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back to article Oz video rental giants go Blu-ray only

Major Australian rental chains Video Ezy and Blockbuster - both of which are owned by the same company, Franchise Entertainment Group - have gone all-out for Blu-ray Disc, they said today. Neither chain - comprising 870 stores in total - will now offer HD DVD rentals. According to FEG Managing Director Paul Uniacke, quoted by …

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Stop

You didnt really buy a HD-DVD player did you?

Another (small) nail in HD-DVDs coffin.

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Anonymous Coward

So PS3 owners bought an average 0.9 discs?

So 3070 HD DVD players (add ons to XBox plus stand alone players) to 2241 BluRay stand alone players (excluding PS3).

Stay with me for a minute, I know I'm comparing apples and pears. I'm going to assume that people buy the Xbox add on to play discs, because it's not much use for anything else. So I'm assuming it's the equivalent to a cheap HD DVD player.

18,000 HD DVD discs is 5.8 discs per HD DVD player.

So 2241 BluRay * 5.8 = 13000 discs sold to BluRay stand alone player customers (because there's no reason they'd be any different in terms of the number of discs bought per stand alone player), so PS3 owners bought the remaining 89000 discs or 0.89 discs per PS3 owner average.

So we get an average 0.9 discs bought per PS3 sold in Australia.

So say that's worldwide, 5.5 *0.9 = 4.95 million Blu Ray disc sold to PS3 owners? Seems high, but even at half that it shows Sony made the right choice in bundling the BluRay player with the PS3.

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Betamax v VHS

When video rental shops stopped stocking Betamax copies of films it didn't take long for the whole thing to collapse.

I wonder if this could happen here - given that studios are so tied to the new formats?

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Unhappy

I'm not buying either

until they stop their VHS/Betamax style squabbling. The only losers at the moment are their customers.

Trying to force one or other format on the market might be great for whoever wins, but until somebody does, I'll stick with DVD and save my money. After all, who wants to be left with a Betamax player when everybody is releasing films on VHS?

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Thumb Up

Way to go!

Man, those numbers... it's amazing... no matter how you look at them, they're always... bad. More BR-capable units than BR discs sold... seesh...

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Do numbers really compute?

102241 Blu-ray Disc players (including PS3s) and 609 HD-DVD Players - are those figures right?

Can those figures really be correct?

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Happy

blockbusted..

Blockbuster owned xtravision over here in NI have been BluRay only for ages.. so just following the company trend.

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Flame

HD-DVD going the way of Betamax

It seems its only a matter of time before this format is laid to rest.... The simple fact that there are millions of blu-ray players in the shape of PS3's around the world mean that the format is unstoppable!

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Anonymous Coward

Good move Sony

This is a good move for Sony because it doesn't brand the PS3 "completely useless". As there a very, very few games let alone good games for the PS3. Lets hope there are some good movies to watch on Blu-Ray. Or you could use it as a barbieQ :>

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Silver badge

Blu-ray winning? Bugger!

Because if it does become the de-facto format, its a clear victory for proprietary formats (yes you Sony) and aggressive DRM over the consumer.

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Easily stoppable.

Laserdisc had no competition, bar VHS. Unless the price of movies rather radically alters, DVD vs. BluRay will go the same way.

Personally, I plan on adding a BluRay player to my current HD-DVD setup, but I don't feel too put out that I've got one. The add-on drive for the 360 wasn't terribly expensive, and I've enjoyed watching Potter, Serenity, Mission: Impossible, Bourne and so on in the format. If nothing bar the announced discs ever comes out, I'll have a library big enough to be happy with my purchase for a while.

My first DVD player was £500. I've still got a fair way to go before I've lost that much money in what might turn out to be a 'dead' format.

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Anonymous Coward

You know why it's 0.9 per PS3?

Because most of the people who have bought one won't have a HD-TV for Blu-Ray. Sony is winning the propaganda war with PS3 sales figures, but in reality PS3 owners are a lot more interested in games than movies.

The whole HD-DVD Vs Blu-Ray "war" is basically a skirmish of the early adopters, as the actual market share is tiny compared to current DVD sales.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love for one format to become a standard, then at least I'd be asking "Hmm, what HD films do I want?", instead of "Hmm, which HD movies are on my format?".

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Mike Richards

You're wrong, so very, very wrong.

1) HD-DVD uses the exact same DRM protections as BluRay.

2) Unlike BluRay HD-DVD belongs to one Consumer Electronics company - Toshiba. BluRay is not Sony's exclusive property, it's not proprietary. People really have swallowed the FUD hook line and sinker on this one. But it's time that the truth started to get out there. The proprietary standard is Toshiba's HD-DVD.

Now, maybe you'll do something more than flame me or my message, maybe you'll do some research. I doubt it though.

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(Written by Reg staff)

@Mike Richards

HD DVD isn't proprietary. Toshiba may have done much of the work - actually, NEC did a lot too: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/11/27/toshiba_blue_laser_tech_chosen/ - but the spec is now maintained independently by the DVD Forum.

Saying HD DVD is proprietary is a bit like saying Linux is too because only one guy wrote the first kernel.

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Gates Horns

Wake up people..

Grrr, It annoys me when HD DVD owners try and pull their trump card, price of BD players..

The current price of Sony BDPS300 is £259.99 inc VAT. Full 1080p, not an obsolete HD DVD player that does 1080i..

Personally, I would pay the £20 more and get the 40GB PS3 for £279.99 from Play.com, as it includes a game, and is an awesome Blu-ray player, media streaming client, and killer game console...

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Anonymous Coward

It may be business politics too

"The whole HD-DVD Vs Blu-Ray "war" is basically a skirmish of the early adopters, as the actual market share is tiny compared to current DVD sales."

Agreed but if the rental companies don't stock the HD DVDs then it may die at birth because you can't simply pop out and rent a HD DVD.

Perhaps also there is politics in this, Blockbuster must know that Microsoft's involvement threatens their rental market (XBox as a media hub to download movies direct from Microsoft), so they may be preemptively snuffing HD DVDs. Australia's an easy market to do that in, because HD DVD is doing so badly there judging from the figures.

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Tony Smith, et al - HD-DVD

HD-DVD is a Toshiba/NEC product. NEC isn't a notably big CE manufacturer, though they make all sorts of semiconductors.

Toshiba chaired the DVD forum at the time HD-DVD was proposed as a new standard. Toshiba attempted three times to have it ratified as a 'standard', but each time it failed to succeed. So the voting rules changed and several new members of the DVD forum materialized out of the woodwork all of a sudden allowing the vote to go Toshiba's way.

The tech in BluRay was originally developed by Sony and Pioneer, and wasn't 'BluRay' until Matsushita, Pioneer, Philips, Thomson, LG Electronics, Hitachi, Sharp, Samsung and Sony got together forming the kernel of the BluRay Disc Association. The BluRay Disc Association added a bunch of other industry leaders including Apple, TDK, Dell, Hewlett Packard, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. and Universal Music Group.

As for proprietary, I'll call HD-DVD proprietary. According to the HD-DVD 'official' site the only Consumer Electronics manufacturers counted as HD-DVD partners are Toshiba and Venturer (obviously a blue chip brand). Venturer is a recent addition. So that would mean that the standard Toshiba developed and forced through the DVD forum is more or less owned and operated by - Toshiba. Sounds proprietary to me, or at lest very close to being proprietary.

BluRay by contrast has the following Consumer Electronics companies as partners in the BluRay Disc association; Hitachi, LG, Mitsubushi, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic and Thompson, not to mention itself. I think that the contrast is pretty clear no?

For the HD-DVD partners, try this link;

http://www.thelookandsoundofperfect.com/partners.html

For the BluRay list of partners try this link;

http://www.blu-raydisc.com/general_information/Section-14009/Index.html

Now, I don't know about you, but even a quick glance at those two pages is enough to show which of these 'standards' might be described as proprietary. It should at least shut up people who are so caught up in hating Sony that they can't look past the end of their own nose.

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Dead Vulture

@highlander

Agreed - Have to say, Tony, that you are wrong. You even say yourself that Tosh did most of the legwork... But compared to BluRay, it's a propriatary format. In no way can BluRay be called that against HD-DVD. More likely that it's just a matter of how much propriatary work has been done. If I'm right in saying here (oh, I am..), Sony developed the laser format whilst Pioneer developed the actual interpretation means.

So, to wrap this up: it's not purely Sony, and it never will be - there are just too many organisations envolved in BluRay.

Huzaaar!!!

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Remember why Betamax failed

If I remember correctly Betamax failed not because it was Sony but because it was Sony ONLY.

Customers always like a choice and Blu ray has the greatest choice available.

Q.E.D.

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They're both proprietary.

Or neither. Both are standards that any manufacturer of players or discs can license, if they've got enough cash lying around. Both require substantial wedges of that money to buy into.

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HD DVD all the way

ADDITIONALLY, the programming language used by Bluray, BD-J, is said to be giving the Studios hell to program, and is making it harder to release titles than the language used on HD DVD, called HDi. This was cited as a reason why Paramount and Dreamworks last week dropped the Bluray format and became exclusive studios on the HD DVD side. FURTHERMORE, the studios stated that it is GOOD that the HD DVD players are all built to ONE superior specification than the Bluray players, since this means that the studios can be confident that EVERYONE will get the same fantastic user experience out of any HD DVD discs they release to the market.

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