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Blu-ray to the world - "We've won!"

Blu-ray to the world - "We've won!"

Blu-ray Disc Association leader Andy Parsens of Pioneer Electronics. He even looks like Dr. Breen...

Well, it's time for the truth to come out - the format war, by all major sales figures from all reliable points, is pretty well over. Sales figures over the holidays of 2007 showed Blu-ray outstripped HD-DVD sales by a whopping two to one, meaning two thirds of all HD products sold were BR.

The HD-DVD press conference here at CES was cancelled, and the Blu-ray conference on Monday evening had one solid message: "We won."

As mentioned, the raw sales figures worldwide showed BR discs selling double. More importantly, this wasn't a spike - the entire thirteen week quarter showed these figures to be fairly consistent. In fact, they're continually growing.

To add insult to injury , a last minute addition to the BR Disc Association panel was none other than Ron Sanders, President of Warner Brothers Home Video. For those who missed the news, Warner Brothers announced that it was breaking rank and defecting from HD-DVD to produce Blu-ray only, despite the large possibility of a lawsuit for breach of contract by the HD-DVD group and the format's main hardware producer, Toshiba.

The press conference itself focused mostly on how the format was made successful - illustrations of consumer education, content variety and advertising campaigns broke up the individual speeches. Very little of the conference focused on the future of the medium, but the question and answer sessions shed some light on it.

A couple of the questions skirted around the DRM discussion - Blu-ray Plus content protection was more of a squid in the corner that nobody wanted to ask outright. However, news wasn't really all that bleak about it - Bob Chapek, President of Walt Disney Home Entertainment, mentioned that DRM would be the decision of the individual studios, and mentioned that many studios (including Disney) are realising that a hard-disc copy or transcoding to a portable version (the PS3 to PSP was used as an example) can and even should be considered as part of a consumer's right.

When it came to discussion about region encoding, however, the entire panel was unable to answer. The question was almost embarrassing, being as it was asked last year and met the same response. A follower of the format asked about why the region encoding, which is not published and is actually quite odd, is not considered a monopolistic action - the consortium has very few studios who do not do simultaneous worldwide release, and so it can be reasoned that there's very little purpose to it but "to restrict free trade between world citizens."

Andy Parsons, Senior VP of Pioneer Electronics (and the leader of the Blu-ray Disc Association, chuckled and looked mildly put off by the question. As he looked to the rest of the panel for assistance, he was met with none other than blank stares.

"We may have to just wait and see how things develop regarding that over the coming year," he responded.
"Oh? You told me the same thing last year. Shall we table the discussion another time and pick it up next year," the reporter asked.

Nervous laughter from the audience and a couple members of the panel could be heard for a good ten seconds before Parsons responded - "Yes, well then, next year. Now, onto other things, the next question will be the last for the night..."

In this reporter's humble opinion, the format war may indeed be over now that only two studios (Universal and Paramount) even support HD-DVD in any form. However, we may have a little while to go before we should welcome our new benefactors with open arms...

Do you have a thought on the sales news, the WB defectors, the conference itself or the dodged questions? There's lots of room to voice your opinion in our forums. We won't even table the discussion.

29 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
DougEdey 8th January 2008, 18:39 Quote
Quote:
a hard-disc copy or transcoding to a portable version (the PS3 to PSP was used as an example) can and even should be considered as part of a consumer's right.

MPAA/RIAA TAKE NOTE PLEASE

Currently, I don't see why I should spend £15-£25 per disc to upgrade my collection to HD, most upscalers do a pretty damn fine job!
willowthewhite 8th January 2008, 18:51 Quote
I think I'll hold out a little longer just to make sure, but that news has got the blue-ray drive on my shopping list.
samkiller42 8th January 2008, 19:15 Quote
Nice one Demon

This was not supposed to happen, however, if the Top Dog of BR is from Pioneer, then i don't mind so much.

Sam
Da Dego 8th January 2008, 19:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon Cleaner
http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a264/RIPRAW/missionaccomplished.jpg
/mspaint for the win!

THAT was awesome. :) It was exactly how I felt during the conference.
pendragon 8th January 2008, 19:17 Quote
pff.. i doubt the format war is over.. I would wager that most people don't even have hd/br discs (myself among them), so there's plenty of time for things to change
antiHero 8th January 2008, 19:20 Quote
I cant believe that BR wins I saw the same happen as with Betamax.

My biggest question is always whats abour pron:D To my knowledge Sony forbit all porn to be released on BR so what about those 900 billion dollar market?
Hugo 8th January 2008, 19:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiHero
My biggest question is always whats abour pron:D

Begins with 'G' and ends with 'oogle'.

Linkage
antiHero 8th January 2008, 19:53 Quote
^^ Ahh so Sony had a change of mind and didnt wanted to do the same mistake as with Betamax(they forbit porn there too)
E.E.L. Ambiense 8th January 2008, 20:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Currently, I don't see why I should spend £15-£25 per disc to upgrade my collection to HD...

Damn, are prices really that high across the pond?! I pay, during new release week, about $20 for BR discs. Some can be had even cheaper OL instead of brick n' mortar. Back-catalog stuff tends to be steeper, but really depends on the studio/title.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
...most upscalers do a pretty damn fine job!

Depends on your TV, and more importantly, your disposable income! From a technical standpoint, upscalers only do so much, as well all know. 480P jumped to 1080I/P; i.e. adding info to what isn't there to begin with. Even the best Faroudja upscaling chip-integrated players can't compete with true high-def, obviously. When I plunged to BR the difference was like night and day, and that's with a 9-year old Samsung CRT HDTV!

The prices will drop soon enough. The real question is, can ya really wait? :)
Veles 8th January 2008, 20:21 Quote
Quote:
However, we may have a little while to go before we should welcome our new benefactors with open arms...

I though that guy looked familiar
Lucidity 8th January 2008, 20:22 Quote
I have both formats, but personally I would of preferred HD-DVD to win, because I know what an evil company Sony can be, but that is just me. Anyway it's not over until the lawsuits are done. This could actually be a fatal blow to blu-ray if M$/Toshiba manage to sue the crap out of Warner for violating the contract, and thus Paramount would have to stay with HD-DVD because its reason for leaving would then be null and void.
E.E.L. Ambiense 8th January 2008, 20:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucidity
This could actually be a fatal blow to blu-ray if M$/Toshiba manage to sue the crap out of Warner for violating the contract, and thus Paramount would have to stay with HD-DVD because its reason for leaving would then be null and void.

:? Suing Paramount for possibly exercising their rights regarding the clause set as part of the contract, i.e. ability to opt-out?
HourBeforeDawn 8th January 2008, 21:12 Quote
like this was a surprise I knew BluRay was the better format oh and for those who say an upscaler is good enough for you probably dont have a decent sound system so it woudnt matter but for me I find the biggest improvement to BluRay is not just in the Video but Audio take a huge improvement as its usually what gets compressed the most of a DVD and seeing how an upscaler only for Video you dont get that impressive audio but anyhow as far as the price, DVD were bloody expensive when the Tech was new too and then started to go down and the same will happen here too.
BioSniper 8th January 2008, 21:27 Quote
Blu-ray although expensive isn't too badly priced unless you actually go to the shops.
With the current 3-for-2 sales on discs at places like HMV they work out at around £10-15 each depending on the titles you choose for your selection.

I have both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD now, but it's still a shame as I try to not support Sony and their evil ways where possible.
Still, maybe we can once and for all declare a winner which will eventually provide a clear choice for consumers and hopefully drive prices down due to manufacturers not sitting on the fence and charging huge sums in case they got their choice wrong and need to recoup the costs.
hix 8th January 2008, 21:43 Quote
You guys think you got ripped off for £15 a movie? That's like 97 Malaysian Ringgit. Our retailers are selling BD's at RM150 which is £23 and we have very limited selection! If HD-DVD was cheaper, I would've jumped ship a long time ago but meh, the price is just the same.

As for the headline news, I hope they'll get Paramount and Universal on board next. It's pretty imminent and dammit, it's about time we get to see Transformers on Blu-Ray!
sandys 8th January 2008, 21:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hix
Transformers on Blu-Ray!

I want that too, was gutted when paramount switched as I was ready to buy as soon as it came out.
Hugo 8th January 2008, 21:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
I want that too, was gutted when paramount switched as I was ready to buy as soon as it came out.

You should have seen how fast everyone rushed into our TV room when we chucked that on in the office. I've never seen Bindi move so quick!
Bladestorm 8th January 2008, 21:55 Quote
I always understood part of the point of bringing a proprietary format to dominance, was that once the competition had been seen off they could increase the prices and/or inflict whatever copy/region protection etc they like on the consumers at will.

From that standpoint it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming future.

For myself, I've bought all of ooh 5? 6? DVD movies to date, so the chances of me picking up a new drive for anything but data storage are pretty minimal and I don't really see BR as becoming cheap in that regard any time soon. (nor really being a revolution like holographic could be in a few years)
slugbug 8th January 2008, 22:16 Quote
My question is how much did Sony pay out in bribes to the Studio Execs
Mister_Tad 8th January 2008, 22:33 Quote
Got myself a HD-DVD player last Friday, awesome timing!
I never thought HD-DVD would be the victor, though I did think it would get strung out a bit longer, letting the prices on the players drop a little more. Damn you Warner! *shakes fist in an epic sort of fashion*

After having a think about it though, I can't say I'm particularly fussed. I never planned on investing heavily in the films in either format (just renting, not about to replace ~500 DVDs for £15+ each), and after I flog the 7 HD-DVDs that came with my player, I would have ended up spending about the same as I would have anyway on a decent upscaling DVD player. So I've gone from "oh FFS just my luck", and nearly putting the lot on ebay (looks like I would have actually made a tenner out of it actually) to "meh, whatever" in the space of 48 hours :D
E.E.L. Ambiense 8th January 2008, 22:34 Quote
Snipped from Digitalbits.com:
Quote:
"I woke up this morning to a series of e-mails, from a few people reporting to us some "very disturbing news" in the hopes of summoning our outrage. It appears that reports are starting to leak online today that Warner was offered as much as $500 million for their move to Blu-ray exclusivity. Now, I believe we told you all last week that money was being waved around (in our 12/31 post - click here and scroll down a bit). What the HD-DVD camp wants to sweep under the carpet today is how much THEY offered. The HD-DVD camp's strategy in the wake of their failure is to discredit Warner by leaking details of the deal to the HD-DVD friendly online media. The idea is to make Warner feel as much heat as Paramount and DreamWorks felt after THEY took money to flip HD-DVD exclusive last year. I checked out a couple of these sites this morning, and saw a bunch of this sort of thing: "If this is true, we are shocked and outraged to learn that Warner took as much as $500 million from the BDA!" This is no small amount of hypocrisy. You see the HD-DVD camp offered Warner (and Fox as well) a very similar sum of up-front money these past few weeks to flip to THEIR side. In other words, the HD-DVD camp got beat at their own game. Now they're embarrassed and angry, so they're leaking information to try to dust up outrage among the faithful online. It should surprise no one that format wars are a dirty, messy business. But we'd like to remind people today that this format war was FORCED on the industry, on enthusiasts and on consumers, by the very same high-level power mongers who are now pointing fingers, and using online enthusiasts to play their spin games. The fact that their reaction today is to circle the wagons and wage a P.R. war online tells you everything you need to know about the egos involved, and how little they actually care about doing what's right for consumers.

On that note, here's another difference between what Warner has done and what Paramount and DreamWorks did last year: Warner actually intends to release all the HD-DVD titles they've announced and that consumers have already pre-ordered. Further, they intend to keep releasing new HD-DVD titles until the end of May. Anyone out there remember what Paramount and DreamWorks did? They pulled out of Blu-ray suddenly, with no warning to retailers or consumers, and simply cancelled several titles - some that were already pressed and shipped to stores."
David_Fitzy 8th January 2008, 23:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiHero
My biggest question is always whats abour pron:D To my knowledge Sony forbit all porn to be released on BR so what about those 900 billion dollar market?

As far as I know sony only banned porn production in their own BR pressing plants. Any non-sony BR plants can produce porn until the cows come home
Kipman725 8th January 2008, 23:24 Quote
bigger news is both lost just blue ray lost less hard. The studios are having a very hard time selling films at 3 - 4 times the normal price.
talladega 9th January 2008, 03:42 Quote
3-4 times normal price? dvds! arent $6 bluray movies are like $5 -$8 more expensive than dvds. same as hd dvd.
Veles 9th January 2008, 04:08 Quote
Comparing bargain basement prices to full RRP is a very poor comparison. BD/HD-DVD isn't that much more expensive really. As adoption increases now people know what to go for, we should see falling prices too.
salesman 9th January 2008, 05:14 Quote
I like my ps3 on how it can display bitrates for both audio and video. Normal DD and DTS range for 500kbps to about 900kbps with DTS having the larger, but with bluray it ranges depending on how its encoded or if its uncompressed, the latter will some times hit 6.0 mbps thats 6000kbps, 6-12 times the resolution, but if you don't believe me try it out you'll find i'm not kidding. Also more then 90% of HD-DVD are encoded with DD plus which is basically the same quality as DD just has the capacity to add more channels. In time all will come to the dark side, in time.
Bladestorm 10th January 2008, 01:13 Quote
Just before christmas I was in a major retailer, the DVD's were selling for £3-£15 with the average about £8, whilst the HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies were £15-£25.

I think whats more telling though, is that there were two racks for the HD movies (combined, two half racks each so the same movies were side by side) but more like 20-25 racks of DVD's.
Iago 17th January 2008, 17:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiHero
I cant believe that BR wins I saw the same happen as with Betamax.

My biggest question is always whats abour pron:D To my knowledge Sony forbit all porn to be released on BR so what about those 900 billion dollar market?

Who cares about physical media for Porn? You know, we are in 2008, most porn is consumed via streaming video or downloaded.

When Porn went VHS it WAS a big deal. The only other way to consume porn was on theatres, not on the privacy of your home. But we now have teh internets and everybody knows that "teh internets is for pron"
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