November 9, 2007
Sony Says Hi Def DVD Format Wars Are at Stalemate
Sir Howard Stringer is calling the format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray a stalemate for now. He says that Sony was winning on the merits until Paramount went and dumped Blu-Ray for a significant wad of cash from the HD folks. Stats show that Blu-Ray was outselling HD 2 to 1, but that stat is meaningless as sales for both formats combined were minuscule compared to regular DVDs.
The buzz on this covers the full gamut: Regular DVDs are cheap and plentiful for the general public; upscaling players work well for HD televisions; HD players are in the $100 range compared to Blu-Ray at around $400; the adult entertainment industry is generally going with HD because Sony doesn't do licenses for porn; Blu-Ray has higher disc capacity, which some day might mean something if content could keep up; and so on and so on. Oh, and downloads might kill both formats if the general public weans away from wanting physical ownership of discs.
Stringer says that he wishes he could go back in time to create a unified format, although he doesn't say why the two sides are so intractable. Both sides should consider it even at this point. It's not as if manufacturers haven't burned early adopters before with bleeding edge products, and it's not as if there are a lot of them out there on hi-def DVDs. Most stories suggest that consumers aren't going to pick a side until one looks like a winner. Stringer's assessment bodes a long future for the current format.
In a related note, it seems that Blu-Ray+, that super secure extra layer of DRM on top of the current DRM has been broken. It's somewhat ironic because some of the early players for Blu-Ray couldn't play these discs anyway until they got a firmware update that accounted for the extra protection. Talk about burning early adopters. Most consumers aren't interested in connecting their DVD players to the Internet to keep them operating. Too much hassle. Most of us are in the habit of turning the machine on, dumping in a disc, and watching. Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, et al. should remember that consumers want convenience. Once (if) the format war ends, high definition discs may still languish.
Speaking of DRM, how did we miss this one.
November 9, 2007 | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sony Says Hi Def DVD Format Wars Are at Stalemate: