Blu-ray vs HD DVD: game over

Blu-ray vs HD DVD: game over

Summary: Blu-ray wonThe sturm und drang over the Blu-ray vs HD DVD battle has come to naught. After a bit of jostling Blu-ray has taken an unassailable lead over HD DVD.


Blu-ray won The sturm und drang over the Blu-ray vs HD DVD battle has come to naught. After a bit of jostling Blu-ray has taken an unassailable lead over HD DVD. Blockbuster's Matthew Smith, SVP of merchandising, says "The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing." This is what he's seen:

Blockbuster has been renting both Blu-ray and HD DVD titles in 250 stores since late last year and found that consumers were choosing Blu-ray titles more than 70 percent of the time.

Ghost of Betamax laid to rest Sony has played this game well. They own a movie studio, and got all but one of the major studios to release on Blu-ray. They put a Blu-ray player in every PS3. And they benefit by the rapid growth of HDTV sales.

Despite the disappointing sales of the PS3, the fact that it includes a Blu-ray player also tilted the playing field. A leading indicator: Toshiba recently reduced its US sales goal for HD DVD players by 40%. The rapid uptake of HDTV in the US completes the content-player-display triumvirate.

It is safe to buy that Blu-ray disk player now The biggest loser in this is Toshiba. They've put a lot of time and money behind HD DVD. Microsoft is also a loser, partly as a supporter and partly because their add-on Xbox HD DVD player sales will tank. The folks who bought one can't be feeling too good about Microsoft's judgement.

Intel, another backer, loses too, but they seem to have had the least skin in the game. They probably just went along because of Microsoft.

The Storage Bits take It is all over but the shouting. Expect to see some closeout sales on HD DVD players and burners, but I wouldn't buy one. Now that the market has shifted you can expect to see Blu-ray burner prices drop faster. I expect that Apple will be adding on on their next gen Mac Pro, and after that, the MacBook Pro.

In time this may also boost Firewire, which is substantially faster than USB. In fact, USB 2.0 probably can't handle 18x DVD writers at full speed, and 20x DVD writers are starting to make it to market. Once Blu-ray writers get up to 6x speed, Firewire will be the way to go.

The biggest winners though, are us, the consumers. 50 GB optical storage is good for all digital junkies. Now that we don't have to worry about the format war, we can get back to rip, mix, burn!

Comments welcome, as always. I'm heading up to the Google scalability conference in Seattle today - and avoiding some 100+ degree weather here in Arizona - so my response times may be more distended than usual.

Topics: Microsoft, Storage, Toshiba

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  • Did anyone except a different outcome?

    The cards were stacked against Toshiba since 2001. Everyone knew it was inevitable, they just waited for it to happen.
    glocks out
    • Too early to tell

      WAY too early to know for sure-3 to 4 years from now will determine if Blu-Ray and HD-DVD can seriously take a chunk out of standard resolution DVD's.
      • That's too long

        They need to take a big byte out of standard DVD sales in less than 2 years or they will go the way of Laser Discs. A new format is just around the corner when it comes out it will offer a lot more than just quality.
      • Does it matter?

        Do you expect HD DVD to win? Even in 5 years, how is HD DVD supposed to overcome everything going against it? All Blu-ray needs is one hardware manufacturer and one studio to start supporting it while HD DVD needs 7 studios and dozens of companies.
        glocks out
    • Kind of early to tell who wins.... but I also don't give a crap.

      I'm thinking that these "format wars" are a long way from over. You have too many of both formats floating around out there to say for certain who is going to win. It's also possible that the basic player will someday support both formats so it won't matter.

      My personal preference is ignore all of it and just keep playing my standard DVD's for a long time to come. Don't really care what happens to HD or Blu-ray.
  • Just Link Bait

    I think it will be a while before anybody can announce victory. All those Toshiba laptops sold with HDDVD players.
    The truth is that these disks will be a niche product for years.
    If Blu-ray disks became standard then the consumer would be the big loser due to the additional DRM. Even today they announced yet another protection layer.
    • Yeah!

      I'm with you, joe1972....I was not afraid to jump in with both feet to support HD-DVD...The interactivity, less DRM, I'd rather not have ANY, but it's the lesser of the two evils. They also cost less to manufacture, and the players are cheaper..There was also info on the A/V sites that Wal-Mart was working with some Chinese HD-DVD manufacturers, if that is true and they get into the game, LOOK OUT!!! I also got an Optoma HD72 projector to view my movies in hi-def, and upscaled DVD's don't look bad either..

      I have seen quite a few posts here from joe workin' guy that standard def is good enough...It perhaps is, but I can remember when DVD's first came out and I told friends about the fact it will put VHS tapes into oblivion...The clarity of the picture, durability(if not abused) and 5.1 surround audio. HD viewing is another step up in picture quality...What I have found out though is resolution and quality of picture can be VERY subjective, depending on who is viewing the movie...Besides if the HDTV is less than 40 inches, there won't be much difference anyway..To really benefit, you have to have a big screen.

      But c'mon, Sony, the maker of the Betamax, which technically was better, but lost to VHS?? Sony, the rootkit dropper on CD's? Sony, the better "do it our way or the highway" company? Sony, the maker of the Mini-Disc? Sony, the company that will put massive amounts of DRM on their Blu-Ray discs because they think I'm a pirate? No thanks, I will stick with HD-DVD, thank you, as I said, it's the lesser of two evils...
      • Couldn't agree more.

        I just can't bring myself to support Sony anymore. I guess I see them at the head of the "all our customers are thieving idiots" band. I won't even buy Sony CD-R's (by the way, why do they sell those if all I'm going to do with them is burn illegal music??)

        I'll stick with HD-DVD thankyou, and if it ends up that I'm the last one on the block to switch, well...... I'll just sit and watch my old DVD's by myself.
        mad tabby
      • be objective, playing favorites backs loosers

        "It isn't just a Sony product, Phillips is a major player too. Phillips has a huge role in the history of optical storage you should look into. DRM is being driven by the Studios that own the content, not the developers of the media its stored on. If consumers beat down movie and music studios and demand to be able to use what we purchase as we see fit, the DRM is gone. I just don't see that happening anytime soon, for either format. Not to mention, there is always a way to get around DRM. Once it becomes a common house hold issue, there will be a common house hold trick to get around it. It always happens that way. Look at the list of affiliated companies and producers that support both formats, the scales are in uber favor of Blu Ray. It holds way more, and its tough to scratch... theres not much to hate."
  • In the end it really doesn't matter

    Both formats are dead. DVD is the standard right now. Blue-Ray and HD-DVD are about as relevant a PSP movies. They just aren't selling and aren't renting compared to DVD sales and rentals. There are couple of good reasons for this. First most people don't have the players and if they happen to have PS3 they don't have the TV. Next is price, who's going to pay double the price for a little extra quality and nothing else. Not many. So unless they prices come down and a mass adoption of HDTVs and Blue-ray or HD-DVD players occurs in the next couple of years then something better will knock them both out of the running.

    What I'm waiting for is something that doesn't scratch, takes up less room on shelf and has the HD quality. It's comming and soon so both these formats are DOA.
    • Horse Pucky!

      When the players reach the < $200 mark the technology will take off. Look for that to occur for HD DVD this holiday season. The TV side will take care of itself. Flat Panel TVs are flying off the shelf. As for there just being a little quality difference nothing could be further from the truth. There is a huge quality difference and lots of extras on both formats. You guys that paint this doom and gloom over this sound like the same ones that said DVDs will never catch on. Truth is all electronics go through the same cycles. We are in the early adopter cycle right now. We will soon be entering the mass market phase.
    • DVD didn't instantly start outselling VHS

      Because Blu-ray isn't outselling DVD yet doesn't mean it won't in a few years.

      Plus, people do pay extra for better quality. How much do you pay for your Digital cable box every month? Add $20 to that at least every month for HDTV. Or with DirecTV the digital box is $99 and the HDTV is $199. People definitely pay more for higher quality.
      glocks out
      • Plus HDTVs

        HDTVs were twice the cost and more beyond standard def TVs but people bought them for the extra quality.
        glocks out
      • Digital HD less on Comcast

        We pay about $130/month for digital HD DVR boxes (2) with all premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Encore, Starz etc), all premium VOD, and broadband internet. Bought a Toshiba 34" widescreen TUBE TV about 5 years ago for the quality of the picture (and the wide screen for DVD playback). What a picture! Too bad the thing weighs 150 lbs. But I really hate to look at non-HD channels after wathcing HD channels for a few years. Non-HD is like looking at a VHS tape. And Discovery's Planet Earth in HD was breathless!

        DVD-HD or Blueray. Fuggetaboutit. After switching from Laserdisc and VHS tape to DVDs, I am not about to replace my 200-300 disc collection for blueray or DVD-HD. Who really needs all the extra features? I have never listened to an alternate audio track, took the time to see how the movie was filmed, or spent hours watching the director's notes. Perhaps good for an extreme movie buff, but all I want to do is watch a movie.
      • Wrong!!!!

        DirecTV Box (Basic, which is all digital): $49.99

        DirecTV HD Box: $99, if you already have DirecTV ($100 rebate), And FREE if you sign up for DirecTV. You pay more for Cable, which has a lower Quality, and ISN'T all Digital, except for a few small players.

        Most people have a price range that they'll make purchases in, and NEITHER format is even close, Considering that you can get an upconvert DVD player for $60-$70 . . .

        And the "High end" Flat screens aren't exactly flying off the shelves, either. The screens that are selling are the 720p models, mostly, with the screen size hovering in the mid 40" range.

        And, as someone else pointed out, if Wal-Mart gets in this game and throws their weight behind HD-DVD, don't look for Blockbuster to save Blu-Ray . . .

        And Moving from VHS to DVD involved moving to a whole new Media footprint. There's no compelling reason to rush out and buy all new equipment just to play HD movies . . .
    • The price of the new technology...

      of the future will have to come down. I won't be paying extreme prices to try something that may not be the ultimate format. The price will have to meet the demand that others like me have. I think prices will have to be lower than any other format to get things going or it will go nowhere!

      Supply and Demand. Honestly, I think people should be skeptical... demand shouldn't be that high at all.

      Besides, who is going to switch over all they're equipment to support the better definition? It's such a big jump. Yeah, prices are coming down, but everything needed adds up very quickly.
    • disagree

      "In the end it really will matter. Right now, it goes without saying that the market is saturated with last generation products. When it comes time to invest in something new, or when kids are getting out on their own and getting their first living room entertainment system, it usually seems bright to spend a little extra to get something that will last. The Playstation 2 was over 300 dollars when it was released, now its cheap and is outselling the 360 and PS 3. Technology gets cheaper with time, but if either Blu Ray or HD DVD dominate whoever bought the looser is going to be pissed.
      About some of the things your waiting for, Blue ray had no choice but to add a protective layer, and it makes it very hard to scratch. People have tried and failed, its sort of entertaining. As far as taking up less room on the shelf, not to mention price drops, both will come with time. Manufacturing technology dictates how much it costs to produce, thus how much of the price is going to be profits. When demand picks up that part comes naturally, and something isn't going to come out in a couple years and knock these off the shelves. Do a little research, the companies involved on both sides have been working on these things since the 90s, didn't just slap them together at the last minute."
  • For Burners - Blu-Ray; for Moviez; Don't care

    I much prefer 25GB per disk over 15GB for burning. For Moviez; well; you got eMule, so who cares. I want my 1920p though, paid or pir8d.
    • What?

      I guess I get what you mean by "Moviez". Sorry, don't get "pir8d". You should probably use English. Either that or go back to texting your high school friends and leave us adults alone.

      <i>Blu-Ray; for Moviez; Don't care
      I much prefer 25GB per disk over 15GB for burning. For Moviez; well; you got eMule, so who cares. I want my 1920p though, paid or pir8d.</i>
  • Is Blockbuster really that influential anymore?

    I think this blockbuster thing is blown way out of proportion, I mean, who goes to Blockbuster anymore? Is it 1991? Do we want to go rent a VHS tape after watching Full House on TGIF this Friday? ? Seriously though, half of the Blockbusters by me have closed and they are now scrambling to copy Netflix. The real test will the price point and the 2007 holiday season.