back to article Mole claims Toshiba to terminate HD DVD

Is Toshiba about to fall on its sword and announce the demise of HD DVD? That's certainly what one report citing an unnamed mole within the HD DVD camp is claiming, even though Toshiba itself is having none of it. The source mentioned by US Home Media Magazine claims that Toshiba could declare HD DVD dead in "a matter of weeks …

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Excellent ...

One format for Christmas 2008 ... Then it will really take off.

End of DVD by 2020 ... Sorted.

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Gates Horns

It was only a matter of time.

Suprised nobody has reported Currys and the whole of DSG have stopped stocking HD DVD in the UK.

As for this news, it was only a matter of time, as Toshiba have been losing hundreds of $$ on every unit sold. Whilst the same USED to be true of the Sony PS3, that is now at least breaking even, with Sony have other revenue streams to make the money back (Blu-ray licencing and PS3 game licencing). Toshiba have no other revenue streams to create a loss-leader, so every player sold it's $$$hundreds down the pan.

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LPF

Upscaled DVD's

I have a cheap £50 upscalign DVD, outputting to a 46" LCD and it matches both HD and BD , so not matter who wins or loses, only buying the wiiner when they match the price of ordinary DVD's!

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Gates Horns

@LPF

If you can't see a difference between upscaled DVD, and BD, then I suggest you get either a new TV, or a new set of eyes.

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Surely this was inevitable?

"But because the Sony PlayStation 3 has a built in Blu-ray drive, that format's been able to outstrip its rival's figures in terms of both disc sales and shipments of devices capable of playing them"

Exactly, I didn't think HD-DVD ever stood a chance because of this bold but ultimately very smart move that Sony made. They went through a lot of pain to make sure it happened, but now it has, they're laughing.

You could almost applaud Toshiba for throwing in the towel now and allowing the market to flourish from there on in. Stringing it out further to an ultimate demise anyway isn't going to help.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Mark

"As for this news, it was only a matter of time, as Toshiba have been losing hundreds of $$ on every unit sold. Whilst the same USED to be true of the Sony PS3, that is now at least breaking even, with Sony have other revenue streams to make the money back (Blu-ray licencing and PS3 game licencing). Toshiba have no other revenue streams to create a loss-leader, so every player sold it's $$$hundreds down the pan."

I can see you love your Bluray, but what????? The PS3 is NOT breaking even per unit sold yet - I'm not sure why you'd think otherwise, it's still making a loss albeit much smaller than before. Toshiba's range of HD-DVD players are also not making a loss, but now have at least a negligible profit margin since the recent price drop and a worthwhile profit margin prior to that for a good while now. The only real loss for Toshiba from losing the format war is that they no longer have the option of controlling the HD media format which isn't the end of the world, particularly as they were one of the largest producers and sellers of classic DVD machines without having a massive amount of control over the format.

By all means gloat about how Bluray has one the format war because it's true, but why on earth at this point is there any need to bend reality to that extent and outright lie as a result?

Judging from your pro-Sony slant to your comments (despite companies like Philips, Apple and about 20 others also being behind Bluray) I'd wage a bet you're just a PS3 fanboy in general in which case I'm not sure you should get too ahead of yourself because by helping win the HD format war, Sony quite clearly lost the overall console war this time round. Even EA are predicting that Sony are going to be behind the second place 360 by 7 mill units and the Wii by around 23 mill units by the end of the year and they've always been quite friendly towards Sony. The Wii is the clear winner this time round and will almost certainly reach PS2 levels of units sold by the end of it's life time, furthermore Nintendo also has a clear victory over the PSP with the DS.

I hope this brings a bit of realism to your perspective at least, but as with all fanboys, that seems horribly unlikely.

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3 to 1 == 75%

Has anyone else noticed that if BD is outselling HD-DVD by 3:1, that's exactly the same ratio of studio films that BD and HD-DVD have (75% and 25%)?

So does this actually tell us anything?

All we (as consumers) want is a dual player.

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Thumb Up

Agree with Mark

1) Toshiba starts selling HD-DVD as upscaling DVD players - done

2) Toshiba fits Cell processors to HDTVs - in progress

3) Toshiba HDTVs display the same top-quality upscaling as the PS3 for SD material - future

4) Toshiba quietly dispose of HD-DVD, rebrand "HD-DVD" as upscaling DVD to HD using Cell on HDTVs, save face by using Cell along with Sony - future

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Thumb Down

Upscaling's pointless.

When I watch DVDs on my laptop, I run them full-screen, and rather than doubling-up pixels, the computer tries to interpolate a "better" picture and just ends up blurring the s*dding thing.

OK, I'm sure these dedicated media servers (I refuse to call something with that much computing power a "player") do a better job than Windows, but no computer can work out what goes where it can't see!

That's why I'm still happy with my DVD player and standard definition TV.

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@AC

Yeah your laptop screen upscaling is crap, amateur and just gives you a big blurred image. You should take a look at a PS3 upscaling DVD (or I expect these HD-DVD players probably produce a similar output) and you do end up with a very impressive image.

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Re: PS3 price and profit

I'm sure there was an analyst report from a couple of months back suggesting that the manufacturing cost on a PS3 is now around £200; Sony are now roughly breaking even on them in most of the world, and UK Ripoff Markup means a profit here.

Can the HD-DVD firesale start now, please? There are still tonnes of movies on that format I want to buy; easily enough to last me until I pull the trigger on a BluRay player.

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Stop

Wouldn't surprise me

Toshiba are hardly a mega-multinational like Sony, exactly how many more billions can they lose promoting a dying format?

A valiant effort, to be sure, but they best bow out gracefully before the HD-DVD deadweight takes the whole company down with it.

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Anonymous Coward

BluRay = sexy name, HD-DVD = dull name

It's been easy all along to work out who was going to win this one.

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Bronze badge
Happy

YES!!!

Good, HD-DVD finally going to disappear.

I'm not an HD video buff so I can't comment on the pros/cons of either HD DVD or BluRay.

The reason I wanted BluRay to win was because it has theoretical higher capacity limits. Great for data storage. I can't wait until BD-RE discs and drives drop a bit in price.

DVD offered such massive advantages over VHS - that's why people went for DVD quickly.

They didn't get chewed up in a player, didn't degrade over time, could pause properly, could instantly skip between chapters. It was great.

I'm not sure that HD discs offer the same number of advantages over regular DVD.

Sure, better quality. But ask most people and I reckon they're pretty happy with the quality of DVD.

I think £12-15 is an insane price for a new release DVD, but asking people to fork out £20 for something on BluRay? Forget it.

I think DVD will be around for a while yet.

But still, this is great news. BluRay looks on the verge of winning with its greater capacities. Happy days!

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Gates Horns

@Anonymous Coward

PS3 is now breaking even, it was widely reported last month.

http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jan2008/gb2008018_681920.htm

"Already such changes have cut the cost per machine to around $400 now, from above $800 just before it went on sale in November, 2006"

Considering that Blu-ray and HD DVD use basically the same tech, Toshiba ARE losing Hundreds of $$ per unit, as blue laser production is still not cheap, as are the decoding chipsets, Even more so, in the relatively limited quantities they are selling (~1 Million globally, including 360 addon).

The bottom line, is because it's just Toshiba selling HD DVD, they can price it how they wish, but Blu-ray camp can only really price it for what it costs, as for example, Sony undercutting would annoy Samsung/Panasonic/LG and all the other Blu-ray hardware producers.

So Anonymous Coward, it's obvious why you wish to remain Anonymous, as your arguments amount to nothing. And there is only one fanboy here, YOU...

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Tim

Replacing DVD

Dream on.

Take the PS3 for example. 1million players sold in the UK in it's first year. There are some 30million or more DVD players in the UK.

PS3's sale rate will have been largest in the first year and then decline. It has a very long way to go to even achieve 30million, and that makes a massive assumption that Joe Public (not just 12 to 20-something males) will even buy one!

Only chance of replacing DVD is to get £20 players in ASDA, and even then there has to be a good reason for Joe Public to bother replacing DVD. HD is not a good enough reason when the vast majority of the UK public has a small CRT tucked away in the corner of the room (remember, what's on sale in Currys is not a reflection of what the majority of people own).

Re:Upscaling's pointless.

Proper upscaling is a lot more than just scaling up on your laptop. If you've seen true upscaling you would even be hard to tell the difference between it and HD except with a 40" or bigger TV. Trust me. Try it before you knock it.

Re: The article

Almost certainly this is Blu-FUD, but we'll see. Only thing I can see Tosh doing is perhaps starting to make dual-format players, but as people are still buying HD DVD players from them and gaining access to 300+ HD movies at bargain prices, many of which still remain exclusive to HD DVD, and with far more interest in HD DVD from China, then they'd be foolish to stop now.

This is just more Blu-FUD from the fanboys who want HD DVD to die (and it's their campaign rather than any "choice" that has won it).

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Unhappy

Great

...Ill put my HD DVD player in the same box as my Philips Digital Compact Cassette and my Beta Max. Ill get one of these right one day.

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Jobs Horns

Only if Xbox 360.......

included the HD-DVD drive with its machine, there would have more so called HD-DVD player in the world and gives a 2:1 advantage over blu-ray (PS3)..... in return, more ppl would embrace the xbox 360 for its HD-DVD capability and generate more HD-DVD discs sales.... bad move.... both HD-DVD camp and Microsoft will eventually fall, serve them right and long live the Wii who stays out of it.

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Toshiba is a *huge* company

Actually Toshiba is only very slightly smaller than Sony, although much of its output is not known to us in the West. They're one of the biggest semi-conductor manufacturers in the World, they have a very successful heavy engineering arm and they recently bought the Westinghouse company which designs the majority of pressurised water reactors.

Losing HD-DVD would be an accountancy headache for the company, but it wouldn't endanger it. And they have powerful friends, Toshiba was one of the original zaibatsu conglomerates and are now a major keiretsu having a strong, favourable relationship with the Mitsui Bank.

They're probably better off than Sony which has recently become highly dependent on one or two product lines - Bravia and PlayStation - for the vast majority of its profits.

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Silver badge

Japan does Hollywood, Holywood Style.

If Toshiba went into Quality Content Provision/Block Buster Moves on Movies they could embrace both Systems .... One [their own] for Mastering Copy/Master Copying and the Other for Licensed Play.

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@AC RE@Mark

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/PlayStation-profit,news-27371.html

The figures tell a different story. Not only are PS3 sales catching up, the volumes they are selling are increasing faster than the other 2 consoles. And as the figures show, they are now making a decent profit

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Anonymous Coward

@Upscaling's pointless

Completely agree, but thats why I'm Not happy with my DVD player and standard definition TV and purchased a hd telly and blu-ray

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Anonymous Coward

@ Joe K

Quote: "Toshiba are hardly a mega-multinational like Sony"

You underestimate Toshiba.

Toshiba Corporation:

Employees: 191,000

Employee growth: 11.0%

Key numbers for fiscal year ending March, 2007:

Sales: $60,346.6M

One year growth: 11.9%

Net income: $1,165.4M

Income growth: 75.3%

Sony Corporation:

Employees: 163,000

Employee growth: 2.8%

Key numbers for fiscal year ending March, 2007:

Sales: $70,513.4M

One year growth: 11.0%

Net income: $1,073.8M

Income growth: 2.2%

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Ian

@ Joe K

Toshiba have 30,000 more employees than Sony and have a similar value, it's exactly this reason that they have been able to last this long.

It's worth noting that Toshiba's size comes mostly from electronics, for example they're the 3rd largest semiconductor company in the world after Samsung and Intel.

Keep in mind that just because a company doesn't sell a lot of customer facing products doesn't also mean they don't do a lot behind the scenes. Ironically it's almost certain that at least some individual electronic components of the likes of the PS3 actually come from Toshiba!

Toshiba isn't a company that's going to go away overnight as a result of a single format war, and if it did it'd be rather worrying for everyone as it'd almost certainly mean an immediate shortage of countless electronic components and as a result electronic goods worldwide would see a rather noticeable price increase.

At best winning the HD format war would've been nice for Toshiba due to increased licensing revenue, but at worst by losing it they'll still have their other departments and most prominently they'll be able to do as well selling Bluray players as they did DVD players - something which they make far more profit off to this day than any company is selling Bluray or Console hardware will in the next few years simply due to the cheap cost to produce DVD players and the massive volume of people that purchases them!

The HD market is simply too small right now to have any real noticeable detrimental effect on company finances in the grand scheme of things, the same would be equally true if Bluray had lost. The only situation it would really become an issue is if some company were depending on a particular format to hold up the rest of their business - something Toshiba certainly is not, very much the contrary in fact, their other businesses have been holding HD-DVD up without any struggle!

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Gates Horns

@Tim

"PS3's sale rate will have been largest in the first year and then decline."

It's actually the exact opposite. Sales will increase for the next 7-8 years, before it slows. Take a look at the PS2 sales curve. Each time the console drops in price, and more desirable games arrive, it opens the door for a new wave of consumers.

Sony are still sellings Millions of PS2's If we followed your logic, they would be selling hundreds.

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Stop

@ Mark

Quote: "And there is only one fanboy here, YOU..."

Who are you trying to kid, Mark? You post comments under EVERY BluRay & PS3 article 'bigging up' $ony. FFS, change the record.

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Stop

One format dies = prices stop going down

with the advent of dual-format drives and players, the continued existence of both formats would have been best for consumers as the competition between them would drive down prices. If HD DVD kicks the bucket there's no incentive to cut Blu-Ray disc prices any more.

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@Tim

When did anyone say "BR will replace DVD"? No one said that. Just like every other post, a general comment is siezed upon, mis-quoted and taken out of context deliberately.

Bro you got a serious problem either understanding plain English or are incapable of winning an argument with facts alone as once again you are misrepresenting things. The PS3, and other consoles have a typical sales profile of a three to four years slow steady rising curve in sales with them starting to flatten a little at the end of the fourth year but continuing to rise into the fifth year before a plateau trend starts to appear. Holiday spikes aside.

If you can't say anything constructive about THE ARTICLE, don't say anything at all.

The article is about a possible shutting up shop of HD-DVD, and whilst I don't have any doubt it is a rumour taken totally out of context (like you seem to do with things), dragging PS3 sales figures into it is irrelevant. Utterly irrelevant.

And then to slag the console 1) For no reason and 2) To serve no purpose to the article is just childish and making yourself look silly. Could you not afford a PS3 or something? You also keep rehashing the sale old HD-DVD spiel.

The fact is HD-DVD is done for. Shut up shop, send a clear message to the consumer and flood the market with the complete film back catalogues to give the consumers a reason to buy, profits to rise and players and disks to drop in price.

And I am speaking from the point of view of a multi console, dual HD format player owning consumer.

No it won't be a quick process, but HD ready TV's are becoming exclusive in shops now, but why not quicken the process Toshiba and start making BR players and get back some money?

I'm sorry Tim, someone called you a 'village idiot' in a previous post and I thought them a little harsh, but now I completely agree. The worrying thing is I hear sales people in electrical shops with the same shtty attitude and clearly also educated by the Daily Mail newspaper.

As part of the self appointed HD-DVD ‘film buff’ gang you really should know what the following means….

“Now go get your HD-DVD shine box”…..

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Firesale on Now

got an email last night from Amazon saying that HD-DVD's are now half price (could Amazon be about to pull out).

Anyway, what everyone seems to have missed is that the consumer is getting by far the worst deal.

1) blu-ray is controlled by Sony who does not have a good track record with open standards.

2) blu-ray spec is not dreadfully robust - reports of artefacts etc

3) blu-ray are considerably more expensive than HD-DVD disks.

4) For those that are interested - no HD Porn as Sony have said they won't license Blu-ray to the porn industry

Anyway I think this is all inconsequential. for most people the standard DVD is enough and anyway with all the different HD sources available (e.g. sky movies etc) the rental/purchase market is going to go into terminal decline. (I stopped buying DVD's in 2000 as €25 euros is a lot to pay for a disk that one is only ever going to watch once (some are still in their shrinkwrap)).

So, what is a thing of the past in my opinion is discs - so in 2020 there will be no DVD AND no discs (will go the way of the tape). So let's not get too upset.

My 2 pence worth,

W.

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Unhappy

@ Ben Bradley

Quote "The reason I wanted BluRay to win was because it has theoretical higher capacity limits. Great for data storage. I can't wait until BD-RE discs and drives drop a bit in price."

So, you are not bothered about $ony crippling BluRay recorders with all kinds of draconian DRM shit?

Or losing your data because of the inherently more fragile nature of BluRay discs?

Wow, it must be nice to be you.

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Stop

End the war now!

@Phil Riley: "All we (as consumers) want is a dual player."

Uh, no.

All I, as one consumer, want is for the war to end and the losing format to go away forever, so that all uncertainty is gone, and when I do eventually get around to upgrading to HD, there'll be a clear-cut choice with 100% backing.

I say "I" because I don't presume to speak for everyone else. But realistically, I can't be the only one who feels this way.

@Tim: "Blu-FUD"

Oh just give it the fuck up already, you daft bugger! It's a movie format, not a bleedin' religion. So you sunk your money into HD-DVD, too bad. That's what happens sometimes when you choose sides in a format war. Grow up and deal with it.

Toshiba would be wise to end this now. How many people, buying an HD-DVD player and thinking they got an awesome bargain, are going to realize they bought an ex-parrot, are going to then be quite annoyed and decide that Toshiba is to blame for enticing them with cheap players while claiming that the format had a future (even when all the evidence suggested otherwise)?

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@Anon

"with the advent of dual-format drives and players, the continued existence of both formats would have been best for consumers as the competition between them would drive down prices. If HD DVD kicks the bucket there's no incentive to cut Blu-Ray disc prices any more."

Sorry, but since Sony isn't the only company making them, and Toshiba will be selling them as well eventually, competition between BR companies will actually be healthier than the current competition between BR and HD DVD companies.

Once we're down to just one standard, many people who've been holding off buying a HD* player because of the war will be buying one. History shows that once a device moves from niche to widespread use, prices start to settle lower. With more widespread purchasing, companies will be able to make their money on the units on quantity instead of just high pricing.

* intended to describe both Blu Ray and HD DVD

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Tim

@Monkey, @Paul

@Monkey

"When did anyone say "BR will replace DVD"?"

First comment. Read it again.

@Paul - Why does it bother you if I point out some realities? No need for the abusive language. So I backed "the wrong format". Does that matter to me? Not really. I have movies to watch and my player isn't about to explode. If you don't like what I write, then tough. "Deal with it" ;-)

What gets me though is why Blu fans get so upset about any comments from the people they have "defeated". Why not welcome them over to your format of choice? Currently everything I read from the fanboys being abusive to HD DVD owners, does not encourage me to back the format. Is it something about the average age (or mental age) of a PS3 owner perhaps? ;-)

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Gates Horns

Walmart drops HD DVD..

http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9873029-7.html

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Stop

@Walter McCann

1) Wrong

2) Specific disc problems, same as on any format whether that be dvd, hddvd or bluray demand better encodes. Now penny pinching studios will not have to encode to the lowest common denominator to save money on doing a good encode and a cheaper smaller encode

3) Not that I've seen both roughly the same, both too expensive but now with a single format hopefully more consumers will commit and prices will drop much like when new films were £9.99 on vhs and £19.99+ on dvd

4) Wrong again

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Flame

"Short of giving players away for free..."

You mean like this?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=pcmcat143700050052&type=category

Player and 5 movies ... don't think Liztomania will be one of them though ... pitty.

Fire Sale!

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Flame

Tim...

Tim, the only being continually abusive is yourself. no one cares what you spent your dosh on. what they care about here is the ignorance and immaturity of your rants in these forums. Monkey and several others made some very relevant comments about the HDDVD situation whilst also pointing out the continuing silly statements you are making.

"welcome you over to the format"... you want a red carpet or something? This is consumerism not the United Nations. I like how you also couldn't really respond to Monkey's comments! personified completely by your continued PS3 bashing, and PS3 rants. Thus proving Monkey's point about irrelevant article commenting.

HDDVD is dead Tim get over it. Your welcome to te format are your sales receipts my boy.

Monkey.. LOL nice one "you fking Mutt, you keep him here" says Tommmy as he exits the bar....

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Anonymous Coward

PLEASE TAKE MY RIGHTS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

I still can't believe that the public have chosen Blu-Ray over HD-DVD -- a marginally technically-superior format vs a more "free" one (well, in as much as a format with some form of DRM can be called "free", anyway).

Blu-Ray offers 5GB more per layer, but what's that been used for so far? Lossless audio tracks. Maybe I'm wrong but can anyone actually hear the difference between lossless audio on Blu-Ray and lossy audio on HD-DVD? I certainly don't recall any reviews slating lossy 7.1 surround for being poor quality.

The same goes for the "improved" picture quality; at present most (if not all) films released on both formats use the same encode, meaning that Blu-Ray is effectively being hamstrung by catering to the lowest common denominator. Has this ever been flagged as a problem? Again, I've seen nothing to state that it's been detrimental to the format.

On the other hand, HD-DVD is a totally region-free format (whereas Blu-Ray's region-free status relies entirely on the studios releasing the films) and will happily play non-AACS content, whereas the Blu-Ray standard requires titles to have AACS -- in other words, there's no guarantee that your homebrew discs (whether they be home movies, trailer compilations or BD-J coding experiments) will work on a given Blu-Ray player.

We were given the choice between an extra 5GB storage space and the ability to import discs and create our own; we took the shiny promise of "better" audio and video over digital rights. Way to go, guys.

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@Walter

You are in error.

1)Sony does not control Blu-Ray, the BDA does. It's comprised of nearly the entire CE industry (minus Toshiba) and most of Hollywood.

2) Any artifacts in video are a product of the quality of the encoding, not the standard. Blu-Ray has a higher data rate, and video bit rate. Any visual artifacts seen are a result of errors or other problems with the transfer and encoding of the movie. In fact due to a lower video bitrate HD-DVD is potentially more prone to artifacts because the lower the bit rate the more likely the use of compression.

3) Blu-Ray discs are more expensive. Define considerably. Apart from anything else the capacity of a Blu-Ray allows a single disc to contain the movie and extras in glorious HD, where as the equivalent HD-DVD release either skips the extras or has two discs. Blu-Ray discs are not twice as expensive to manufacture, so a two disc HD-DVD release is more expensive to manufacture than a single disc Blu-Ray release. Not to mention that the cost of manufacture is a tiny fraction of the retail price we pay, so the cost differential at manufacture barely causes a ripple in the sales tax.

4) First of all, I couldn't care less about porn. Secondly Sony have done no such thing they don't control the licensing, even if they did they can't act as gatekeeper on content. thirdly more than one adult movie production company has already made Blu-Ray releases, so actual events have demonstrated the wrongness of your statement.

Last, and by no means least, for the majority of people who actually have a HDTV and have it set up correctly there is a huge and obvious quality difference between 720p and 480i/480p If you can't see that difference you need to have your eyes checked. 1080p takes that even further, you're talking about 2 million pixels verses little more than 300,000 pixels. 720p is about a million pixels compared to standard 480p at around 300,000. For all those people claiming to be unable to see a difference, I shall come to your home/office and take your nice shiny LCD panel with it's 1280x1024 resolution and instead give you a standard VGA monitor at 640x480. How many people will tell me there is no difference? Yet that is exactly the difference between 720p and 480p. Rather than giving your 2pence worth here, I should save your tuppences for your next visit to the optician, you obviously need a new pair of lenses.

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PAL vs NTSC

I've noticed that NTSC countries have moved to HDTV much more strongly than PAL countries - perhaps because NTSC's lower picture quality has meant that they had much more incentive - not to mention that widescreen SD NTSC is unwatchable, while widescreen SD PAL has been very popular.

This is holding down HD penetration in Europe, as compared to the US - DVB-T PAL in 16:9 is already "good enough" for many people, especially people with middle-aged eyesight.

Blu-ray and HD-DVD sales rely on HDTV penetration getting high. Ask Sky about the sales of Sky-HD, and you'll soon see how poor HDTV penetration really is.

The question you need to ask is how big does the screen need to be before a 50 year old can tell the difference between upscaled DVD or upscaled SD broadcast and real HD, and will they be prepared to give houseroom to a screen that big?

If the answer is, as I believe: "too big", then HD is going to penetrate very slowly. That makes download a much stronger competitor to physical media, as the bandwidth of download just goes up and up. Don't forget that cable networks can already do VOD downloads, albeit on a limited library. What happens when they have the network capacity to stick a complete set of major studio films (not just recent releases, but the full archive) on the VOD systems for a quid or two a time?

If BD doesn't get established before there is a replacement HD infrastructure for downloads, then this whole format war goes to the same place as SACD/DVDA did.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems obvious to me that both formats are already dead

Internet delivery is going to kill them both and within 5 years. External hard drives and flash media have huge advantages over writing to optical media. What niche is left for either format to thrive in?

Seems like people here are pissing up their respective trees for no reason at all.

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@AC regarding DRM and region coding

Sorry, but what now? HD-DVD has region coding built in at the lowest level, it's in the standard, it was put in from the beginning, but it's not used yet. HD-DVD built upon the DVD standard, the DVD standard uses, IIRC, seven regions. So does HD-DVD. Blu-Ray has three regions and not all movies produced are region coded.

This fallacy that blu-Ray is somehow inherently evil and encumbered with DRM that is mysteriously far worse than that HD-DVD has. Where does it come from? Microsoft's marketing team? Toshiba's marketing team? your own tortured imagination? The DRM on both is damn near identical with the exception of the mandatory managed copy feature. But you know what? Most people, more or less 99% of all consumers, don't give a damn about it because they never see it. Stand alone players never activate DRM, there's no need. It's only geeks or those interested in making copies of discs that care because they want to use their computers to play/copy the discs and DRM and region coding makes that more difficult. Most people don't care. Not that it matters, both formats have been broken and can be copied.

By the way, you're wrong. Blu-ray has 10GB more capacity per layer than HD-DVD. Blu-Ray is 25GB per layer, HD-DVD is only 15GB. There was a newly developed tri-layer HD-DVD format with a higher density per layer that achieves 51GB over three layers, or 17GB per layer. Still 8GB less than Blu-Ray. So, you're wrong.

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@Ian

No? Really? Some of the components in the PS3 might not be Sony? You mean they might even be Toshiba? Holy sh!t! Stop the presses everyone. Oh, wait, something is ringing a bell....Cell, cEll BE, developed by STI...Sony...Toshiba...IBM. Yes, that's it, CEll was a co-development of Sony and Toshiba.

Some people here really need to open their eyes and read some more. Ian, it's been known by anyone who pays even a moderate amount of attention that Toshiba were co-developers of the Cell with Sony and IBM. Where have you been not to know that? Of course some of the semi-conductors in the PS3 are Toshiba manufactured. perhaps you missed the enws a while back that Sony sold their semi-conductor business to Toshiba, well more like they joined up with Toshiba to become the silent partner in the continuing manufacture of those component lines with Toshiba taking the operational control.

Despite their adversarial status with the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats, Toshiba and Sony spend a lot of time working together. It's a different mind set to the confrontational, adversarial ways of the western world and the capitalist system.

A single format will be good for everyone. Had HD-DVD 'won' Sony would have been very happy producing HD-DVD players as well as Blu-ray equipped PS3s. As it is, Sony is truly a winner here because Blu-Ray and PS3 are complementary products, and both are successful in the market. Toshiba will certainly have no trouble making blu-ray players, in fact one wonders how long they will take to tear apart any players currently stockpiled at the factory and re-purpose them as a Blu-Ray player.

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fon

it is the arguing that killed 'em...

If they could have *shut up* and agreed to a dual-format deck, then the price would reduce due to sales, and each format would then fall or stand by its *actual* merits etc, not what various people(inc the industry!) thought would happen...

many have brought out an 'uncrackable' system, only to have it cracked on the exhibition floor, in only 5 mins! - so whatever really happens with the final spec, I would bet it gets cracked very soon..

And NO, a 'plastic disc' (or whatever shape) will NEVER die!! - for reason of robustness, ease of manufacture, compact size, etc, etc...

Hardrives = *far * too sensitive, too many parts, moving or otherwise...

flashdrives = as above, without the moving...

- and these have connectors that break, even though you could make them as thin as an optical disc, that has *no physical connection* with the reading mechanism!

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Format wars? When will the industry learn?

VHS v Betamax. A long drawn-out painful battle, only one could survive.

DCC v Minidisc. A somewhat less drawn out battle. Early DCC decks sounded better but MD was the better format in the long run. I bought MD about 10 years ago. The format's pretty much been made obsolete by the likes of the iPod now though.

DVD-R v DVD+R. The one that never was. All drives can read or write both formats now.

Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD. Pointless. Will they ever learn?

Someone mentioned above the difference between 720p and 480i. Maybe that's why HD has caught on in NTSC territories, but in Europe we have 576i rather than 480i. And plasma screens that will do 576p.

And the difference between 576p and 720p is... not that great. You probably wouldn't notice it on a screen smaller than about 42" anyway. And 1080p is only worth having on a really huge screen (bigger than 50").

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Happy

Why physical media will never die

People just like having something they can hold, or something physical to own when they hand over their cash.

Then there is the bandwidth considerations- as typical HD movies with lossless audio start at around 20GB.

Companies like Virgin have problems delivering constant 20Mb connections without traffic management let alone the kind of connection required to allow reliable streaming or reasonable download times of HD movies.

I also believe the ISPs will traffic manage these huge downloads as they do P2P content- as why should they supply the infrastructure for other companies to distribute HD movies but get nothing in return?

Then there is the storage consideration- ok hard drives are "cheap" but "affordable" media boxes with say a 1TB drive in will only hold 20 Blu Ray (BD-50) discs if you include extras, or approx 40 movies on their own.

When you think that many DVD owners will own many more than 40 titles you start to see the picture.

IMO most will use their existing movie providers (Sky/Virgin) as Sky provide HD movies, some on demand too- this will only increase over time. And on top of that the "buy to own" market will still revolve around physical media.

There is room for both.

A shame HD-DVD lost btw- although we recently "chose" Blu-ray. Sorry did I say choose? Of course we didnt we had to because the studios made the choice for us, so please stop saying the consumers had a choice.

If MS had bundled the 360 with a HD-DVD the story may have been different, as no doubt the PS3 was a huge part in this victory, and even though Im certainly no Sony fan Im absolutely delighted with our BD player- it genuinely surprised me how much of a leap it was over DVD as even though I knew the numbers I wasnt prepared for how good 1080p really is. Plus the upscaling of DVDs is superb, and its probably good enough that I wont need to double dip for too many of our existing DVDs.

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Alert

@Glenn

Not true that 1080p is only worth it on 50" or bigger, this is such a myth. Im a PC gamer too and the improvement in quality at 1920x1200 on just a 24" LCD is clearly discernible- its hard not be seeing as its nearly 2.5 times the resolution of 720p. Its pretty hard NOT to notice a 200%+ improvement in resolution!

The thing is the improvement over 576p of 720p is so much of a leap (remember we must consider the horizontal resolution increase not just the vertical) that for many 720p will be amazing enough as it is 2.2 times the resolution of 576p- again hard to not see a 200% improvement.

But for me the difference between 720p and 1080p (even 1080i and 1080p) is clear even on our 1080p 37" in the bedroom- I wouldnt have spent the extra if it wasnt.

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fon

TV from ISP...

This is handled differently by most ISPs, it is NOT part of the users 'internet' , so will not be affected by any *imposed* restrictions! ( and I'll bet it will be a locked, nonstandard format anyway...)

The TV that is available through various other methods (winamp, web, etc..) of course will use the standard ISP account, and costing etc...

@Duncan: Most people do not have the money to get a *television* that will do 1920x1200 - rather wasteful, as HD only does 1920× 1080 ... but hey, its your money...

You may be happy with gaming on a 24" screen, but most want to watch movies on a good size screen! - It is up to the buyer to make sure they get their money's worth, and make sure they are not ripped off by false promises! this is why most say dont use a small screen for HD...

Of course, 'your mileage may very' -depending on the quality of a lot of other things!

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