Warner goes to Blu-Ray


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What Happened

The movie studio Warner. Bros had been backing both Sony's Blu-Ray and Toshiba's/Microsoft's HD-DVD for a while, however they have now exclusively switched to Blu-Ray. Warner announced this at CES, and as a result, HD-DVD then canceled all of their one-on-one press meeting and their press conference. Warner had originally backed both formats in order to see which would sell more copies, which the Blu-Ray evidently managed to do. Warner calls this a "strategic" decision while "the window of opportunity for the high-definition disc is still open."

What May Happen    

HD Backing Graph

With Warner now with Blu-Ray, five of the major seven studios are now backing Blu-Ray. This means that the high-definition war may soon be over. However, Toshiba reportedly did pay Paramount $150 million in incentives, so they'll probably have to stick with HD-DVD for a while. Sony may end up with a big win here soon.

And now for,

My Opinion  

We could be all screwed. If Sony does manage to win, they can raise the price of their players, and nothing can stop them because the own the technology. Unlike with DVD, which is a standard, Blu-ray is not and right now not anyone can make Blu-ray products. This could also give the PS3 a big boost, seeing as it is a cheap Blu-ray player. This could extend the console war for much longer. At least we still have regular DVD's avaliable for purchase to fend of the attacking high definition crowd.

 

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Nice thread dialup! I've been meaning to write my thoughts down on this situation...

This is definitely a major announcement, and really starts off 2008 with a bang. HD-DVD isn't totally dead just yet, but the prognosis is dire with little hope for improvement in the near future. With the press essentially declaring the war over, consumer mindshare will adjust accordingly and it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So what happens with the death of HD-DVD? Not much.

Seriously.

Now that I've had an HDTV for a couple of weeks now, I see why people want HD content, but I don't see why people will want/need to rebuy their libraries. DVD is so entrenched into EVERYTHING that no disc-based format will ever supplant it. When you buy a DVD you can play it on your TV, in your car, any computer, portable players... the list just goes on and on. Because the only benefits to Blu-Ray are the better resolution and sound, which ONLY come about when using a good home theater setup, you won't see the same ubiquity that DVD has. And because you don't have the same ubiquity, people will STILL continue to buy their DVDs, while the audio/visual-philes will buy Blu-Ray discs, when previously they were buying BR and HD-DVD discs.

People said they were holding off on investing into Blu or Red for fear that the one they pick would lose. I honestly don't think the number of people who held off is that big. So now that the source of confusion is over, the real cause of the slow rate of adoption will rear its head: consumer apathy.

I have a few friends with HDTVs so I'm waiting to see if any of them go Blu, or even start talking about it. So far, nothing.

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I always thought of HD-DVD as some sort of joke. Much like nose hair trimmers. Though dailup is right about rising costs, thanks to Sony's constant insistence on price gouging....

Though my hope is that we're all drooling in front of hidef Internet-delivered content before Blu-Ray has a chance to set in.

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I'm not even using hidef Internet content. I'm getting HD content from my local cable company and pairing that up with a DVR box. And it is AWESOME. I have more movies available to me than I know what to do with. I essentially watch one movie a night now, and I STILL have a backlog that is only growing. The picture quality is amazing, the movies are new and good, and I can watch them at my own convenience. I really don't have anything more to ask. Sure I could ask for MORE movies, or HIGHER quality, but we're seriously into the case of diminishing returns here and I don't need ANOTHER device in my room to get those extra benefits.

Of course I'm not a big collector of movies. I watch a movie, and I'll watch it again when it's on TV but I won't go out of my way to buy a movie so I can watch it whenever I want.

That's why it's not just digital distribution that is competing against disc media.

It's Internet, Cable companies, TiVo's/PVRs, and Discs that are all competing together. And I think that discs are last gen thinking that will go the way of the CD album. Blu-Ray will be relegated to the hardcore niche that care about and own 7.1 audio systems. For movies I can't tell the difference between normal stereo and 5.1 so obviously I'm not the target market.

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About digital distribution, I just caught this on my feed reader 5 minutes ago. Comcast Wideband tech allows for 4-minute HD movie downloads.

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No way they're getting 4 minute downloads. That's faster than Japan speed.

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Hell, it just took me four minutes to watch a two minute video because someone else was using the internet at the same time as me. Screw you Comcast.

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Looks like Best Buy will be pushing Blu-Ray as its preferred format starting in March, perhaps removing any doubt that Blu-Ray will win the physical format war.

http://www.electronichouse.com/article/best_buy_to_consumers_go_as_bluray/C175

I kind of get the sense that a format war is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here's my suggested "how-to" to the next competitors in the format wars:

step 1 - pre-emptively declare victory

step 2 - watch as the blogospere/echo chamber amplifies and solidifies your declaration

step 3 - rake in the dough as the major studios and retailers fall into line

step 4 - actually win

I left out the part where the winning format quickly loses to the next-big-thing: digital downloads. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were so busy duking it out to win an already obsolete market, that they ended up losing to tech like Apple TV, Vudu, and *cough* YouTorrent.

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NetFlix has also gone Blu-Ray exclusive.

And you missed a couple of steps.

Step 1.5 - pay copious amounts of money to gain exclusive contracts (money hats)

Step a.b - duct tape your new initiative to an already or predictably successful product (known as the Microsoft technique)

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Can we have an example of step a.b? And don't forget this.

Step 1.25 - Have the opposing format's encoding be craked and posted all over the 'Net.

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