back to article Transformers director blames MS for HD DVD/Blu-ray format war

Movie director Michael Bay has claimed that Microsoft is responsible for the HD DVD vs Blu-ray Disc format war, which he alleges is the Beast of Redmond's attempt to kill off physical formats and get everyone downloading instead. Here's Bay's comment, posted in a forum on his official website: "What you don't understand is …

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  1. Richard Thomas

    I didn't think anyone thought differently...

    I thought this was common knowledge. It's exactly the same reason that the Xbox and Xbox360 exist...purely to hinder Sony from becoming such a dominant force in the living room.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Superior?

    "just embrace the HD DVD and not the leading, and superior Blu Ray"

    Theres nothing superior about blu ray other than some extra storage space, with regards to features and quality both formats are the same, and it was HD DVD that could have been considered superior during the early days when blu ray had quality issues and feature issues due to its continuted development since first released.

    Sick of this HD DVD vs Blu Ray media reported rubbish. Sick of companies only backing one or the other format to try and force the public's hand on format based on favourite film and not based on the format itself. Both are as good as each other... just release for both and then let the public decide!

  3. Rob Crawford
    Black Helicopters

    Of course it just so happens,

    that Sony back the Bluray standard and they are also involved in the making of films.

    But then nobody in Hollywood is swayed by such things are they.

    Whould I really listen to a man who spends his time making films about giant robots that disguise themselves as cars ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "Don't want damaged discs? Don't let your kids mess with them."

    ... or your git brother who will some how manage to get honey onto you limited edition copy of Sin City and then you finially find the disc lying around in the open on a bookshelf!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Michael Bay's typical US centric view

    Unless you are in a nice part of San Francisco (like Michael Bay), or Korea or Japan, it's not viable to download the equivalent of 25GB (or 50GB dual layer) on current broadband infrastructure. My claimed B Mbit/s link gives me 3 MBit/s on average. We don't all live in Los Angeles. It'd be quicker to order on amazon and wait for the post to deliver optical media even with a 2nd class postage service. So, from a world perspective, the assertion that Microsoft aims to see the demise of optical media in favour of downloading is, for the next decade or so, ludicrous.

    Yes, Microsoft have an interest in HD-DVD but it's not about them distributing downloaded media, it's about them winning a commercial war with Sony. If HD-DVD is winning, less people might consider buying a Playstation 3 as their media player and might just consider an X-BOX instead.

    Michael Bay does have an axe to grind if he indeed has an interest in a the company Propaganda Films (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bay )

  6. Tom Silver badge

    HP?

    "major tech companies like Intel and HP"

    Intel as in WinTel?

    HP? Backers of the Windows Mediacenter PC Brick? If you look at the top drive available it's a Blu-Ray burner, HD DVD reader. So what are they really backing.

  7. Mustang
    Linux

    Nice write-up TS

    All very good points, but even with all the problems with both formats, I believe adoption would be more wide spread if there was only one or if MS wasn't supporting(including financialy) HD.

    VOD doesn't seem to be a good solution to me, not while DRM is still master of that domain and movies bought from diferent services carry different DRMs that aren't necessarely compatitble with my HTPC, DTV, mobile, my car video video player or even DLNA-able.

  8. Andy Pellew
    Gates Horns

    Kind of misses the point ...

    I thought the point he was making was that "someone" in the HD DVD camp paid Paramount/ Dream Works $150 million to switch from making disks in both formats to going HD DVD exclusive?

    That's the whole *point*.

    So it's not about storage capacity, disk durability, even hardware support. The story is about someone pumping $150 million into the format that was being outsold 3:1 (and still is), and is only backed by a single hardware manufacturer (Toshiba) who is practically giving players away for free (which of course means any other manufacturer who enters the market is just insane).

    Everything else is just an irrelevance.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So who did they sign the 18 month exclusive contract with?

    New York Times:

    "But money talks: Paramount and DreamWorks Animation together will receive about $150 million in financial incentives for their commitment to HD DVD, according to two Viacom executives with knowledge of the deal but who asked not to be identified."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/technology/21disney.html

    "The two studios may have left themselves wiggle room, however. Paramount’s agreement to use only HD DVD is limited to only 18 months. And Paramount noted that no films directed by Steven Spielberg were included in the deal “as his films are not exclusive to either format.” Mr. Spielberg is a co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, a unit of Paramount."

    So who did they sign the contract with if they just spontaneously decided to not support Blu Ray? And how can there be a contract if no money changed hands... that being a requirement for a contract.

    Face it Microsoft paid HD DVD promotion group $150 million, which in turn paid it to the studios, Microsoft denies only directly paying the studios off, but refuses to deny they were paid off.

  10. Anthony

    xbox

    Doesn't the fact MS made a HD DVD drive for the 360 count for anything? They could have made it a pure downloads driven machine if they had wanted to. I appreciate the "it was to get at Sony" comment above based on making the xbox the multimedia hub of the living room but seriously, if your games console is the hub of your multimedia world, you really need help.

  11. alistair millington
    Flame

    the guy's an idiot

    The film was pants and some of his others were bordeline okay, but nothing to make me think he is a spielberg or coppola. So his voice is just becomes another Sony fanboy.

    He trashed transformers for me by having bad guys no one heard of (I had to wiki some of them) and all the good guys weren't the car they were meant to be and the plot was rubbish "all spark"

    I digress, if films were worth the expense to get the new formats and not just shite remakes and comic book clones then I would consider one. Otherwise why bother.

    And until BT sorts out the network and everyone of the internet providers gets rid of the stupid prices and downloads limits, download TV won't take off. DVD's are here for a long time regardless of what the "redmond mafia" think.

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Dam

    Blu ray DRM ? no thanks

    Bluray's riddled with DRM so it's a no from me.

    HD DVD doesn't bring MUCH more than a regular DVD so it's a no from me.

    I'm perfectly fine with normal DVDs, which I rip to x264 mkv for convenience and are as good as the original.

    Keep the overrated quality increase of HD discs, my "old" media is fine.

  14. Iain

    Of course, this is Michael Bay

    How far do you trust the neutral opinion of a man whose entire back catalog apart from the Transformers movie he's in such a tizz about is owned by Blu-backing studios?

    Microsoft have a significant investment in the revenue streams for the iHD interative layer of HD-DVD and codec patents (BluRay also supports VC-1, but it's less popular because encoding with H.264 and the higher bitrates BluRay allows is faster, and therefore cheaper).

    So yes, I can believe they're investing in HD-DVD support. What next? Sony could have avoided a format war by killing off the PS3 and just releasing games on the more popular 360 and/or Wii, but I don't think anyone would seriously expect them to either.

  15. Daniel

    superior... yes SUPERIOR

    I would consider Blu-ray superior... after all why jump up to a newer standard because it is cheaper to make? blu-ray is taking a risk, its more expensive but the capacities are larger. If technology only progressed because it was cheaper than others then we'd hardly move. end of the day its capable of holding more data and that to me makes it superior... albeit a little buggy

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Don't want damaged discs? Don't let your kids mess with them."

    Or you wife, who will flick through DVD's, CD's and Games and leave them all lying on the side "play" side down. Grrrr.....

  17. Lee Richards
    Happy

    Superior? Yes.

    "Theres nothing superior about blu ray other than some extra storage space"

    Sorry, that simply isn't correct. Blu-ray has also adopted a higher data transfer rate for video and audio (54Mbps vs 36.55Mbps). The greater capacity and data transfer rates for Blu-ray will allow the movie studios to release their movies with higher quality video and audio than the HD-DVD format.

  18. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    Also worth mentioning.

    The XBOX 360. The only HD-capable device that MS actually make and the internal HD drive on this beast is conspicous by its absence. If you want HD capability on your XBOX you buy an add-on drive.

    ISTR that MS have already let slip that in the event of BD looking like winning, a BD drive for the XBOX would be a logical step for them to provide. Effectively they have nothing to lose either way.

    While having extra PCs as entertainment centres might do MS a favour (although I reckon a certain fruit-related manufacturer will do better out of this one), I can't see how MS give a stuff exactly *how* the content arrives at the box concerned, be it wire, disc, or the work of fairies. They don't sell bandwidth and a late attempt to break into movie downloads is doomed to fail against established competition with way to much to lose.

    The only people who have burned their boats on a format and *have* to make sure it wins come hell, high water or massive profit warning are Sony. With BD. Hence the continuous stream of FUD from every mouthpiece that Sony can nobble at the moment.

  19. Liam

    but...

    but how practical is just downloading. have you any idea how long it would take to download 20+GB on an average (~2MB BB Line?)

    not to mention... 'oh, i'll just go to my mates to watch a.... oh... ' DRM probably stops you burning it off the downloaded content, then you also dont have a physical copy. this is also something ive found on the ps3. yes you CAN download cheap games (£20 as opposed to ~£35) but you have no collateral - i cannot them swap this game for another game anywhere. im stuck with it (i cite warhawks - a truely crap game im now stuck with) and i could easily have got £20 back after 2 days towards another game.

    im sick of this format war already - i would love to get transformers in HD. but since im using a ps3 as my HD source i will never get it - and im not buying a HD DVD player. i think studios will are cutting off their noses to spite their faces here...

    also its not just about resolution. many DVDs are of poor quality (very 'noisy') - this should be quashed with HD as there is plenty of room on them to not compress a large movie to death. also the evolution of surround - the better audio formats and 7.1 audio (for those of us early adopters).

    i would still love to know why films like 300 are more than double the price of the DVD version - even though the copies probably only cost a small fraction more to produce

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    It's all about porn

    Which one does the pron industry supoprt.

    It support VHS over Betamax (Sony format!)

    It is what drove the web and e-commerce biz.

    So stands to reason...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I miss you more than Micheal Bay missed the mark.....

    ...when he made Pearl Harbour

    Funny thing is, Micheal Bay's movies don't improve when recorded on either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray, and one might go so far as to say they're not really worth downloading either! :)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Rob Crawford

    >>> Whould I really listen to a man who spends his time making films about giant robots that disguise themselves as cars ?

    Why the hell would you listen to anybody else?! Besides a guy who makes real robots that disguise themselves as cars... :)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Downloads?

    Everybody claims that downloads are going to win out in the long run. That may be the case in 10, 20 years or more but I see myself as pretty tech savvy (I'm reading the register, right?) but I'm giving downloads a wide berth.

    I don't want to wait hours for a movie to download, have endless storage requirements (50Gb per movie... how many external drives will I need for my collection?), knowing that at the whim of a license server or a HD crash I've lost them and have to redownload them, only to get say 3 downloads before having to purchase them again.

    Plus, I like to have a movie collection which exists in the real world, which I can browse. Real, actual discs that I can take to a friend's house, without knowing exactly which movie we might want to watch.

    Plus who wants to by CE equipment from Microsoft? Noisy, hot, temperamental and instable. Perfect. How many 360's is it per owner now? I think my mates are averaging 2 so far. Puts an interesting slant on the worldwide sales figures, when they break every 9 months...

  24. oliver Stieber
    Gates Halo

    There's one DRMing thing you forgot

    Blu-ray has an extra layer of DRM making it far less hackable than HD-DVD, HD-DVD is the superior option for consumers.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Seen it all before

    Sony brought out Minidisc, Phillips Digital Compact Cassette. Both were touted as the future to CD as they were recordable. Sony owned Columbia and you could only get Columbia stuff on MD, Philips had links to BMG, so they only released stuff on DCC.

    Neither worked people liked CD. It's convenient, easy to use and more importantly brandless, a CD from any maker works, you didn't have to buy a specific brand for your CD player, and the fact you could only get half the music you wanted on one format didn't help. Neither did the fact you has to pay a premium for the new format.

    Most people are happy with DVD, Heck most people are still using a VHS recorder to tape stuff, there may be big plasma screens going out to peoples homes but most people have regualr def TV on it, just a lot bigger image. Until there is a cheap High def recorder that also plays both formats I don't see people jumping ship anytime soon.

    Hard Disk recording is where the markets going, and a Hard disk recorder that plays both formats would be what I'll be waiting for. Splitting the market with two formats each with some exclusive titles is just causing people not to bother, no way am I buying 2 different players to play disks, I'll stick with DVD.

    Oh and Paris as she's not here yet...

  26. Justin
    Alert

    Downloads in the near future, I cant see it

    The bandwidth required for downloading Full HD content, It would be quicker to buy it online and have it delivered. The majority of people like to have the physical media accessible,

    also knowing that the Operating System where the download will be storeed is almost likely to be windows in one way or another. THey just won't want to take the risk of it being corrupt or lost through software/hardware failure

  27. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Message to the stooopid...

    Remove DRMs and I will buy both HDDVD and BD player the same day.

    As it stands now I will NOT buy any of them. Bye.

    Downloads? Why do I need the hassle - I'll just stop over at HMV and buy a DVD, pressed and with a nice colour sleve. Oh, and I can copy it to my heart content if I want to...

  28. Gianni Straniero
    Unhappy

    CD DVD HD DVD Wii

    I'm just waiting for someone to come up with a product that doesn't make you sound like a twat when you pronounce its name in English.

  29. lansalot
    Unhappy

    downloads ?

    Biggest obstacle to me downloading all my hi-def films at the moment is the quota my ISP sticks on me.

    As reported yesterday, apparently Brits don't want faster net (aye, right!), so the broadband market is well up for stagnation in the UK by the sound of it.

    Result: quota and speed limit for the forseeable future. If this truly is MS plan, then they can pretty much forget it in the UK while this carries on.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Downloads, when exactly?

    probably explains why the elite has the built in hd drive....

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Downloads are here now

    "Everybody claims that downloads are going to win out in the long run. That may be the case in 10, 20 years or more but I see myself as pretty tech savvy (I'm reading the register, right?) but I'm giving downloads a wide berth."

    These big discs use MPEG2, but for downloads they use MS Media Player Codec 10 (11?), MPEG4 or DIVX, which are 5x better compression. Note also you're taking the max capacity of the disc in your calculations not the size of the movie on the disc.

    DIVX 720p is 4Mbps, which is low enough to stream now (I have France telecoms 20MBps connection at home), so the download delay in that case is 0 seconds, 1080p is not such a long download either.

    But of course you're missing the most important part. Microsoft has already announce HD for XBox Live back in Nov 2006, the XBox live support is built in, the HD DVD is optional extra....

    So the guy is not hypothesizing about some fanciful future, he's pointing out what he believes is the game Microsoft is playing right now.

    You have to wonder why Microsoft is involved in the format war at all, it doesn't make movies, it doesn't make discs, it doesn't make PCs, so where's the gain from all that money? The only place where it has an interest is XBox360, even then it could support Bluray and it would make zero difference to them (perhaps make XBox a bit more popular since it would neutralize one Sony advantage).

    So why are they involved in the format wars?

  32. Iain

    @AC

    No, both HD-DVD and BluRay use a selection MPEG4 derivatives. All of which are superior to DIVX's implementation. So your compression routines won't help there; you really have got to download 30Gb worth of stuff if you're going to take them on at the quality game.

    Both VC-1 and the HD-DVD interactivity layer are owned by Microsoft. That's why they're involved in a format war.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    superior

    "Sorry, that simply isn't correct. Blu-ray has also adopted a higher data transfer rate for video and audio (54Mbps vs 36.55Mbps)"

    That isnt making the format superior by todays standards, are we saying that at 36.55Mbps isnt good enough to achieve high quality 1080p? it might be a little more future proof I guess but I would call it superior... side by side in any review ive seen quality has been practically identical..and only recently. I term of anyone with a HD current HD TV or Projector, no one is going to see any difference!

    Until Blu ray comes with a girl to hand out ice creams when I pause a movie im not going to consider it superior..they are both as good as each other!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    So why are they involved in the format wars?

    "So why are they involved in the format wars?"

    probably so there drm wins, so when you download the 1080p film you can't watch it on more than 1 device, you can't downscale it to a portable device, you can only watch it once, it'll self delete after hours,days... or whatever restriction somebody decides to put on the media

    and i can't wait till the isps start tightening up bandwidth limits so you end up paying almost the 'high street disc' cost for a time limited restricted download and then pay to get the item 'received'

  35. Richard Kilpatrick
    Unhappy

    Meh

    If he's going to make a fuss, he could at least make a fuss that results in the movie being on Blu-ray. Whilst it isn't exactly a significant issue in life, I have attempted to get any movies I fancied seeing and missed in the cinema on the best format I can play. You can get the old movie on Blu-ray.

    Elite's built in HD (technically it's a bundled accessory anyone can buy for any X360 anyway), and the speed of Xbox marketplace download, really would put me off trying to "rent" HD content via that route. Elite should have come with built in HD-DVD at a higher cost (but lower than PS3 or X360+external drive). Even then, I don't want to watch movies via X360. I quite like to be able to hear them without having to try and drown out the playback device.

  36. mrwenni

    Recorder

    I dont know about you guys but after like five years I'm still waiting for a Blu-ray RECORDER for my computer at a reasonable price. 50 Gb to store your multimedia now that would be handy wouldnt it? Picture quality is nice to have but doesnt add all that much to the movie experience IMHO...

  37. Chris Cheale

    Downloading films

    Works fine over cable (not on the computer, through the "set-top" box) but you don't own it - I could pay £3 to watch oooh, I dunno, "House of Flying Daggers" for one day, or buy it from HMV or somewhere for £5 and watch it as often as I like.

    Another slight issue, now let's say you've got a region 1 coded DVD player you can buy films on physical disks online from the US/Canada - there's even some sites that do free shipping worldwide. Buying a physical product means that you pay tax based on the country of origin - simply pay in dollars, work out the exchange rate and jobsagoodun.

    However, IF that site provides the film in download format it becomes a service rather than a product. This means that, under EU law, it is taxable at the point of delivery rather than origin. This generally means the distributor will just chuck the VAT on-top of whatever the published price is. This can make downloads more expensive than buying the retail packaged versions.

    This already happens with games, using Valve's Steam client as an example.

    If you order the "Orange Box" over Steam the advertised cost is $49.95 (USD) -> £24.65 - which is comparible to the price on Game of £26.99 (delivered).

    However if you order over Steam and give them your country of origin as the UK they have to include UK VAT (service rather than good) and so throw 17.5% onto the price, this brings it up to $58.69 -> £28.97.

    The price is still comparible, a couple of quid more rather than a couple of quid less... buy you've actually saved money by getting the packaged version delivered to your door.

    Oddly enough this also means that Danish WoW susbscribers pay less to Blizzard per month than German customers since Danish VAT is 25% and German is 19% and the subscription, in Euros, is the same accross the EU.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares what format!

    with all the these new formats coming out they have still not given us (the end user) the ability to copy the video to a “media centre” device with ripping then converting it a media type that works with your device in that time you could of just watch the dam movie. As everyone knows people can easily download movies from the internet very easily but then as the wait for the for it to download, Movie, software and hardware companies should work with each other to give the end user what they really want.

  39. jai

    association with a strong brand???

    "BD has the capacity advantage, while HD DVD has the benefit of being associated with a very strong brand: DVD"

    since when is DVD a brand name? and i'm sure the movie buying public aren't so stupid as to be scared away from BluRay because it is a new name, but they'll flock towards HD DVD because they recognise the last 3 letters in the name??

    that would only work if DVDs were no longer available and also if they could play HD DVDs in their old DVD players.

    all three formats are disc technology. everyone is familiar with this "brand" of media because CD did all of the work there back in the 80s

  40. Mark Rendle
    Paris Hilton

    VoD special features

    Whilst it's true that VoD doesn't currently have the same special features that you get from buying a DVD, that's not a technical limitation. FilmFlex on Virgin Media already have free featurettes for available films, albeit as a form of advertising. But it's not hard to imagine a design-your-own package for downloads or on-demand, where you choose the extras you want and the price (and necessary bandwidth) is set accordingly.

    The only question is what my wife's going to wrap up and put under the Xmas tree when all my movies, music and games are downloaded.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    360 Elite and HD

    The Xbox 360 Elite does NOT - REPEAT NOT - come with a built in HD-DVD drive.

    I have no idea where people keep coming up with that one...MS won't even release a black addon drive that matches the Elite, let alone put it in the machine.

    Unless there is some new version of the 360 Elite that MS have forgotten to advertise?

  42. Chris Pasiuk
    Stop

    40 posts and every single one of you missed a key point.

    There was one mention of Toshiba nearly giving away their players. Bingo. That's it right there. The end of the format wars will come with format that can provide players for under $200US consistantly. I heard mutterings that porn fueled the VHS win over Betamax. No, it was money that did that. Betamax was also a superior product and it went the way of the dodo. Because VHS players were priced affordable to everyone, not just the Jones' with their 600" death-star powered plasma TVs. I challenge any of you to find a BD player in a store for less than $200US. Walmart already has a non-Toshiba HD-DVD player for less than $200 (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=7942216) I was on the hedge myself until the beginning of last month when Wally World put the Toshiba HD-A2 on sale for $99.98--I now have an HD player. The best technology does NOT always win in the consumer world. It's the more affordable one that will always sieze the day.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm no MS defender...

    ... but I find it hilarious that everyone is bashing MS here. They are one company in the HD-DVD consortium, led by Toshiba. If one company should be bashed, it's Toshiba.

    As for MS's reasons for supporting HD-DVD? No idea, but they get money from both camps, having a codec used in both formats.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Porn

    What people don't know or have even overlooked is that Sony have supposedly turned their noses up to the porn industry ("...we don't want your sort on our disks...)

    Considering how big the porn industry is I am surprised at this move as this will have some effect on the format war

    So what about Microsoft paying $150m to get a studio to go solely over to HD. Sony have used other perks to get loads of smaller firms to go over to BR. It's dog eat dog out there and I'm sure both sides would scope to new lows just to get the edge.

    ...Of course there is also the DRM issue as well (which hasn't been introduced yet on HD)

  45. Rob Crawford

    Ooooh what shal I do

    From al the great films Mr Bay has made what should I do ?

    He supports bluray so I'm poisioned against it

    The prospect of one of his films on HD-DVD poisions me against that too.

    Infact he has poisioned me against DVD too !

    To the Anonymous Coward who posted the NY Times link.

    Firstly why not start complaining about the DVD upscaling conspiracy as microsoft support that too ?

    150 million dosen't go far in hollywood these days, still it may do as partial payment towards a lacklustre overly sentimental Spielberg film but thats about it.

    It dosn't have to be cash either, it could simply be $150M worth of publicity campaigns, such as the bundled HD-DVD marketing by Toshiba. Or even MS only supporting HD-DVD on the 360 for another 18 months ?

    I notice that you leave Toshiba (a friend of Sony if you remember) out of your paranoia. I wonder if the Blu ray lobby passed anything in the direction of that hugely moral company Disney. But then that dosn't count does it.

    Since when did the technically superior solution win anyway ?

    It's usually advertising, price & availability that makes the difference.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    What about car players?

    No one has mentioned that you can't play a download in a car! Unless you bring your AppleTV around with you. Cars have DVD players installed in them. HD DVD is apparently backwards compatible(?) so that would be an advantage. I am in no way a MS lover though, so I am for BluRay all the way. There is plenty of room, so no need to compress = better picture quality.

  47. Iain

    Re: Bandwidth

    Actually, BluRay's higher bandwidth has indeed proved to be useful. It's almost certainly the reason that Bay's Transformers HD-DVD doesn't have a lossless audio track on it, for a start. HD-DVD has plenty of room to encode a 1080p video stream, but not to have too many audio streams alongside it without a hell of a lot of work.

  48. Paul

    Old enough to remember Betamax

    So I'm not touching either format with a 10-foot pole until the eventual loser has been shaken out. Doubly so since there is some question as to the stability of the specs anyway, so backing the winner might not turn out to be much better than picking the loser would have been. Confidence inspiring it isn't.

    As for downloads, gimme a break! The rural area of the US I live in isn't going to have anything like reliable or affordable high-speed any time soon, I don't fancy the chances of downloading a whole movie with any realistic level of compression at dial-up speeds when most YouTube, Flash and MP3 content is barely tolerable, and we don't bother with movies on pay-per-view when we can choose from a far wider selection at rental for the same price. Physical media will always rule victorious in such circumstances.

    Not that I'd rule out Microsoft's indirectly, unofficially funding something so as to sow uncertainty and doubt when they may stand to gain from that situation. *cough*SCO*cough*.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VC1 is 2GB per HD movie to 5.4 GB a movie

    "No, both HD-DVD and BluRay use a selection MPEG4 derivatives. All of which are superior to DIVX's implementation. So your compression routines won't help there; you really have got to download 30Gb worth of stuff if you're going to take them on at the quality game."

    Not exactly, HD DVD supports both older MPEG2 and newer codecs, it needs the high capacity disc to store the MPEG2 representation. According to Microsoft's own literature, they are 2.4 to 3.8 times higher compression than MPEG2 for 1080p

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/codecs/video.aspx

    i.e. Their 1080p HD stream is 5–8 Mbps, i.e. 1 Mega Byte a second maximum 5.4 GB for a 90 minute movie and as little as 2GB for a 720 movie.

    DIVX IMHO is better than VC1.

    "Both VC-1 and the HD-DVD interactivity layer are owned by Microsoft. That's why they're involved in a format war."

    Those formats are in the standards body, and I read MS will make a loss on VC1 (due to others patent claims) so I don't see how they gain if the intention is to simply own the (non exclusive) codec on the disc.

  50. Flocke Kroes Silver badge
    Linux

    Too expensive for now

    The most I will pay is for a film is £5, and £1/42min episode of a series. I am not going to pay more for higher resolution. This format pissing contest will be over by the time they reach my price point.

    I already have a pair of ten year old CRT monitors that display 1600x1200 clearly. I have no intention of downgrading to LCD unless they break. There is no way I will tolerate DRM - I buy a DVD and I expect it to last forever. I bet MS will stop supporting legacy DRM when Vista II comes out.

    As for downloading, factor in the cost of hard disk space alone and it is not going to be real this decade.

  51. Ross Fleming
    Gates Halo

    Gates has as much admitted it, sort of...

    Bill Gates has been quoted as saying:

    "(High definition DVD) is the last physical media format there will ever be"

    That's not a plan, that's a prediction, and I quite agree. DVD is about 10 years old (commercially). Assuming the same life of BR/HD-DVD, and that home internet connections will grow at the same rate as the past 10 years, then he's bang on. Bill doesn't need either of the formats to fail. In fact they won't - either one will fail (unlikely), or a manufacturer will bite the bullet and release cheap multi-disc players (incredibly likely, it's the same laser after all contrary to popular belief).

    Incredibly disappointing flame from Michael Bay, director of the best film this year IMO!

  52. Simon Neill

    Discs will never disappear

    Perhaps I am oldfashioned, but when I buy something I like to be able to hold it.

    Additionally, even though having a TB of storage in a computer is increasingly common, thats only 20 BD discs. Heck, my DVD collection easily surpasses a TB. Friends alone works out at 250Gb on DVD.

    Bottom line, anyone who is going to buy a video of some description is probably going to want to buy the actual disc over a download.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Comfort over quality

    I don't care how good quality a film is, I'm not going to pay double the price for it on a "next gen" format. Even if downloads take over it's still much easier to just buy off sky box office or sky movies. Seems like this will die out to me, just like betamax - vhs, playstation - dreamcast.

  54. Moo
    Happy

    No DRM will win

    At the end I'm pretty sure even the most dumb user will get enough of it and find other useful ways of obtaining high definition media and share it with whoever s/he wants to.

    Oh, wait; there are ways of .....

  55. ElFatbob

    It makes sense to me....

    downloads are the market 'they' all want: same prices, less chance for piracy, greatly reduced overheads...

    iTunes have shown them the way. iTunes sell electronic tracks for about (in the UK anyway), the same as a CD. So i can sell multiple copies of the same thing, locked to machine xxx (i'll sell unlocked as well, but charge you more) minus all the overheads of cd production, distribution etc, etc.

    Perfect model for films...

    As for BD v HD DVD: - we're being shafted by someone!

    As for porn deciding the format: - not anymore. Everyone downloads that for sure!

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Message to the stooopid...

    I agree. I also believe that they should get rid of region locking apart from the DRM.

    > Incredibly disappointing flame from Michael Bay, director of the

    > best film this year IMO!

    Best film? My cousin, a longtime Transformer afficiando (been one since he was a mere toddler!), was sulking and moody after watching the film. Said it wasn't the transformer he knew.

  57. Shaun Hunter
    Linux

    Micheal Bay is probably right

    Look at what there doing to the OLPC.

    btw CD, DVD both Sony. Almost Every thing you've watched on TV since the 80's was recorded & played back on Beta. Most CD's in the 90's were recorded on DATs.

    I really don't care for the company but it's the truth.

    Also the author either has never seen a HD Disc or has never whatched VHS tape.

  58. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Going to bed with computer companies

    I guess the main problem is that both BR and HD-DVD has drives available for personal computers. That way, eventually all movies will be ripped, one way or another.

    They should have used a slightly different encoding and limit the market to hardware only players. That would also have eliminated the need for DRM.

    But anyhow let's take a _realistic_ view at the HD-situation. Neither BlueRay or HD-DVD have any considerable amount of films. HDV and of course HDcam(SR) have way more movies available. Both formats are also DRM-free.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Shaun Hunter

    "btw CD, DVD both Sony."

    No. The CD was Philips, and the DVD is largely based on a Toshiba standard.

  60. Ross Fleming
    Thumb Up

    @AC

    "Best film? My cousin, a longtime Transformer afficiando (been one since he was a mere toddler!), was sulking and moody after watching the film. Said it wasn't the transformer he knew."

    Oh come on. It was a great visual-fest and stuck pretty close to the original story, bring it into the 21st century (Starscream as a Raptor!) throw in a few humourous nods to the originals (closing statement "with the humans, like us, there's more than meets the eye") and get the original voice actor for Prime and you've got a satisfied transformers fan - not to mention getting Hugo Weaving as Megatron. Genius. Not saying it will do well at Cannes or anything...

  61. Scott Mckenzie

    As Usual

    The article was very well written actually, balanced and fair and listing strengths and weaknesses of both formats... but as usual the comments portray a view more blinkered than a fanbois of the highest order.

  62. Rob Crawford

    @Shaun Hunter (another)

    Most CDs in the 90s where recorded on DAT, nope fraid not.

    DAT, most friends in the recording industry used DAT to send rough mixes around (say to the coke addled record company execs that live on artists backs), or for sending session contributions, if the project didn't have the finances to cover trave & hotel expenses.

    Most I know went from analogue tape to DAW

    I personally loved the minidisc format and went through several Sony products (which my wife manages to break within moments of encountering the equipment)

  63. Thomas

    Jerk

    Michael Bay lost all credibility with me when he transformed a beloved children's cartoon series into American Pie with an overdose of CGI.

    'Nuff said.

  64. Fenwar
    Gates Horns

    If MS really wants downloads to win...

    ...then they should put the cash into building a network infrastructure that can actually deliver that level of HD bandwidth direct to my house, at the same time as everyone else on my street watches something different.

    Until we have an Internet so fast and ubiquitous that access is indistiguishable from physical media, physical media will not die. Unless he is willing to put real money where his mouth is, BillG's assertion remains as much a pipe dream as the paperless office.

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