"LOS ANGELES - Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will offer next-generation DVDs in the HD DVD format and drop support for Blu-ray, further complicating the race between the competing technologies."
Regarding Laurence and (I forget who, sorry) saying they want both formats to stay...
I think you misunderstand my point. If there was only one format (i.e. one format wins), then all movies will be released on that format. So to say you want both to survive so you can get all the movies is, I don't know, is "irrelevant" the right word?
And with regard to which format is easier for us to burn, I'm sure that BR will eventually (sooner than later) be just as easy as HD or regular DVD.
A few things: Apparently Michael Bay is REALLY pissed off about Transformers being HD-DVD exclusive. And Spielberg, through his spokesman, has stated that he prefers Blu-Ray, and although Dreamworks is at Paramount (and Steven himself is on the lot at Universal, which is where Amblin is), his Dreamworks films are NOT part of Paramount's HD-DVD deal with Microsoft. And lastly, supposedly "exclusive" doesn't necessarily mean "exclusive" in the Paramount/MS deal. Under certain circumstances they can release Blu-Ray.
And with regard to which format is easier for us to burn, I'm sure that BR will eventually (sooner than later) be just as easy as HD or regular DVD.
Bluray is getting easier. One of my next things to do is to figure out the AVCHD on DVD format. Yeah it looks pretty cool. I still like the look of full bandwidth mpeg2 though. As far as I know, HD DVD is the only one that can do it on a regular DVD with menus.
Bluray (in my opinion at least) wouldn't even be bothering with the AVCHD on DVD format if it wasn't for the competition from HD DVD with the 3x DVD format. Bluray probably wouldn't be bothering with the Bluray Java code either if it wasn't for HD DVD beating them to the punc there as well. Competition is good.
One thing that is kind of important to me is the "no world zone" thing with the HD DVD format. My wife and I are planning on moving somewhere outside of the US in a couple of years. With HD DVD we will be able to play both local and US HD content. With Bluray we wouldn't be able to. I really hate world zones on DVDs as well. I love foreign movies and the zone thing is such a pain in the butt.
My understanding, which could be wrong, is that both formats are capable of region coding but neither are using it. So it's not an HD vs. BR thing.
And that makes sense to me, because the best way to fight the war is to lose the global boundaries. It's all about who sells the most discs. But as soon as the war is over, the winner will likely start using region coding, because the way current theatrical and home video distribution works, it's necessary. Yes, it sucks, but it's necessary. For example, Ratatouille is coming out on home video here (including the BR exlcusive) in November, but it still won't have opened in other parts of the world. Having readily available home video versions would cut into the theatrical market in those countries. For the moment, high-definition discs are such a small market that it doesn't matter to the studios as much as settling the war does. But when there are hundreds of millions of high definition players around the world it certainly will matter.
"Apparently Michael Bay is REALLY pissed off about Transformers being HD-DVD exclusive."
Michael Bay retracted his statement. He is NOW saying he watched 300 on HD DVD and "it rocks" He was no doubt told to shut up and walk the line.
"And I still say Blu-Ray will win. :-)"
I don't know FW.... this whole thing has all of a sudden become a real nail-biter. People are saying that this will lengthen the war... It could well have the OPPOSITE effect. All one side needs to do is create a run-away-train effect and the ball game is over. Right now the studios control the fate of these formats but as I said, the consumer has the ability to take that power away at any time. This whole thing is getting some incredible press coverage... a MAJOR studio has jumped ship in the middle of the battle. There has already been a noticeable spike in HD DVD player sales. Just out of curiosity, I called my local Bestbuys... 2 of the 3 had sold out of Tosh's in the last 24 hours. Enough Tosh players get sold and the studios will not be able to ignore. We have also yet to see the sure-to-follow ripple effects from this. Blockbuster and target will have no choice but to reverse their decision, or lose money. And who knows.... that was a good interview (above) with paramount. They laid out in reasonably good detail, just exactly what is wrong with BD.... maybe other studios are listening
Meanwhile BD has some real problems and ironically enough, it's with the 2 things they had going for them... partners and the PS3. BD has the distinct disadvantage of having partners and as a result they can't drop their prices far enough and fast enough without hurting those partners... and Samsung is already sitting on the edge. And it's clear that the various bean counters, and researchers are not taking the PS3 very seriously as a BD player... "Market data shows that people who own game consoles buy fewer movies than those who invest in movie-only players" In other words, the PS3 is the best player that Sony has, and it's now hurting Sony more than it's helping. Sony needs to sell players and their not having a good time with that... especially now that many are in a holding pattern over this spec change.
At MINIMUM FW, this has all of a sudden become a stiff up-hill fight for BD. They now need to pull a rabbit out of the hat REAL FAST.
"That's just conjecture. A noticeable spike? Because of your highly scientific phone call to your local Best Buy? You describe the whole scenario like some lame over-dramatic death match on WWE."
HD DVD and Bluray players already handle multiple formats: Both of them play CDs and DVDs as well as their individual format. Bluray players also play back jpegs CD-Rs but HD DVD players do not.
Most regular DVD players handle multiple formats: CD, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R with jpegs, replicated DVD, DVD-R and DVD+R. Some will play DivX and some will play VCDs.
The difficult thing is not the technology, it's the licensing. Most players would play back VCDs up until a few years ago. VCD support was dropped because companies didn't want to pay the separate VCD licensing fee. Most of them started offering JPEG playback when they dropped VCD playback since they didn't have to pay extra to be jpeg compatible.
Blurays already use the technology they need to play HD DVDs when they play regular DVDs. When a Bluray player plays back an AVCHD DVD-R, it is 90% of the way there to playing back an HD DVD. If both formats hold out, dual format players will become the norm I am certain.
Whatever extra money a dual format player costs in licensing fees will be more than made up for by the savings in discs that will be brought upon by the competition between formats.
>>"Why does there appear to be such an emotional investment on the individual consumer's part in this 'format war' in the first place?" <<
The only investment I have is that those #$@^%s couldn't get over their greed and agree on a single standard, which would have sped market penetration, which would have resulted in lower prices to the point that I could justify buying a player now that HDTV prices have dropped to the point where I'm willing to buy one so I could watch spiffy HD content on my spiffy 1080p set instead of upscaled 480p stuff. Like I said, %&$#@*s. But I'm not emotional.
Well, just got me a Toshiba HD-D2KU HD DVD player from Costco for $250 clams. This price includes 5 free HD DVDs which makes the whole deal pretty good. Our office DVD player croaked anyway so I figured might as well get one that plays HD too.
I have no real dog in the HD DVD/BlueRay thing but from what I have been reading it sounds like HD DVD is a cheaper and easier workflow for us Vegas users when it comes to the shiny disk world.
"Interesting to note that the website below states that the HD-DVD camp has paid $150 million in "promotional considerations" to Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks"
Yes, that's the RUMOR, but nothing more. But it's sort of a moot issue anyway. This sort of thing happens all the time in big business... it's nothing strange... or illegal.
I work for the Gov and we just got finished signing the new union contract. As a result, my next pay check will include a... "signing bonus".
But for what it's worth, here's an unofficial view from a Microsoft insider:
Well, just got me a Toshiba HD-D2KU HD DVD player from Costco for $250 clams. This price includes 5 free HD DVDs which makes the whole deal pretty good.
Is that promotion still going for those units (I thought it ended on 7/31, but maybe they extended it)?
Also, does the COSTCO unit qualify for the 5 free HD-DVD's (I didn't see the Costco unit in the list of players, but the list I was looking at was from a small rebate form I got a Circuit City)?
I paid $238.00 (us) for my A20 and returned it (it was brand new). To many disks needed to archive for only 20mins of HD per single layer disk.
My opinion for dvd media the avchd disk is the best format as long as the source video is high quality. The container files xxxx.m2ts are the HD files directly, copy them from the dvd for retrieval back to the computer (no need to import or extract) unless you need to retain chaptering and all.
If HD-DVD does take off then the players will have to come under $100.00 to have the average consumer buy one. That's worth the wait.
Archival footage is best stored on tape. 20 to 40 high quality minutes for an edited piece is pretty good IMHO.
To be honest, I'm pretty excited about the Bluray compatible AVCHD discs as well. From what I'm seeing on my new little CX-7 camcorder, AVCHD at 15 mbps looks incredible,. Oa regular DVD-R, the tighter compression would give you a little over half an hour. In a dual layer DVD+R, you'd have a little over an hour. That is just so cool.
My guess is that we will all be able to do multiple types of compression in either format. With an hour of playback time in high definition, I may never have to buy an actual Bluray or HD DVD burner!
What this means is that I should be able to do my short promos in both formats depending upon what a given client wants. I just love competition!
Well, here's the way I see this current format war.
Paramount has said that the reason they picked a side was because they wanted to get the ball rolling and let consumers finaly start buying. The problem with that statement is that they made this announcement about six months after Blu-Ray started leading in sales. If they realy wanted to end the war they should have just joined that already winning side.
And to throw a chink in Paramount's bogus claim that HD-DVD is the superior format, it seems that there is a story telling that the people working on the HD versions of Blades of Glory had planned an elaborate interactive feature on both formats... except the 30GB HD-DVD disc didn't have enough space, so they were planning to include this feature exclusively on the Blu-ray version. Of course all that was scrapped when they canceled all of the currently announced Blu-Ray disc release dates.
In the realm of dual format players, one of the problems I see with having a dual format player is the possibility that five or six years from now one format or another will become the standard and then eventually you might not can buy a player for both. Then you'll be stuck with the sceneario that any newer player you buy might not be able to play half of your older HD library.
Personaly I'm in favor of the densest format if only to prolong it's usefulness. History has made it clear that we can always fill up digital storage space no mater how big we make it. Blu-ray is a significantly large enough step above HD-DVD that it should have been the obvious choice 3 years ago. And Blu-ray is definitely the obvious choice now that titles are being thought up that won't even fit on HD-DVD.
HD DVD: We're Not at War with Blu-ray
By Nate Mook, BetaNews
August 20, 2007, 1:17 PM
As I sat in a Washington, D.C. hotel suite earlier this month demoing and discussing the first network-enabled movie titles with the HD DVD group, one remark struck me: HD DVD says it is not at war with Blu-ray and seemingly has little concern over Sony’s format.
It’s hard to miss the ping pong game of rhetoric between the promotion groups pushing HD DVD and Blu-ray. From sales figures to exclusive deals, press releases are churned out almost daily. The so-called “format war” is Betamax and VHS redux - at least that’s what the media wants you to think.
But the real competition is with standard-definition DVDs and convincing the masses of the merits of hi-def. And that’s the crux of why HD DVD just doesn’t care that Blu-ray has more studio deals or the PS3: none of this matters yet until more people start upgrading.
Unfortunately, you won’t hear either side say that publicly, because it’s important to make consumers feel like they are missing out by not becoming early adopters. The advantages aren’t as clear as they were with first-generation DVDs, and a format war helps garner critical media attention.
Now don’t get me wrong; I like a good, heated debate and a little zealotry as much as the next person, but at some point it’s important to understand the realities of the situation. It’s easy to get carried away arguing the value of one side versus the other and miss the forest from the trees: HD sales currently amount to barely 1% of DVD sales.
In fact, the HD DVD group was open to the idea of working jointly with Blu-ray to help convince more consumers to join the high-definition bandwagon, and welcomed the arrival of hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray players from LG and Samsung.
Each time BetaNews has met with Microsoft’s Kevin Collins, who heads up the company’s Consumer Media Technology Group and has active duties promoting HD DVD (more on Microsoft’s connection to HD DVD later), he is happy to show off -- and demo -- his collection of every single Blu-ray title as well. The same cannot be said about our meetings with the Blu-ray promotional group.
Blu-ray HD DVDA little confidence can explain why: HD DVD believes its format is simply that much better in terms of features (video and audio quality is identical, as both use the same codecs). When placed side-by-side with Blu-ray versions of films, it will be a no-brainer for buyers to choose HD DVD, the group says, enumerating a number of reasons why.
Foremost is compatibility. All new movie titles from Universal and soon Warner will be combination (or twin-format) discs - HD DVD on one side and standard DVD on the other. This means that HD DVD discs will also play on older DVD players, which is crucial for portability. Collins noted that Blu-ray owners will end up buying two discs to watch the movie on their laptop or in the car on a road trip.
Beyond that are features such as picture-in-picture and network capabilities. For example, both the HD DVD and Blu-ray version of “300” include a “blue screen” extra that allows the viewer to see how the complex battle scenes were actually filmed. But only the HD DVD version lets you watch the blue screen version alongside the actual movie, and the comparison is what makes the extra actually interesting to watch.
HD DVD’s networking (Blu-ray is network capable, but it’s not required) opens the door to quite a few possibilities. On 300, one of the first films with such capability, viewers can set bookmarks and upload their favorite scenes to a central location, where other 300 owners can watch them. Ringtone and wallpaper downloads are available as well, which get sent to a cell phone automatically.
However, the network-enabled features are not all gimmicky; HD DVD owners will eventually be able to download new subtitle languages, trailers, and other extended content for films, keeping them fresh well past their sell date. Downloads are kept on the player's built-in storage, another requirement of HD DVD.
The problem, of course, is how you explain those differences to potential buyers. This is where HD DVD has struggled since day one. Sony is nothing short of a marketing powerhouse, while Toshiba and Microsoft -- the two dominate companies behind HD DVD -- don’t have such experience.
This has enabled Sony to secure exclusive movie studio deals (Sony itself has a studio), as well as recent promotional agreements with Blockbuster and Target. But the HD DVD group has surprisingly little concern about the matter, claiming that when the customers are there, both formats will be supported equally.
So when will those Blu-ray-only studios coming running to HD DVD? The answer, if history is any indicator, is the magic $199 price point. DVD didn’t take off until the Chinese manufacturers were able to bring the cost down to that level, and we’ll likely see that happen with HD DVD players this holiday season.
Microsoft’s Collins noted that once HD DVD hits 1 million set top players sold, which could happen before the end of the year, none of the exclusivity will matter, because the studios will go where the money is. Currently, sold players total over 500,000 - largely due to recent price drops and free movie deals.
On Monday, both Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation announced support for HD DVD, citing the lower cost and better features available to customers. This decision apparently stemmed from the studios evaluating both formats for a year, and Collins expects more studios to follow this route.
For at least a little while longer, however, confusion is likely to continue for consumers contemplating a leap to high-definition movies. Trade-offs are still required, like deciding whether “Spider-Man 3” or “Shrek the Third” is more important for your HD collection. And as long as that's the case, the real winner of the format war -- real or imagined -- will be standard DVD
To be honest, I'm pretty excited about the Bluray compatible AVCHD discs as well. From what I'm seeing on my new little CX-7 camcorder, AVCHD at 15 mbps looks incredible,. Oa regular DVD-R, the tighter compression would give you a little over half an hour. In a dual layer DVD+R, you'd have a little over an hour. That is just so cool. If you think that 15Mbs AVC looks good you would enjoy watching "Casino Royale" on Blu-Ray. Bit-Rates peak above 30Mbs, I guess average is between 20-25mbs.
So far this is the sharpest/clear vivid movie I've watched so far ( Sony 60" 1080i ). My picture settings on the HDTV are also set for standard with a slight touch less of constrast/picture. It's not even set on Vivid.
This is a movie that I would buy. I have to admit the movie "Casino Royale" encoded in AVC using high bit rates looks better than many others I've watched that the movies were encoded in hd-mpeg2. Maybe they used Superfilm when they shot this movie.