back to article Obituary: HD DVD 2002-2008

Toshiba's decision to end its production of HD DVD players and recorders effectively marks the death of the optical disc format once touted as the natural successor to the phenomenally popular DVD. HD DVD was born in 2002 out of the apparent unwillingness of Toshiba and a number of other DVD Forum members to back a blue-laser …

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  1. Neil Jones
    Thumb Up

    Life in the Old Dog Yet

    This might be the end of the future of HD-DVD, but it's not over yet for the format. There's already several hundred titles available on HD-DVD which will no doubt now be destined for the bargain bins, so those who've already got HD-DVD hardware can laugh as they pay less than us Blu-ray owners.

    Plus, to recoup some of it's losses, I wouldn't be surprised to see Toshiba licensing HD-DVD technology on the cheap to manufacturers wanting to build dual-format machines to tempt HD-DVD owners who'll need to change camps in the future, but will still want to play their existing HD-DVD libraries. So if you did back the wrong horse, milk it while you can, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor.

  2. Richard Lea

    Missed my favourite part of the story

    When Sony and NEC Mergerd their respective Optical divisions and Sony took a 55% ownership thus giving Sony royalties to HD-DVD!

  3. Michael Compton

    No next gen optical disc for me then :|

    Not that i'm particularly against sony's offer its just not right for my needs. I'm not a movie buyer so would just have wanted it for storage but the BR hardware and discs will be just to expensive to be an option when compared to cheaper DVD kit. HD-DVD would have slotted in nicely as the prices would have came close to commodity prices, which they were already close to, as opposed to luxury item.

    With no real competition i can see BR kit/disc pretty much staying as they are in terms of price no need to lower it now. Hope you movie lovers have deep pockets :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Fare thee well

    HD DVD, we hardly knew ye

  5. Lars Petersson
    Thumb Up

    About time...

    About time too...

    I'm one of the, many?, people who had decided to wait until the war was over before buying a new player...

    So, now to find a decent Blu-Ray player...

  6. Vernon Lloyd
    Thumb Up

    Looking back at the history of formats

    Reading up in the history of the CD, DVD, etc etc, Sony with Phillips (and other manufacturers) have been developing new Disc formats for a good many years. Due to this I backup Blu-Ray from the start of this war.

    However, I suspect that the HD DVD format is not totally dead and buried yet....even though the coffin has been bought and the hammer at the ready.

    Time to look out on Ebay for some good HD DVD deals

  7. Sentient

    Waiting for HD-Bluray

    You have to admit it bluray is old tech these days.

  8. Joe Kuan

    Sony: "All your base belong to us"

    I must say credit to Toshiba to admit the lost battle of HD DVD, fold the DVD format war and concentrate on something else. The company has certainly earned my respect.

    I am not sure whether format war is as worthy to fight as decades ago.

    How long would it take for Blue Ray to accelerate into consumer markets?

    I would think if Sony really wants to eat the remaining HD-DVD market, may be they should offer a £50 tradeoff for Blue-ray player for all the owners having a HD-DVD player (Something like that).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    obituary

    So farewell then

    Aitch-Dee-Dee-Vee-Dee

    Is the war

    (of the silly names)

    over?

    Peace at last?

    Here's hoping for dual format.

    Signed,

    E.J. Thribb (15 GB)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Re. Missed my favourite part of the story

    "When Sony and NEC Mergerd their respective Optical divisions and Sony took a 55% ownership thus giving Sony royalties to HD-DVD!"

    But didn't Toshiba help Sony and IBM develop the Cell processor for the PS3? Presumably they must have invested money to do that; Sony's execs must laugh abut it now eh?

  11. ssu

    shame

    For userbility HD DVD won with ease, same with extra features that BluRay won't have until Profile 2.0. Only real plus point with BluRay was the capacity.

    Everyone seems to think that neither format would win and the eventual HD winner would be downloaded content. Personally I think that DVD will continue to be the format of choice and that BluRay will just be a niche product. Eventually downloaded content will probably win but not until we see a significant speed improvement in domestic broadband.

  12. Juan J Valverde
    Happy

    I am happy with the end of the war

    I'm happy with the end of the "war". I think this is the best thing could happen from the users perspective.

    One format makes buying decisions much more easier. Just choose you favourite vendor and you know you will have plenty of films to choose from (now you get some titles only on HD-DVD and others only BD:-().

    I know some people can complain about the BD champ (Sony, Panasonic, etc.) getting money from the royalties but is not the first nor the last time this is going to happen.

    IMHO this is the best that could happen for consumers.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Michael Compton

    You would have been sorely disappointed then - HD-DVD was video only, there was no data storage format for it, or any PC drives or anything.

    Plus if you want a storage method whats the point of "upgrading" from 8GB to 25GB - it's just too small to make it worthwhile. I've heard loads of people saying that 25GB's is a huge amount, more than they could need etc. - what a load of crap. At 1080p (not that they supported 1080p) you couldn't even fit a 3 hour film on one without compressing it. There are already available films that come on 2 discs (killing any argument of being cheaper immediatley)

    And the prices will come down - Sony's drives might stay expensive, as Sony equipment is expensive, but now the format war is over we will start seeing some cheap drives coming out of the cheap companies.

    Also people are always banging on about how HD-DVD's are cheaper to produce. Why exactly then do they cost the same to BUY. Brilliant selling point, you can give Toshiba a bigger percentage.

    As much as it sounds like I hate HD-DVD, I don't - It's just far too small a step forward. Kind of like expecting anyone to replace their 1.44MB floppy drive with a 3MB one - oh.. yeah... and that really didn't work.

  14. b166er

    Still don't get it

    Optical-Schmoptical

    I got fed up of ENORMOUS optical discs about 5 years ago, why would I want to go and cover my room in another generation of them?

    I always loved the old consoles and their cartridges, I say make Storage cards/SSDs much cheaper and consign Blu-Ray to the annuls of time too. Either that, or sort out broadband so that I don't need ANY physical method of transporting my fav games/movies.

    I will not buy Blu-ray, it's old-hat already

  15. Highlander

    A couple of wrinkles missed during revision

    You missed the part where Toshiba tried unsuccessfully, several times, to get the DVD forum to ratify HD-DVD, and eventually Microsoft and several *new* members of the forum arrived in the nick of time to support Toshiba and force ratification of the standard.

    Possibly my favorite bit is the $150 million slush fund payment to Paramount/Dreamworks to ensure HD-DVD exclusivity. You know, along with the ludicrous price reductions, this was the best evidence that someone was trying to force a format down the throats of consumers. That someone was of course not Sony, but rather Toshiba along with their bestest buddies Microsoft.

    Then there was the bit where Toshiba purchased much of Sony's semi-conductor manufacturing business. And of course as someone has pointed out there is the co-operation of Toshiba and Sony with IBM in the Cell development.

    Not to forget the bit where Toshiba keeps denying reality and dropping prices to prime the pump, all to no avail...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: A couple of wrinkles missed during revision

    "Possibly my favorite bit is the $150 million slush fund payment to Paramount/Dreamworks to ensure HD-DVD exclusivity"

    Not forgetting the similar Warner/Fox "alleged" $500m+ amount (which although Warner denied the amount was between two figures, never denied they got paid at all).

    "You know, along with the ludicrous price reductions, this was the best evidence that someone was trying to force a format down the throats of consumers"

    Like the barrage of BOGOF deals with Blu-Ray, usually timed to coincide with every big HD DVD release, and of course arguably the PS3 itself.

    However, all sides paid a sh*t load of money to fight this war in one way or another. Far more than they've made in profits from sales of discs. Money down the drain in a fight that shouldn't have been (and both sides are at fault for starting it).

    Now it's time to make up that money, and this is where the real challenge is. Is Blu-Ray ready to take on the 98% market share DVD has? Is it ready for mass-market and does the consumer really have a clue what it's all about anyway, even with one format?

    Obviously time will tell.

    What will Tosh do now though? Blu-Ray players, or abandon HD entirely?

    More to the point, what of Microsoft?

    What is certain though is we'll hear no end of smug satisfaction for the next few months. Hopefully this will all die away and we can actually get on and the fanboys can find another fight to argue about.

  17. Michael Compton

    Re: @Michael Compton

    Yes single layer was only 25GB but dual was 50GB so i don't see how thats an issue because if i remember correctly it was easier to add more layers to HD-DVD than to BR. And CDs were only for audio at one point so then i'm sure HD-DVD would have got data evidentually its only 1 and 0's we are storing here not lots of tiny pictures or something.

    I think sony have been great at spinning everyone, as capacity wasn't really an issue. There is far better alternativea than these discs for super capacity in the future. Both of these I beleive were going to be nothing more than stop cap solutions, just now the option is more expensive.

    The price of movies is never tied to the medium, if that was the case then music albums should be about £1 and movies £4 (i gave them extra cause the movie cost alot more than album but u can see what i'm getting at i'm sure). Media congolomerates rip all consumers off but thats a different story. I'm only talking kit and medium not the over priced content they push on them.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I must be getting old!

    I can remember the 3 different video recorder standards - VHS, Betamax and V2000. At the time Comet had all 3 types of recorder for sale in its stores. From memory I believe that V2000 may have been superior quality, and of the 3 different options VHS was the worst option - and guess which won?

    I've never got involved in this DVD competition, knowing full well that eventually one of them would win. I'm just a little surprised that it has taken this long!

    Anyway, where's the Paris Hilton angle in the story?

  19. Don Mitchell

    LIcensing?

    How much power does SONY have now to license or not license Blu-Ray to other vendors? I know they used DVD patents to try to shut out their rivals years ago. I'm glad to see the format war resolved, so this is my only remaining concern.

    Blu-Ray also has region coding, which HD-DVD thankfully did not. I wonder how much that influenced the industry to back SONY?

  20. Red Bren
    Pirate

    Another such victory and we are undone!

    Blu-Ray appears to have won the HD format battle (and as a PS3 owner, I've helped) but at what cost? Most consumers didn't want to risk buying the next betamax and have held out. Additionally, there is still a war to fight against the existing DVD format.

    Consumers were tempted by the DVD format because it provided such obvious benefits - better image quality, more robust, instant scene selection/rewind/fast-forward. What benefits do either of the next gen formats bring? Most new releases appear on DVD first. You have to invest a lot of cash in new equipment, and then pay extra for the disks. And with OFCOM dithering about terrestrial HD standards and potentially precipitating another betamax situation, the market is limited to early adopters.

    If the greedy corporations had been prepared to settle for a share of the pie, rather than trying to take it all, the market could have matured sooner we would all have reaped the benefit. Instead, the market could yet be stillborn if our broadband infrastructure gets a boost.

  21. Highlander

    @AC regarding alleged payments to Warner

    the allegations of payments to warner have been denied by all concerned, if you have anything other than unsubstantiated allegations to make, you best make them, and why not try being something other than an anonymous coward next time to? The pay off made to Paramount and Dreamworks is very well documented and has been confirmed by the parties concerned.

    Your points about buy one get one free sales of Blu-Ray might hold some water if Amazon and other retailers hadn't offered similar deals on HD-DVD discs. As for comparing the price reductions of PS3 to the slashings the HD-DVD players recieved, perhaps you'd care to contrast and compare a Toshiba HD-DVD player that costs $400 to make being sold for $99 against Sony selling a PS3 model at $399 that costs about $399 to make?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@Michael Compton

    True you could double layer a HD-DVD to 50GB - Just as you can double layer a Bluray to 100GB. Don't know if it's more difficult as such, probably it does cost more to make, but then it is pretty much twice as big. Also they have made Blurays which hold 200GB on 4 layers, something HD-DVD never achieved.

    200GB isn't even all THAT huge - at a bit of a push I filled my 500GB external hard disk in 6 months, and file sizes are still growing.

    I think capacity really was the issue - If it wasn't then maybe access speed (Bluray is nearly double that od HD-DVD)

    Or if not speed then cost maybe - while HD-DVD's do appear to be cheaper to produce, they sell for the same price, so again not really an issue.

    Cost of the player perhaps? (Obviously this has plummeted for HD-DVD in recent weeks, mainly subsidised by Toshiba) but before that you could find a bluray play for only a small amount more. In fact you could get one for cheaper than any HD-DVD player for a long time - it played games as well!

    People say the PS3 is a rip off, but considering it is a very good Bluray player as well, what does that work out as?

    £200 for the Bluray player, leaving the rest of the console under £200 - oh! Cheaper than the XBOX 360.

    I'm sure HD-DVD's could have easily been adapted for data. But they weren't - why? Especially with Microsoft as a backer - perhaps there was a difficulty with the process we didn't hear about.

    To be fair they were both very competent systems. For me an extra few quid for a player for a medium that holds pretty much twice as much and is pretty much twice as fast, as well as already being rewritable and having PC drives available (for data not just video), is a bargain.

  23. Steve Sutton

    none of the above

    I have to say, that while I preferred Blu-Ray, simply 'cus I trust Sony to invent the better technology, I have no intention of using either, until I am 100% convinced that all of the DRM, and particularly the player-disabling features that I've heard enough about to be worried about, have been removed.

    Maybe I'll look into it properly for myself, or maybe I'll just wait until the companies involved come out and state it clearly.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Michael Compton 2

    Hi Michael - don't fret, just because BD/HDDVD is becoming a one-horse race doesn't mean that the "expensive" media has won and that there's no competition to drive down the price.

    Look at historical DVD burner prices. 5 years ago they were retailing at £500 OEM. That dropped dramatically fairly quickly and today they're less than £20 and the media is cheap as chips. It did this despite no other format vying for superiority. There is still competition - the manufacturers of the drives and media.

    HDDVD's cheapness wasn't really an accurate reflection of cost to build. They cut the prices to try and force a win - it failed, showing that in the high-end entertainment market, money is not the driving factor. The only real place that HDDVD was cheaper is that the DISCS were cheaper to make because they could modify SD-DVD plants to make HD ones. In reality, they never really did this - HDDVD would be pressed in addition to SD discs so new plants were needed anyway to accommodate this. I haven't seen the figures, but I'd wager that despite growth in the BD/HDDVD market, the bog standard DVD figures didn't drop. And all this is ignoring the fact that the presses depreciate to zero in 3-5 years and need replacement.

    So cheer up - they'll be cheap before you know it. :-)

  25. Ian Underhill
    Unhappy

    No real choice

    The realy sad thing is that I don't think the consumer really made the choice. It was the business deals behind the scenes that really sealed the fate of HD-DVD. The decisions by Blockbuster, Target, Best Buy etc to favour BluRay is what real counted in the end. If the consumer had better access to the titles available, it might have been a different story.

    To the average consumer there wasn't really a battle. When they visited the local rental store they saw lots of BluRay and no HD-DVD's. When they shopped at Best Buy or Target they would have noticed that the new release movies were frequently available on DVD and BluRay but only occasionally on HD-DVD. Try finding "The Brave One" or "Elizabeth- The golden age" on HD-DVD, then look for "Across the Universe" on BluRay

    So its the businessmen, not the consumer that killed HD-DVD and thats sad.

  26. Daniel B.
    Boffin

    Ah ... region coding.

    Ok, so the thing is dead, but there are still people that *think* that HD-DVD didn't have region-coding. It did, it just was "disabled" because of the format war. Had this gone the other way, you'd find Toshiba, M$ and their siblings sending the "firmware of death" activating the region lockdowns and rendering your over-the-seas cheapo import HDDVD's unviewable.

    As for me, there are a crapload of reasons for backing Blu-ray, even if I don't even have an HD TV or either player (or even a PS3).

    1. The name. It sounds ugly, looks ugly, and feels like one of those "Microsoft MSN Live Windows Hotmail Mail service" hideous naming schemes. (Wait, who's backing this now?)

    2. Storage capacity. Apart from being video-only (and yes, I know DVD stands for Digital VIDEO Disk and not "Versatile", and the CD being audio-only) it had lesser per-layer capacity. The argument given above about "2-layer HDDVD being better than 1-layer BD" doesn't hold for me, it didn't do it either when Apple went Intel.

    3. Java. BD went Java, HD-DVD went behind some weird Windoze-only interactivity stuff. At least Java is cross-platform and might hint me that I won't need weird stuff (read: DeCSS) to be able to play my BD's on, say ... Linux.

    4. Microsoft... because I'd love to see M$ *lose* something for a change. Thanks for backing the loser!! Plus, anywhere M$ gets its hands on, suddenly turns "Windows only" and I wouldn't let that happen with a next-gen format.

    5. Arrogance. The HD-DVD group insisted to promote themselves as "superior", even with the technical flaws that gave them the lower hand against Blu-ray.

    There are more reasons, but I just can't remember now. And those toting "downloads are teh futoore!!! dooodz!!!" seem to forget that harddrives sometimes die, and take away all your downloads, legal or not. I'd like to see the face of someone losing $1000 worth of movies because of the next Blaster virus...

  27. Mr B
    Stop

    How rugged is a BR disc/k & Price matters

    What's the level of scratch a BD can handle ... because DVD are not that great & I guess packing more bits per square unit make is more vulnerable.

    You can get a 500Gb WDigital HDD for around $100

    a 5 Pack Sony 1-2X BD-R DL Disc Write Once 50GB is around $190

    a 1 Pack Sony 1-2X BD-R Disc Single Layer Write Once 25GB

    around $17

    Do the maths :

    BD-R (50) $.76 /Gb

    BD-R (25) $1.47 /Gb

    HDD (500) $.20 /Gb

    It gets cheaper with cheaper gear but am I the only one that thinks the Majors should distribute their movies thru automated tills where you'd bring your HDD to fill, I'm sure they could get HDD manufacturer to embedded a specific kind of firmware to address the DRM crap.

    In terms of footprint even with slim casing 10 BD is bigger than a 3.5" HDD

    Speedwise ... well ...

    I guess one possible move for toshiba would be to patent a dedicated & powered USB/Firewire interface on Lounge Movie Players to access external HDD.

    So HDDVD / BD wrong speed wrong capacity wrong price. Sony may have won a battle ... but the war is over. I'm not buying it for movies since I don't own a penthouse nor a 42" telly ... and datawise I'm stacking HDD.

  28. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Microsoft

    I hope the Blu-ray consortium charge a massive licence fee for using Blu-ray in their products.

    Serves them right for taking sides.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: No next gen optical disc for me then

    'HD-DVD would have slotted in nicely as the prices would have came close to commodity prices, which they were already close to, as opposed to luxury item.

    With no real competition i can see BR kit/disc pretty much staying as they are in terms of price no need to lower it now. Hope you movie lovers have deep pockets'

    .

    Why oh why do people keep spouting eroneous arguments such as these without engaging brain and doing some basic research ?

    Why exactly will BR stay expensive ?? Why are you stating no competition ??.

    Its only currently at these prices because economies of scale haven't kicked in. BR isn't just Sony its also Philips, Samsung, LG, Thomson, Hitachi, Pioneer, Matsushita Sharp and many more now who are at the moment currently sitting on the fence. (No doubt Toshiba as well). There will plenty of competition and BR will eventually be down to DVD prices.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: No real choice

    'The realy sad thing is that I don't think the consumer really made the choice. It was the business deals behind the scenes that really sealed the fate of HD-DVD'

    No its Sony who killed HD-DVD. Firstly they learned their lesson on Betamax and bought into the movie studio system.

    Secondly they took a big risk in introducing the PS3 from the start with a BR player. It made the console extremely expensive to produce in the begining however they looked at it as a long term Trojan horse in the HD Battle and ultimatley their decision was proved right. Considering Microsoft was one backers of HD-DVD they did nothing to help Toshiba...

    There are of course other reasons as well however in the end Sony played a better game

  31. ratfox Silver badge

    Universal is leaving...

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technology/AP-Universal-Blu-ray.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    What, don't they want to sell a format that no device can read?

  32. Kevin Peacock

    @ Daniel B

    "Ok, so the thing is dead, but there are still people that *think* that HD-DVD didn't have region-coding. It did, it just was "disabled" because of the format war. Had this gone the other way, you'd find Toshiba, M$ and their siblings sending the "firmware of death" activating the region lockdowns and rendering your over-the-seas cheapo import HDDVD's unviewable."

    Outright lies.

    There is no region coding on any HD-DVD disc or player.

    There was a working party looking at region coding, but it never produced anything that was implemented.

    Why oh why do we get people continuing to push this nonsense?

  33. Malcolm Weir

    @Mr B... magnetic disks vs optical disks

    The thing with HDD vs any kind of optical disk is the longevity: put a good BD disk on a reasonably cool shelf, and chances are it will be fine in 10+ years. Put an HDD on that same disk, and the chances are it won't. There's also the _type_ of failure: the average optical drives defect may result in lost data, but the whole may still be more-or-less usable. HDDs have a large set of failure modes in which the thing becomes a brick.

    Moral of the story: use HDDs for short-term and scratch storage, but not for archival use.

    But the model you describe where an HDD is used for renting a movie is perfect... especially if you extend it to a standardized license that permits you to redownload the thing onto a new disk should the old one fail...

    Malc.

  34. Degenerate Scumbag

    @Malcolm Weir

    Optical disks winning over Magnetic media for longevity? You're kidding, right? This may be true for pressed disks, but for data storage we need writable disks, and that means layers of phase-changing dye - organic compounds which are subject to degrade with light exposure and time. This technology does not have a good record of storage longevity at all. Ever heard of CD-R bit-rot? Studies showed significant data loss after only 5 years - and this ties in with my own experience. I'd take magnetic media over optical any day - just make sure you re-copy any precious archived data every few years. With the way prices fall, this shouldn't be an expensive proposition.

  35. studentrights
    Thumb Up

    BD-RE just like DVD-RAM...

    I've notice very little talk about BD-RE vs. BD-R. I purchased a Blu-Ray drive for data storage, specifically as a replacement for DVD-RAM. I notice someone quoted a price of $17 for a 25GB BD-R disk (coaster), but I've purchased BD-RE disks for $15 each. Hard to find at that price but worth every penny for an optical format that functions just like a hard drive. Sure it's more expensive but far a far more secure way to archive data dynamically.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    You people crack me up!

    Judging by the comment section, people actually give a f*ck about this stupid polyacrylate disk format thing. Amazing. Kind of like people discussing DAT vs. I-can't-remember-what-it-was-called.

    Mine's the heavy one hanging on the Zimmer frame, thanks.

  37. Anonymous from Mars

    Say "BD"

    Now to get everyone to start calling it "BD" instead of "Blu-Ray" which just sounds silly. I will integrate "BD" into society, to fit in with "CD" and "DVD."

    Me: "Hey, you got a BD section here yet?"

    Employee: "BD?"

    Me: "Yeah, BD. Blu-ray. BD. It's like DVD only higher quality."

  38. Nexox Enigma

    Seems like it was all worthless

    I'd be willing to bet that DVD will have been (will be?) fine until holographic discs are ready to go mainstream. Prototypes currently do 300GB, with 1TB projected within a few years. Plus read and write speeds are massively faster due to the parallel nature of storage. I was hoping this format war would last long enough for both BR and HDDVD to get blown out of the water.

    And to whomever said that you can't even store 3 hours of 1080p video on a single layer HDDVD... You'd probably be hard pressed to store 10 minutes of raw 1080p video in 100gb. Essentially all video that exists digitally is compressed to some degree. Plus both BR and HDDVD use the exact same compression, which is mostly driven by hardware limitations. Using higher end compression suitable for playback on a decent computer with mpeg4 acceleration you can get a full 1080p movie down to under 10GB, but set top box hardware would be pricy to play that back at full rate.

    And downloading those will burn you through 500gb in far less than 6 months. I could probably do that in a week if I wanted to partake in the drivel that constitutes the majority of movies. Then again, I consider a 500gb external hdd suitable for data transport, not archiving.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the fallout

    You've got the ex hd-dvders saying they're happy with upscaled dvd or bit starved downloads (maybe they should have thought that before wasting money on hd-dvd?)

    Others saying they can't tell the difference but they'll wait for the next format 'cos it'll be bigger', if you can't tell the difference between 1080p with lossless audio and sd, whatever the next format is you'd better hope they sell new eyes and ears because by the time format x is here they'll be in a worse state

    and then you've got the bd purchaser enjoying hd films now and who'll probably happily upgrade to the next format in 5-10 years

    and finally you've got a big bunch of people who now can happily purchase player and discs knowing that they're purchase isn't going to me made obsolete from the spoiling actions of toshiba and microsoft

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Dual Format Players

    Does anyone seriously think that companies such as Samsung and LG are going keep going with dual format machines now HD DVD is being buried? What consumer wants to fork out £500+ paying around £200 extra over a standalone BR player just to have HD DVD?

    Won't happen. You just watch Samsung ditch those BDUP5000 and 5500 machines as fast as Toshiba ditched HD DVD.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Highlander, re BD "bribes".

    I don't have monetary figures, but all encoding and mastering of early Fox and Paramount discs was done for free by Sony, with a heavy disc manufacturing subsidy as well. Fox was never going to move to HD-DVD, as they insisted on having both Region Coding and their substantial investment in the BD+ system added to the format first, but it wasn't long after the deal finished that the HD-DVD team walked in with their alternative funding offer to Paramount, although finalising it took a while. It's also worth remembering that it was around that time that Fox was 'mysteriously' posponing just about every title for months on end, and only started releasing them again in an attempt to mitigate the consequences of the Paramout exclusivity when it happened.

  42. Michael Compton

    @ Re: No next gen optical disc for me then (2)

    I don't honestly see how what i said was completely eroneous no more so that what you yourself said as both comments are conjecture.

    I would counter the economy of scale arguement with the fact that with now an obvious increase in demand, as its the only HD movie medium, that this economy will be offset, also its just plain difficult to make, shortage of blue diodes and the susceptibility to damage for the discs.

    The licensing fee's may also mean cheap kit will be hard to produce especially with all the extra pressure on components channel.

    But as i mentioned in my first post i'm not a moive buyer so its all pretty irrelevant to me, except that it would have been nice to have a replacement for DVD.

  43. Nathanael Bastone
    Unhappy

    @Lars Petersson

    I to, decided to wait for the war to end, but I don't think it is quite over yet, just because an article says so. After all, who died and made El Reg supreme dictator? YES, Toshiba are pulling out, but there may be some life left in the old HD_DVD war horse yet. Whatever the case, I REFUSE to use the name "blu-ray" so to me they will always be HD-DVDs, It's natural progression in naming.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened to the free market?

    I'd like to see the EU take a look at this. The market should be allowed to decide, not film studios who kill off a standard by publicising that they would not release their films on it. It is the consumer who suffers, as usual.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Anonymous from Mars

    BD, DVD -- like, whatever dude. They're all discs, they're all compact, and they all look the same. Let's call them all "CDs" and be done with it.

  46. Anne van der Bom

    Bring Your Own HDD

    This 'bring your HDD to the shop' idea that Mr. B came up with is never going to work because it's an awful shopping experience.

    If you physically go to a shop to shell out some hard earned cash, you'll want to bring something tangible home with you and experience the satisfaction of unpacking it. We're not talking about groceries here. Buying a BD or DVD is giving yourself a present. That's why content distribution on physical media will be around for a long time.

  47. Danny
    Stop

    Spot the p****d off early adopter

    'The market should be allowed to decide, not film studios who kill off a standard by publicising that they would not release their films on it'

    The market DID decide. Look at the numbers of disks sold. Toshiba couldn't even get people to take up HD-DVD even when they gave away the players and despite having Universal and Paramount exclusives and having the Warner content until recently. If people wanted this inferior format, they would have been snapped up at the stupidly low prices Toshiba were selling them at and the other studios would have been forced to produce HD-DVD. Even including the films they were giving away, total blu-ray discs still wiped the floor with them by at least 3:1. Who do you think was buying these discs? The studios to push the numbers up? Don't be silly, it doesn't matter to them what format it sells on, as long as it sells. It was a consumer decision first, followed by a studio decision not to produce a format that wasn't selling.

    Now please all the HD-DVD fanboys, go away, put your thumb in your mouth and sulk in the corner. It's over, you lost despite all the rabid posts about how much 'better' and more 'consumer friendly' over the past year.

  48. RainForestGuppy
    Thumb Up

    Odd Comment

    "and finally you've got a big bunch of people who now can happily purchase player and discs knowing that they're purchase isn't going to me made obsolete from the spoiling actions of toshiba and microsoft"

    Is different companies trying to develop different solutions spoiling??

    I say it's healthy competition. If all the big players got together and told us the consumers what to buy, isn't that collusion.

    Then the only people to benefit is the manufacturers because they don't need to spend any money on R&D as they've told the customers what they will get, and we would still be watching VHS on CRT TV's.

    Since there are more PC's running an MS OS in the world perhaps the Anon Coward thinks MS should be the standard, and Linux and Apple OS's phased out because they are spoiling it for users. ;-) This last sentence is a flame, I hope nobody is sad or stupid enough to reply to this comment.

  49. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    Grab one while they are cheap.

    I wanted a blue ray player from the start, but when i came across a discounted high end HD-DVD player, i broke down and bought one.

    It supposedly came with 5 movies and it coust U$90. so, it was, like, buy 5 movies and get a free player. I have not gotten the discs yet, i hope they don't renig on the mail-in.

    I imagine the qualitty of blu-ray movies will be about the same if i had an HDMI monitor, i don't, I have analog only in. When i play a non-locked DVD (not an HD-DVD) the up-rezzing is nothing short of spectacular. Reviews say the Sony Playsers do a very lackluster job of playing back 720 X 480 DVD content.

    The biggest surprise of all, however, was that ULEAD (now COREL) video studio 11 provides the capability of burning true HD content (well, almost, it burns 1440 non-square pixels) onto ordinary DVD disks. Although its only good for 23 Minutes per layer, thats enough to view home movies on the HD screen without spending a lot of money.

    So, while we will be downloading or blue raying eventually, for now i have an interim format that does the job.

    paris hilton icon because, well, just because.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: No next gen optical disc for me then (2)

    >‘I don't honestly see how what I said was completely erroneous no more so that what you yourself said as both comments are conjecture.’

    Erroneous meaning false argument ? - Both my arguments are backed up by historical fact, are yours ? Why on earth do you think that BR players will stay at 200ukp? Consumer electronics history shows that to be false premise. What was once expensive to produce will end up being commodity items being sold for next to basic cost. I can go to my local Tesco now and buy a vanilla DVD player for the nearly the price of DVD disc....When they first came out in late 1990’s they were hundreds of pounds, much like first generation BR players today.

    >‘I would counter the economy of scale argument with the fact that with now an obvious increase in demand, as it’s the only HD movie medium that this economy will be offset’

    Again history proves otherwise, with one format better consumer acceptance, increase in sales, more competition, lower prices.

    >‘Also its just plain difficult to make, shortage of blue diodes and the susceptibility to damage for the discs’

    The blue diodes are used in both devices so on that cost basis where is your argument?? The diode shortage in addition has been artificially magnified as the reduced number of components have been split across both formats....Now its only only BR, more diodes available for the one format….And that’s without future improvements in diode availability. The difficulty is in the lens/optics however that is being improved (And in the end won’t add anything much to the cost after a few years) The offset for this is the increase in capacity of BR discs and as that is your only reason for buying a HD disc format (for storage you say) where is your argument/complaint…?

    >’The licensing fees may also mean cheap kit will be hard to produce especially with all the extra pressure on components channel’.

    Now that is conjecture on your behalf ! At the moment nobody knows the licensing model (AFAIK)

    >'But as I mentioned in my first post I’m not a movie buyer so it’s all pretty irrelevant to me, except that it would have been nice to have a replacement for DVD'

    You have got replacement DVD its called BR and for you it’s the better format out of the two (twice the capacity, twice the access speed) so why are you complaing ?

  51. Ian Underhill
    Coat

    Yes, it was collusion

    To Danny

    No the Market didn't decide it was decide by the businesses, Rental Store's, Electronics Stores, the Studios and the marketing types. Yes Tosh tried to advance HD-DVD by selling the cheap players but it was too little too late. Had the X-Box add-on been a more reasonably priced and had retailers like Target and Best Buy been less biased things might have been different. In particular Block Busters decision to side with BluRay is perhaps the most significant. It wasn't until there were significant numbers of movies to rent that DVD really started to kill off VHS for good. The same applied to HD. No one buys a new player and lots of discs, so the lack of any rental disc to make use of your shiny new HD-DVD player was the real killer and the consumer didn't get to make that decision.

    And no I'm not a fan boy I knew one would win and I'm not bothered which. Sure I have a HD-DVD player and with the free disc's I got with it it was cheaper than a replacement standard DVD with free upscaling.

  52. Chulang

    HDD and Flask will kill blueray

    There is a box availible to add alaptop HDD and plau your movies onto you television set. It is cheep and is becoming popular. This si so with the TIVO boxes. So sooner than later no one will use disk but flash hddds. So i ent worry about blue ray. Now with the cheep DVD doal layer, I still have to keep am in=mmage of the DVD on my hard disk drive because after time the dam disk wount work. Using Virtual Drive software work wounders. So I now giving my verdict on Blueray. rest in peace too.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @RainForestGuppy

    Comparing the film market to the o/s market is a bit silly, theres normally competing software as well. its not as if word processors are only on windows and graphic software on solaris.

    Films dont really have competing products, if you want toy story picking up a copy of shrek is not the same, both good films but different.

    and it seems that the majority of people want a single format too, not a bluray for x% of the market hddvd for y% and vhd for %z

  54. Duncan Barr
    Stop

    @Michael Compton

    Since when did HD-DVD have 25GB a layer? Only BD supports this.

    HD-DVD infact supports "just" 15GB per layer - therefore a quadlayer HD-DVD is "only" 10GB more than a dual-layer Bluray discs.

    Just surprised nobody picked up on this sooner!

  55. Duncan Barr

    @SSU

    Only benefit was better capacity??

    Duh, thats the whole point, 1080p movies with uncompressed multi-channel sound take up a lot of space. Thats a huge benefit for the home cinema market- which with the advent of "cheap" 1080p screens is becoming less-niche by the day.

    Dont get me wrong DVD has its place and will continue to be the No1 for a long time- as essentially its the new VHS (in playback terms anyway), but I know more than a few people (who have just HD screens, but not the kind of cinema system we have) who are looking at getting BD to get the most from their HD TVs.

  56. Peter
    Stop

    Get the facts straight

    Before this gets out of hand:

    1. Single layer Hd DVD= 15gb Dual Layer= 30GB Triple Layer=51GB (improved data density or somthing)

    2. BluRay SL= 25GB DL= 50GB 4L= 100GB so 200GB requires at least 8Layers.

    3. Both formats support 1080p and both use compressed video on all releases, infact they both use the same codec

    4. BDA's Java system is supposed to be an absolute dog to code for, where as MS's HDi is a lot more convenient. As for Java being more open, leading to Linux support - that won't happen due to AACS (the same reason why there is no official playback of DVD on Linux)

    5. HD DVD did have data discs available (verbatim and Imation etc) although the writers were no as mumerous and widely available as BluRay writers

    6. As Daniel B said, HDDVD has been ademant from the very beginning that they have no intention of introducing region coding. Everything else is speculation.

    7. Blu Ray outsold HD DVD in total disc sales 65% to 35% not 3:1. compared to having a potential player base of 90% to 10% so the attach rate of discs per player is greater for HD DVD.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Downloadable content, ISPs looking into download caps for bandwidth "hogs"

    ISPs are intensely looking into download caps apparently due to what they are calling bandwidth "hogs". See below article

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/time-warner-download-too-much-and-you-might-pay-30-a-movie/

    This might change the equation for downloadable content replacing movies on physical media.

  58. Luca
    Go

    Re: @Michael Compton

    I'm not sure what you mean that layers are easier to add to HD-DVD than BD. I still have to see any HD-DVD DL in the market.

    BD-RE are pretty cheap nowadays, the price has dropped a lot, single layer discs are going for just over 10 Dollars each here in the States and double layers (50GB) are still expensive but price will drop and quickly (just a year ago one BD-RE SL was 24 dollars).

    Also, in the works is a 4L disc with 200GB capacity.

    I'm a professional photographer and disc capacity is the thing I'm most interested in and that's why I backed BD since the start. HD-DVD simply was never an option to me.

    BD DL = 50GB, HD-DVD DL=30GB, that's 20GB difference: HUGE!

    Luca

  59. Luca
    Go

    Re: Get the facts straight

    >2. BluRay SL= 25GB DL= 50GB 4L= 100GB so 200GB requires at

    >least 8Layers.

    Actually the work TDK is doing with Sony is a double sided disc 4L for a total of 200GB, and later 8L each side.

    It doesn't matter, even double sided 200GB is great to have.

    As for point 7:

    >Blu Ray outsold HD DVD in total disc sales 65% to 35% not 3:1

    HD-DVD gave away TONS of free discs, so the base is irrelevant since we all very well know what those discs are and none of them interesting in my opinion. Also the HD-DVD camp has the habit of counting out the PS3 when counting the hardware sales but then counting the PS3 when it's time to divide the number of movies sold by the number of machines in circulation. This is a very well proved fact, one which I find a little too convenient.

    Who cares anyway, HD-DVD is dead, good riddance and long live Blue Ray (10 years or so until the next format war ;-) ).

    Luca

    PS: Remember that was Toshiba that wanted the format war in the first place.

  60. Mr B

    @Anne van der Bom

    How old are you ??? ... I thought I was pathetic coz I'm bolding and working Saturday nites (should have quoted the work part ... getting bored and reading el Reg rather) but I can go reassured seeing that some speak of a wonderful shopping experience, where do you go Harrods (still)? or like most of us HMV & Virgin ... or online, even eBay maybe. And you always go to concerts because listening to music at home is not that a thrilling experience.

    I thought the unpacking of a DVD was as the latex wrapping of the bishop e.g. an interesting but lame moment compared with what is supposed to follow.

    And yes iTunes Store does not sell because the tune does not come all blistery and stickerish. Oh you bet that iTunes will fail on the movie renting front for the same reason.

    Here is an other silly idea: Virgin is launching a new "HDD wrapping" scheme so it can be nervously unwrapped when home, for the really nostalgic ones they may even offer a "burn as you buy",(I've always been amazed by people looking at the recorded face of a CD/DVD as if they'd be able to see/listen to what's on it) and btw I'm proud to announce el Reg is now shipping its daily blistered print copy (for a fee) will you buy it?

    But don't worry the HDD wotsit comes with the ability to burn the film 7 times ... so plenty of plastic to waste.

  61. Abe
    Unhappy

    The point to all of this?

    Can I ask whats the point in half of these spats?

    Does it really matter if someone else doesnt agree that blueray/bd/hd-dvd/cd/tape/porn is as awesome as you think it is?

    Do you really think that by constructing your point of view in various ways that all of a sudden people are going to stop and go "ahh he is right what a smart little geek this one is"

    pointless flame fuelled by an emptiness elsewhere in life Id imagine.

    In 5 years time we will have another media format and another 5 years after that, its called evolution.

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