PCWorld is reporting
that Gartner Research has predicted the death of HD DVD by the end of the year. It dubs Toshiba's massive HD DVD player price cuts as "useless resistance".
While I have no idea how long it will take before Toshiba gives up, I am in agreement that it is incredibly difficult for HD DVD to make a comeback. It is too costly for the studios to output to three different formats (standard-def DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray). More importantly, HD DVD is already dead in the eyes of several consumers I have spoken to, and I am sure the recent negative publicity cemented this belief in many more people.
Lack of studio support and constant predictions of HD DVD's demise are denting consumer confidence and increasing Blu-ray's lead. If Toshiba is planning a comeback, it needs to be now.
As an update to my previous post
, the "Save HD DVD" petition
now stands at over 30,000 signatures and the "Let HD DVD Die" petition
stands at over 10,000. I cannot see Warner or the others doing a U-turn on this policy, however, no matter how many votes it gets.Update 1/30/08:
Video Business is reporting
that HD DVD player sales rose significantly over the past week. This is likely to be due to the massive (half-price in some cases) price cuts that took place. Last week's player sales put Blu-ray at 63%, HD DVD at 33% and dual-format players at 4%. The week before it was 90% for Blu-ray and 7% for HD DVD.
This shows that consumers are more susceptible to pricing strategies in this war than previously thought. HD DVD is the cheaper format, in terms of both disc and player costs but if Blu-ray does become the dominant format, production costs (and presumably prices) will fall with time.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Monday January 28 2008 10:53 AM to Industry, Analysis, DVD
has a series of articles on the ongoing HD-DVD vs Blu-ray saga. I have heard some consumer publications say that HD-DVD is dead and Blu-ray has won the war. This is completely misleading. HD-DVD has taken some heavy blows but it has not died yet. Microsoft has shown in the past that it is prepared to make a loss in order to increase the market share of inferior products.
HD-DVD is definitely not giving up the ghost here. Universal has confirmed
that it has no plans to abandon the HD-DVD format, despite the escape clause in its contract.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, Warner revealed
that it plans to delay even more of its HD-DVD releases. The delays now encompass its catalog titles in addition to its new ones.
Retailers are supporting
Warner's move as well. Retailers are becoming cautious about over-stocking HD-DVD titles and are dedicating more shelf space to Blu-ray discs.
Finally, an online petition
has been set up, campaigning against the move to abandon HD-DVD. At the time of writing, it has received over 15,000 signatures. Recently, a counter-petition called "Let HD DVD Die"
was set up. At the time of writing, it has over 6,000 signatures (including mine). Because the first petition has had a couple of weeks' head start, it's difficult to tell which one is actually "winning" right now, although it probably won't make much difference.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Tuesday January 22 2008 3:57 PM to Industry, Analysis, DVD
yesterday that it will follow its parent company, Warner, in embracing Blu-ray exclusively
. Warner has one more subsidiary, BBC Home Video, that has not yet announced its intentions but it is expected to follow suit.
Variety is now reporting
that the two remaining studios in the HD DVD camp, Universal and Paramount, could switch sides soon as well.
They say that they can confirm that "Universal's commitment to backing HD DVD exclusively has ended" and that Paramount has an escape clause in its contract that will allow it to release films on Blu-ray after Warner embraced it exclusively. The two companies are not dropping support for the format but it is less attractive for them to remain exclusive to it.
I am certain that HD DVD will not go down without a fight, as Microsoft and Toshiba have invested a considerable amount of money into the format. Toshiba says it will remain faithful to the format but as a consumer, I would not be rushing out to buy an HD DVD player right now. If the remaining HD DVD-supporting studios choose to release their titles on both HD DVD and Blu-ray, the battle is already over. Why would you buy an HD DVD player that can play two studios' titles when you can buy a Blu-ray player that will play every company's discs? It's a no-brainer.Update:
Universal has issued a statement
: "Contrary to unsubstantiated rumors from unnamed sources, Universal's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format". Note that they did not use the word "exclusively" or say anything about not releasing titles on Blu-ray.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Thursday January 10 2008 1:29 PM to Industry, Analysis, DVD
I've been a bit busy over the past few days and haven't had much time to post unfortunately, but there have been some very interesting developments in the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray.
Late last week, Warner Brothers announced
that it would be dropping support for the HD DVD format in May and supporting Blu-ray exclusively.
This had a knock-on effect, causing the HD DVD Promo Group to cancel
their press conference at CES, citing the "timing of Warner Brothers' announcement" as the reason. This in turn prompted Paramount to clarify
its position that "Paramount's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format", but they have canceled any HD DVD title announcements at CES. This doesn't sound to me like Paramount is 100% confident in the success of the HD DVD format.
There was some initial confusion as to whether Warner's subsidiaries would follow suit. New Line clarified
its position but said that unlike its parent which was waiting until May 2008 to shelve HD DVD, its switch to Blu-ray would take place immediately. This would make Pan's Labyrinth
the only New Line movie to have been released on HD DVD.
It would appear that the studios are getting tired of the confusion caused by the format war and the fact that most people are waiting for it to end before making a purchasing decision. In my opinion, Blu-ray is a superior format so I am glad it is achieving market penetration. HD DVDs have the advantage of being cheaper to produce but if Blu-ray becomes a standard, this issue will diminish with time.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Wednesday January 9 2008 4:05 AM to Industry, DVD
Apple was recently granted several interesting patents.
The first one
offers a method of analyzing video frames and working out their attributes such as if the footage is interlaced
, and if pulldown
has been applied or not. This would allow software such as Final Cut Pro to change project settings to match these attributes automatically without any user intervention. It would also allow software like Compressor to work out which fields
in interlaced footage are duplicates and only rendering them once, thereby speeding up rendering times and reducing file sizes. I would imagine this is geared at ProRes, Apple's professional codec.
The second patent
is for a DVD web system that provides a method of controlling - and being controlled by - internet content. Web content is currently available via next generation HD DVD and Blu-ray players but this patent specifically caters for two-way communication and control.
Their final patent
covers color correction
using an accelerated graphics card rather than the processor. My first thought was that it was a patent for the technology in Apple Color but further reading revealed that Apple proposes a playback system (such as QuickTime) where the original color space
of the video (such as NTSC
) could be converted to the current color space of the monitor to ensure accurate color reproduction.
It must be noted that Apple ultimately may not choose to implement these technologies into their products.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Saturday December 29 2007 11:50 AM to Apple, Software, DVD
High-Def Digest has an article
about a new feature on the Order of the Phoenix HD DVD (not the Blu-ray version).
Live Community Screening allows you to play the movie at the same time as other people with the disc and talk to them about it via the text-based chat room.
One user starts the session and invites the other viewers to it. This user can control playback (play, pause, etc); no-one else can. It is unclear at this stage how you invite other people - presumably they must register with a central database.
I think this is an experiment more than anything else, which is why Warner released it without much fanfare. Voice-based interaction might make it more viable but it's simply more enjoyable to watch a movie with other people in the room.
However, with that said, it might be useful for people who are separated by long distances.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Monday November 26 2007 7:45 AM to Industry, Analysis, DVD