August 23 2007

More on HD-DVD vs Blu-ray

More on HD-DVD vs Blu-rayI know by now I have to be boring some of you, but please indulge me.

The following started off as a comment to Roy on this post, and I decided to expand upon it.

As much as I love Japan, it is an anomaly when it comes to technology. I can remember on my first trip over there in 2000 thinking to myself “Laser Disc was actually this popular here?!?” I loved my LD player, and I picked up a ton of discs, heck, it was the only place I could pick up Song of the South. They also embraced the mini-disc, which was never more than a whimper over here.

Honestly, I just want the war settled. I have an HD TV, I *want* HD content to watch on it, and I *know* the second I pick a format, whichever one it may be, the other one will win. Now that I have an Xbox 360, the temptation to go HD-DVD is far greater, I won’t lie.

The sad thing is, I remember the Betamax/VHS war, true, I was young, but I remember it. Beta WAS the superior format, but VHS won for whatever odd reason. Between the two new formats, I have heard very, VERY convincing arguments for one being better than the other, but from film aficionados/buffs, I tend to hear more favorable things towards HD-DVD.

The price point, as silly as it may be, will end up playing a major factor in the war, and HD-DVD is winning that side hands-down right now. The Toshiba player I am looking at is currently $238 on Amazon, the cheapest Blu-ray is $456. When Christmas rolls around, and it’s time to add an HD player to your new HD TV, people are going to look at that and go “Wow… well, I dropped a ton on the TV, I’ll go for the bargain player” without giving two thoughts which one may have the crisper blacks.

Sony has made some very critical strategical errors:
1) Pricing
2) The name is nonsensical (HD-DVD is pretty straight forward, what the hell is a “Blu-ray”? I’m speaking from a Joe Consumer point of view mind you)
3) Where porn goes, so goes the format

#3 is what ended up winning the Beta/VHS war, and now, the porn industry has chosen HD-DVD because it’s cheaper to produce. Initially they wanted Blu-ray, but Sony said “No thanks” as they didn’t want their name associated with it.

In short, the war isn’t over, I’m still not sure of my “side”, I know which way I’m leaning, but I’m taking my time to ponder it for a little while longer.

This helpful article lists Sony’s other failures:

Memory Stick
Universal Media Disc (UMD)
Professional Disk for Data
Super Audio CD

I truly feel that Sony’s biggest enemy is themselves. They end up with a successful product like say the Walkman or the Playstation, and they lose their damned minds again.  Blu-ray IS a solid product, but, the cheapest way for me to get into a format I am uncertain of is an overpriced gaming console?  Gee… thanks Sony.

And then articles like this one appear today where the executive vice president and chief technology officer for Paramount, Alan Bell, makes very valid points is to why HD-DVD is a more stable format than Blu-ray.  And as you can see from the above list, there are reason to be weary of Sony saying they have the new solution.


Can’t someone just settle this?  Is it really too much to ask?  I just want to make the leap to HD dammit!

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