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HD DVD shrugs off Blockbuster move

HD DVD shrugs off Blockbuster move

The HD DVD Promotional Group isn't fazed by Blockbuster's move to expand its Blu-ray rentals to another 1450 stores, while not expanding HD DVD.

During a briefing with UK press in London yesterday, Ken Graffeo, executive vice president of High Definition Strategic Marketing for Universal Studios and co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group, shrugged off Blockbuster’s move to expand Blu-ray to 1450 new stores in America.

Graffeo pointed out that rental counted for less than one percent of its revenue and brushed it off as an insignificant event in the format war.

Ken cited the fact that HD DVD is still being offered in the original 250 stores and through Blockbuster’s online rental service. He claims that those 250 stores are stores where there are large numbers of early adopters and the latter, he believes, is Blockbuster’s major growth market.

Thus, he is not fazed by Blockbuster’s decision. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that this is potentially a bigger win for Blu-ray than it is a loss for HD DVD, based on the figures he’s given to us.

He remained adamant that HD DVD was on top at the moment and claimed that dedicated HD DVD set top boxes are outselling Blu-ray set top boxes at a rate of three to one in the US. In the last six weeks, the Promotional Group has sold over 50,000 HD DVD set top boxes on promotion in the US, proving that once the price is right, consumers will buy into the technology.

Of course, these figures Ken gave us discount the PS3’s sales figures, which has sold over one million units in the States. Interestingly though, Graffeo claimed that only 30 percent of PS3s in the US are connected to an HDTV.

This was an attempt at playing down the fact that the PlayStation 3 is primarily not a Blu-ray player. To further press this point home though, he highlighted the fact that if you include the PS3 sales in Sony’s Blu-ray sales figures, Blu-ray customers are only buying an average of one Blu-ray title per player, while HD DVD owners are buying around four titles per player.

Whichever way you look at it, the numbers are so inadequate, especially when you consider the fact that there are over 90 million US households with DVD players and the market is worth around $26 billion a year. It is definitely early days now and the war looks like it is going to continue for quite some time.

Graffeo is confident that HD DVD will win the war because its players are getting close to that critical point of affordability, and there's also the fact that the HD DVD specification was finalised before any player was released, meaning that even the first-generation players can access all of the features in discs being released tomorrow. On the other hand, Blu-ray's specifications still aren't finalised, meaning that current players will not be able to access new additions to the specification.

Got a thought on Graffeo’s somewhat interesting statements? Share it with us in the forums.

30 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Spacecowboy92 21st June 2007, 17:30 Quote
The point you made at the end is quite important but I doubt the consumers will take much notice.
kenco_uk 21st June 2007, 17:36 Quote
para 8 - "like it is going to continue for" - missing 'to'.
eek 21st June 2007, 17:36 Quote
Should it not be "a HDTV" instead of "an HDTV"
knuck 21st June 2007, 17:39 Quote
poor Tim !

these guys won't let you rest for a minute ;)
kempez 21st June 2007, 17:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eek
Should it not be "a HDTV" instead of "an HDTV"

Actually this is an ambiguity in the English language and generally relies on native speaker preference :)
Paradigm Shifter 21st June 2007, 17:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kempez
Actually this is an ambiguity in the English language and generally relies on native speaker preference :)
Yep - I prefer to see 'an HDTV'. ;)
Hazardous 21st June 2007, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter


Yep - I prefer to see 'an HDTV'. ;)

Not me.

I always thought the 'rule' was not to use two consecutive consonants... which would make "a" high definition TV the correct way to write it :?
Tim S 21st June 2007, 18:07 Quote
You don't pronounce H heych.. it's eych if I was saying high definition TV, it would be a high definition TV, but I've said HDTV. ;)
Paradigm Shifter 21st June 2007, 18:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
You don't pronounce H heych.. it's eych if I was saying high definition TV, it would be a high definition TV, but I've said HDTV. ;)
Hit the nail on the head. :D
devdevil85 21st June 2007, 18:29 Quote
Whichever format offers the most capacity at the best price is what I would go with. I just can't get over the fact that I would be able to carry my entire 10-year music collection with me on a freaking disc. That is just crazy/awesome! Blu-Ray, to me, seems to offer the most capacity and is becoming less and less expensive, so I hope it will become just as affordable as HD-DVD. Idk why, but I think of HD-DVD as more of a Walmart-based format that offers just enough to get by, but on the other hand I think of Blu-Ray as the more superior, technologically-advanced format that you may have to pay a little bit more for. Either way, consumers will be the deciding factor, so enough said.

Lastly, I say "an HDTV" because that's how I would say it; "a HDTV" sounds too impersonal and it's harder to say I think.
supermonkey 21st June 2007, 18:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
...and there's also the fact that the HD DVD specification was finalised before any player was released, meaning that even the first-generation players can access all of the features in discs being released tomorrow.
That's not quite true. While a player and a disc may both technically adhere to a specification, when the two come together they may not play well with others.

According to a recent PC World article, the HD DVD releases of King Kong and Miami Vice caused problems with Toshiba players. It isn't just HD DVD, of course. Both Blu-ray and HD DVD players rely on firmware updates to keep the players up-to-date with the latest disc features.

The discs even come with the usual legal language explaining that they may not be compatible with your particular player.

-monkey
Tim S 21st June 2007, 18:56 Quote
The point is that the online features in future Blu-ray discs cannot be used by most early Blu-ray players because the set top boxes don't have an Ethernet port. BD-J hasn't been finalised either, and I'm guessing that older players may be able to support this via firmware updates... but what about the players already in consumer's living rooms? Do consumers have to take them to a service centre to "unlock" new functionality?
Hugo.B 21st June 2007, 19:08 Quote
Quote:
Lastly, I say "an HDTV" because that's how I would say it; "a HDTV" sounds too impersonal and it's harder to say I think.
Actually, the reason why you say it is because you were(I hope) taught to say "an" before vowels, and "a" before consonants, and "eych"(as Tim S puts it) sounds like a vowel beginning.


H.B.
Tim S 21st June 2007, 19:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugo.B
Actually, the reason why you say it is because you were(I hope) taught to say "an" before vowels, and "a" before consonants, and "eych"(as Tim S puts it) sounds like a vowel beginning.


H.B.
;)
bloodcar 21st June 2007, 20:01 Quote
To be honest, I'm just kind of siding with Bill Gates on this whole issue and saying that this is a superficial format war that won't matter with a couple of years. Rising internet access speeds along with better compression algorithms are making on-demand movie rentals easier and easier every day. The one thing I'm looking forward to is being able to purchase my movies with my cable box and them having all the feature sets of a standard DVD/HD DVD/BD film. I know I have a far greater tendency to "rent" movies from my cable company then going to the video store...I just wish there was longer then a 24 hour limit on them as I have a tendency to fall asleep while watching movies and having no time to finish watching them before they expire.
Flibblebot 21st June 2007, 20:09 Quote
I'm not sure about that - I think that if people are going to spend money on a movie, they want to see something physical for that money. It's the same with episodic games - people would rather see a physical disc rather than the downloaded files. I know it's strange, but that's the way it is. I guess it's kind of an idea that you're getting less for your money if you don't have something to show for it.

Added to which, downloaded content is likely to be DRM'ed and time-restricted - if people are going to pay for something, they want to be able to watch it again and again, at their own leisure, not when some distant company tells them they can watch it.

The thing I find most interesting about the whole HD format war is that only the consumer level companies have produced players. Very few (if any?) of the high-end AV players have announced anything (we'll see if anyone announces anything at CEDIA next week, but I doubt it).
bloodcar 21st June 2007, 20:27 Quote
I think allot of what holding digital distribution back for movies is the fact that you aren't able to view any special features at all. You get the movie, and only the movie and 99/100 times the movie is in full screen. If the same options were to become available for on-demand movies that are available with DVDs, then optical media could become the standard for everything. Contrary to what you might think, most people don't really give a rats tail about DRM as long as they are able to watch their movies or throw it onto their iPod or whatnot as they currently can, then it's no big deal. If you check out the data from cable television providers concerning their on-demand service, you'd see that it's sharply on the rise and I suspect it will increase dramatically next year when every cable company will be required in broadcast everything in a digital format leaving current SDTVs in the dust without an analogue-digital converter.

I'll eat my black Stetson cowboy hat if digital distribution isn't the main means of movie rentals and/or purchases by the end of 2010.
Hugo.B 21st June 2007, 20:55 Quote
Quote:
I'll eat my black Stetson cowboy hat if digital distribution isn't the main means of movie rentals and/or purchases by the end of 2010.
You will eat your hat!


H.B.
bilbothebaggins 21st June 2007, 21:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodcar
... Rising internet access speeds along with better compression algorithms are making on-demand movie rentals easier and easier every day. ...
Still ... ""Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of [insert media of choice]"" ... I think either HDDVD/BlueRay do have enough time to complete their life cycle until internet speeds catch up.

-btb-
completemadness 21st June 2007, 21:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodcar
I'll eat my black Stetson cowboy hat if digital distribution isn't the main means of movie rentals and/or purchases by the end of 2010.
well at the rate the UK's Internet speed is looking at the moment, your going to be eating your hat

In other countries however, like china where 100mbit is much more pronounced, Digital Distribution isn't that unlikely

However, if you consider an HDTV title is something like 32gb (give or take)(for lets say 90 Min's)(also i think 32gb is actually a compressed movie already, so we are already at sub HDTV quality)
That's 364 MB/min (well a bit more then), which is about 6.1 MB/s, a 100mbit connection is 12.5 MB/s (maximum, in theory), however 100mbit Ethernet is actually 50/50 (up/down) (also this assumes that there is no weak link, or overhead in the system) so you would need gigabit networking just to stream an HDTV movie in your house, and how many people have a gigabit wire into their TV, I'm betting very few
Brooxy 22nd June 2007, 02:12 Quote
I'm going to be blunt...I'm bored of this war, we all know the moment either HDDVD / BR format comes out on top, a new format will be released, rendering the HDDVD / BR a thing of the past.

I do apologise, i've just got back from the pub, but I kinda thought it needed saying...
Neogumbercules 22nd June 2007, 06:40 Quote
^yeah in 8-10 years.
mikeuk2004 22nd June 2007, 13:31 Quote
Who is buying HD Media when they are double the price of a DVD. I look in Virgin and HMV and the prices of HD DVD and Blue-ray are £25-£40 for a Film. Thats crazy prices.

It seems that HD Media is matching the prices of Games. but games you play over and over again and films you watch 1 or 2 times but over a much longer period of time.
Zombie 22nd June 2007, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eek
Should it not be "a HDTV" instead of "an HDTV"

No, H is pronounced 'aitch', thus 'an' is correct. See:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aitch

There is often perceived ambiguity with the letter h, such as an hour and a hat, but in the HDTV case it is clear cut - an aitch-dee-tee-vee.

Thanks,
Zombie 22nd June 2007, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugo.B
Actually, the reason why you say it is because you were(I hope) taught to say "an" before vowels, and "a" before consonants, and "eych"(as Tim S puts it) sounds like a vowel beginning.


H.B.

Well, i should read the whole thread before i add my 2p. Just to be totally correct, it is 'aitch' rather than 'eych'. 'eych' is the noise you make after stepping in dog poo :)
SNIPERMikeUK 22nd June 2007, 17:53 Quote
The reason I would prefer HD DVD to be the format of choice is not because of the quality between the two but because, SONY are greedy money grubbin' sods, and they will make films cost a lot for a long time to come.
eek 22nd June 2007, 22:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie
Well, i should read the whole thread before i add my 2p. Just to be totally correct, it is 'aitch' rather than 'eych'. 'eych' is the noise you make after stepping in dog poo :)
lol, never realised my little comment would result in so many replies!! I stand corrected!! :)
dire_wolf 23rd June 2007, 00:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodcar
I'll eat my black Stetson cowboy hat if digital distribution isn't the main means of movie rentals and/or purchases by the end of 2010.

I hope it tastes nice mate :)
mikeuk2004 23rd June 2007, 11:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dire_wolf
I hope it tastes nice mate :)

Dont forget the Ketchup and a pinch of salt.
mikeuk2004 23rd June 2007, 11:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eek
Should it not be "a HDTV" instead of "an HDTV"

You started something now. This argument seems more interesting to me :p than the oringal post which I forgot about.
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