$150 Million Sure Can Inject Some Life Into A Pointless Standards Battle Over Next Generation DVDs

from the oh-that? dept

In what must be the world's most pointless standards battle over next generation DVD technology, apparently all it takes to reignite the tiny fire of interest is $150 million. If you hadn't been paying attention (and, honestly, why would you?), two separate groups have been battling it out over which technology will represent the next generation of DVDs: Blu-ray or HD DVD. Like many standards battles these days, the players believe the pot is so lucrative that they refuse to come up with a single standard -- despite the fact that competing standards basically guarantee that both sides lose. Fewer people are willing to adopt one technology if there's still a half decent chance the other one might prevail. At the same time, fewer people are willing to adopt one technology if half the content they want to view is stuck on the other technology. It's a lose-lose situation. While the HD DVD crowd would deny this, over the last few months, it had finally seemed like Blu-ray was edging ahead (for example, with thieves). However, HD DVD's backers have fought back from oblivion by giving Paramount and Dreamworks $150 million to only release movies on HD DVD, effectively ensuring that this remains a standards battle that no one cares about. The good news is that the longer this battle goes on, the more likely most folks will simply jump to alternatives that don't involve plastic discs.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Matthew, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 8:41am

    Scru Sony

    To hell with Blu-Ray.

    Remember the root kits!

     

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  2.  
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    Overcast, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 8:43am

    From a consumer standpoint - I could careless which wins - I only have one preference - and that's which ever format is the most versatile and easy to use for me.

    I want to be able to backup some of the DVD's I buy (some are barely worth watching, so I won't bother).

    I want to be able to just record this and that to it, home videos, etc.. Simple - like existing DVD.

    I want a choice on different vendors - not just a Sony or JVC machine. If I want a Panasonic or LG, then I should be able to buy that.

    And I don't want to be limited by who I have to buy the DVD's from.

    Otherwise, I'll be quite content to use my DVD writer now and DVD player now, until it's long since a dead technology. Even then, perhaps I'll just be watching it all 'on-demand'.

    I grow tired of new formats, re-buying movies... If I can't burn the movies I have now and consolidate them to HD DVD, then it's worthless to me.

    I *may* elect to get some in the newer format, but... hmmm, many I won't.

    Looking at all that, and taking Sony's history into account, I guess I'd have to vote against Blu-Ray.

    It would be like BetaMax Reduex, lol

     

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  3.  
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    Tim, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 8:47am

    content

    Bad hi def content on either standard is still bad hi def content.

     

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  4.  
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    psaz, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 8:57am

    money money money

    While money is definitely what I think is behind the decision, I think it goes far beyond the $150 million. Granted that's a fair amount of money, but Ars Technica has an article today where they talked to the CTO of Paramount about the decision and one thing definitely stood out in the conversation... Two words; "transactional offerings" Being able to charge a little here and there for extras? There's definitely money in them thar hills.

     

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  5.  
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    nipseyrussell, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    by Overcast...."From a consumer standpoint - I could careless which wins..."
    i thought you meant "could NOT care less"....but then you went on to list all the reasons you MIGHT care what format wins, so i guess its true, you could care less, meaning, you care quite a bit!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:08am

    Sony is evil. They lost with betamax, they tanked with mini-disk, they installed the rootkits, now... they want to spoon feed everyone blue-ray. Good luck sony.

     

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  7.  
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    Betaflame, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:11am

    Re: Scru Sony

    Anyone try to put the Casino Royal DVD into their computer? (Don't if you haven't) Sony is still at it.

     

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  8.  
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    mac, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:28am

    Blue Ray, HD TV Bah, Humbug!

    We diched our TV abount a year ago, If I want to see a movie I go to the Theater where a movie should be seen.
    I get my news and info from the internet or the paper...

    Guess what happened when we ditched the TV? Everybody suddenly got along much better, we spend more time together, outdoors, with friends, family even pets...

    If you ask me TV is evil and I'm glad I got rid of it.
    As far as blue ray vs HD DVD; I could care less, with the crap there putting out today they can all go out of business!

     

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  9.  
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    Craig, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:41am

    Pointless?

    I think a few million employees and shareholders of Sony, Microsoft, and Toshiba would argue that this battle is anything but pointless.

    Granted, it's wasteful and bad for darn near everyone involved EXCEPT those invested in the "winning" side.

     

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  10.  
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    OKVol, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:52am

    There are techical reasons too

     

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  11.  
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    nunya_bidness, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:54am

    Maybe a solution

    What about Samsung's BD-UP5000 hybrid Blu-ray and HD DVD disc player?

     

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  12.  
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    Shamalama, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 10:04am

    Who cares?

    I care. Ever since I saw a true 1080p picture on my 61" HDTV I hate watching anything but. Its like seeing a color broadcast on a color TV when all you knew existed beforehand was black and white. You dont want to go back and know you're missing all kinds of stuff with standard definition cable and DVD's. Sure only one will come out ahead here. I looked into player install base (how many people had them), which studios were producing on what (some are both), and specs. I went with a PS3/blu-ray player and love it. Chances are I will end up getting a 360 down the line to act as a media center extender and HD-DVD is still around, maybe toss the add-on on.

    Sam

     

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  13.  
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    Dan, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 10:07am

    new business model?

    is there anyway to convert hd dvds to blu ray? though illegal i could see that becoming a good business in places where people care less about the legality of what they are buying. street vendors would be great with that.

     

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  14.  
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    dorpus, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 10:07am

    Bring back minidiscs

    Since more data fits on blu-ray, why not bring back minidiscs in proprietary format?

     

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  15.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 10:11am

    Many Thoughts

    Well, the prices for players on both sides is continually dropping, so using that a factor for choosing a side seems rather foolish.
    I bet the 150M$ was quite a much larger part for the decision than any of those mentioned in the linked article by post #10.
    Granted, they are good arguments and a couple of them actually are good things going for HD-DVD.
    The idea of them linking to transactional BS online is okay, but they BETTER not try to force it down our throats.
    As a consumer one thing that I am NOT happy with is they way they have approached trailers on the movies you buy.
    If I go to a movie at a theatre, I am perfectly fine watching the trailers before the film, and look forward to it.
    When I buy a DVD though, I HATE it when they have trailers before the movie.
    If they want to toss it onto the DVD as a special feature selection, have at it, I don't mind.
    But having them automatically play before the movie is stupid.
    One year after you have bought the DVD the trailers serve no purpose. You already know about the film they are going to advertise, and that movie itself is already out on DVD.
    It was a poor decision on all of their parts to force trailers playing before a movie.
    It bothers me even more when they disable the chapter forward (or is that because they set up the DVD poorly?).
    Then I have to hit the fast forward button a few times until it gets to 100X FF and stops when it hits the menu.

    Anyone know if they actually can disable the chapter forward or if it is from the DVD being set up poorly chapter wise?

     

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  16.  
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    John Feeney, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 10:35am

    Does anyone really listen.....

    Comments shared here are not unique, however it is of note the manufactures continually take no-notice.

    $200 price range(hardware is suppose to open the market acceptance, do you not remember when the automakers and oil companies attempt to push a gasoline change, they realized people want choice. Denying them that right an continually go the path of "proprietary" is a "Dead Man Walking".

    It will take a 3rd party to obtain the licenses and create the universal unit and this subject will be left in the dust.

    Notice the music videos have not moved one inch on the subject.

     

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  17.  
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    jason, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 11:36am

    Blue ray is #1

    As we all know blue ray discs hold 25gigs and HD DVD holds 15gigs each on a single layer. Well apparently blue ray is already making use of of two layers or 50gigs of space for some movies. It is apparent to me that the extra space blue ray discs offer compared to HDDVD is a valuable advantage. I feel that because of the PS3 being an amazing player for a reasonable price and because HDDVD cannot compete with BlueRay's storage space; blue ray will win this one.

     

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  18.  
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    John Canada, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 11:38am

    Do you want to know which format to buy

    Watch which format the Porn industry uses.

    They chose VHS over BETA and we all hnow who won that battle.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    oldhick, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 11:50am

    is there any proof of this?

    I keep seeing the same quote "two unidentified sources at Viacom" in every single blog entry for this story. Is everyone just copying what someone originally posted or has this been independently verified that they're paying $150 million?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    James, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 12:12pm

    Actually....

    I care about this standards battle, and I have made my choice, HD-DVD. This is very good news for me. I refuse to support Blu-Ray and Sony on this next generation format. I am also tired of everyone saying it does nothing but confuse the consumer. I am not confused one bit. I know the pros and cons of each side, and again, my choice is HD-DVD. Blu-Ray does have some movies I would like in HD, but I also don't mind purchasing those movies on regular dvd. So as far as I am concerned, HD-DVD can win, or we can have both exist side by side. Either is fine by me (and won't really matter much once dual-format players are a viable cost-effective choice).

     

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  21.  
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    Larry, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Do you want to know which format to buy

    Porn picked HD DVD months ago. Do a search on the tech dirt archives.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Larry, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Does anyone really listen.....

    Music videos come on disc? Just kidding, but with the exception of a few (latest disney stuff, which I haven't seed either) there doesn't seem to be enough volume there to sway one side or the other.

     

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  23.  
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    Chet Kuhn, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 12:26pm

    ...and the winner is...

    Coming from a background in the retail space of consumer electronics, I feel that I might have a little insight as to who is going to win this format battle. I just can't believe that I haven't seen anyone mention it before.

    The winner is whoever gets a player into the hands of consumers for less than $100 first. That was the price point that sent the DVD industry into high gear, and it will be the price point that sends HD discs (regardless of format) into the same sort of saturation.

    Consumers do not understand the difference between the discs, and they never will. They understand what it costs very, very well.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    James, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 12:39pm

    Ugh

    Again, why do people (i.e. Chet Kuhn) keep saying the consumers do not understand???????

    "Consumers do not understand the difference between the discs, and they never will."

    I am a consumer, and I know the differences between the formats. It's not that difficult of an idea to grasp. Give me a break. The consumer is a lot more savvy and intelligent than you give them credit for.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    FastBytes, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Sony

    "Sony is evil. They lost with betamax"

    A very common mis-conception... While they didn't get the consumer end, they didn't loose with the BetaMax format. That format did go on and was in every professional video production and ENG facility. Everywhere you looked, Betacams, and Beta editing stations were there. That market was very profitable for them. While the consumer market is huge, the profit margins are really thin.

    just my 0.02

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Ugh

    I agree, nothing pisses me off more than going into a store and having home jerk-off sales clerk talk down to me because he assumes that I could not possibly understand the complexities of whaterver the hell it is that he/she is selling.

    The general consumer understands more than they are often given credit for.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Alex Hagen, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Sony

    "I am a consumer, and I know the differences between the formats."

    Yeah, you read Techdirt, which pretty much makes you very different from the average consumer. Most people probably have never heard of either, and will never know the difference between the two.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Dylan, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 2:47pm

    And what about downloads?

    When Blockbuster/NetFlix finally allow me to download my movie in HD overnight I'll throw my DVD player in the garbage bypassing HD DVDs completely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    OKVol, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 2:53pm

    One thing for sure

    I'm not going to buy either until:

    1. I can get one for under $150 at Wal-Mart.
    2. This stupid format war is over, and I can get any movie I want in the format of the under $150 player from Wal-Mart.

     

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  30.  
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    CreamyBlood, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Blue ray is #1

    I haven't paid attention to this 'war' for a couple of years but I'd go with the 25GB over 15 any day. Who cares if sony is evil? I'd rather get almost twice the data on a disc with my burner. We'll probably just be using dual format players/burners in a few years, instead of being able to cheaply burn 25/50GB to a disc now.

    In the mean time I'll burn my data to DVD.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Do you want to know which format to buy

    "Porn picked HD DVD months ago. Do a search on the tech dirt archives."

    And porn now needs to re-think thire up and close shots. Nothing like seeing the zits on that...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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