HD DVD Boss: The Format War is Far From Over

Even with the tide apparently shifting in Blu-ray Disc's favor, the HD DVD camp isn't about to relent in the on-going high-definition format war. HD DVD still commands a significant portion of exclusive content and the most affordable hardware, giving the format a fighting chance – and nobody believes in HD DVD more than Universal Studios executive vice president Ken Graffeo, who also serves as the co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group.

The HD DVD Group was rather mum on Warner's surprise announcement right before CES to go Blu-ray Disc exclusive and cancelled its Sunday press conference. Graffeo, speaking to BetaNews, explains, "We heard about the whole move when everyone else did – when a lot of us were on planes flying to CES in Las Vegas ... If we had our press event on Monday, it would have been different, but because it was right there on Sunday and we heard Friday afternoon we couldn't even get to everybody ... The entire flow of the presentation would have had to been changed. When we found out at the last minute, we had to regroup and say 'Toshiba, what are you doing?' and we didn't have any answers."

With HD DVD losing movie releases from Warner Bros. starting June, the HD DVD landscape could change drastically – something that the Promotional Group doesn't yet have an answer for. "To be very honest with you, we have not addressed that yet," Graffeo admitted. "Warner is still releasing HD DVD titles up until May. Warner has always been in two formats, and prior to Paramount's switch, they had been in two formats, so now that Warner is exclusive... we just haven't addressed it yet."

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Hurry up with the next generation of disc format and lets just have one, Blu Ray and HD-DVD have been fighting long enough.

Or... It could be that the week those numbers are from are right after the Christmas sale prices ended and right before Toshiba nocked down the MSRP. It was also the week that rumors were rife on the internet about Paramount and Universal jumping ship, which proved to be unfounded. No one is going to buy a player for $299 that they could have gotten for $199 a week before.

I'd be interested to see what the figures were for the next few weeks after when the players were all discounted and it was determined the whole Paramount Universal thing was just a rumor. I mean $149 for a good upscaling DVD player that also happens to play HD-DVD discs is a very attractive deal.

All that shows is that the battle was still very close and blu-ray was not the 'clear consumer choice' and that the week after, the FUD was taking effect.

(Jotnar said @ #21.1)
Or... It could be that the week those numbers are from are right after the Christmas sale prices ended and right before Toshiba nocked down the MSRP. It was also the week that rumors were rife on the internet about Paramount and Universal jumping ship, which proved to be unfounded. No one is going to buy a player for $299 that they could have gotten for $199 a week before.

I'd be interested to see what the figures were for the next few weeks after when the players were all discounted and it was determined the whole Paramount Universal thing was just a rumor. I mean $149 for a good upscaling DVD player that also happens to play HD-DVD discs is a very attractive deal.

It definately takes into account Toshiba price slashes for 2 weeks.

The Toshiba sales did go up sharply to ALMOST compete with Blu-Ray because of those price cuts before falling so drastically. Also remember this does not even include PS3's at all, the largest portion of the entire HD market. This is not getting beat, this is a white wash. The numbers show Blu-Ray even without the PS3 is by far the consumers choice, with the PS3 it shows HD-DVD were dead well before Warner jumped.

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/01/23/us_hd_player_sales/
That covers the first 2 weeks of Jan.

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/mis...ddata012008.jpg
covers the 3rd week of Jan. How much more data do you need that HD-DVD is not in the race and is why Warner went exclusive.

Oh come let it die already. It's not a matter of which is best anymore. There has never been a moment in which a format was so "close" to win. Why keep pushing the other? I wouldn't have cared if it was the complete opposite and blu-ray was losing. Whatever happens, do it fast

I put myself in neither camp. I want whatever has the highest usable capacity--they will both be affordable soon anyway.

Why, as a consumer, would I want to have to buy movies in two different formats (with different boxes) when I could select one and have a consistent collection? I'd rather the major studios stopped acting like kids. This shouldn't be about what the consumer picks - this should be about the studios collectively picking one format. Instead we have money thrown about everywhere (between the studios... consumers end up paying more) and a long drawn out war.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #15.1)
Why, as a consumer, would I want to have to buy movies in two different formats (with different boxes) when I could select one and have a consistent collection?

Did you hate the white DVD boxes also? And the silver ones? And the wide ones?

At least BD and HD-DVD chose the same size box.

I think Sony chose BD for the PS3 because of the fact that the medium can store more (except in the case of triple-layer HD DVD media, in which case it can only hold 1GB more than the dual-layer BD media). I don't keep tabs on the format war because to me it is pointless except for games and films. Computers have no real need for either format yet, in my opinion. I certainly wouldn't use it to back up my data! That's what external drives are for, especially those with much larger capacities than these new disc technologies.

I'm thinking HD DVD will lose this one, despite not really knowing much about these formats. Sure, Wikipedia has some misinformation sometimes, but that doesn't mean its information is ALWAYS wrong. Here are the stats given for the formats from Wikipedia:

====
HD DVD -
344 titles released in the USA (27 Nov. 2007)
133 titles released in Japan, with 21 titles planned (15 Sep. 2007)

Blu-ray -
415 titles released in the USA, with 32 discontinued, resulting in 383 titles (25 Nov. 2007)
179 titles released in Japan, with 55 titles planned (09 Oct. 2007)
====

Now then - considering the statistics and the "problems" BD apparently has according to some here, from what I've read of the comments, as well as the fact that HD DVD came out sooner than BD, I'd say BD seems to have quite a bit of an advantage as of November 2007. In addition, Warner cancelled with HD DVD and switched to BD. Everything seems to be pointing to BD.

Again, I know next to nothing about these formats and have little experience, but a little bit of research and news reading has rendered me with the information I presented above.

Happy reading, unless what Steve Jobs says is true - nobody reads anymore.

(rpgfan said @ #1)
I think Sony chose BD for the PS3 because of the fact that the medium can store more (except in the case of triple-layer HD DVD media, in which case it can only hold 1GB more than the dual-layer BD media). I don't keep tabs on the format war because to me it is pointless except for games and films. Computers have no real need for either format yet, in my opinion. I certainly wouldn't use it to back up my data! That's what external drives are for, especially those with much larger capacities than these new disc technologies.

I'm thinking HD DVD will lose this one, despite not really knowing much about these formats. Sure, Wikipedia has some misinformation sometimes, but that doesn't mean its information is ALWAYS wrong. Here are the stats given for the formats from Wikipedia:

====
HD DVD -
344 titles released in the USA (27 Nov. 2007)
133 titles released in Japan, with 21 titles planned (15 Sep. 2007)

Blu-ray -
415 titles released in the USA, with 32 discontinued, resulting in 383 titles (25 Nov. 2007)
179 titles released in Japan, with 55 titles planned (09 Oct. 2007)
====

Now then - considering the statistics and the "problems" BD apparently has according to some here, from what I've read of the comments, as well as the fact that HD DVD came out sooner than BD, I'd say BD seems to have quite a bit of an advantage as of November 2007. In addition, Warner cancelled with HD DVD and switched to BD. Everything seems to be pointing to BD.

Again, I know next to nothing about these formats and have little experience, but a little bit of research and news reading has rendered me with the information I presented above.

Happy reading, unless what Steve Jobs says is true - nobody reads anymore.

Unfortunatley titles and studio support will not win this battle alone. Blu-ray is incomplete and overpriced - two MAJOR factors inhibiting mass acceptance.

It may or may not be "incomplete and overpriced" but it is still selling better than HD-DVD. That demonstrates that being cheaper and feature complete are not the most important factors. If Blu-ray can do well when it is so expensive and before Profile 2.0 players are available then once it comes down in price it's likely to gain an even bigger lead.

It's disappointing to see an article like this. Both groups were arrogant / greedy by trying to go it alone but now Blu-ray is winning the HD-DVD group should cut their losses and try to cooperate with the BDA - that would be better for the consumer. Instead we have statements like this suggesting they'll keep going to the bitter end.

Although I love HD-DVD...I fear Blu-Ray will win.

The sooner we have a format winner, the sooner prices of the movies will fall. Right now they're at the price DVDs were back in 1998.

Of course the president and co-president of HD-DVD will say this, but I would step down if I was them, the techies know who won now and they're spreadin the news to people they know and words move quick!

HD-DVD's only chance right now is to dominate PC's optical drive market. They need to release rewritable burners at an affordable price (<$200) ASAP!

(Zhivago said @ #1)
HD-DVD's only chance right now is to dominate PC's optical drive market. They need to release rewritable burners at an affordable price (<$200) ASAP!

Agreed, but they also need to get standalones in the homes. The next sales report will be important - not make or break,but important. Come xmas 2008 we will be int he same position we are today

It seems the majority against BD is those have grievances against Sony or entrenched MS fanboys with Xboxs against PS3 as the argument seems to get very unbalanced when arguing about the pros and cons

Well, most reasonable people should have at least few grievances against Sony by now... they don't exactly have the cleanest track record.

IMO, PS3 is one of the few real advantages Blu-ray has over HD-DVD.

Not me. I like affordable, complete hardware. my Tosh A30 will be around a liong time after all those standalone Profile 1.2 players will be.

The only people stating the format war isn't over is the losing side. They have no choice but to 'never surrender'. Think of all the hardware sitting on shelves or in warehouses with no hope of getting sold. I'm sure they will make this claim until all the existing units are sold, then they'll 'surrender'.

C'mon Toshiba. Do the right thing and let go. No miracle is going to help HD-DVD. It's a done deal.

(Raven said @ #8)
The only people stating the format war isn't over is the losing side.

Well duh. The people who tout a victory aren;t going to say that the "war" is not over.

They have no choice but to 'never surrender'. Think of all the hardware sitting on shelves or in warehouses with no hope of getting sold. I'm sure they will make this claim until all the existing units are sold, then they'll 'surrender'.

Unlike Sony, Tosh cares about its customers and will fight to the end. Dont forget the HDM market is only about 4% of the *entire* home video market.

C'mon Toshiba. Do the right thing and let go. No miracle is going to help HD-DVD. It's a done deal.

Actually, Blu-ray will kill itself with its profiles scheme and reliance on the PS3 as the premiere Blu-ray player

I hate to break it to the Blu-ray fanboys - he's right, the war is not over. Consider the follwoing:

1) although studio support won the VHS/Beta war, this is not the early nineties. There are many other ways to get media today and studio support alone will not "win the war" for Blu-ray. The winner needs the most hardware out there.

2) Blu-ray is an incomplete format. Although they have studio support, their hardware support is horrible. Who would buy a piece of hardware which cannot use all the fetures avaialble to the format?

3) HD DVD is the DVD forum's choice. This matters alot becuase the DVD brand is very valuable. the general public knows and understands what a DVD disc is. the technological jump from SD DVD to HD DVD is visibly minor - the palyers are the same size, work the same way and the media looks the same. People think these are DVDs, not "high Definition Blu-ray Discs"

4) at $130 a pop, why not get an HD DVD player that can upconvert your present library of DVDs and play those fance new expensive DVDs - why shell out $500 for a BD player or a PS3?

5) Sony is using BD to sell PS3s. There is no argument here, it is a vehicle to sell a crappy gaming rig that no one wants anyway.

6) Also condier the advent of the digitla movie download - why bother with physical media when you can download it.

2) Wont newer players coming out be able to just update their firmware to play any newer profiles/features. All i need is the movie i dont care about extra features in upcoming profiles.

5) No one want a PS3

6) Thats good if your computer is hooked up to your TV until set top box HD video download services become the norm.

I cannot take any arguments you may have made seriously after I read #5.
You have every right to believe the PS3 is crappy all you want, but the games are finally being released (and have been for months now) more or less proving otherwise.
Sure, it may not be your cup of tea, but to say it is "crappy" purely shows a bias that makes every other point you have moot.

@ #2) "Blu-ray is an incomplete format. Although they have studio support, their hardware support is horrible. Who would buy a piece of hardware which cannot use all the fetures avaialble to the format?"

With firmware updates thru ethernet which some models have (even the ps3 $399 model) you can get more support and features. So your poiint #2 s invalid sorry.

OK eth3l, you have exactly 100 days to come up with a gaming system using PCBs and chips you will manufacturer in a professional looking case to be mass produced yeh ? If you don't manage it, we will not hate you, just continue to class you as the biggest **** on these forums that continues to spew a mess from your mouth, or, backside, I am not able to tell what one with the crap you write.

(thenay said @ #6.3)
@ #2) "Blu-ray is an incomplete format. Although they have studio support, their hardware support is horrible. Who would buy a piece of hardware which cannot use all the fetures avaialble to the format?"

With firmware updates thru ethernet which some models have (even the ps3 $399 model) you can get more support and features. So your poiint #2 s invalid sorry.


how is that not still stiffing anyone who's already paid $400 to over a thousand $ for a current gen player that does not have ethernet? the manufacturers knew they were planning this way back then, and have already shown total disreguard for their customers stating

"the early adopters knew what they were getting into"

NO THEY DIDN'T!

his point 2 stands.

Because if you don't care and just buy an upscaling DVD player why bother with HD-DVD or Blu-ray player anyway general consumers doesn't two F's about HDi and whatnot else.

games are "finally" being released, that's my point.

Additionally, the fact that Sony is pushing it as the preeminent Blu-ray player says alot about the confidence Sony has int eh device as a gaming rig. In comparison, MS does not stress sales of its HD addons indicating that it is pushing the 360 as a gaming rig first and a media hub second

(thenay said @ #6.3)
@ #2) "Blu-ray is an incomplete format. Although they have studio support, their hardware support is horrible. Who would buy a piece of hardware which cannot use all the fetures avaialble to the format?"

With firmware updates thru ethernet which some models have (even the ps3 $399 model) you can get more support and features. So your poiint #2 s invalid sorry.

Actually, you are incorrect. pre-2.0 Profile BD players *DO NOT* have an ethernet connection and cannot be updated via firmware.

1.0 is the launch profile, and secondary audio and video decoders are optional, as is local storage and network connectivity. The majority of standalone players fit into this category.
1.1 is the newer profile, and to take advantage of these discs, players need a secondary audio and video decoder to handle picture-in-picture, as well as at least 256MB of local storage for content.

2.0 is the profile of the future, requiring the two secondary decoders, 1GB of local storage for updates and content, and an Internet connection.

Source

(Doli said @ #6.1)
2) Wont newer players coming out be able to just update their firmware to play any newer profiles/features. All i need is the movie i dont care about extra features in upcoming profiles.

Newer Profile 2.0 players will have an ethernet connection. Older players do not. 2.0 will have a little bit more than just ethernet ... it will require 2 decoders (somthing HD DVD has had since day 1). Today you say that you dont care about extra features,but when you get a movie packed with extra features and interactive content ... and you cant use it on your $500 profile 1 player, you should be ****ed as a consumer.

5) No one want a PS3
Thats an exaggeration.

6) Thats good if your computer is hooked up to your TV until set top box HD video download services become the norm.
There are many other ways to get downloaded movies to your TV ... Downloads are the wave of the future

(thenay said @ #6.3)
@ #2) "Blu-ray is an incomplete format. Although they have studio support, their hardware support is horrible. Who would buy a piece of hardware which cannot use all the fetures avaialble to the format?"

With firmware updates thru ethernet which some models have (even the ps3 $399 model) you can get more support and features. So your poiint #2 s invalid sorry.

Sorry dude, only the PS3 can update over the net. HD DVD players can update over the net, but not profile 1 players. the later profiles have different hardware requirements so firmware update or not, you cant add the extra hardware.

(n_K said @ #6.4)
OK eth3l, you have exactly 100 days to come up with a gaming system using PCBs and chips you will manufacturer in a professional looking case to be mass produced yeh ? If you don't manage it, we will not hate you, just continue to class you as the biggest **** on these forums that continues to spew a mess from your mouth, or, backside, I am not able to tell what one with the crap you write.

I dont know what these means.

(thenay said @ #6.3)
@ #2) "Blu-ray is an incomplete format. Although they have studio support, their hardware support is horrible. Who would buy a piece of hardware which cannot use all the fetures avaialble to the format?"

With firmware updates thru ethernet which some models have (even the ps3 $399 model) you can get more support and features. So your poiint #2 s invalid sorry.

What about consumers that don't want a PS3 but just want a DVD player? $399 is expensive.

(eth3l said @ #6.11)

I dont know what these means.

Well its just your saying the PS3 is a load of crap, "5) Sony is using BD to sell PS3s. There is no argument here, it is a vehicle to sell a crappy gaming rig that no one wants anyway.", I've never used a PS3 but I would bet everything I have that you couldn't make something nearly half as good as it, just because you don't like Blu-Ray doesn't mean you need to take a poke at the PS3, only do that with apple and mac and all that bull

(eth3l said @ #6)
I hate to break it to the Blu-ray fanboys - he's right, the war is not over

None of your points matter when there will be so little content released for the format after June 2008.
They'll have something like 20% of the movie industry backing them, with Paramount rumored to be looking to jump the sinking ship soon enough.

People could just as well be buying a highly advanced brick, at least if they are new to the HD movie business and not former owners of HD-DVD's and upgrading. :-p

It doesn't matter how cheap it is, it doesn't matter how "complete" the HD-DVD format is, and it sure as hell doesn't matter if they're grabbing market share by selling lots of PS3's. They're still grabbing market share at a faster pace than HD-DVD. Now that matters. And it will have more movies sold for the format. Now that matters. Most PS3 owners also *know* they're getting a Blu-ray player with it. It's part of the whole idea: you get both a HD player and a game console in one for a pretty good price. And it doesn't matter if you think that deal isn't good; the large masses APPARENTLY do, because HD-DVD is on life support.

But why do I even care... People like you will claim HD-DVD is alive and kicking in 2010.

(eth3l said @ #6.12)
What about consumers that don't want a PS3 but just want a DVD player? $399 is expensive.

I'd personally either play from my PC (Blu-ray PC players are cheaper), or use it in a HTPC. Then I'd get at least a Pioneer BDC-202 for $215 here. A 5x Blu-ray player too, at that.

(Jugalator said @ #6.14)

None of your points matter when there will be so little content released for the format after June 2008.
They'll have something like 20% of the movie industry backing them, with Paramount rumored to be looking to jump the sinking ship soon enough.

So now it's like 20%? Ha ha ha.. I swear to god the BDA FUD machinery has really done a great job.. Actually they don't have to do anything when the more you read forums the more it will be like 5% content.


Listen, please don't spewout the completely incorrect information. Universal, Paramount, Dreamworks with numerous smallers studios in the Sta tes and abroad (like Weinstein, First Look and quite a few others) account for almost 40% of content still being available exclusively on HD DVD. That means that YOU WILL NOT be able to access that content on Blu-Ray as it seems right now. This will most likely not change regardless of you wishing it to be so.

A fact is that if Toshiba manages to flood the market with cheap players this year by Q3/Q4 and introduce the triple layer twin disc along with TL51gb discs, you may very well see some other Blu-Ray studios go neutral.

Warner accounts for about 20% of content. That's it. That means that HD DVD will lose effectively about 20% of it's content come Q3 2008. Not a SUPER huge deal considering that we have like 500 HD titles alltogether to begin with on a market that's less then 2%. Come 50-60% of market then content will really matter, but not now at less then 2%.

The fact that Blu-Ray is in a hurry to proclaim this war over definitely speaks volumes about their fear or prolonging this war as they will be unable to cover the payoffs and marketing costs for much longer. You can see this by Sony ditching all SKUs but 40gb one that is cheaper for them to produce as it is toned down version of the PS3 console that was initially introduced.

Buckle up, 2008 will be a great ride for consumers as the prices keep going down, plenty of movies to be watched and most of the greatest hits in 2008 will be.. yep you guessed it, HD DVD EXCLUSIVE! Except for Batman, I'll bet you'll be buying more HD DVD day/date movies this year then Blu-Ray, that is unless you foolishly refused to buy the dirt cheap HD DVD players as they are now.

Pig-headed? They're the ones going for cheaper hardware and manufacturing costs. Blu-ray is pushing the more expensive format, pushing out players that don't support all the features, and have even alluded to keeping prices at a premium long after manufacturing costs come down.

Call HD DVD pig-headed if you'd like, but I'd like them to be so and keep trying to win this war rather than to let Blu-ray take over.

(gigapixels said @ #5.1)
Pig-headed? They're the ones going for cheaper hardware and manufacturing costs. Blu-ray is pushing the more expensive format, pushing out players that don't support all the features, and have even alluded to keeping prices at a premium long after manufacturing costs come down.

Call HD DVD pig-headed if you'd like, but I'd like them to be so and keep trying to win this war rather than to let Blu-ray take over.


why do hd-dvd supporters keep saying blu-ray is more expensive. when they come out as new releases both hd-dvd and blu-ray are the same cost, so how do you say it's a more expensive format.

(macrosslover said @ #5.2)
why do hd-dvd supporters keep saying blu-ray is more expensive. when they come out as new releases both hd-dvd and blu-ray are the same cost, so how do you say it's a more expensive format.

Uh, hardware?

(macrosslover said @ #5.2)
why do hd-dvd supporters keep saying blu-ray is more expensive. when they come out as new releases both hd-dvd and blu-ray are the same cost, so how do you say it's a more expensive format.

What he is getting at is the cost to a company to produce BD compared to HDDVD is more expensive... Yes the Discs are the same price at a raetail level but HDDVD producers can spit out more discs per month than a BD factory.. ALthough its slightly improving thats where the "cost" of BD is used...

IMO the 2nd thing that sony is using to push their format is the fact the company that owns the format owns the movies as well... meaning u like a sony movie... u will have to watch it on a sony player... Even then i have read that at one stage Sony produced and owned discs wont even play on their own players....

Correct me if im wrong on any of this (i may be) but thats how i view things :)

HDDVD will not die untill the fat lady sings... As long as companies support it and people buy them they will live on...

Yes i am a hddvd user...

(gigapixels said @ #5.3)

Uh, hardware?

Yeah, you might get a HD-DVD player for $99 and a Blu-ray one for $199. But over time, I think that argument (which belong to among the most well used) is exaggerated. I think even moreso if the industry (which is far from just Sony) starts ramping up their volumes now that the victory of Blu-ray looks more certain, something that has also been reflected in Blu-ray sales recently.

Also, on the topic of recordables, while BD-R discs are still quite expensive, they're actually showing a brighter future there, as HD-DVD-R's often cost almost as much, so the cost per GB is actually even worse on their recordables.

(WolfDV said @ #1.2)
.. when bluray/hddvd hybrid players are under $200, thats when it'll end. It just won't matter anymore..

They could just include both types of discs in a box. It wouldn't add much to the cost, but these greedy megacorporations will kill a baby for a $.01, so losing $.25 on each release is out of the question for them. The format wars are as artificial as DRM. It's not about cost, it's about locking consumers in to a standard so they have no choice but to buy one brand of junk.

(toadeater said @ #1.3)

They could just include both types of discs in a box. It wouldn't add much to the cost, but these greedy megacorporations will kill a baby for a $.01, so losing $.25 on each release is out of the question for them. The format wars are as artificial as DRM. It's not about cost, it's about locking consumers in to a standard so they have no choice but to buy one brand of junk.

It isn't just the fabrication of the media, but also the licensing of the format that costs the producers money.

(toadeater said @ #1.3)
It wouldn't add much to the cost...

Is that a fact? Where are your figures detailing how much this would add to the cost?