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back to article Price, not format war fears, holds back Blu-ray, says survey

Toshiba has judged its HD DVD strategy correctly, according to consumer research from price comparison service Pricegrabber. What's stopping punters picking Blu-ray Disc is not the risk of backing the loser in the format war as the high price of players. During January, Pricegrabber listed HD DVD players priced between $144 and …

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Alien

Of course, the other reason could be...

...that everyone is waiting for profile 2.0 to be standard on the Blu-ray players?

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Paris Hilton

Never mind the hardware...

It's the price of the discs thats a joke.

While DVDs come on at £20 (£12.99 in your favourite local supermarket), and quickly drop, the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD still costs £25 several months later when the DVD is a bargain bin £7.

Four times the detail may be swell, but not at four times the price.

Paris cos her movie is surely coming out in Hi-Def soon (and many *would* consider paying four times the price for it)

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It's not the price of the players...

...it's the price of the movies that puts me off. £25 per film? No thanks, I'm quite happy paying £5-10 thanks.

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Stop

I'm waiting until I can buy an HD-DVD recorder for my PC...

The format war won't be won until the RW optical drives are being installed in people's PCs. It won't be won by Sony as they will cripple the crap out of the drives preventing anyone from recording a movie on them or some other nonsense, in the same way that they hobbled Minidisc recorders in PCs.

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Emperors New Clothes ?

And here was me thinking that people watched films for the storyline and characters, not simply for the quality of the picture. What a fool I've been !

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Unhappy

Players too expensive, discs too expensive

Well, duh.

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G4Z

Dual format players

Am I the only one waiting for the cheap Chinese dual format player that costs £50 and plays anything?

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Well duh

Anyone who's been buying electronics for more than a few years knows that very soon both the players and the movies will be commoditized. I have a 720p projector and a 100" screen, but I still use DVDs (with a decent upsampling player). I'm not going HD until I can get a player for $100 and movies for $15.

Honestly I'd pay more for the player, but as others have pointed out, anyone with a brain knows that the real cost of a technology is the ongoing cost; software costs more than the PC, CDs cost more than the stereo, and movie discs add up to FAR more than the cost of the player. If I could get HD movies for $10-15, I'd probably be willing to shell out perhaps $200 for a player. Until then, I'll just wait.

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Tim

What I'm waiting for...

(If I can't have everything on HD DVD that is)

1. Profile 1.1 & 2.0 *fully* supported (not just tolerating the discs).

2. All discs re-issued with profile 1.1 & 2.0 features and future discs using them.

3. Standalone player with full support for all profiles, all HD audio formats, and region free (PS3 is none of these).

4. *Much* lower price (ideally lower than £150). Yes - I do not want a games machine thank you very much. I have a Wii anyway and it's far more fun.

5. Lower disc prices with guarantees that if/when HD DVD dies the Blu-Ray prices stay low (can Sony's licence costs really allow this?).

As far as I can tell, it's going to be a long wait.

Meanwhile HD DVD will do me fine, even if it's going down the pan. 300+ films to choose from and many with features Blu-Ray fans still miss out on, and still all those Paramount/Universal titles that aren't going to turn up on Blu-Ray any time this year even if they do switch.

Simple fact is, Blu-Ray is still not mature and still not the right price. Not to mention the huge complication introduced with region coding if you want the best version of a movie.

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Why....

would people be wanting to buy HD DVD players now?

Considering the big film companies that have gone to blu-ray only, they must be restricting their choice of film by up to 70%.

And i agree with the previous comments re: price. Having a PS3 means i get the added benefit of being able to watch BD, but I'm not buying them until they are substantially cheaper (i.e. the cost of SD DVD's)

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Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: I'm waiting until I can buy an HD-DVD recorder for my PC...

You already can get Blu-ray burners (and they don't "cripple the crap out of the drives preventing anyone from recording a movie on them or some other nonsense"). Time to stop smoking.

HD DVD burners on the other hand...

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I'm waiting for the moon on a stick

Well, I'm waiting until I can watch HD movies on demand for a reasonable monthly subscription in the same timeframe as the DVD release.

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry? Isn't this just the obvious?

I mean if price was no object there wouldn't be a format war because everyone would just have a HD DVD player AND a Blu-Ray player.

It's the same reason everyone doesn't have the newest Graphics cards, fastest processors, and largest blocks of memory in their PCs ... they're waiting for them to come down in price.

I mean the article could be titled "Cutting edge stuff not cheap Shocker" ... I mean seriously.

Of course the HD-DVD being cheaper just goes to prove the other old addage that no matter how cheaply you charge for rubbish it's still rubbish and people won't pay for it.

I have to wonder if the journalist who wrote this piece graduated from the same place as the one who keeps putting Pricess Diana on the front cover of the Express and then re-works the "She's still dead. People are mean. Rick people are nasty." story one more time ...

Arrrrrrrgh!

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Silver badge

Cost

If the cost is putting people off when there is a price war going on between the formats, what's going to happen if HD-DVD does fall by the way side? Can't see Sony and the movie studios cutting the price any further if that happens.

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Ahhh finally

.... Tim admits he got stung early adopting HD-DVD after numerous rants in a previous article comment! I'm also guessing due to the continual PS3 bashing that more was paid for the HD-DVD player too than a PS3!

(And for the record Tim, I too was an early adopter of a dedicated HD-DVD player before you pick apart any other comments again!)

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In fairness

(Whilst still expensive compared to normal DVD), the prices of BR films are dropping reasonably quickly. HD-DVD disks were dropping quickly too until recently as well. Most films come in on BR sub £23 these days will many under £20.

But yes, until people DON'T have to shop around to the large extent for the low price, sales aren't going to sky rocket any time soon.

In regard to disk price though, people have very short memories. Block buster DVD movies were £25 each for the the first year or so of the DVD format. So to slate either BR or HD-DVD for the initial high prices is a little unfair. Now it they don't drop in price soon, then that is another matter.

Oh and why would the average consumer know or care about BR profile 2.0?!

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Ian

@ ElFatbob

"Why.... would people be wanting to buy HD DVD players now?"

Check the article - simply because they're affordable, come with 7 films, upscale standard DVDs brilliantly and still have Paramount and Universal exclusivity until around the end of the year.

Regardless of HD-DVD standing pretty much no chance in the format war now it's still such a bargain buy the format war result is irrelevant. When it's only £120 for the Toshiba EP30 including 7 good films who cares if it loses long term? Personally the main reason I wanted HD was for Planet Earth and Galapagos because they're the sort of things that really show off HD, these were available in HD-DVD so getting an EP30 with 7 free films was by far (by about £200 difference) the cheapest way of getting the content I want.

Sure I'll probably buy Bluray eventually if a decent HD download service hasn't arisen by that point but for now it's simply not worth the cost whereas HD-DVD really is quite fairly priced and quite hard to argue against if you just want to watch things like Planet Earth and one or two other good films that really show off HD such as Troy and 300 or any film with impressive fight scenes!

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Dead Vulture

What's in it for the customer?

DRM makes it FAR more complicated. Much more expensive and much more prone to either failure or obsolescence.

It's more expensive.

It's only a little bit better than DVD in quality (and mostly because the colour compression is much less) which quality could easily have been realised in DVD 9 format by using the more efficient newer compression algorithms.

But they didn't want to use DVDs. Why? Because their control of the format wasn't anywhere near what they wanted.

So what's in it for the customer?

Nothing near enough what the customer is giving to the manufacturer or media industry.

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Silver badge

Well...

Of course price plays a part... Sony appear to have learnt little from the VHS/Betamax issue in the early days of VCR. Betamax was technically superior, and was still used in professional circles until digital replaced it. However it's licensing was extortionate and JVC came up with VHS for the consumer for a far more reasonable sum.

Having said all that, I suspect the main reason would be that most people, including myself, don't actually see a problem with good old DVD. Many of us (again, including myself), are still happy with the reliable old CRT in the front room!

Hell, mines not even wide-screen!

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@Tim

Yet again you're proving yourself to be a complete moron.

Is the lack of dual streaming PiP and interactive content holding back your DVD buying plans? I ask because Profile 1.1 and 2.0 discs differ from profile 1.0 BDs is two primary ways, those being PiP and interactive online content. neither are big features on any DVD release. Nor are either big, make or break, features on any HD-DVD release I can think of. I mean how poor a movie does it have to be that you require PiP and interactive content to make it purchasable?

If you're waiting for region free, then feel free to hold your breath while you wait. It'll save the rest of the the trouble of arguing with you. Region free is a non issue for 99% of consumers. The absolute majority of discs purchased for DVD players are purchased in the home market. Sure region free is nice, but then why not simply import a player from the other region? As player prices fall it makes as much sense to do that as anything else. Certainly my two year old LCD manages to sync quite nicely to PAL as well as NTSC formats, so I don't think that purchasing a UK PS3 holds any problems for me.

Much lower price? Well in the rest of the world players are blow $300 is you look hard enough, which is 150 pounds. Of course in the UK you have the whole VAT thing, then there's the import duty that the EU mandates and of course the Treasure Island reputation that retailers covet there, so you can add another 100 quid on to the price for the retailer to gouge a profit. Prices are falling here, perhaps your local retailers need a sharp kick?

Disk prices for both HD formats are essentially the same, they need to fall, no argument. That said, I loved your little sideswipe at Sony over supposed license fees. a) Sony is not the BD association, b) Sony is not the sole licensee for BD technology, Microsoft is one of the many companies that own technology used in the BD format. License fees for BD are not significantly higher than those for HD-DVD. If you have any proof whatsoever, apart from vague assertions and bluster, post a link.

Tell me oh HD-DVD shill, what features is it that HD-DVD has, and BD doesn't, that you simply can't do without? Does it stroke your ego while you watch it? Perhaps your player phones Microsoft and Toshiba and you're earning 5pence a minute for watching HD-DVD? I don't know, but I do know that there isn't a significant feature that HD-DVD hass that Blu-Ray doesn't have the same or similar feature to compare. Tell me, Tim, does HD-DVD have anything to match up to the BD Live capability to take a portable version of the movie to a mobile player?

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Stop

Cost and Compatibility

I'm considering buying the the near future - mainly because I have to replace my DVD player. But I won't touch anything unless the cost of disks is reasonable, and it is regionless. Since I have a large collection of European DVDs and I'm moving to the US soon, regionless is key and non-negotiable. If they don't provide it, I won't buy.

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Flame

Fire(sale)!

"Toshiba has judged its HD DVD strategy correctly"

What lose and try to dump the stock to the ill educated who'll wonder why, in a few months, they can't get any new films

actually it sounds like a pretty good strategy at least until the rumoured toshiba blu-ray player emerges

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Gates Horns

@Tim the village idiot.

"Yes - I do not want a games machine thank you very much. I have a Wii anyway and it's far more fun."

So you admit you don't have a PS3, and yet somhow know the Wii is more fun. Why? Because some advert or blog told you you to think that?

I have all 3 consoles, and the PS3 is by far the best. Whilst it took a while to get great games, so did ALL the consoles.... (apart from the Wii of course, as it's just a Gamecube in a new box, with a silly controller).

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Too much choice causing massive indecision

That's the reason I'm not buying a BluRay player yet. Part of me wants a PS3 for a few games that I can't get for my 360, and the Profile 2.0 reassurance, part of me wants a BDP-S300 for the 5.1 analogue output.

I can't decide which, so for now I'm sticking with my HD-DVD add-on drive. Yes, fanboys, I know the format is losing the retail argument, and I'll eventually run out of films I want to buy, but I'm bound to get one or other once the next price drop happens.

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Thumb Up

Profile? Who cares?

How come only HD-DVD fans talk about BluRay profiles? I've seen the first Bluray movies. They must be profile 1.0. They look fantastic. No one is concerned about profiles. They are tiny little additional features that to me are worth nothing. As a person who has been waiting, I'll now be saving my pennies for a Bluray player. Probably a PS3, unless the independent player prices drop a lot because the PS3 doesn't seem much more expensive. I don't really want a PS3 since I have an XBOX 360, but hey, they are both better than a Wii.

Seriously though, Profiles? Whatever.

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Silver badge
Paris Hilton

I have a different reason

Format wars exacerbate the effects of price, because nobody who realises that there is a difference wants to spend silly money on a player that might well go obsolete in a short while. DVD players already cost less than the discs and are good enough for most people. In fact, slightly-sub-quality DVD-minus-R without the talkthrough, subtitles or deleted scenes seems to be good enough for most people.

Some more thoughts:

Region-free is the way it's going to be, whether or not the studios like it. For one thing, the manufacturers have to put it in for testing purposes. And for another, region coding has already been found illegal in Mainland Europe; so we'll simply be picking up our movie players on the same channel-hops we already pick up booze, tobacco and tape measures (yes, tape measures: the continental ones have centimetres on both edges, and so can be used right to the edge of the board, either way up. This is a feature you can't really appreciate until you've actually used a tape measure made this way).

The format war is ultimately most likely to be won by whichever is easiest to rip off. The only thing that will prevent piracy is for the movie studios to release next-generation discs at a lower price than the pirates can.

I myself have a different reason for not buying either a HD-DVD or Blu-ray player: I'm short-sighted and can barely see 625 lines, never mind 720 (hardly an improvement anyway?) or 1080.

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Dead Vulture

Price and convenience

To even begin to justify buying either HD format, I've have to upgrade my TV to a large-screen HD (won't happen for a couple of years yet). Factor in the cost of replacing disks and the relative lack of genuinely attractive content (what can I get on a Blu-Ray disk that I can't get close to on an upscaled DVD without needing extra video/sound hardware?) and my interest is minimal. Add in the fact that I would also have to upgrade my laptop to watch movies on the go and the usual region coding / copyright bull that will stop me playing my legally imported disks on Linux and no sale.

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@AC who is moving regions

Dude (or dudette) I moved from the UK to the US. I brought with me a bunch of VHS tapes and guess what, I had to buy a VCR with PAL capability, and since at the time I didn't have the HDTV have now, I had to buy a VCR with a video processor in it to convert to NTSC. If you're moving from the UK to the US, for example, consider the ease with which you can pick up your UK DVD player and bring it stateside. The power requirement of a DVD player shouldn't be beyond the capability of a voltage converter from Radio Shack, and most TVs around these days will sync to PAL, certainly the HD panels will. Failing that, do a web search and buy a regionless DVD player if you must, they can be found here, but it's actually easier to get them outside the US and bring them in.

Honestly this whole issue of region coding is so overblown. I used to think it was a royal pain, mostly because I hadn't actually done very much to overcome it. Now I have a Phillips DVD player (bought in the UK) that plays any region's DVDs and outputs NTSC or PAL. All I needed was a small voltage converter and everything is cool. People complaining about region coding obviously never tried to play PAL VHS tapes in the USA. It's easy to get an NTSC capable VCR in the UK, but over here people treat PAL capable VCRs like they're professional video equipment or something.

With regard to region coding on HD formats. BD implements it on many movies, HD-DVD hasn't yet implemented it on any movies, but the capability is in place in both standards. The solution to region coding is simple, buy a player from the other region, in Blu-Ray there are only three regions, with DVD there were seven regions IIRC, so the situation has improved some with region coding anyway.

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Paris Hilton

Although....Toshiba strategy is selling less than Blu-ray

Blu-ray is selling more than Toshiba HD-DVD so how did they get the strategy right???

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@Highlander

We keep having this one. A working group was formed by the HD-DVD consortium to plan and implement a Regioning strategy, as part of an attempt to woo Fox into coming onboard (they're the only studio who are rabid regioning fanboys, apparently, although some of the others take advantage of it on Blu since it's there anyway). However, they have not reported back yet with any technical recommendations, and if you seriously believe that they're likely to do so before Toshiba throws in the towel then I'm surprised.

There are plenty of BluRay discs where I'd want to buy the US version for image quality, extras or just plain price and availability. But I don't want to spend £300 on a second player just because sometimes the UK disc is the one to get.

Also, I've got a couple of hundred titles in DVD regions R1 and R2 and a smattering on other regions as well. Being able to relegate my (rather rubbish at upscaling) standard-def player from the living room would be a big relief.

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@ Ian

Ok,

Fair points for your viewing preferences, but I still can't understand why someone would choose a format where the majority of titles will not be available. I was well pi$$ed off when i couldn't get Bourne Ultimatum on BD and that was just one title.

£120 to me is still a lot for an upscaling DVD player.

And i'm not hung up on either format. I bought a PS3 for the games, but now use it as my SD dvd upscaling player as well as a BD player (i rent the BD discs)

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bda just doesn't get it.

the bda doesn't seem to realize that they have to offer a substantially better product if they want to charge a substantially higher price. while some of the movies i watch are fantastic some are only marginally better than dvd. when you add all the other problems with the player and disk compatability one does not have to wonder too long why this technology is not advancing very fast. i feel like i was suckered out of a bunch of hard-earned cash just to watch in hi-def. the consumers also don't like having a player that needs to be continually updated with firmware just to play a movie. to me this does not instill confidence with the player or the company that built it. if this product was not ready for the public why was it offered for sale.

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Tim

@Richard Spooner, @Highlander

"I'm also guessing due to the continual PS3 bashing that more was paid for the HD-DVD player too than a PS3!"

Nope. Far cheaper than the PS3. Not bothered at all about the money as I haven't lost anything. I can still play 300+ movies in HD, and I've got a fantastic upscaling DVD player.

As I've said though, the PS3 is too expensive and not "there" yet for me for Blu-Ray. So I just live without the wealth of dumb comedies and the likes of the Pirates series from Sony ;)

Meanwhile I'm still buying discs so I can watch 'HD' movies, whilst I wait for Blu to fall in line to provide the rest of the catalogue at the right price and with the right features.

@Highlander

Read my points again. They are perfectly valid reasons for not going Blu yet (and note I don't rule it out entirely at all!). You may not feel the same, but they are my reasons and many can agree with them even if you don't.

However...

"Yet again you're proving yourself to be a complete moron."

And with that comment everything else you say is null and void.

Do you expect me to treat Blu-Ray seriously if this is what their fans come out with? !

And people tell me to grow up? !! Come on. I just voice some concerns, and they I get insults and abuse!

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Tim

Re: @Tim the village idiot.

Mark. You assume I haven't seen or played a PS3. Besides I know what games interest me. They aren't on the PS3. I already have a PS2 anyway and don't really want a PS3 for gaming. Not because of any anti-Sony agenda (hell I actually own or have owned a lot of Sony kit!), but because I'm not a serious hard core gamer (in fact I got bored with the PS2 games).

I admit I'm a part time gamer who likes simple fun games. That is the very reason why the Wii is so massively successful. It is also a reason why the PS3 alone cannot drive Blu-Ray to mass market.

Maybe something else will, but it's not there yet. Again, read my points as to why I *personally* (whether you like it or not) will not currently buy Blu.

As for the subject. Again, Blu fans demonstrate their superior intelligence and attitude by throwing insults at anyone who doesn't agree with them! lol.

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Pirate

I'm still smarting from...

...the Beta Vs VHS war. There's no way I'll ever go SONY again.

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