets in the United States alone, the market is ripe for high-definition video players. Of course, as Neowin users know, both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players have done very poorly in the market.

There's a variety of reasons for this based on early adopter feedback on Neowin. Most people simply don't want to buy something that may go the way of Betamax. You also have the relative clunky nature of the 1st and 2nd generation HD DVD players. There's also copy protection issues for playing content between players. And of course, there's also the issue that many people don't see enough of a difference in quality to justify the premium.

But wherever you go on the show floor here in Las Vegas, high-definition video content is everywhere. One particularly interesting demonstration is the importance of refresh rates -- 120hz vs. 60hz. It reallly does make a difference in visual quality and some of the displays were mind blowing.

We'll have more shortly.

View: Pictures and more blogging at VistaBlogging.com

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I myself will wait until either format goes extinct. or until both formats go extinct and a new single format rises from the ashes. Like another person that posted, "hate for this to go the BetaMax way". DVDs have been around for at least 10 years i believe. not too sure. I started buying them around the year 2000. and for 8 years they are still darned good. Heard some coleagues talking at work about some new format, not sure of the name. but the DVD like disk holds 120 GB of data. that should be our next HD media, and we should stick to ONE type of media, and also this should NOT be built and managed by SONY. they should stick to their TVs and cameras. not media.

I would have hoped that Blue-Ray wuld had lost the war simply because I am not a fan of their DRM techniques.

HD-DVD sounded good for a while. Region-free and the player was cheap too.

It wasn't Sony DRM techniques. And most of the DRM found on Blu-Ray is 1 for 1 identicle to the DRM found on HD-DVD.
Sony do not own Blu-Ray nor maintain Blu-Ray. Sony is not actually evil, you have fabricated this story about them being evil in your head with incorrect facts.
You are making this in to a bigger issue than it is.

Also HD-DVD was cheap because Toshiba was loosing money to try to keep the format in the race(it was loosing badly when those price cuts were introduced). Prices will come down naturally with mass consumer pickup of Blu-Ray. There is mass competition amongst the Blu-Ray hardware manufactures, unlike HD-DVD which only really has Toshiba making players which several rebadge as their own.

HD-DVD was the start of a monopoly by Toshiba, it flopped, we are all better for it.

To be honest, I wanted HD-DVD to win the format war purely because Blu-Ray's digital rights managment was much stricter. Plus I hate regionalised media, it was bad enough on DVD, but BR's was worse. HD-DVD was region free.
I think I'll just avoid BR now, even though it has effectively "won". DVD's are good enough and I can wait until the NEXT big thing and just hope it's better.

Blu-Ray region is more relaxed than DVD's(only 3 regions now). How is it worse?
HD-DVD can not get Hollywood support because of its lack of region coding, the "NEXT" format will 100% have region coding aswell.

There is different distributors in different areas (not unlike for other products in totally unrelated industries, Burger King vs Hungry Jacks comes to mind).
How can the local distributor get a fair run if foreign companies are allowed to selective cherry pick opportunities to enter certain regions markets?

So long as the local distro is being fair to customers limiting market regions is 100% ideal. Only when a distro is found to be ripping off customers should something be done( I put you to the ACCC vs Sony over Sony mod-chips http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml...omItemId/621406 ). Something was done and it'll be done again if it is found to be an issue.

bits said,
HD-DVD can not get Hollywood support because of its lack of region coding, the "NEXT" format will 100% have region coding aswell.
That's not true at all. Check out the following information on Blu-Ray titles & regional coding;

http://bluray.liesinc.net/

Even Fox have confirmed they don't intend to region lock releases after a year, Warner Brothers has (again) confirmed to Heise.de that they aren't interested in region locking Blu-Ray releases either, in fact no Warner Brothers Blu-Ray releases is region locked, e.g. ALL the Harry Potters. Ditto Paramount Blu-Ray releases.

And of course, there's also the issue that many people don't see enough of a difference in quality to justify the premium.

Definitely not much difference at all on my 32" 720p LCD HDTV between HD and properly upscaled DVD (420p). I mean, I can see a difference, and prefer to get HD over DVD... but it doesn't increase my enjoyment by that much. I also don't get that excited about 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. I'd much rather invest in nicer stereo speaker over 7 mediocre speakers, but now i'm drifting off topic.

Jugalator said,
A reasonably good quality set of 5.1 speakers gives me a whole other movie experience than a set of quality stereo speakers though.

Don't get me wrong... the surround sound at theaters is great. But I've never been at someones house that had surround sound and thought, 'damn this surround sound is awesome.'

Jugalator said,
A reasonably good quality set of 5.1 speakers gives me a whole other movie experience than a set of quality stereo speakers though.
I'd have to a gree, I'd rather have excellent quality stereo playback than ho-hum surround.

Frogboy said,
Forgie: I'll look around and see what I can find on dual players.

I believe LG has the only one currently, which is around $700-800. LG BH100.

I've got the 1080P capable TV, but I'm not spending a dime on a high def player until there is an affordable and stable dual format player that plays both Bluray and HD DVD. I see this as a complete failure in the technology industry that one still doesn't exist. What has it been now, 2+ years since Bluray and HD DVD started becoming available? Heaven forbid formats and corporations come together to give the consumer what they want and when they want it. Idiots.

LG released one ages ago.
Why would you want one tho?
Leave HD-DVD behind and the problem is fixed, with only Blu-Ray you will have cheaper players because they wont need dual support and the factories will just be printing a single type of disc.

Supporting both is pointless and just redundant.

bits said,
Leave HD-DVD behind and the problem is fixed, with only Blu-Ray you will have cheaper players because they wont need dual support and the factories will just be printing a single type of disc.
How'd you figure that? The manufacturing facilities need to be re-fitted to produce Blu-Ray DVDs; conversely HD DVD production requires minimal changes to existing DVD facilities for production. Admittedly this is a moot point as Blu-Ray now has the edge in exclusive content. Blu-Ray currently costs about 6 times as much to produce as DVD.

Explain to me how Toshiba's stock was up 26% today after the news came out. Yes it came out on friday but that was after the close, to day was the first day the market could respond.

warwagon said,
Explain to me how Toshiba's stock was up 26% today after the news came out. Yes it came out on friday but that was after the close, to day was the first day the market could respond.

Maybe the shareholders didn't view the Warner announcement as bad as expected? I have no idea. Did Toshiba release something amazing at CES I haven't heard about?