Monday, August 20, 2007

the format wars and current state of the union.

blu-ray and hd dvd formats have now been at war for about a year and half.  many have compared the latest formats war to one we saw just a few decades ago, vhs vs betamax.  so sony (main backer of blu-ray, prev of betamax) is no stranger in a format war, in actuality they really have been big backers/creators of other formats that succeeded (ms duo) and also failed (minidisc, umd??). while toshiba (main backer of hd dvd) is somewhat new in this regard but has some big backers such as microsoft and intel.   (wiki pages for bluray and hd dvd ).

the two formats are not compatible with each other and each has different storage capacities.  hd dvd offers single and dual layer disks w/max capacities of 15gb/30gb while blu ray offers 25gb/50gb.  both offer a similar encryption system to twarth unauthorized copying (usually requires using an hdcp hdmi connection).

however, with that being said: what is the current state of high def movie formats? is anyone winning? 

in my opinion, i would give blu-ray the current edge in this war, but by a just barely w/the recent news and all. 

sony was smart in shoving bluray into our face w/the PS3.  on top of that, with a slim game selection from launch to mid 2007, most ps3 owners had to justify their $600 purchase by getting atleast a few bluray movies to show off.  i know i got Fifth Element (initally disappointed but that was due to a horrible mastering job, sony replaced the first run of disks lately w/a totally remastered version) and just recently 300 for the beauty of the movies in the format.  plus, if you have a PS3 you most likely have the full high def ready setup and have the bluray player waiting to be used.  while microsoft offered the hd dvd as an addon for the 360 rather than integrating it into the system (which hasn't really sold well from the start).  this has helped microsoft to keep the price of the 360 well below the PS3.

just this week the hd dvd camp "somehow" was able to get Paramount and Dreamworks to be exclusive to hd dvd.  yet blu ray is being sold exclusive in target and blockbuster will only rent blu ray.  lots of money being paid under the table if you ask me.

hd dvd sales this last year (2006) did have an edge over blu ray.  however 2007 has been all blu ray in sales regards.  the recent sales numbers for the movie "300" point very heavily in the blu ray direction with 190,000 copies to hd dvds 97,000.  the hd dvd camp claimed it was outselling bluray on the hardware end however their sales numbers did not include the biggest selling blu ray player, the PS3 (plus, how can you sell more hardware players and yet sell less movie titles?? to me that would be a very discouraging sign if true.)

i hate to say it, this format war will not be a quick deciding victory for one side.  nope.  this is going to be a very long and bloody (for us consumers) war. 

in the end, the losers are.. wait..   us!?

why can't both camps just get along and the studios master for both formats? guess i'm still dreaming..   and should get off my box..

btw, hdmi > component.. ;) just moved my cable hd dvr back to hdmi and it looks so much crisper.