Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hi Def DVD Format War Over...Stick A Fork In It.

Head over to The Digital Bits for more on what was a very big deal in the Hi Def Format war. Warner Brothers Studio - the last major studio on the fence who were neutral and putting out movies on both HDDVD and BluRay - has picked a side.

And they are going with BluRay.

This is pretty big for the next generation of movie tech. This gives BluRay a 70/30 studio support in Hollyweird, which should effectively end the war as the year goes on. Consumers will go toward the option which has the most movies available, and now that will clearly be BluRay. Paramount and Universal are still in the HD DVD camp I think, but that'll probably change. Nobody's going to want to be left holding the HD DVD bag as the world goes BluRay.

This had to happen, and the sooner the better. The whole thing was about to implode from lack of interest and just plain confused customers. Not to mention really ticked off retail outlets that have to give precious shelf space to dueling formats. There's a lot of interesting info at the Bits site, but what was intriguing was that there was a trend building that people were starting to hold off on DVD purchases as they waited for a side to win. Not just Hi Def DVDs, but regular DVDs too. That alarmed people in the bizz, I guess. Nothing talks like money.

So those with PS3 units are in the clear, while those with XBox HD DVD add on kits will probably be cursing soon enough, although I would assume most people didn't buy gaming consoles for the movie selection. More cursing will happen as 1080P HDTV prices fall, as do the player prices, and people who shelled out for a new TV in the last two years realize they got hosed and don't have a TV that can do true HiDef, although it'll still look good.

Personally, I still don't care as I watch regular DVDs on a 36" TUBE TV (!) through a PS2 or a computer. However, I have been waiting all last year to buy a new HDTV and now this might just push the prices on big ass screen 1080P TV's down into true affordability as the big money big wigs try to push HiDef DVDs into the mainstream. One can hope anyway, and I'd imagine by spring or summer the push will really be on, because if the whole HiDef DVD thing folds it tents, a lot of people will be out a boat load of money, and they won't let that happen.

Another interesting thing here is that Microsoft backed HD-DVD. If this is the death knell of that camp, then between Vista and HD-DVD, Microsoft is taking it on the chin. The other thing is that Apple has been on the BluRay side, and there have been lots of rumors about BluRay DVD players coming to the Mac computer lineup. With the big Warner announcement coming before the Macworld convention later in the month, we may see something new from Apple sooner rather than later.

One last thing though. Looking at the Hi Def setups at Best Buy, they really do look great. Not that it's remotely worth the cost yet, but I do say seeing Serenity in High Def had me thinking about it. However, it's on HD DVD. Figures.

Comments on "Hi Def DVD Format War Over...Stick A Fork In It."


Anonymous originallru said ... (January 05, 2008 4:06 PM) : 

I'd caution anyone thinking of heading into the hidef quagmire. Remember that the newer formats and the newer hardware are designed to help push you toward a DRM world, where the software companies and the movie companies have more and more control over what you do with the things you bought.

Consider this recent story where a guy ran into problems with his Netflix movie collection just because he upgraded his monitor. It is this kind of thing that will bite the consumer in the ass, over and over, and it would be better to just keep waiting than to sink a lot of money into something that you may regret later.

Avoid DRM like the plague, because that is what it is, in the digital world.


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (January 06, 2008 4:55 AM) : 

I agree with that. DRM is the plague. However, if they get their act together and figure out what they want to sell, they might actually try to sell it and I might be able to score a HDTV for a good price.

I think they've missed the boat though. If DVD sales are slumping when they charge $25 for a standard DVD, how are they going to go up when they charge $35 for a hi def DVD, plus a $400 player, plus a $2000 TV to view it on? People might just decide that what they have looks pretty good.

Besides, the writing is already on the wall - the future isn't with hi def discs, it's digital downloads, whether anybody likes it or not.


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