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Some Blu-Ray, HD DVD Discs Sell Only 200 Copies 214

Posted by Zonk
from the i-think-that's-called-weak-sauce dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Much has been made of the strong sales for some recent high-def disc releases (such as 'Casino Royale' on Blu-ray), but a new Sony research report reveals some startlingly low sales numbers for other titles released on the next-gen formats. When disc sales of under 1000 can land you on a weekly best-sellers list, you know your format is in its infancy."
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Some Blu-Ray, HD DVD Discs Sell Only 200 Copies

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  • Similar to Vista. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jez9999 (618189) on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:17AM (#18660897) Homepage Journal
    People aren't buying into it in droves, because the previous thing they used works well enough for them and the new features offered by it aren't enough of an incentive to 'upgrade'; on the other hand, it is laden with DRM that the previous thing wasn't.

    Am I talking about Vista or HD-DVD/Blu-ray?
    • by Technician (215283) on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:39AM (#18660969)
      it is laden with DRM that the previous thing wasn't

      It's also laden with high prices. The most expensive conventional DVD's (with few exceptions) are priced in the $18-$22 range. The average price of DVD's I pick up are under $12 each.

      The HD DVD's listed are in the $20-$40 range. When DVD's are good enough, doubling or tripling the price is going to slow adoption. The old Laserdisk format came with the promise to drop in price to below VHS. (When VHS was $20 each for blank tape)

      Due to the requirement for the format to be DRM free and the higher quality, the studios simply refused to release content except at very high royalty rates. The promise of lower prices never materialized. (much like LP's and CD's) DVD's finaly started to drop enough in price to gain market acceptance over VHS.

      It is here all over again. New format, high prices, good enough format in the channel. Unless someone does something to kickstart the format like a good price war, things are going to have a slow start. DRM is going to slow it even further as the restrictions on ripping to the kids Zen or iPod video and to Media Center PC's cripple the functionality.

      You have a new format at higher prices that does less than your old format. A higher quality picture is nice, but the price (dollars and function loss) is kinda steep.
      • by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:12AM (#18661479) Homepage Journal
        The one thing HD discs do better is carry more bits. Already we are seeing movies released in 3 and 4-DVD packages -- that is a lot of disc shuffling that can be reduced. TV series are commonly on 7-disc sets (e.g. Lost, The Wild Wild West) -- one Blu-Ray could hold this.

        I think (and hope) future movie discs will have even more commentary tracks, and extras. Already DVDs are a great value, once one has filtered out the 98% of movies that suck. I look forward to Lawrence of Arabia with twice the quality of the current two-DVD package, and one or more commentary tracks. HD "Stuck On You", not so much.

        I hope also, perhaps unrealistically, that the commentary tracks are also available in an unencumbered form (even if at super low quality) so I can listen to them while I commute, and work. I can dream, can't I?
        • by Technician (215283) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:21AM (#18661533)
          Already we are seeing movies released in 3 and 4-DVD packages -- that is a lot of disc shuffling that can be reduced. TV series are commonly on 7-disc sets (e.g. Lost, The Wild Wild West) -- one Blu-Ray could hold this.

          Somehow I expect to see this at about the same time as I see the entire Beatles catalog released on an MP3 CD at 192 Kbs ready to load into your iPod, Zen, iRiver, or Zune. (not counting the release in the flea market from someone's trunk)

          The ability to put more data content on a single disk does not mean they will. HD will be reserved for HD content, not collections of SD shows. CD's will be reserved for CD format audio (with a few exceptions of extra DRM digital tracks and DRM player for your Windows PC. To fit on the redundant tracks, the digital content is at low bitrates and the CD holds less music to make space.)
          • Re: Similar to Vista (Score:4, Interesting)

            by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:49AM (#18661729) Homepage Journal
            Ah, come on, some good stuff will slip past the guards ;-)

            A DVD like "The Corporation" is quite amazing for how much is jammed on it -- 6 hours of interviews plus a 2 hour movie, all on a "2 hour" DVD. And recently companies are putting out 2 movies on one DVD -- "48HRS / Another 48HRS" comes to mind. In an HD world this could be "Batman 1 2 3 4 5" on one HD disc. Sure it wouldn't be the special editions, but it would still be handy for a Batman marathon (even though I only really like the first and last ones. I'm more likely to have a Lethal Weapon, Robert De Niro, Mel Gibson or David Fincher marathon.)

            I see the movie studios responding to the market better than the record companies. Yes DVDs started off ridiculously expensive, but now they are ridiculously cheap (unless you like the BBC). Also, the special editions have become the standard editions in many cases. Called double dipping when done too soon after the first release, this is a huge value add and I love it. Run a search on Amazon (I did 500 such searches recently when I was updating my favorite movies page [just-think-it.com]) and you will be amazed at the value.

            Like buying a new machine in 2006 to forestall having Vista rammed down their throat, now is a great time to stock up on DVDs. And I think the same will be true with HD discs in a few years. No they probably won't be unencumbered, but they will bring value and I will probably get an HD player. Beethoven's 9 symphonies alone were enough to get me to buy a CD player.

            I still like the idea that some portion of HD content is unencumbered. I think it is natural that the more time-consuming stuff to listen to (face it, you never need to watch the extras) like "Making ofs" and director commentaries be available in MP3 form. Make it 24kbps or something, I would be more than happy with that. While you are at it, ban the group commentaries -- those truly suck. If someone has something to say, use all that space to put it on a separate track, or at least manage it like the excellent Bond Double Oh 7 editions do.
            • by kimvette (919543)

              While you are at it, ban the group commentaries -- those truly suck. If someone has something to say, use all that space to put it on a separate track, or at least manage it like the excellent Bond Double Oh 7 editions do.


              This is not a blanket rule; listen to the Futurama commentaries, for example.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by wolff000 (447340)
            I couldn't disagree with you more. The new format is meant to replace the old not supplement it. I am 99% sure that if/when hd and blu-ray take off that non high def content will be put on them. It is simply a matter of being efficient. Why waste money buy producing thousands of regular dvds when you can make a single disc and still charge the same price? Right now it is better to keep them on regular dvds but once production cost comes down on the other formats be ready to buy all your tv shows over a
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy (595695)
          While you are right, they could just keep the same number of discs, and remove all the copy protection, so that we could just buy the disc, put in on a hard drive, and never have to swap discs again. Until bandwidth increases to the point where downloading isn't a complete pain in the ass, using the standard disc distribution method could work really well.
        • by Shemmie (909181) on Monday April 09, 2007 @10:01AM (#18662407)

          I think (and hope) future movie discs will have even more commentary tracks, and extras.

          I may well be in the minority here - but when I buy a DVD, 99 times out of 100, I have no interest in the extras and commentary. I buy it to watch the movie. That 1 time out of 100, I'll buy the collectors edition.
          • when I buy a DVD, 99 times out of 100, I have no interest in the extras and commentary.

            Yeah but then you'd miss some really funny things like the waxing scene from 40 Year Old Virgin... The outtakes on that scene were worth the expense of buying the DVD from the Previously Viewed section at my video store...
      • Re:Similar to Vista. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Monday April 09, 2007 @10:07AM (#18662453)
        It's also laden with high prices. The most expensive conventional DVD's (with few exceptions) are priced in the $18-$22 range. The average price of DVD's I pick up are under $12 each.

        A good many of those have poor transfers also. In fact, after recently purchasing a hi-def television, I've begun to notice drastic differences in picture quality between different dvd's. The tendency seems to be $10 for crappy transfers, $15-$20 for hi-def remasters. Of course, nearly any DVD from Criterion will be around $30. So, the price isn't that big of an issue for me.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Technician (215283)
          A good many of those have poor transfers also

          I've notice that for older films. This is especialy true for DVD's under $2. As a collector of the cartoons I grew up with, 2 hours of early animation at $99cents a copy is a much better value to me than 1950's rock and roll at $12.95 for 48 minutes of stuff.

          Let's face it. I can buy a fairly recent (less than 5 years old) DVD for less than $6 new. Ice age and Ever After I just picked up at the grocery store for 5.95 each. Have you checked the price on 20 yea
      • by cei (107343)
        To be more specific about the LD vs VHS pricing, it was often the case that new release feature films on VHS would be "priced for rental" so that buying the movie on tape would cost you ~$90 while buying the LD was closer to $30. That said, I still own my Criterion boxed set of Brazil on LaserDisc, and because I spent something like $120 on it, haven't replaced that title with DVD in my library yet.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          Shit, it probably looks better on LaserDisc. I have Strange Days on both types of media, and it looks ever-so-slightly better on the LD (the movie is dark most of the time, and there's no artifacting on the LD.) If it's a Criterion LD, it's almost guaranteed to look better than any DVD, even a Criterion Collection release.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by king-manic (409855)
      People aren't buying into it in droves, because the previous thing they used works well enough for them and the new features offered by it aren't enough of an incentive to 'upgrade'; on the other hand, it is laden with DRM that the previous thing wasn't.

      DRM is only a concern to maybe 0.01% of the market (roughly the # of slashdot posters to bitch about it). The key limtiation in install base not DRM. DVD had stronger DRM then VHS. almost no one cared. Ditto with blu-ray/HD DVD vs DVD. People do not tend to
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cheater512 (783349)
        People are concerned about the effects of DRM however.

        My Mum doesnt care about DRM at all but she refused to buy any DVD player which wasnt Region 0.
        • by Carbonite (183181)
          I'd guess that less than 1% of parents even know what Region 0 is so I don't think it's affecting sales too much.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Kadin2048 (468275)
            They don't know what it's called, but people particularly in Europe absolutely know what it is; they want "a DVD player that will play imported discs."

            They're not quite as big a deal here in the U.S., because frankly very few people watch imported content of any sort, but the few people that do can go out and get them without any problems. (Also, I've heard that most of the cheap Chinese DVD players are Region 0 anyway, right out of the box. Never tested it, because I don't have any non-Region-1 discs, but
            • by AJWM (19027)
              I've heard that most of the cheap Chinese DVD players are Region 0 anyway, right out of the box.

              Certainly not true of the $30 player my wife picked up from Sam's Club as an emergency replacement for the kids' player -- didn't like the Region 2 discs (Star Cops) I just got. My Linux box doesn't care, my (well, my employer's) Windows laptop helpfully asked if I wanted to change the region (but it'll only do it 5 times total). Some (Disney IIRC) discs have control code which queries the region and refuses
              • by drinkypoo (153816)
                If you get an Apex/Raite/Sampo player with a debug menu (most of them, it seems) you can change the region endlessly. I have an AD3201 but the DVD drive failed... You can set it to 0 or to any number region, which works with the discs that query the region and refuse to play on anything other than their chosen region.
                • by AJWM (19027)
                  Yeah, I still have one of the original Apex AD-600A players - that's how I discovered that some discs don't like R0. The drive itself died in it a while back, I just swapped it out for a regular IDE DVD drive (well, the mechanical fit isn't perfect). Works great for watching PAL discs on an NTSC TV.
        • by ConceptJunkie (24823) * on Monday April 09, 2007 @09:32AM (#18662089) Homepage Journal
          But region encoding _is_ DRM.

      • Re:Similar to Vista. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:53AM (#18661153) Homepage Journal

        DRM is only a concern to maybe 0.01% of the market

        What about the music market? Would you say the same thing? I'm guessing that number is going to jump.

        If only such a small percent of the market is concerned about DRM, then why has adopting it been such a problem for the entertainment market?

        DRM isn't a concern to me only because it's so easy to crack.
        • If only such a small percent of the market is concerned about DRM, then why has adopting it been such a problem for the entertainment market?

          Apple seems to be doing fine with DRM. Although music is a different thing to video. Right now even DRM free video is a bit clunky to move around. When data transfer speeds reach sub 10s transfer times for decent video you might have an arguement but people are not yet wanting portable video en mass. Some geeks liek me and you have our video Ipods and motorola smart ph
      • by Firethorn (177587) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:01AM (#18661163) Homepage Journal
        On the other hand, consider the market, right now, for Blueray/HD: Rich technogeeks and videophiles. Both of which are much more likely to be within the .01% of the market that cares about DRM. Heck, many of the videophiles may have been burned with DAT. Most people with the money do be dumping $3k into an entertainment system will be older, old enough to remember VHS vs Betamax.

        From what I understand, even many of the early HDTVs don't have the correct plugs for these players for full resolution.

        Format War: Not good
        Having to buy movies again(at 2X the price): NG
        DRM: NG
        ~$2k to see the difference at home: NG (yes, I'm including the price for a HDTV; market penetration for those are still bad, after all).

        Result: Slow adoption. Could even be termed 'niche market', at least for now. The analysts may have said that blue ray is catching on as fast as DVD, but not faster if you look at it as a percentage. Most of that came from Casino Royale sales. I think that an important point would be that the HD standards require a new TV, DVD didn't. So I think that you have will see a brief surge of (rich or spendthrift) buyers to help justify the HDTVs they already purchased. After that, it'll be much more difficult.

        I'd like to have HDTV, ps3, etc... But I baulk at the price tag every time. I could go cheaper if I was willing to have HDTV in monitor sizes (27"), but I want one at least as big as my current 32" TV. Add in that I don't have cable or satellite and you'll see that my available content is limited and expensive. Not time to adopt yet.

        Heck, with the whole casino royale best seller thing I wonder how many people bought the HD discs by mistake, thinking they were getting some kind of deluxe version, but still playable on their DVD player?
        • Result: Slow adoption. Could even be termed 'niche market', at least for now. The analysts may have said that blue ray is catching on as fast as DVD, but not faster if you look at it as a percentage. Most of that came from Casino Royale sales. I think that an important point would be that the HD standards require a new TV, DVD didn't. So I think that you have will see a brief surge of (rich or spendthrift) buyers to help justify the HDTVs they already purchased. After that, it'll be much more difficult.

          I'd
          • by Cowclops (630818) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:34AM (#18661295)
            "Really old sets" doing "790(i/p)" only? First off, 1080i and 720p are the standard HD resolutions. Interlacing is a trick only avaliable on CRT sets, so most current tvs are not "at least" 1080i, but rather they ARE 720p. The native resolution of the LCD/DLP/whatever panel is usually either 1280x720 or 1366x768, except for on the not-quite-yet widespread 1080p sets.

            And, composite video is for low quality 480i. Component video allows 1080i/720p, but of course only on a high definition set. There are plenty of TVs out there with component video that only handle 480i.
          • by Comboman (895500)

            The HDTV adoption rate is increasing. HDTV's are now a large percentage of new TV purchases.

            The keyword there is new TV purchases. If my 12-year-old 32" Panasonic dies today, then yes, I'll go out and buy a HDTV; but not a minute sooner than I have to (the longer I wait, the cheaper they get). Given that most TV's last at least 10 years, even if every new TV sold was HDTV, you're looking at 10 years to get 100% market penetration.

            • by apoc06 (853263)
              thats assuming a steady rate. dont forget the FCC broadcast changeover is coming up pretty soon.

              while it doesnt necessitate people being required to buy new TVs, alot of consumers will buy new TVs because they "think" they need to. that and the fact that salesmen will try to capitalize on those consumers that walk into a store and dont know any better.
              • by apoc06 (853263)
                by that point, i can imagine HDTV adoption rates doubling or tripling; just like the release of HD-optimized gaming systems and movie players have increased HDTV adoption thusfar.
              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                thats assuming a steady rate. dont forget the FCC broadcast changeover is coming up pretty soon.

                Not all HDTVs actually include a HD OTA tuner; on top of that it will be possible to view digital television on an analog set through the use of a converter/tuner box. The broadcast changeover will influence some people, but only people with money (or willing to go into debt) who have probably already purchased an HDTV.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The DVD rate of adoption was phenomenal, and it was vastly superior to VHS. You're right that no one cares about DRM, but they do care about dropping cash for a new player and new movies for a minor improvement over DVDs. Bluray is SACD redux. And the results will be the same.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Znork (31774)
        "DVD had stronger DRM then VHS. almost no one cared."

        When DVD finally took off here I dont think you could find a player that actually wasnt region free. And as half the DVD's available were other regions, you'd certainly find every salesperson and every consumer review saying that you should make sure you get a region free player.

        "People do not tend to try to copy their DVDs"

        Until they get a media center of some kind. In which case physical media becomes a pita that you dont want to deal with.

        HD media simp
      • by Andy Dodd (701)
        "DRM is only a concern to maybe 0.01% of the market (roughly the # of slashdot posters to bitch about it). The key limtiation in install base not DRM. DVD had stronger DRM then VHS. almost no one cared. Ditto with blu-ray/HD DVD vs DVD. People do not tend to try to copy their DVDs, those who do will eventually go with the method to do so with Bluray-HDDVD. Everyone else will shrug."

        HDCP? Image Constraint Token?

        The fact is that the DRM on high def discs has gone so far in terms of fear of copying that it ha
        • An excellent point, I think. However, this one could work both ways. Since, inferring from your information, not many HD sets are officially HDCP Compliant (handshake failure counts and non-compliant), and certain discs or devices will require HDCP, consumers will notice something's wrong when their $40 HD-DVD/BluRay is lower quality than the Free OTA broadcasts (or the infernal thing doesn't work at all). Many disgruntaled users will complain and be told to buy a new HDTV. Since HDTVs aren't exactly a dime
      • by drew (2081)

        As a few analysts and Sony markettign pointed out, Bluray is catching on faster then DVD did. (Although only by about as much as the pop has grown). So it seems Bluray is going to be the next major format. Don't kid yourself, your concerns are not shared by even the general slashdot populace.

        Adoption rate among early adopters means almost nothing. Once BluRay saturates the market of people who really care about HD content, it's going to have a really tough sell, because the vast majority of people won't se

    • Its a funny comparison, but oh so true... Vista is neat, cool and interesting, but XP SP2 does everything I need it to. HDDVD is not even on my radar because that would imply buying an HDTV, imply buying HDTV tuner, etc, etc. And at the end of the day all I want to do is watch a program. I do not care if I can see Mel Gibsons butt pimples.... Actually that is too much information for me.
    • I don't think that this can be compared to Vista. There are lots of reasons that the new HD formats aren't enjoying instant success.
      • They are expensive and even more expensive if you include a high definition TV in the package
      • People aren't sure which format will become successful - so many are waiting to see which one is more popular before committing
      • As you say - what people have already is doing the job very well. It took a while for DVDs to take off and they added lots of features over VHS, but as VHS
      • by bhtooefr (649901)
        One thing about the DRM thing... one example I've seen a few times is that some people want to make copies of VHS tapes or DVDs so that their kids don't destroy the main copy.

        It's easier to do this on VHS or DVD - just buy a cheap Macrovision killer, and you can dub to VHS.
      • by gameforge (965493)
        I think everything in your list could be said about Vista as well - upgrading existing hardware, having too many options, having a suitable solution already (I personally thought XP Pro was a more important upgrade than Vista is, given that it's still supported), and while DRM might not be important for everyone, whoever it is important too will probably have issues with both new high-def video formats as well as Vista. In both cases, DRM can make the regular user experience more inconvenient as well as ex
    • by donaldm (919619)
      I don't think you can compare MS Vista to HD-DVD and Bluray since with MS Vista you don't really have much choice when you purchase a new computer. With the High Def disks and MS Vista upgrade packs you have a choice if you want to purchase them. In the case of High Def disks it would be rather pointless purchasing them if you don't have a High Def TV (720p or 1080p) and of course a High Def disk player.

      Even if you do have a HDTV and a HD player you can still play your older DVD movies so if you see a High
    • by DrXym (126579)
      People aren't buying into it in droves, because the previous thing they used works well enough for them and the new features offered by it aren't enough of an incentive to 'upgrade'; on the other hand, it is laden with DRM that the previous thing wasn't.

      The same could have been said of DVD at the time. Its obvious that HD discs are still in the early adopter phase and probably will be until Christmas at least when players get to be cheaper and the number of titles jumps. I expect there is also some linger

    • on the other hand, it is laden with DRM that the previous thing wasn't.

      To a consumer this does not appear to be the case:

      1) Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs are not region limited for at least the first few years; Thus the format is more appealing.

      2) Can you record output onto a VCR? No, but you could not do that with DVD anyway.

      3) Physically there is little apparant difference

      4) Most people do not back up or rip DVD's today, so that being harder with the new format is a non-issue.

      To the average consumer, the new
  • by ilmdba (84076) on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:30AM (#18660927)
    FTA: "While we should note that the VideoScan numbers are not all-inclusive (for example, they don't include discs sold at Wal-Mart or some online merchants)"

    Yeah cause it's not like Walmart or some online merchants contribute much to home video sales...

    I hate to break it to anonymous submitter, but depending on when a disk was released, it may have -zero- reported sales when a summary report like this is generated. And said movies may very well suck anyway, and not be selling for that reason alone.

    So much for the sensationalist submission title.

    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:42AM (#18660991)
      It doesn't look like these titles are all so new that you'd be correct (and anyway, new releases nearly always have greater weekly sales than ones that have been around awhile). The real story here is in comparing the HD/BD sales to regular DVD sales--the low rate reported here would probably remain quite low.

      Even if Wal-Mart isn't on the list, weekly sales of less than 1000 copies isn't good news for the next-generation titles (particularly because all the HD/BD discs I've seen tend to be the "money makers"--not box office flops). Lots of the movies do suck, but that never stopped people from buying them in massive quantities on DVD or VHS.

      The more pressing problem is that no one really needs these discs. There are about 30 million HDTV sets, which is still a small fraction of all televisions in this country. Of those, most people think DVDs look good enough. Why buy an expensive player with wacky DRM schemes and maybe-HDCP and all kinds of other bogus crap, only to have to buy more expensive movies that are presently nowhere NEAR the quality difference that DVD had over VHS? I have an HDTV, and I've seen some amazing HD-DVD content, but I was an early adopter of DVD players and I'm just not doing it again for HD/BD players. It's someone else's turn to fund the birth of this industry.

      Wake me when I can get the player for $100 and the disc gives me something better than "great high-definition video mastering" on one of my TVs. I can play my DVDs anywhere, and they mostly look pretty good with progressive scan. Maybe that whole "multiple camera angles" vaporware from DVD would be a good thing to include so I could have some fun with my movies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by king-manic (409855)

        It doesn't look like these titles are all so new that you'd be correct (and anyway, new releases nearly always have greater weekly sales than ones that have been around awhile). The real story here is in comparing the HD/BD sales to regular DVD sales--the low rate reported here would probably remain quite low.

        Even if Wal-Mart isn't on the list, weekly sales of less than 1000 copies isn't good news for the next-generation titles (particularly because all the HD/BD discs I've seen tend to be the "money makers
        • I didn't say the format was a dead-end, and I certainly don't expect it to take off immediately. The problem is that it's at best an intermediate step between DVD and something substantially better. DVD is good enough, and the "next most awesome thing" will have arrived before everyone gets on the HD/BD bandwagon. Even when the price comes down, what do you really get? Better image quality, if you've got the right setup and connection types, and if you're watching on a display big enough for it to make
      • by king-manic (409855) on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:53AM (#18661013)
        You mention DRM to most buyers and they will think it's a "feature". I think price has more to do with it then DRM.
        • Absolutely DRM is irrelevant to customers, as long as it's seamless. Macrovision and FairPlay and the like work great. HDCP is a disaster, though, so DRM will matter to consumers to the extent that they won't have any idea whether their home theater setup will work, end-to-end. You need a compliant TV, receiver, and player with the proper connections all the way through with some of the DRM proposals involved here. That's definitely going to be a source of "what's wrong with my Bluray player?" for custo
        • I suspect that most people will think DRM is whatever their techie friends tell them it is.

          And in this case, far more than in the case of DVD, early adopters/techie consumers will have been stung by things like buying a very expensive television with HD resolution and later finding they can't watch either of the new formats on that TV because it doesn't have an HDCP connection. The geeks are also wise now to the fact that disabling technologies are a PITA, since they've sat through numerous tedious copyri

      • Actually, it is not that bad. In 1996, I started buying up DVDs because they were so cheap (at target, I paid $10; walmart did not even offer them; and the vast majority of the cd stores were not into video). Considering the rip off price of what they are selling (50-60), I agree with you. I will not touch these until the come WAY down.
    • And of course, when it IS selling, it may also be that either BG or the CEO of Sony has decided that all their friends or employees deserve that movie. And yes, this goes on ALL THE TIME. I would not be surprised to find out in the future that the first 6 months worth of sales were 95% derived that way. It is damn CHEAP marketing.
  • Strong sales (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:31AM (#18660931)
    "Casino Royale" is being sold in a bundle with the PS3 in my country. Could this be where many of the sales of that particular movie are coming from?
    • Re:Strong sales (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:56AM (#18661017) Homepage

      "Casino Royale" is being sold in a bundle with the PS3 in my country. Could this be where many of the sales of that particular movie are coming from?
      You're right [portableplanet.co.uk], I think this applies to the UK(?). At any rate, it's notable that companies love to manipulate sales figures to give the impression of market share. (My parents saved a lot of money on their last car because it was "pre-registered" by the makers so they could include it in "on the road" figures. Same unused car, but because it was somehow "second hand"- except it wasn't- they saved a bundle.) Casino Royale may be popular, but I have trouble believing it's really that far ahead without taking the promotion into account; and I've no doubt that Sony included those units in the "Sony's 'Casino Royale' smashed high-def records by shipping 100,00 units to retail "
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DaFork (608023)

        You're Right

        Did you read the article you linked to? The first 500,000 users who register on the PlayStation Network will receive a copy. Every time they did this in the past, they shipped the disc directly to the registered user and not to retail.

        Besides, they sold 200,000 PS3s the first two weeks in the UK and the Casino Royal numbers two weeks after the UK launch launch were only 100,000. I think that the majority of new PS3 users would register for their free disc; therefore the free offer numbers a

      • by apoc06 (853263)
        considering the fact that they bundled 500,000 units with the consoles in the UK, if they were including those as sales wouldnt the number be alot higher? if you want to finagle the numbers, 500K sounds alot more impressive than 100,000.

        secondly, they reported substantial numbers in the US and have not mentioned UK or european sales yet.

        finally, if you are so convinced that they are embellishing their numbers, why is the 100,000 figure noteworthy for them when they also bundled talledega nights with the US
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by skitzophile (707473)
      If this were the case, shouldn't the movie Talladega Nights that came bundled in the US have more sales? Something like 500,000 units were shipped of those.
  • Be thankful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by realinvalidname (529939) on Monday April 09, 2007 @05:55AM (#18661015) Homepage

    ...that even brick-and-mortar distribution allows for titles with modest sales numbers to find an audience. Consider this: you know those giant anime racks at Fry's and Best Buy? While there are many individual SKU's, few sell more than a handful. Teading NewType USA and AnimeOnDVD, I've seen a couple different writers note that many anime titles will sell only a few hundred copies region-wide in their entire lifetime. Production and distribution must be pretty efficient for that to be possible, right?

    Having said that... don't cry for me, Argentina, I think the slow Blu-Ray sellers will survive. If you're bemoaning The Fifth Element only moving about 900 copies a week and making the top-10 for it, well, maybe your format needs more appealing films than 10-year-old sci-fi dreck that The Daily Show once called "the gay Star Wars."

  • Will Never Last... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djfake (977121) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:49AM (#18661141) Homepage
    What do you do with an aging format? Try to convince consumers that they need something better, and try to get them to buy the same thing twice. This whole HDVD/BLURAY sounds like another round of DVD-Audio, SACD, HDCD, business. So who's surprised with some low sales figures? The current CD and DVD standards are good enough, and the LCD usually wins.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Nah, DVD isn't good enough, at least not for the coming larger displays. There can be a huge difference. However, price is the limiting factor here.
    • Unlike DVD-Audio, SACD where I can't actually hear any difference, I can easily see the better quality of high definition video.

      As soon as I get a new display I will upgrade to Blu Ray. That doesn't mean I plan on buying movies over again. Though I might consider an update to some favorites like Blade Runner.

      Though, I think uptake will be slow based entirely on people who have high resolution displays.
  • Quote
    When disc sales of under 1000 can land you on a weekly best-sellers list, you know your format is in its infancy."
    End Quote

    OR, the format is in its death throws.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:29AM (#18661251)
    Call me a luddite, but I don't really care about the quality of the sound and image. I just like entertaining movies. And I can get movies that I like in the 5$ bin at Wal Mart. Who needs to spend the money on a new TV, new player, new library of discs, and assorted cables and gadgets, when my computer and a handfull of old movies suits me just fine.
    • > Who needs to spend the money...?

      People who do care about the quality of the sound and image. That was easy. Next question please.

  • I still only know one person with an HD TV aside from my parents. And it's not the money, it's just a lack of desire. Sure it's an upgrade, but it's just not that big of a deal to the average user. And I know many are still trying to figure out what to do with their VHS tapes. I'm not willing to accept that DVD is dead.
  • by eudaemon (320983) * on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:35AM (#18661619)
    I don't want to come off as one of those old "get off my lawn" guys reminiscing
    about walking barefoot in the snow to school every day... BUT

    When Laser Disc came out, it was definitely a video-phile's format in that publishers
    like criterion rushed to make the very best discs possible. They would remaster prints,
    add interview audio tracks with directors, create great liner notes, etc, etc.
    Discs were made for movie lovers by movie lovers.

    DVDs saw the same sort of attention when it was first released, but in my opinion not
    to the same degree.

    And now we have HD-DVD and Blu-Ray and what's available on this awesome new format?
    It's not Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, it's Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai. It's not
    The Lord of The Rings, it's Eragon.

    Meh.
  • by miyako (632510) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [okayim]> on Monday April 09, 2007 @09:13AM (#18661925) Homepage Journal
    I have a PS3 and an HDTV, I generally buy 2-3 DVDs a week, and although I've had a PS3 for a few months now, I only have 3 BluRay movies- and one of them came with the system. The reason doesn't have anything to do with price (I don't mind paying a bit extra for HD, although I would buy fewer titles overall if I bought more stuff on BluRay- and I would probably be a bit more selective) or DRM (By the time hard drives are big enough that ripping disks is reasonable, the format will be cracked wide open- it's already cracked a little bit). Instead it's the fact that the choices suck. The reason some of these titles are only selling a couple hundred copies is that there are only a couple of hundred people who actually liked the movies they offer. Part of it is the cost, there are certainly movies that are worth it to me at $15, but not at $25- but more than that there seem to be some movies that are innately "I _want_ to see that in HD!" and other movies no so much. The problem is they aren't really selling many of those must see in HD titles. They aren't even selling many of the "If I'm going to buy it anyway, why not get it on BluRay" titles. Instead, they seem to be selling a bunch of "why in the name of $diety would I waste my time or money on that crap" movies, and hoping that people will buy it anyway because they don't have any choices. Of course, they do have a choice, since regular DVDs still work. A great movie is often even more amazing in HD, but a crappy movie in HD is still a crappy movie. If they really want to get the format moving, why in the world can I get Ultraviolet and Dinosaur on BluRay, but not the Lord of the Rings or Godfather trilogies?
    Based on what I've seen on the shelf at best buy, HD-DVD offers better movies, but I'm reluctant to fork over the $200 for the 360 HD-DVD add-on for a format that seems to be sinking even worse than BluRay.
    • by bmgoau (801508)
      You're buying $1950 worth of DVD's a year. Try taking the kids to a themepark, going on an overseas holiday or trating the wife to a nice resuraunt.

      Ill almost bet that at this rate you've exhausted any movie worth actually watching.
  • Just a month ago I agreed that there wouldn't be much demand for HD DVD/Blu-Ray since few people have HDTVs. But I've been noticing more and more television programming being broadcast in high-definition and got interested in two particular types of show: sports and nature documentaries. The series Planet Earth [discovery.com] looks particularly cool so I checked into HDTV prices.

    I found a nice 32" LCD 720p set [amazon.com] for $904, having fallen from around $1200 a few months ago to below the magic $1000 mark. I've always though

  • When 300 comes out (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jidar (83795) on Monday April 09, 2007 @09:28AM (#18662045)
    When The Matrix came out on DVD it was a big factor to getting people to finally switch formats. Lots of people who didn't previously buy DVDs picked that one up first.

    A movie with the potential to do the same would probably be 300. I'll be very interested in seeing if it doesn't kick start this format war into the next level.
    • A movie with the potential to do the same would probably be 300.

      Don't count on it. The high amount of grain in the film (a stylistic decision by the director) means that it won't benefit as much from the extra resolution of HD over DVD as movies with cleaner prints like Crank do.

      Of course 300 has had unprecedented amounts of marketing money spent on it, maybe they will keep up the spending and convince people to buy the HD edition(s) too.
  • This problem is robbing the studio execs of coke and Porsche money, how will they buy their kids a new yacht at this rate of sales? The problem is obviously piracy, so we need to ratchet up the screws on DRM and pass some new laws to make not buying enough discs a crime. 7 a day should be enough for the average person, and off to jail if they don't (1).

                      -Charlie

    (1) At full retail, sales don't count.
    • Why would a studio exec buy a Porsche? Porsche's are what software developers buy when they come into a bit of money. Studio execs earn more than just a bit of money.
  • Netflix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bjackson1 (953136) on Monday April 09, 2007 @09:56AM (#18662357)
    I wonder how Netflix fits into all of this. For no extra charge, one can have bluray and HD-DVD versions of movies sent to their home. I've never bought a HD-DVD but I am a rather heavy consumer of them. I have rented 34 titles so far from them. All of my friends that have HD-DVD and BluRay players do the same thing. The cost of the movie is prohibitive, but Netflix charges no more for the privilege.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday April 09, 2007 @10:03AM (#18662419) Homepage
    Of the people I know who have recently bought big-screen flat-panel sets: one of them invited us to watch a movie with them. They didn't perform any deliberate setup steps. They popped the DVD in and played it. It happened to be a 4:3 "full screen" DVD, and their settings, whatever they were, simply stretched it to fill a 16:9 screen. They seemed unaware of any issues with this. After about five minutes I was going bonkers and finally got up the courage to ask them whether they could change the setting. They pushed a few buttons on their remote, got a few all-black screens and error messages, and finally put it back the way it was and told me to stop being so picky. (I settled for moving my chair way to the side...)

    Another couple I know recently bought what called a "high definition" set. They were proud of having gotten a good deal on it. They mostly used it to watch DVDs and standard-definition broadcasts. They thought the picture was great. When they weren't around, I, curious to see whether HDTV was really the mind-blowing experience it was supposed to be, tuned the set to the local NPR affiliate. The picture looked good but not all that great... not the sort of 35mm cinema experience I was expecting. On closer inspection I saw that something on the set's faceplate said something like "Enhanced Definition" or "Enhanced Digital" or something like that. I sneaked out their instruction booklet and leafed through it. It wasn't a high-definition set at all. It was a regular set with some kind of electronic sharpening effect. They didn't know and didn't care. I didn't tell them.

    I don't think the average consumer understands high definition or cares about it. They buy a set, the picture looks "good" because of technology improvements--the perfect geometry, high brightness, and high contrast of solid state screens compared to picture tubes... and because it's digital, and their cable company's analog signals were crap.

    They will probably buy HD DVD or Blu-Ray players someday, but they'll hardly know that they are buying them. They'll buy them when high definition essentially comes for free: when the nice-looking name-brand high-quality $129.95 players just happens to include high definition, and the only ones that don't are $39.95 el-cheapo deluxe models. They'll probably refer to them as "DVD players." And as long as they pop a disk in it and it plays, they probably won't even notice whether it's high or low definition... any more than my friends noticed whether the DVD they rented was 4:3 or 16:9.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sax Maniac (88550)
      At least put their DVD player into 16:9 when they're in the bathroom. Then it will look right for widescreen DVDs.

      I stopped by Blockbuster the other day for the first time in years (a few kids will do that to you). Asked for a movie, and did my usual "is it widescreen" because some are not marked, and I hate chopped-up movies even on my old 3:2 TV. A few years ago the answer would have been "we only have fullscreen, customers keep accidentally renting the widescreen and complaining".

      But this time I g

  • I recently picked up an HDTV set finally. (Got a sweet deal on a nice Mitsubishi 62" DLP setup)

    I still don't have a reason to want to bump up to and HD format. Most of the content I like and watch regularly is still only coming out on DVD's, combine that with a DVR to grab over the air stuff (including HD), and HD content through a Windows Media Center setup and I just don't see the reason to buy one or the other until there's no longer a worry about who will win.

    If you really want to see the stop gap du
  • I couldn't recognize a single one of the movies released in 2006 that have sold less than 200 copies.
  • by Maltheus (248271) on Monday April 09, 2007 @03:44PM (#18667115)
    Whenever I see BlueRay or HD-DVD in the stores, I've been very unimpressed. It looks almost worse than DVD in some ways. Now, I know that's not technically true, but I also know that electronics stores know nothing about calibrating their TVs so that everything looks like junk. For instance, sharpness should be at or near 0, it's artificial noise.

    HD/BD aside, half the time, you don't even know it the source is HD or not. At one big electronics store, a salesman told me that the signal came off a central hard drive and it was heavily recompressed. WTF? HD TVs should be showing nothing but a high quality HD feed.

    So my advice to the Sountrack/Ultimate, Best Buy and Circuit City, get the best signal you can and spend some time calibrating your sets so that when I walk by, I can by wowed and say that looks better than my crappy 8 year old HDTV. Maybe then I'd upgrade my TV or get a Blueray player. Just telling me it's great isn't enough. Hire someone who can actually afford the TV to set it up for you. I'm not going to spend several thousand dollars for a product on the advice of someone who can barely afford beer and gas.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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