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Media Hardware

HD DVD Player Sales Grind To a Halt 507

Posted by kdawson
from the it-was-that-bunker-video-did-it dept.
Lucas123 writes "While the news may fall under the 'Duh' category, it's still relatively shocking how quickly the death knell for HD DVD player sales came on after Warner Bros. announced they were dropping dual hi-def DVD format support in order to back only Blu-ray. According to a Computerworld story, the week after Warner's announcement, sales of HD DVD players dropped to 1,758, down from 14,558 players the week before. In contrast, consumers bought 21,770 Blu-ray Disc players, up from 15,257 the previous week."
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HD DVD Player Sales Grind To a Halt

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  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:15PM (#22183270) Homepage Journal
    Previously, I had heard that the total sales for blue ray players included sales of PS3 consoles. Are they included in these numbers as well? I know that there are certainly people out there who bought PS3's with the intention of playing PS3 games, and didn't really care that they could play blue ray movies as well.

    That said, of course the loss of another studio from HD DVD to Blue Ray likely didn't hurt sales of stand-alone blue ray players, either.
    • by Moonpie Madness (764217) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:21PM (#22183350)
      I hear this line a lot. Why does it matter?

      If you count the PS3s, then you also increase the denominator when determining the ratio of players to media purchases, the attach rate.

      I think the only honest way to report on blu-ray is to include PS3s and accept a lower attach rate (if there is one). Frankly, most blu-ray players are PS3s, and it's simply an obvious selection for those who aren't interested in video games, so excluding it is insane.

      I know of several PS3 owners. Some of them only have the free blu-rays. Fair enough. None of them are unaware of the HD disc abilities, but some just don't watch movies. The statistics reflect this reality, so I see no reason to adjust things strangely.
      • by king-manic (409855) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:45PM (#22183834)

        If you count the PS3s, then you also increase the denominator when determining the ratio of players to media purchases, the attach rate....

        I know of several PS3 owners. Some of them only have the free blu-rays. Fair enough. None of them are unaware of the HD disc abilities, but some just don't watch movies. The statistics reflect this reality, so I see no reason to adjust things strangely.
        The war is over so it's moot. But I noticed many people using TOTAL PS3 sales while only using US attach rates/media sales. The US sales ratio were roughly 2:1 BD:HDDVD. The UK sales ratio was roughly 4:1 BD:HDDVD. The Japanese sales ratio was 9:1 BD:HDDVD. I don't know a single PS3 owner who does not also own a BD movie. Not 1.
      • by samkass (174571) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:53PM (#22183988) Homepage Journal
        I think the only honest way to report on blu-ray is to include PS3s and accept a lower attach rate (if there is one).

        I generally agree, but there might be more illuminating ways to break it down. There are PS3's that are sold packaged with movies. An 'attach rate' that counts those but not PS3s sold with game packages might be interesting. Also interesting might be the 'attach rate' counting sales of the PS3 Blu-Ray remote control, which while not required is probably a high-priority item for people who bought the PS3 largely to play media.

        But in the end, I'm not sure the immediate attach rate matters much. A lower attach rate means higher opportunity, since I suspect most PS3 owners will buy at least one Blu-Ray movie just to see what all the fuss is about and the existing attach rate is less than 1.0.

        And with Sony selling more PS3s per quarter than HD DVD players have ever been built (is that statistic still valid?) the sales of standalone players hardly matters anymore.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          While you're right, the fact that HD-DVD players also often come with free movies probably balances this out quite a bit. I assume that folks do analyze the attach of movies you have to get yourself.

          The remote is an interesting point. All good points, but that kind of information is probably too valuable to give away. I imagine Warner Bros. knows this stuff.

          I guess we're getting to the point where it is Blu-Ray vs. DVD or internet and HD-DVD isn't important. It is going to be very hard to determine how
    • by bilbravo (763359) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:21PM (#22183356) Homepage
      From what I've read (granted, it's on forums and such) Toshiba and Sony both spin the PS3 different ways. Toshiba was including it in sales when talking about attach rates, but when talking about sheer numbers of HD-DVD players compared to Blu-ray players, the PS3 wasn't included.

      I'm sure there are links out there to some blog, but who knows if those are any more reputable.
      • by Moonpie Madness (764217) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:28PM (#22183478)
        Anyone know if the blu-ray folks were similarly inconsistent? Excluding the PS3 when discussing attach rate? Seems unlikely to me.

        The HD-DVD campaign failed as soon as it became evident the PS3 was not going to flop, at least that's my view of the situation. When the PS3 looked doomed and 600$, it wasn't hard to believe that the HD0DVD camp would prevail.

        But how do you compete with the PS3? It's not that expensive next to a great TV and movie collection, and it does all that media stuff + is a future proof blu-ray player. Almost unfair. I wonder why the 360 didn't come out with built in HD-DVD? I beleive it HD-DVD would have dominated had that been the case.
        • by orclevegam (940336) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:37PM (#22183650) Journal

          I wonder why the 360 didn't come out with built in HD-DVD? I beleive it HD-DVD would have dominated had that been the case.
          Because the X-Box division wanted immediate sales figures. They were sure that being the "first next-gen" console to market would give them such an advantage that they decided to forgo the HD-DVD which would have set back shipping schedules and increased the price of the console. It's essentially the reverse of the decision that cost Sony so many sales during the Christmas season. Sony, as is their way, opted to use their shiny new piece of electronics to foist their proprietary format on the masses, where as MS decided it rather have higher short-term sales figures.
          • by torkus (1133985)
            Yes but marketshare in consoles goes Wii > 360 > PS3 so MS did something right after all.

            The interesting part will be how much sony charges MS to license BD for the 360.
            • by orclevegam (940336) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:59PM (#22184070) Journal
              I didn't mean to imply that MS made a mistake by opting not to bundle the HD-DVD player with the 360. It was just pointing out why it was that MS made that decision, but Sony didn't. Essentially Sony was using the PS3 to boost Blu-ray sales and help out some of their non-gaming divisions. To a certain extent it's obvious why MS didn't feel particularly motivated to push HD-DVD. Even though they would profit some, being one of the backing companies for the format, not being a hardware manufacturer (to any real extent) they actually have little profit motive, and they also know that the biggest money maker on their console outside the games themselves is the online content of Live. Bundling a HD-DVD player would have just jacked up the price and reduced console sales. They would very likely never see an adequate return on investment from that strategy even if it had lead HD-DVD to dominate. Sony on the other hand, had they not bundled Blu-ray with the PS3 might have seen better sales of the PS3, but would take a hit selling Blu-ray DVD players.
              • by MsGeek (162936) on Friday January 25, 2008 @02:23PM (#22184440) Homepage Journal
                MS was BRILLIANT in not bundling HD-DVD with the XBox 360. They can now quietly put out a plug-in Blu-Ray player for the box and catch what's looking like a tsunami for Blu-Ray.

                HD-DVD will be the RCA SelectaVision of the high definition DVD-like disk era. Remember those? Flimsy 12" disks encased in a plastic carrier and read by a stylus, they'd fall apart after a few plays. This allowed Pioneer to own the videodisc market with LaserDisc.

                Heh, Sony has gotten its revenge for Betamax.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by jcnnghm (538570)
                Given that the huge number of consoles sold can have a large impact on which format wins, I wonder if the companies backing a particular format in the future would find it advantageous to subsidize the cost of the drive to a console manufacturer given that they don't really have that much to gain. In other words, I suspect that had Toshiba offered some serious financial incentive to Microsoft to include the drives in the 360, HD-DVD would now be the predominant format.

                On the other hand, having the winning
          • Sony, as is their way, opted to use their shiny new piece of electronics to foist their proprietary format on the masses, where as MS decided it rather have higher short-term sales figures.
            There is more then Sony behind Blu-ray. It's like saying 3'5" is proprietary or CD or DVD. It's just a silly statement.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by orclevegam (940336)

              There is more then Sony behind Blu-ray. It's like saying 3'5" is proprietary or CD or DVD. It's just a silly statement.
              Blu-ray is a proprietary format, it's just the rights to it are owned by a consortium instead of one corporation. No matter how you slice it if you want to put out blu-ray hardware you're going to be paying a licensing fee which Sony gets a cut of.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by king-manic (409855)

                Blu-ray is a proprietary format, it's just the rights to it are owned by a consortium instead of one corporation. No matter how you slice it if you want to put out blu-ray hardware you're going to be paying a licensing fee which Sony gets a cut of.
                So was CD, DVD, 3'5", Cassettes, 8 tracks, records, LPs, VHS etc... All from consortium which took licensing fees You just reduced your argument from silly to absurd.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by orclevegam (940336)

                  So was CD, DVD, 3'5", Cassettes, 8 tracks, records, LPs, VHS etc... All from consortium which took licensing fees You just reduced your argument from silly to absurd.

                  You're missing the point here. Nearly all physical formats are proprietary in some shape. When an entire industry adopts it then it becomes a de facto standard (or at least a large enough portion that it doesn't matter) much like DVD, VHS, etc. The important thing though is that Sony made their bed with Blu-Ray, which isn't a standard yet, de facto or otherwise. All of Sony's previous formats they would also have loved to have made a standard, which is part of why they pushed them so hard. The only real di

                  • by king-manic (409855) on Friday January 25, 2008 @02:47PM (#22184802)

                    You're missing the point here. Nearly all physical formats are proprietary in some shape. When an entire industry adopts it then it becomes a de facto standard (or at least a large enough portion that it doesn't matter) much like DVD, VHS, etc. The important thing though is that Sony made their bed with Blu-Ray, which isn't a standard yet, de facto or otherwise. All of Sony's previous formats they would also have loved to have made a standard, which is part of why they pushed them so hard. The only real difference here is that Sony had some friends this time, so we're actually seeing a decent amount of uptake. Had there been no HD-DVD to oppose Blu-Ray, we'd be arguing over whether it's actually worth it to upgrade from DVD to Blu-Ray right now. My main point was that Sony always puts whatever new format they're pushing into their latest electronics. Usually it's one that they're the sole backer of, but not always as in the case with Blu-Ray.
                    You aren't' making much sense. Blu-ray is a consortium. Here are it's board members:
                            * Apple Inc.
                            * Dell Inc.
                            * Hewlett-Packard Company
                            * Hitachi, Ltd.
                            * LG Electronics
                            * Mitsubishi Electric
                            * Panasonic (Matsushita Electric)
                            * Pioneer Corporation
                            * Royal Philips Electronics
                            * Samsung Electronics
                            * Sharp Corporation
                            * Sony Corporation
                            * Sun Microsystems
                            * TDK Corporation
                            * Thomson SA
                            * Twentieth Century Fox
                            * Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group / Buena Vista Home Entertainment
                            * Warner Home Video Inc.
                    That is basically every major player in consumer electronics and most of the major Hollywood studios with the exception of Toshiba. Every format is in fact a standard because a standard is:

                    A technical standard is an established norm or requirement. It is usually a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes and practices.

                    A standard can be developed privately or unilaterally, for example by a corporation, regulatory body, military, etc. Standards can also be developed by groups such as trade unions, and trade associations. Standards organizations usually have more diverse input and usually develop voluntary standards: these might become mandatory if adopted by a government, business contract, etc.

                    The standardization process may be by edict or may involve the formal consensus of technical experts.
                    -Wikipedia:standard

                    No part of that implies a standard must be the only player in it's niche or even a majority player.

                    Your just blathering on about some nonsensical argument. HD DVD was a standard as well. You had to conform to a technical spec and pay the consortium a fee to place a HD DVD brand on it. The two format were virtually identical in all important ways except support, region codes and capacity. Your bizzare argument over "standard" and "proprietary" applies to HD DVD as well. It also doesn't make much sense to develop a standard and then not push it into your latest electronics does it? I'm not sure of how you can really mentally contort yourself in that way. We had 2 formats. About roughly the same merits and drawbacks and then a power play via the content producers who decided the winning format. At no point was HD DVD some open format. At no point was either DRM free, non-Proprietary, backed by one company, or in some drastic way superior. It was a battle of two morally, technically, and economically equal entities.

    • by AvitarX (172628) <(me) (at) (brandywinehundred.org)> on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:32PM (#22183552) Journal
      PS3 has been more than doubling that number [vgchartz.com]

      So no, it does not include the PS3.

      What I find most interesting though is the loss of about 7k sales overall. That would be the cost of a more expensive format.

      I personally am happy blue ray wins (I want 50GB burnable disks, not 30GB). But I would have been pretty satisfied to see Sony lose to just because I like to see big companies fail when pushing things to hard (I guess Toshiba pushed pretty hard too, but they keep to quite for it to be as enjoyable).
    • These numbers are for dedicated Blu-Ray players only. If you think about this this is obvious from the numbers themselves, where the PS3 even in the worst weeks last year had 80k weekly sales (and it's doing better now).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by king-manic (409855)

      Previously, I had heard that the total sales for blue ray players included sales of PS3 consoles. Are they included in these numbers as well? know that there are certainly people out there who bought PS3's with the intention of playing PS3 games, and didn't really care that they could play blue ray movies as well.

      I don't' think they usually include PS3. NPD doesn't. That is why HD DVD pundits usually stated it was a close race because US sales of stand alone HD DVD machines was close to stand alone blu-ray players. If you included PS3's it would look ridiculous. 4 BD :1 HD DVD including PS3's and 360 Attachments in the US versus 1:1 stand alones.

      Incidentally the US BD : HD DVD dales ratio was 2:1 or there abouts for most of last year. The Ps3 didn't do that well in the States last year. In Japan where the PS3 did m

  • one week (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:17PM (#22183286)
    And as the article points out, the information from that week is useful to gauge sales for that one week only. Since Toshiba responded the following week with massive price cuts, the sales figures will be drastically different for the following weeks. Basically, these numbers will be all over the map for a while, and won't be useful for generating any sort of trend. That said, it is clear that HD DVD will be going away soon.
    • Re:one week (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moonpie Madness (764217) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:24PM (#22183386)
      Good point. If I was going to buy HD-DVD, I might wait fo rthe obvious price drops that are sure to come as HD-DVD liquidates away.

      But the overall point, that this format war is over, stands. Toshiba has to get what they can, and will have sales and such, but it's over.
  • Poor Bastards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LearnToSpell (694184) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:17PM (#22183290) Homepage
    And that's why the rest of us wait for format wars to end.

    • by pragma_x (644215) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:31PM (#22183528) Journal

      And that's why the rest of us wait for format wars to end.
      Exactly.

      I simply sit in the trench and wait until the cacohpany of cash registers and emptying bank accounts comes to a halt. I then peer out from my fox-hole and look to see the vast wasteland around me: HD-DVD players being thrown out by the dozens, consumers with smoking holes in their wallets, and the wreckage of packing waste and store displays strewn about as if by some hurricane.

      Somewhere, distant as if on the wind, I can hear the quiet sobbing of some videophile, lamenting the death of his preferred format.

      Format war is hell.
    • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:37PM (#22183666)

      And that's why the rest of us wait for format wars to end.

      Format wars? Is that a movie? How does it end, I haven't seen many new movies lately. I wait for them to come out on my Betamax machine.

    • by yo_tuco (795102)
      "And that's why the rest of us wait for format wars to end."

      I don't think you have to wait any longer. Come June, ~70% of movies will be released BD for a HD format and price reductions on 4th gen BD players are expected. And for the remaining movies that won't be available on BD, the upscaling capabilities of an HD player make for watching DVD fine too.
  • by AdamTrace (255409) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:21PM (#22183334)
    I, like I'm sure many other average-joe consumers, have been just WAITING for the decision to be made before going out and spending hard earned cash on a high-def player.

    Warner Brothers moving to BluRay, along with rumors of Universal and Paramount possibly following suit, have really been a good sign.

    I bought PS3 (and Rock Band!) pretty quickly after the news came out.
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:21PM (#22183344) Homepage Journal
    During the week following Warner's announcement -- a period in which the HD-DVD group went into hiding while they regrouped -- FUD went absolutely rampant. Eclipsing the damage of Warner's announcement were rumors from so-called insiders that Paramount and Universal were also jumping ship, along with the standard claims that the adult industry was going blu. If you do a news search on HD-DVD right now you'll continue to find the same FUD, blown into a life of its own by blogger referencing blogger referencing blogger, repeating the same disproven claim.

    In this vacuum of information, there's no surprise that HD-DVD sales collapsed, and it isn't because of the loss of Warner's catalog.

    Since then the outcome is much less certain, however. Toshiba hasn't just conceded (and they shouldn't -- just prior to Warner's announcement it was 50/50), but instead they've come out swinging, dropping the price of their units by half (obviously it has to be cheap to compete with a format that largely was acquired for "free" as an added value of a game system). This price puts a very capable HD-DVD player with ethernet, HDMI, optical audio, and so on, as cost competitive with a decent upscaling DVD player -- and the Toshiba unit is a very good upscaling player. Add the 7 or more free HD-DVD movies that'll work forever even if HD-DVD dies, and a catalog of 1000 or so HD-DVD movies already on the market, it's a hell of a deal. If someone could hack this baby to be a media head unit it would absolutely own [yafla.com].

    Reports are that sales have been absolutely massive, and Toshiba's campaign has been a success. Warner since has extended their HD-DVD support by almost a month, and other very positive rumors have circulated about HD-DVD.

    Don't write HD-DVD off quite yet.

    As an aside, one thing that really pisses me off about this war are claims that the end of the format war would be good for consumers. This is as logical as saying that Windows and IE should be universal -- good for consumers. Worse, Blu-ray has so many consumer-unfriendly facets (cost, no combo discs, a standard that's still in flux, early adopters getting screwed, the nebulous DRM of BD+) that it winning can never be perceived as a consumer win. Yeah, I'm biased because I didn't choose a format to win based upon a game unit I happened to buy.
    • In this vacuum of information, there's no surprise that HD-DVD sales collapsed

      In this vacuum of intelligence, you state that there's still hope for HD-DVD. There's no chance it's coming back, not when HD-DVD has 30% of the market, and publishers care more about cost of production than satisfying the needs of a very small portion of people who own HD-DVD players.
      • by Vancorps (746090)
        By your logic there would be no software for the Mac and Apple would have long died. Producing an HD-DVD once you've got your Blu-ray already made does not significantly increase the cost of production. It would be easy to see a return on your investment with 30% of the market wanting your product in HD-DVD format.
    • Depends how much work you're willing to do, but it might be possible to do the stuff you're describing as "hacks" without cracking it at all, especially if they start doing additional persistent storage.

      The trick is, you would need an AACS-encrypted disc with any of the code you'd be doing this with.

      Question is, how does this compare to, say, a PS3 with Linux?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:37PM (#22183658)

      As an aside, one thing that really pisses me off about this war are claims that the end of the format war would be good for consumers. This is as logical as saying that Windows and IE should be universal -- good for consumers.

      That's not even remotely the same thing. We're talking about formats here - interoperability is the important thing here. The analogous situation wouldn't be a universal Internet Explorer, it would be a universal HTML format. The competition between web browsers is reflected by the competition between player manufacturers.

      Do you think the world would be better off with a version of HTML that only works in Internet Explorer and a version of HTML that only works in Firefox? Because that's the type of situation here.

    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      All this shows was that people didn't care who won, they were just waiting until whatever tipping point to jump onto a bandwagon. Doesn't matter if the format's not dead yet, consumers just want to know what to buy NOW to be future-proof. Once this idea gets in their heads, the landslide then begins.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      NPD: Sky Isn't Falling for HD-DVD, Blu-ray Isn't Champ Yet
      01/24/08
      http://www.dailygame.net/news/archives/007137.php [dailygame.net]

      Sales data for HD-DVD and Blu-ray players and movies has been misconstrued lately by various outlets, with reports implying that HD-DVD sales have fallen at an amazing pace while Blu-ray sales have blasted through the roof.

      Not so fast, says the NPD Group.

      While select articles have implied that HD-DVD as a format is doomed and the sky is falling for the format's supporters, the NPD Group this af
    • by Kohath (38547) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:49PM (#22183910)
      Add the 7 or more free HD-DVD movies that'll work forever even if HD-DVD dies...

      Until your player stops working in a few years, as all electronics eventually do. And then you won't be able to get a replacement HD-DVD player.

      ...and a catalog of 1000 or so HD-DVD movies already on the market...

      There are 378 HD-DVD movies on the market [engadgethd.com].

      • by sheldon (2322) on Friday January 25, 2008 @02:08PM (#22184212)

        Until your player stops working in a few years, as all electronics eventually do. And then you won't be able to get a replacement HD-DVD player.


        Considering a search for 8-track player yields 371 results over at ebay right now, I'm not sure that is a huge problem.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by feepness (543479)

        Until your player stops working in a few years, as all electronics eventually do. And then you won't be able to get a replacement HD-DVD player.
        I'm as clear as anyone that HD-DVD as a mass-media format is deader than a doornail, but you can still buy laserdisc players on Ebay. I imagine you'll be able to find used HD-DVD players for the foreseeable future.

        Hell, wait until the price drops to $20 and buy one spare!
    • During the week following Warner's announcement -- a period in which the HD-DVD group went into hiding while they regrouped -- FUD went absolutely rampant.

      The thing is about FUD (Fear, Uncertanty, Doubt) is that it can be caused by true things as well as false.

      Face it, Paramount and Universal going at least neutral if not exclusive is now 100% certain. A format designed explicitly for movie playing, cannot survive when it has only 20% of titles ad not even very many good titles at that (look at the HD-DVD
    • by Itninja (937614)

      This is as logical as saying that Windows and IE should be universal -- good for consumers

      That's a specious comparison. Of course having no competition in the PC market would be bad for consumers - because the cost of the device is all that really matters. The existence of the Internet marginalizes the need to every computer to be completely compatible. If 50% of the computer market owned Macs, and the other 50% owned Wintel, it's not as if half the computer users could not share files/networks/workflows w

    • Since then the outcome is much less certain, however.

      TFA says your are wrong. The outcome is nwo certain. Toshiba's efforts were in vain.

      Don't write HD-DVD off quite yet.

      The time to write off HD DVD was when the media sales data came for last year and it was as follows:

      US
      2 BD : 1 HDDVD

      Japan:

      9 BD : 1 HDDVD

      UK:

      4 BD : 1 HDDVD

      That was a sign the war was decided and events around the CES sealed the deal. As someone else said, It's now more nails then coffin.

  • Odd numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:22PM (#22183366)
    So, HD DVD lost 13,000 sales and Bluray only gained half that? I think maybe there's something else going on as well other than just the Warner deal.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:37PM (#22183664)
      PS3 sales also spiked pretty well. Remember, if you are suddenly looking for a Blu-Ray player. the PS3 is a very appealing choice - even if all you use it for is Blu-Ray, with the remote it's good as any other dedicated player (and better really since it's future proof and so easy to connect to a network connection wirelessly).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zaffir (546764)
      No, not really. Some buyers were committed to buying an HD format and the Warner news caused them to change their mind. Others saw it as a sign of uncertainty and decided to hold off.
  • It's over (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:22PM (#22183374)
    I think this [youtube.com] says it all.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:24PM (#22183398) Homepage Journal
    I'm no crotchety old man pining away for the the good old days, but it seems to me that DVDs are still working just fine. The format wars are a sometimes interesting diversion, but until HD TVs are the norm and DVDs leave the market altogether, the format war is largely meaningless to most. My SD TV works just fine and until it stops working and/or HD comes down in price another $500USD or so, Blu-ray vs HD-DVD is a nonissue for many if not most. Oh, and that says nothing about digital delivery making physical disks totally irrelevant.
    • by Kohath (38547)
      VHS tapes still work fine.
      • by Vancorps (746090)
        I will challenge you to produce an HD-DVD or Blueray disc that is a dramatic improvement over an upscaling DVD player on a 42" TV. Unless you have a 60" or bigger TV you will simply not notice an improvement. That is what the parent was getting at by saying DVDs are still the media of choice and will continue to be for the near future. There is a marked improvement from VHS to DVD, not such an improvement from DVD to HD. Then of course you have the added pain of the crappily conceived HDMI connector and en
        • I will challenge you to produce an HD-DVD or Blueray disc that is a dramatic improvement over an upscaling DVD player on a 42" TV. Unless you have a 60" or bigger TV you will simply not notice an improvement.

          Yeah, and whoever heard of an HDTV bigger than 42"?? No one! 42" is enough for everyone.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bob-taro (996889)

        VHS tapes still work fine.

        Not after you've played them many times.

    • by powerlord (28156)
      True.

      Think though what will happen when one format truly wins.

      The price of the player should keep dropping, to the point that people will start buying players, even though they only use DVDs (heck they might be the only type of player on the market? or perhaps only the cheapest of the cheap optical players will be DVD only?).

      Then once they upgrade their TVs, they are already set to use a HiDef format.

      Slowly people can acquire new HiDef disks, replacing DVDs (if they want, since their player should be doing
    • by afabbro (33948) on Friday January 25, 2008 @02:04PM (#22184144) Homepage
      Not sure about digital delivery, but the fact is that consumers are not going to replace their home libraries they way they did when they went from VHS->DVD (or tape/LP->CD for that matter). End of story. Without that, a new format really doesn't mean much in terms of economic effect for companies.

      When my DVD player burns out, I'll buy an HD player if it's the same price and plays my existing DVDs. After that, maybe I'd buy some HD discs. Otherwise, I'll just keep waiting. That's the attitude of 99.9% of consumers.

  • by Wdomburg (141264) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:24PM (#22183412)
    The folks at NPD [tgdaily.com] have already said not to make too much of these numbers. Not only do they reflect a single week of data immediately following the Warner announcement and prior to Toshiba cutting prices in half, there were also free Blu-ray player promotions from Panasonic, Sharp and Sony. Easy to "sell" a lot of units when the price tag is $0.
  • Last time I checked the biggest feeding frenzies are right after Thanksgiving and the weeks following Christmas. Of course sales are down to a trickle, everyone has cashed in their gift cards. The local store has moved hardly any 360's, iPods, PS3's, TV, laptops, etc, etc either. Does that mean it's the death knell for all of those products too? Hardly.
    • Last time I checked the biggest feeding frenzies are right after Thanksgiving and the weeks following Christmas. Of course sales are down to a trickle, everyone has cashed in their gift cards.

      Sure, that is part of the explanation (as well as increasing bad news on the wider economic front) for the overall downturn in HD player sales (that is, HD DVD and Blu-Ray combined.)

      OTOH, it doesn't explain why that lower combined total is comprised of a greater (absolute, not merely relative) number of Blu-Ray player

  • If only 20k/week (1 million / year) are being sold, and assuming that aside from PS3s it's been a relatively smooth ramp-up, then the format war has been decided before any of us have had a chance to weigh in at all. That's what, a fiftieth of the population pretty much decided for everybody?
    • by powerlord (28156)
      Well. Isn't that essentially the risk/reward for being an early adopter?

      If more people would go ahead and weigh in (by buying players/media from one side or the other), then their opinions would be counted.

      If they don't, then the only opinions that matter (to those making the decisions), are those that are actually involved.
    • If you cared to weigh in, you would have already bought a player.
  • by jgarra23 (1109651) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:28PM (#22183494)
    Or should I wait another year? I didn't buy one because I didn't want to deal with HD or Blu-Ray. Should I wait another year for Blu-Ray to finish fleshing out the market, or is now a good time?

    I have a feeling that later would be better because lots of companies who were holding back or weren't producing Blu-Ray players will probably now... Any ideas?
  • Unpossible! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ungulate (146381) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:29PM (#22183502)
    From Beta to MiniDisc to Memory Stick, Sony never successfully pushes a format on the market. I can only conclude that BluRay will be supplanted by an as-of-yet-unrevealed third technology. My fragile worldview cannot accept any other alternatives.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gravatron (716477)
      For the millionth time, Blu-ray isn't just a sony product. Lots of companies make and market disks and players. Sony's the best known of them, to be sure, but they are not standing alone here.
    • by robogun (466062)
      Sony hasn't won a thing until they defeat DVD. They picked up 7,000 sales? whoopee. In any manufatured goods tallies that would be failure, but for some reason Sony gets a pass & is now the "winner." Winner of what? I'll bet DVD players still outsell Blu-Ray by 1000:1.
  • I know I can place it next to my BetaMax, on top of my DAC player, but under my philips CD-I.
  • by hazydave (96747) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:36PM (#22183636)
    While the media and CE companies wanted this format war, the consumer didn't. Some chose sides, most of us have been waiting for a sign of who's winning. This was appearing to be Blu-Ray earlier in 2007, which is what prompted Microsoft/Toshiba to pony up the cash to keep Paramount HD-DVD only for 18 months.... thus prolonging the war, in theory.

    The Warner announcement tipped the scales, and most consumers were ready for a winner to be declared. This is the kind of thing that becomes self-fulfilling -- customers want it tipped one way or another, and if they see the tip enough, everyone goes over to that side of the see-saw as fast as possible... particularly if Sony can stop shooting themselves in the foot by redesigning Blu-Ray every three months (ok, most of the new stuff is totally optional, but it doesn't help their case to create more customer confusion).

    Obviously, Toshiba will try to lure back sales by slashing prices. The most interesting thing about HD-DVD is also the problem -- Toshiba can do this, because they're running HD-DVD like it's a gaming console (whether by choice or not, I don't know)... they sell all of the hardware, they get money back on licencing fees, so they can afford to blow out systems at cost, or even below cost, just as Sony and MS do with their games consoles (at least when they're new.. eventually, they want to get profitable on the HW).

  • by mattgoldey (753976) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:36PM (#22183640) Homepage
    I have a 46" 1080p Samsung LCD with a 1080p upconverting DVD player. DVDs look fantastic on this equipment. I see no value in upgrading to either high-def format - especially considering the price of the media. When I can get a brand new DVD for $15 or a gently used one for under $10 and the high-def format discs are still $25 or more, color me uninterested.

    I don't think that's it's a foregone conclusion that either format is going to win out. Look at what happened to SACD and DVD-Audio.

  • P O R N O ! (Score:2, Interesting)

    I don't know about you guys, but I shant be making a descision on which high definition player to purchase until the porn industry does!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by the_rev_matt (239420)
      Actually, they already did. At CES there was announcement (it was carried by AP, but I'm too lazy to look for it) declaring that the major porn companies wouldn't be producing any more HD-DVD titles, citing a sales ratio of 4:1 in favor of BlueRay.

      Personally I think this had way more impact than Warner.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:42PM (#22183776) Homepage
    I honestly can't decide which amazes me the most.

    The fact that people are surprised that after a studio said they'd not support it, the sales fell. Or the fact that people were willing to buy the disks in the middle of a format war when they had no guarantee it would last.

    I mean, really, there was uncertainty over which would win out, and what would happen to the other. I realize if you've spent several thousand dollars on your hi-def kit you want to be able to see stuff with it, but I've always thought this whole hi-def format war was something I'd wait out.

    Hell, if you bought an HDTV more than a few years ago, aren't you hosed since they've changed all of the specs and the whole HDMI debacle.

    With early adoption comes the prospect of a lot of pain down the road.

    Cheers
  • Downloads vs. Discs (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aardvark99 (261926) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:44PM (#22183816)
    I found this quality comparison of different HD sources (Cable, FIOS, Blue Ray, etc...) to be interesting:
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=962 [zdnet.com]

  • Toshiba's Reply (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clf8 (93379) on Friday January 25, 2008 @02:20PM (#22184398)
    Taken from http://gizmodo.com/348904/toshiba-sez-npd-blu+ray-victory-numbers-may-be-fluke [gizmodo.com]:

    During the week that is being singled out, both Blu-ray disc players and software were being given away for free with the purchase of 1080p TVs. It is also important to note that the instant rebate promotions that had previously netted Toshiba's players' MSRP's to $199 and $249 had actually ended on Jan. 5th - causing an increase in HD DVD's MSRP back to $299 and $399 during that same week.
  • by Pr0xY (526811) on Friday January 25, 2008 @03:25PM (#22185326)
    I kinda feel like it wasn't the Warner Bros. announcement that did it, but more the reaction by the geek community to it. After the announcement, pretty much everyone in the geek community who cared immediately declared Bluray the winner. To me, this had way more impact than the loss of Warner Bros. Because it causes a chain reaction of "information" being spread all over the internet how HD-DVD is dead. So now, when consumers try to do some research on HD-DVD they find blogs and articles all saying Bluray is the winner. I would also imagine that this also effected sales reps in places like BestBuy where you have pseudo geek employees repeating all stuff they read on the internet to there customers.

    All in all, this is a formula for a runaway sales drop in HD-DVD. Which to be honest, I am happy about, I _want_ there to be a winner (though I wish Sony didn't benefit from it...). But now I am getting to the point where I don't feel a purchase would potentially be for the losing format.

    So in the end, I think that enough people said it was happening to the point where it made it happen.
  • Or it could be... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kahrytan (913147) on Friday January 25, 2008 @03:57PM (#22185784)
    It could be because the cost of Blu-ray players and drives are coming down drastically. Right now, Blu-ray DVD-ROM drives are $200 on Newegg. and Wallyworld has Sony Blu-ray player for $350.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

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