back to article Plunging player prices to reveal Blu-ray vs HD DVD winner?

A clear leader in the battle to be the top next-generation optical disc format could emerge next year as player prices plummet and take of the cost of entry out of the equation, market watcher Understanding & Solutions (U&S) has claimed. While consumers remain confused about whether to back HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc, the high …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge

    HD DVD will win

    The most technically advanced solution has never won format wars as far as I can remember.

    Minidisc beat DCC despite DCC sounding better.

    VHS beat Betamax and Video 2000.

    HD DVD offers less storage, but there's still plenty of storage available. The discs can be made more cheaply as you can retool an existing DVD plant easily.

    Both are too similar for their own good, the winner will be decided on price and title availability. HD DVD is cheaper and people won't risk investing in a premium format if it may be the loser.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Calculation flaw.

    There is a flaw in your $ to £ conversions. The proper way to do a $ to £ calculation for electrical equipment is shown in the following examples:

    $100 = £100

    $199 = £199

    $1000 = £1000

  3. Lul Whut

    Wah wah wah wah.

    PS3 will help Blu Ray gain a short term victory... I think that's a given no matter how much MS fund the HD-DVD. (Coming from a 360 & Wii owner) In a couple of years we all be downloading everything so i'm happy enough with my standard DVD collection as is and feel no need to update.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Cost of entry?

    "player prices plummet and take of the cost of entry out of the equation"

    They going to come with a free HD telly then?

  5. Dave

    Is it just me

    Or is the winner going to be the manufacturer who designs and sells a player that can handle both formats.

  6. Mage

    maybe neither

    Compared to DVD sales and taking into account the size & quality of most HD TVS and the upscaled image etc...

    Unless you have real 1920x1080 screen that is about 52" or bigger, ideally 60"+ there is nothing compelling about ANY format of HD player.

    Also an MPEG4 HD film will fit on DVD9. Some DVD players will even play MPEG4 files. I used to have to convert TS format files to PS format and author a DVD to play. My current DVD player can play MPEG TS recorded direct from Satellite "as is" with no PS reformating or DVD authoring.

    Unless every title is available very soon at similar price to DVD, and the player is sub 100 Eur, then both formats are going to stagnate.

  7. peter wegrzyn

    Little difference in price between them

    The cheapest HD-DVD in the UK is currently £188 and the cheapest Blu-ray is £234, so the quoted 'average' prices are way too low for HD-DVD, other players (well, the other two Toshiba models as they are all thats available) bring the average price up considerably.

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    HD DVD's subsidy tactic is running out of steam

    HD DVD players have appeared cheaper since Toshiba is the only major manufacturer of players so it has been able to massively subsidize early models to make them more affordable. By contrast Blu Ray is supported by a consortium of major manufacturers and players have been expensive. I doubt the actual underlying price of manufacture for either format is significantly different but to the public HD DVD appears cheaper because of the subsidy.

    Unfortunately for Toshiba, prices of Blu Ray players are dropping substantially. Early adoption is over and now its going mainstream. You can already buy players for under $300. While they're not quite as cheap as the Venturer player ($200), they're well into Toshiba brand territory. Give it another 6 months as another generation of players appear and there will be no difference in price.

    Once that happens (and its already started) there will be an overwhelming selection of affordable Blu Ray players against a handful from Toshiba and no name clones. And even now there are something like 6 times as many Blu Ray players when the PS3 is counted.

    I think its incredibly unlikely that HD DVD is going to win on hardware. It can't win on hardware.

    I also think it is incredibly unlikely that it will compete on movies either. Blu Ray is selling 2 to 3 times the number of movies as HD DVD simply because there so many more players, and also more movies are being released on Blu Ray. There have been blips when a decent HD DVD exclusive has appeared but sales are predominantly in Blu's favour.

    The only way I see HD DVD staving off total annihilation is if they win Warner Brothers. WB is rumoured to be going exclusive one way or the other. It would be pretty stupid for Warner to want to go exclusive to HD DVD when it has weaker encryption and less features but they might if Microsoft whip out some $$$ to make it happen. Microsoft is gaming this war presumably since it strengthens their own DLC plans. But if Warner goes Blu then it's all over for HD DVD. The other exclusive studios will go Blu as soon as their golden handcuffs are released and that will be that.

    And good riddance really.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    HD DVD or Blu Ray...It's like debating 8 inch or 5 inch or 3 inch floppy disks. (Or 78, 45, and 33 rpm vinyl).

    Why do we need a complicated package of lasers and spinning flying plastic disks to get our videos?

    Where's the USB port on my HD TV? I expect to be able to plug in some flash memory and watch video.

    These HD players are going to end up on the trash heap, next to the 8 track tape players.

  10. Tony
    Paris Hilton

    RE: ClammyLammy

    Cost of entry as a variable can be taken out as you need a HD TV for both formats. It would only be an issue if one of the formats required you to buy a specific type of HD TV.

  11. Mike Byrne

    Sony != ftw ?

    Surely you just back the format Sony isn't?

    Minidisc might have beat DCC but it couldnt be considered a winner since HMV is still full of CDs and not minidisc music.

    Betamax failed to beat VHS and Video8 which Sony pushed didnt really take off.

    (ok so Playstation kicked Sega and then Microsofts respective rears in the console wars, but I never liked the awkward controllers for the PS anyways)

  12. JeffyPooh

    Cost of players is irrelevent

    The cost of the media dominates the financial equation, even in just the mid-term. Provided you've got enough inputs on your telly, and enough space in your furniture, there's no reason not to purchase one of each (or pay extra for a dual player).

    The real issue is the boot-up time for some of these units. If you can't start watching a disc in less than 1 minute from power on, then I wouldn't stand for it. From what I've read, HD-DVD is ahead in this area. I've seen reports of some BluRay players requiring several minutes to get going.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps I'm Cynical,

    but shouldn't we also bake into the equation when the first format is cracked for mass duplication of content? It's slighly naughty to make the suggestion, but if burners become cheap and ubiquotous and there is open source software to rip it (DVD Shrink for BD/HD-DVD), won't that go a long way in determining a "winner"?

    Sometimes you have to lose to know how to win, if you know what I mean.

  14. James Pickett (Jp)

    Cost of the media

    I don't care about the cost of the players any more, both formats can be had for a couple of hundred, which is pretty affordable.

    But when a DVD can be had for £5 that is still £18+ on an HD format, I'm pretty sure which format will remain 'mainstream' for the foreseeable . . . DVD!

    Second (random) point. How many people like a few beers or glasses of wine when watching a film?

    Then the advantages of HD are probably lost on you! ;-)

  15. dek


    me thinks the technology is archaic before it even reaches the masses. Anyone capable of a cost comparison for putting HD on flash mem? At volume factoring in players with no moving parts I'd bet flash mem players would be cheaper. So personally I don't ever expect to buy either.

  16. David
    Paris Hilton

    Joe Public UK

    Be honest, will Joe Public in the UK walking into currys really know the difference. Would they spend £100s on a no name brand HD-DVD player? doubt it. IMO someone with money to spare will always go with with a sony, panasonic, pioneer, samsung known brand ( + it will match their big TVs).

    People who have money to spend on such devices are not really going to do much research on a product, can they get their fav movies on that format etc.

    So realistically we are talking about PS3's and 360 add ons (who actually has one of these BTW?) I have a feeling sony will win this small war but its irrelevant because media servers & on-demand services are the way forward.

    Just my £0.02 worth.

  17. Andy

    Is It Worth It?

    Casino Royal, DVD 4 quid, blu ray 17 quid, but I can't see the blu ray disks as being 4 times better. In fact I find it difficult to see much of an improvement at all.

    There's a big difference from my 40 inch 1080P tv to my old CRT. But when I try to convince myself that it's better, all I see is flickering artifacts which were defo not there on the CRT. But what I can do is boast I have 1080P to my friends, for that, I will be eternally grateful to consumerism.

    But if I put my sensible hat on, I'll be buying DVD for the medium term at least.

    Oh, I like the pretty slide on menu when you are watching a blu-ray film. Not sure that justifies the grand and a bit I spent though.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Crap in HD...

    is still crap. Why spend hundreds of dollars or pounds to watch it?

  19. Ivan Headache

    Not that I'm buying but...

    having just picked up the PC World Christmas catalogue (I know but I was in Tottenham Court Road and ....) I notice that there appears to be very little mention of HD but plenty of mention of Blu-Ray.

    In Costco they were doing 3 Blu-Ray disks for the price of 2 (IIRC) and I don't remember seeing any HD disks at all.

    Perhaps the decision is already made.

  20. Gilbert Wham

    'Format clarity' coming in 2008', says analyst

    "Physical media to be dead in the water shortly afterwards", says rest of world.

  21. John
    Paris Hilton

    there won't be a winner

    Simple as that, we are going to end up with two formats and thats the end of it, there is too much of a divide on each side with each being having very large backers pushing it.

    If I had to pin a tail on this particular donkey, the winner will be the asians who start to throw out cheap dual format players. If either side wants to 'win', then leak decryption code, which ever can be decoded and copied will become an immediate favourite, but that isn't gonna happen. We're gonna be stuck with two formats and films appearing on one or the other depending the publisher, the market these days isn't like it was for the VHS/Betamax fight, the markets is incomparably larger and theres enough room for both, at the loss of the consumer sadly.

  22. Phil Rigby
    Paris Hilton

    What will the superstores push?

    Another thing is that in the US Wal-mart are really pushing Blu-Ray quite hard at the moment (Xmas rush and all that), and as Wal-mart own Asda, expect to see them doing the same thing. Once a big chain superstore starts pushing a format, everyone who goes into the store will see the stands and pretty lights and think "oooh that's nice". Plus, the names alone - Blu-Ray sounds so much cooler than HD-DVD (the same letter 3 times in a 5 letter acronym?).

    In the 80's it was 8-bit computer wars... in the 90's it was the browser wars... and now we have the digital media wars :-)

    I'm not really sure about which format to go with, but I'm beginning to lean towards Blu-Ray. Pointless until I get a new telly though.

    Paris Hilton icon because... she probably looks good on DVD.

  23. Morely Dotes

    Players? Pish!

    When HD or BD *recorders* are under $100, *then* (and only then) will it matter in the marketplace.

    There is no "killer content" available in either format, but I'd be reall glad to be able to roll 5 to 10 of my existing movies onto a single disk, using the software I already have. It would be great to put all 6 of the Star Wars movies on a single disk without losing any fidelity (and, incidently, without keeping the annoying FBI and Interpol adverts).

    So show me a recorder that can handle either of the hi-def disk types, and blank media at no more than $2 a disk, and we can talk.

    Until then: Sony and the HD camp can both go piss up a rope.

  24. Anonymous John

    I think I'll wait for ones that will record to hard disk reach these shores.

    Or more likely add a HD DVD or Blu ray drive (or both) to a Media PC. I've bought more than enough gear that can't be upgraded.

  25. LaeMi Qian

    For me, the winner will be...

    ...whichever format has (worthwhile) disks in the supermarket $9.95 bin first.

  26. William Bronze badge

    @JeffyPooh RE: Startup times

    "The real issue is the boot-up time for some of these units. If you can't start watching a disc in less than 1 minute from power on, then I wouldn't stand for it. ."

    Well you show me a current DVD where I can start watching a film in less than 1 minute. A disc where you don't have to navigate past all the menus, all the legal warnings and sometimes adverts then your comment has some merit. As it stands the boot up time pales into insignificance compared to the time some current DVD disks make you wait before you watch the film itself.

  27. Phil

    Just seen a reasonably priced dual format

    LG GGW-H20L Blu-Ray Disc Rewriter + HD DVD ROM Drive Internal SATA

    for around the £180 mark.


    * Write Speed

    * BD-R (SL/DL) 4x

    * BD-R (SL LTH)16x

    * DVD-R DL 4x

    * DVD-RW (SL/DL) 6x

    * DVD-RAM 5x

    * DVD+R 16x

    * DVD+R DL 2.4x

    * DVD+RW (SL/DL) 8x

    * CD-R 40x

    * CD-RW 24x


    * Read Speed

    * BD-ROM (SL/DL) 6x

    * BD-R (SL/DL) 6x

    * BD-R (SL LTH) 3.8x

    * BD-RE (SL/DL) 2x

    * BDMV (AACS Compliant Disc) 4.8x

    * HD DVD-ROM (SL/DL) 3x

    * HD DVD-R (SL/DL) 3x

    * HD DVD-Video (AACS Compliant Disc) 3x

    * DVD-ROM (SL/DL) 16x

    * DVD-R (SL/DL) 12x

    * DVD-RW (SL/DL) 10x

    * DVD+R (SL/DL) 12x

    * DVD+RW (SL/DL) 10x

    * DVD-RAM 5x

    * DVD- 8x

    * CD-R/RW/ROM 40x

    * CD-DA (DAE) 40x

    * 8cm CD 10x

    * Video CD 40x


    * Sustained Transfer Rate

    * BD-ROM 215.79 Mbits/s (6x) max.

    * HD DVD-ROM 109.65 Mbits/s (3x) max.

    * DVD-ROM 22.16 Mbytes/s (16x) max.

    * CD-ROM 6,000 Kbytes/s (40x) max.


    * Access Time

    * BD-ROM 180 ms typ

    * HD DVD-ROM 210 ms typ

    * DVD-ROM 160 ms typ

    * DVD-RAM 180 ms typ

    * CD-ROM 150 ms typ.

    * Buffer Size 4 MB

    * Loading Type: Motorized Tray

    * Interface Type: Serial ATA

  28. Daniel B.

    Physical Media isn't dead yet

    Claiming that Physical Media (DVDs, CDs and such) are dead is as stupid as the Web-2.0ites claiming native software is dead 'coz you can do everything with Javascript AJAX applications.

    Flash memory is unreliable, hard drives crash ... I'd love to see a 512 Gb HD crash with $300 worth of HD content! CD's, DVD's and such don't fail unless you're careless with them... ok there are bad quality CDs but commercial movies aren't that bad. And it is always good to have a hard copy somewhere.

    As for the media wars, I root for Blu-Ray. HD-DVD sells only because its temporarily region free.

  29. Anonymous from Mars
    Thumb Down

    DVD is my winner.

    $5 - $10 movies. PS2 starts playing movies in 10 seconds. Brilliant quality movies on my 17" TV from 1995. I don't see how DVD isn't going to be the winner this holiday season.

    Maybe I'm just some sort of superior being, but I'm not blind enough to need a 50" TV and I can hear perfectly with my monaural to not need 200 speakers littered around my living room. If you need those to make the movie good... well, maybe you should be watching a different movie.

  30. Cyberwlf


    As i was traveling Europe recently, i saw more consumer electronic stores with larger (or only) Blu-Ray collections than I did HD-DVD. The occasional shop will have more HD, but at worst the collections tend to be half and half. But yeah i've noticed more exclusives for Blu-Ray than HD-DVD too, but during the Xmas consumer wars, both seem to be selling exclusives equally, but PS3 is finally actually getting some advertising from Sony and has dropped to 299 too, so no doubt this will influence things too.

  31. Rich

    Who says only one format can win?

    What if one format wins on one continent and another wins on another? If they have regional encoded DVDs today to keep people from importing/exporting unreleased movies all over the world, how much better would it be for the studios if each region had its own format? In the U.S. high def discs will take off in late 2008 or early 2009 as all people will need either a digital TV or converter box to watch TV as all broadcast TV in the U.S. must switch from analog to digital by February 2009. Only then will we see wide adoption of either/both HD formats.

    The only people who should be looking into buying either format are those of us who currently own large 1080p TVs. No one else will see much/any improvement over cheaper DVDs.

  32. Adam Carden

    Physical Media

    Everyone here keeps focusing on the physical media as this is what is being pushed and in that respect Blueray is the superior format.

    However lets actually take a look at whats on the disc.

    Blueray: MPEG2 - Lower quality, more artefacts, more space. However it will be easier to get lower in price as the hardware for the drive itself falls, there are plenty of MPEG2 decoders around and they cheap to manufacture. Due to Bluerays capacity they can deal with some of the quality problems via bitrate alone.

    HD-DVD: MPEG4 - Higher quality (more modern compression algorithms), less artefacts, less space. However it will be harder to keep dropping the price on these due to the fact that MPEG4 decoding uses a massive amount of processing power, as an example a dual core 64bit processor with the best software decoding available today still takes around 60% of each cpu.

    I Own: HD-DVD because I got it practically free when I swapped the XBOX 360 accessory pack for a HD-DVD addon and 5 HD-DVD's. Not that I evangelized HD-DVD at all and if Blueray starts to take a major major lead I will avail myself of a Blueray drive (which ever is cheaper a PS3 or standalone)

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @ Adam Carden

    I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out that Blu-ray and HD-DVD cover pretty much (if not exactly) the same compression algorithms - yes, MPEG4 AVC and VC1 (the modern ones) are a part of the Blu-ray spec as well. So you might want to re-run your analysis.

    But a good compression algorithm (AVC) combined with a higher capacity and even more importantly bandwidth still results in a better picture than the same algorithm with a lower bandwidth.

  34. Michael

    MPEG2 ??? MPEG4 ???

    I was going to point out the same thing too.. Blue-ray specs dictate that a blue-ray player must support MPEG2 or MPEG4(H.264/AVC/VC-1) and that it is up to the manufacturer or owner/distrbutor of the Blue-ray title of the encoding of the title, it could even be both MPEG2 and MPEG4 on the same disc. but whatever they choose there will be royalties to pay..

    Another thing that Adam seems to get mixed up on is the his perception that MPEG2 is inferiror to MPEG4, well an MPEG2 stream at 30mbps will look about the same as say an MPEG4 stream at 12-15mbps.. But as Adam mentions, MPEG2 hardware decoders are well defined and require less processing power if done in software than MPEG4 to do in software..

    So the dufferences between HD-DVD or Blue-ray are not to do with the codecs used because they use the same stuff, the primary differences are the storage capacity of each format..

  35. Michael

    Downloads ??? Really ??

    DSL will still be around in a few years and for years more by my reckoning.. Those who think that downloading a full HD movie on their DSL line will need to think how much download throughput speeds people are really getting on their DSL lines to how long it would take for them to download a BLUE-Ray or HD-DVDs worth of High definition Video. Those lucky enough to be in a fiber covered area need not think about this...

  36. Martin Usher

    Usability is the key

    SD is going to be around for some time because most households have more than one (SD) DVD player and some have DVD recorders. SD resolution is fine for most smaller TVs, as someone else noted you won't really notice the difference until you get to a 52" screen (and, from experience, even if you've got a 52" with decent upconversion the picture's going to look fine). So the key to acceptability is flexibility and cost. HD-DVD has the advantage (IMO) because of dual format disks. Blu-Ray may store more information (and stream it faster) but this doesn't matter to users, they're only interested in whether the stuff works or not and whether the cost is incremental. You shouldn't have to spend a small fortune on kit just to watch TV and its pointless having spent that money to have to spend even more to duplicate the media so you can use it elsewhere in the house.

    One of the interesting things about HD broadcasts is how they've improved the SD feed. Its not the medium, its the source (how many times has this been shown to be true with CDs?).

    (The Toshiba players run Linux, BTW. Its kind of odd to have to boot Linux to play a DVD.)

  37. Michael

    Martin Usher

    The point about this article is Blue-ray and HD-DVD, obviously they support High-def. The market for DVD is already saturated, people can get a DVD player that plays SD for less than 20 quid now..

    If you can't tell the difference between SD vs HD on a 30 inch, then yeah, for you, you should stick with normal DVD and SD images..

    The next growth is HD, thus it is fitting that people talk about blue-ray and HD-DVD, yes not all people will get it and first.. but it will gradually seep through just like when CDs were introduced or when DVDs were first introduced. The same will be for HD TVs, they will seep through the market too. so that the average person on the street will have one..

    SO which will win B;ue-ray or HD-DVD ??

    Personally they will still co-exist through 2008, after that I don't know..

  38. JeffyPooh

    With some BluRay players, the slowness is built-in

    I've got lots of DVDs that can be playing the feature in about a minute from powering on the player. You're right about some of the major block-buster movies, but the simpler discs get to the main menu pretty quick. If not a minute, pretty close.

    What I've read about BluRay is that the player itself can take five minutes to get out of its pajamas, have a coffee, fart a few times, etc, etc, etc. This in addition to any disc delays.

    It is a bit like those early digital cameras that take far too much time to turn on, and are far too slow to take a picture.

    There's no sense being an early adopter if by the time your Gen 1 unit actually finishes booting up, the neighbour has already bought a Gen 2 unit and pretty much worn it out.

  39. Martin Usher

    But what exactly are you getting for your money?

    The whole problem with HD is that you're putting a whole lot of technology in play - with its extra costs - for minimal user benefit. Flat screen displays are an obvious improvement over CRTs, DVDs easily outshine tapes, but what, exactly, are the improvements from the extra resolution? There are two things we overlook. One is that the eye is not a HD device -- SD was designed around the properties of people's eyes. The other is that picture information is hugely redundant, you can fake an acceptable picture by interpolation (the ears, OTOH, are very intolerant of errors). So what you have with HD is largely a marketing exercise, and since its also heavily dependent on modern fads in DRM the technology ceases to be cost effective.

    Yes, I have all the crap, the (oversized) 1080p LCD, the HD sources and so on. Its because of this, and because I have had hands on experience working with (digital) television, that I make my assertions. BluRay to me is a dog not because of its technical specs but because its trying to carve a completely new market niche for itself -- its demanding we throw away everything we have that works satisfactorily and buy new (Sony) stuff. Since its coming from the company that's associated with weird propietary formats, rootkits and other marketing driven anti-consumer technologies, what's the point in biting? I get just as good results from the HD-DVD sources and I don't have to junk all my existing kit?

  40. Alphaman


    Downloads won't take off anytime soon. For example, I've got 35 BR discs. Figure an average of 25GB of data per disc (not max, obviously) and that works out to 875GB. Are you telling me that I have to download 875GB and store that long term? Or that every time I want to watch a movie I've got to stream 25 gig, then delete it? If someone else wants to pay for a DS3 or DS4 line into my house, I might consider it. This is nonsense for the remainder of this decade, and probably well into the next.

    One of the prime reasons BetaMax failed was because there was one primary source. Sure, there were a couple of other vendors, but Sony was the driver.

    Compare that with HD-DVD being sourced by one primary vendor, Toshiba. Versus BR players and recorders from Sony, Samsung, LG, Sharp, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Mitsubishi, Funai, JVC, Loewe, Denon, and Daewoo.

    And when a format-agnostic consumer goes into a store, they're going to look at relatively comparable players, and ask "which platform are my desired movies available on?" With a list of studios almost as long as the list of hardware manufacturers above, BR will get the sale in the majority of cases.

    The war is over, HD-DVD is just going through death spasms.

  41. Michael

    Martin Usher

    I see your problem, you have a hatred for Sony. You also fail to see that alot of the stuff they develop has not been proprietry, amongst oter things, and along with others they have a patents in MPEG2, MPEG4. CD was delevloped with Philips, DVD with Philips and others, Blueray also with Philips and others. Rootkit btw was something developed 3rd party tp Sony. So you say you like HD-DVD, wel isn't that taking sides, people may as well say you are rooting for say Toshiba, Microsoft etc... You got your HD-DVD, so why can't other people choose BlueRay ?

    In your own words BlueRay is trying to carve out another market kust like what HD-DVD is doing , so what's yopur point ?

    Your arguments for HD-DVD Vs BlueRay seems only to be about Sony, but the simple fact is that it just isn't Sony by itself..

    I stand my assertion, both Blueray and HD-DVD will co-exist in 2008, beyind that I don;t know.

  42. J
    IT Angle

    Silliness take two

    I stopped by Blockbuster today and ALL they have in HD there is Blu-Ray, and it was quite a large amount of movies, to my surprise. Why would I buy an HD-DVD player then, if I can't rent anything in that format? I myself still have a low-tech CRT TV and own only DVDs, so it'll only matter to me when time forces me to change, so we'll see in a few years.

    Anyway... SD and HD, no difference? 50-something inch? BS, methinks. At least for me, who have good eyes and don't drink and watch (usually). ;-)

    A friend of mine has a 42" TV, I don't think it's even full HD or whatever it's called (but it could be, I never asked him). He has satellite TV (digital, of course), which is pretty nice quality and carries the local channels too. But there are also many shows being broadcast in HD over-the-air, captured by a simple, $8 rabbit ear antenna, in the local channels here in our city (in the US). So, when we are there watching some American football (after the proper football we went there to watch is finished), we have the opportunity to compare the image of the same game in both digital SD and the over-the-air HD. The difference is amazing, HD is so much clearer and, obviously, more defined in the image details. Or do we just have special eyes? ;-)

    Now, Flash? FLASH!? Have you got any idea how much 50GB of Flash must cost? Last 4 GB USB pen drive I bought was $35, in a holiday sale -- it usually is more like $60. Why does the Asus Eee only have 8 GB max thus far (select locations only)? It will take a while...

    Downloads? Yeah, right. As someone said above, dream on. Maybe the day we have Petabyte hard drives (or holographic devices or whatever it will be by the time), besides multi-GB connections, then I'll think of doing that instead of just sticking a plastic disk in the machine and going to get something to drink, or going to the restroom or whatever during the FBI, "you are a criminal", etc. crap...

  43. Simon Wilson
    Thumb Up

    Blue Ray is already Winning

    Judging by sales in the States and Europe. Blue Ray is already leading in sales. Blue Ray meets the capacity needs of the Gamer and of Theater watcher. Blue Ray player already cost £199 , HD DVD having to give away films to get you to buy it. If true though that customers are confused. But this time Betamax is goner win. Microsoft are clever and foolish at the same time. Xbox 360 has a usb HD DVD but could have a Blue Ray later if needed. Again Microsoft are taking the backwards step. This isnt having ago at people yes, HD DVD and Blue Ray Media, does cost more than it should. But its the quality of audio, capacity and content that will end the war. At the moment a major film studio decided to go with on HD DVD and now is working on a dual splatter, one side Blue Ray and the other HD DVD. Because of dripping Sales. Lets be honest Blue Ray sounds better , right down to the packaging.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Downloads will not take off, not for a long time yet anyway, simply because people like to 'own' movies. It isn't like music, where MP3 bloomed because of the convenience of carrying your whole collection on your player - people tend to watch movies at home, so storing them digitally isn't of great benefit.

    The best supported format will win - looks like Blu-ray at the moment.

  45. Jim Noeth

    The cost of the players is not the only problem

    Even if they gave the players away for free, there's another part of the equation, the cost of the movies. If I get an inexpensive player for format 'X' and start buying movies in that format, but, format 'Y' wins out, guess what I get to do? Re-buy the movies if my format 'X' player dies at some point in the future. For people who only rent the movies, this isn't as big a problem.

  46. mik smith

    Playstation 3 pushes Blue Ray slightly ahead, but will sink it in time.

    Blue Ray will fail eventually 'with' the Playstation 3. Not that it might not be superior in some ways, but for the most part film enthusiasts,moms and dads renting occasionally and the general over 45 crowd, don't play video games. Or to say it better, they don't use there game machines, if they have one, for movies. Now you can all disagree, but as time goes by and the cheap HD DVD players become more available you'll see twice as many Blue Ray players, inflated by the playstation, but more HD DVD movies being sold. Mark my words. Then the major studios will remove there exclusivity and as time goes by Blue Ray will be chalked up as a 'remeber that' tech item. See the other problem is that in America the Playstation 3 never really caught on. Maybe in Europe and Japan its a wild success but not in 'Hollywood' and the USA. I tend to think that the Playstation 3 is a bit of dinosaur, based on bad timing. The Wii opened up a whole new gamer paradigm of using the controller in other ways then just pressing buttons. If you don't think Bill Gates has a team of 100 men working right now on creating a Wii like Xbox ready just in time for when the Playstation 3 is supposed to reach its prime then your out of your mind. The problem is that Sony can't kill its own. Hello HD DVD

  47. nt300
    Thumb Up

    HD DVD will continue to drop in price. Blu-Ray will lose in the end.

    The only reason why current Blu-Ray players are selling for cheap is due to the FACT they are liquidating the older Profile 1.0 obsolete Blu-Ray players. Once the newer Profile 1.1 & 2.0 players come out, they are going to be expensive due to the extra hardware incorporated in them.

    HD DVD is bread for MASS ADDOPTION, and studios will eventually figure it out. The last thing we need is a PlayStation 3 driven Blu-Ray format to take over.

    HD DVD right now is far more superior then Blu-Ray.

    HD DVD from the beginning offers phenomenal finished specifications to make sure anything which has the HD DVD logo will be compatible.

    Once Warner Bros. Joins HD DVD exclusively, Blu-Ray will go away with a bang we all hope for the consumer’s sake. We all do not want to support another failed SONY format.

  48. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    Blu-Ray will LOOSE

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm laughing at all of you iSonyApple loving idiots, Blu-Ray will LOOSE because it may be superior technologilically but remember BETAMAX (I don't), it was possibly better and it lost out in the end, hence Blu-Ray will go the way of the DODO!!!!1! And I'm with the WINNER!!

    I'm with you nt300 and Martin Usher, only an idiot wants to back a FAILING SonyApple format that will fail because only an idiot wants to back it because... well because it may be better technologicularly and backed by a larger consortium but still it will FAIL because BETAMAXX failed and everyone knows what happened to it. Because it may have been better but better is the new worse.

  49. yeah, right.

    It's just storage

    The cynic in me says that because Blu-ray is technically superior, HD-DVD will actually "win", assuming there is a clear "winner". It's the best marketed one that "wins", not the best technical solution.

    The main thing though is that both formats are somehow seen as an "endpoint" in what can hold movies. However, with the increasing availability of downloadable movies, I'm guessing that ANY media whose sole purpose is to give movie moguls a physical lock on movies is doomed to failure. DRM has so far proved to be an expensive failure for the movie studios, with millions spent on annoying their customers with very little to show for it. The advent of Blu-ray and HD-DVD players with legislated DRM features built in to every player is just another battle in a war that the RIAA/MPAA have hopefully already lost.

    Then again, I've always been an idealist in some ways. It could be that the RIAA/MPAA are actually going to win, and that copyright as we know it since 1710 is simply going to vanish. The London Company of Stationers is dead. Long live the Global Company of Stationers. Perpetual copyright is just around the corner, and already exists if you factor in the effect of DRM circumvention legislation. The concept of an artist owning their own copyright is almost laughable today in the world of "work for hire" contracts from the studios. And the idea of a "public domain" is being trounced by ever-longer terms being placed on copyright. Where NOTHING is going to enter the public domain for many more years, at which point the Mickey Mouse crowd will be lobbying for 150 year copyright terms.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    technology advantage????????

    i've been watching this format war for quite awhile now and i feel a need to say something about it. i keep hearing from the the blue-ray supporters how they have all the specs. advantage and how superior a format it is but to me it looks like a dinghy in the ocean being blown which ever way the wind blows. to be changing the hardware profiing with each generation of players is not only ridiculous but to not have some plan to update the players so they can use all the features of the new disks - why that would make me so upset i would never support them again. very poorly thought out from the start. i still don't see any advantage to either format in picture or sound-they both are excellent in that regard. right now the advantage has to go to hd-dvd for useable players. not only are they cheaper but also more functional.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Video downloads will win????

    Not the way they're working at the moment, currently xbox video store is refusing to play anything as its claiming all the videos (available to download) are the wrong format. Strange that they're making them available to download, is the store for the playstation them?

    and yesterday my xbox360 was an incompatible device for the xbox360 video store

    the only thing that has worked was the trailer for risky business, which i remember as quite a good film but like most rose tinted things i'm sure it wont be if it decides that an xbox is valid at the xbox store and the format microsoft is supplying is the correct format

    in all my years of buying hddvd, blu ray, dvd, laserdisc & vhs i've never had a problem playing them because the laser disc player is not currently valid to be playing laser discs or my dvd has the wrong format video for dvd on it. Oh the latest message is they're having server problems.

    "Sorry your evenings entertainment will be put on hold because one of us dropped coffee on a computer, dont worry give us a call and after an hour or two of peak rate arguing with one of our slightly lingual support assistants you'll get a refund of your money but your victory will seem hollow as you'll never get the wasted time back"

    oh well bittorrent doesnt have these problems does it?

    (and it's official the only thing i can watch out of the 24 available items is the risky business trailer, great theres 1 minute and 23 seconds of my evening sorted)

  52. john

    Sony and Blu Ray for mine in Oz

    A couple of pertinent facts from the other side of the world:

    * Australian broadband speeds are SHITE and not likely to improve in the next 5 years - so we won't be downloading high def movies

    * Add to that our ISPS are all upping their prices and placing limits like 10 to 20 gig per month on downloads AND uploads combined

    * Sony is running a promo where you get a free PS3 with any Sony full HD purchased

    * All the major video rental stores in Australia are either exclusively blu ray or stock about 3:1 Blu to HD DvD

    Blu Ray is kicking HD DVD's ass so bad in Australia it is not funny - we are only small, but the battle is over here....

  53. Highlander

    Blu-Ray the winner. It's over folks.

    It's all over bar the shouting.

    Hardware sales vastly in favor of Blu-Ray.

    Movie sales vastly favor Blu-Ray.

    There is no significant feature of either that the other does not already have (even if only as an optional feature).

    Cheaper players are becoming available in both formats.

    Blu-Ray has higher audio and video bit rates, as well as nearly double the disc capacity.

    With an estimated 8 million PS3s sold (by the end of calendar year 2007), there is a guaranteed market of more than 8 million Blu-Ray players that are not going away. Even if HD-DVD were to 'win', there are already enough PS3s to support Blu-Ray movie releases on heir own without any further significant sales. And of course PS3s will continue to sell for games as well as Blu-Ray. Stand alone player sales will increase as costs drop, PS3 sales will continue to grow. In other words, the Blu-Ray snowball is rolling down hill and gathering momentum quickly.

    It's hard to see how Toshiba and it's HD-DVD format intends to prevent that snowball from rolling any further. It's almost like the HD-DVD snowball is now running in the rut left by the Blu-Ray one, and there is precious little extra snow mass to be gathered in that rut.

    With regards to downloading HD content. With 50GB to play with on a Blu-Ray disc, let's assume that 30GB is the movie audio and video data. If we were to download only the movie we'd need to get that 30GB downloaded to our local home theater system.

    30GB = 30,000MB which is more or less 240,000Mbits

    On a typical residential DSL circuit you will max out at a theoretical 3Mbits per second. To get that HD movie you will need 8000 seconds or more than two hours of data transfer at your theoretical maximum bandwidth. Now a whole host of factors go into your actual bandwidth, but you might be lucky enough to get approximately 75% of the theoretical maximum sustained over several hours. Assuming you don't use VOIP and no other use of the Internet connection is made you might manage to download your movie in 3 hours or so.

    If you haven't paid for one of the 3Mbit DSL options, then you are pretty much screwed. A 1.5Mbit DSL connection would get you that movie in perhaps 6 hours, and on a very typical 768Kbit hookup you're looking at 12 hours or more.

    Sure you could compress the content, but then you're not getting HD. If you crush that movie to a quarter of the original size you end up with something approaching DVD quality, but at least you can download it in a reasonable time under typical conditions. Not everyone has 3Mbits or better. Even if they did, ISPs would have to undertake considerable upgrades of their own networks to handle the huge data transfers inherent in all their customers suddenly downloading HD content. At the end of the day, this is not at all practical, and not something that will magically become practical tomorrow. We've been talking about fast broadband network access for decades now. Fiber to the desk, fiber to the home. Where is it? Most consumers use something that's only a little more sophisticated than POTS (aka wet string). People should stop deluding themselves that Download is going to come in and replace optical media anytime soon.

  54. michael

    they BOTH will LOSE

    seroiusley there are equal numbers of "blu-ray has won hd-dvd is dead" and "hd-dvd has won sony is a tosser" postes here it is clear for a tally of numbers that is is a neck and neck race but the real point is

    who the b0lddy hell cares!!

    I speek for at least me when I say

    all I want is a HD format for my (not yet got) HD telly but if I pick one I am taking a gamble it will lose and I will need to spend more mony on a replacment in x years (not only player but disks et all) so I am not buying till one has won. till then SD is fine and get all my hd content form the good old BTorrent

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