blu-ray Reading Douglas Crockford's Format War post reminded me of how hopeful I was last Fall. I was nearly certain that the Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD format war would have been settled by Giftmas, so that we could just buy the winning format and go on with life.

Instead, we're stuck with the uncertainty of not knowing who will win. Beta or VHS? Err, I mean "Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?" Why must we endure this stupidity again?

I'm content to sit on the sidelines, impatiently, waiting for the scales to finally tip so far in one direction that we have a clear winner. Then it'll be time to buy a nice cheap player and finally put my HD TV to good use.

Or maybe it'll take so long that we'll bypass the discs altogether and stream the HD video on-line from Netflix, Amazon, or whoever.

That wouldn't be half bad either.

Posted by jzawodn at January 14, 2008 09:13 PM

Reader Comments
# Tom said:

Wasn't that pretty much settled last week when Warner and Paramount both went Blu-Ray?

on January 14, 2008 09:45 PM
# Guillaume Theoret said:

Tom is right. Now that two of HD DVD's biggest allies have jumped ship, it's pretty much over.

on January 14, 2008 11:08 PM
# Zune said:

Bluray won, by mid summer it had 93% of the players and 70% of the disc sales. HD DVD did some serious price cuts in panic but by the end of the year they hadn't dented it.
Giftmas Amazon chart said it all, with BluRay topping even DVDs as the gift to give. (They had the 1,2, and 3 slots at one point).

Post giftmas:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/dvd/all

Well just look, no HD DVD in the top 25, Planet Earth at number 12 on Blu Ray and number 36 on HD DVD. There aren't many HD DVD discs even in the top 100. Transformers HD DVD is at 86 getting slaughtered by Close Encounters of the Third Kind (BluRay) at 14. Bet the studios that are stuck in HD DVD only are kicking themselves now.

on January 15, 2008 01:56 AM
# Doug said:

Yeah, and now Toshiba has lowered HD-DVD pricing, and Microsoft is considering adding Blu-Ray support to the XBOX 360. I think now would be a good time to start ignoring HD-DVD.

on January 15, 2008 03:39 AM
# Derek said:

Go easy on him, he's probably got about 54,000 news articles to sift through in his aggregator yet, and he's still blissfully unaware that the war's over because he hasn't reached those stories yet. :-)

on January 15, 2008 03:40 AM
# Michael Moncur said:

At CES last week, the Blu-Ray booth was crowded with people at all times. The HD-DVD booth was a quiet ghost town with tumbleweeds blowing lazily across empty seats.

It's over.

on January 15, 2008 05:17 AM
# Kip said:

Paramount didn't jump ship, they're still saying they are HD-DVD exclusive: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aQMGgh2LV_bU&refer=japan

Although I wouldn't be surprised if they did officially jump ship soon.

on January 15, 2008 06:21 AM
# Lance Lavandowska said:

Doesn't matter which one wins, we consumers will lose because they are both infested with DRM. Blu-ray already has issues with new discs not playing on 1-year old players. They'll have to drag me kicking and screaming into the HD era. Hell, I've still got a fine collection of VHS, though finding a player is getting harder and harder.

on January 15, 2008 06:21 AM
# Ryan said:

It's funny cuz I was just watching a parody video about this when I saw your headline in my RSS reader.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=friS4OOcdgQ

on January 15, 2008 09:17 AM
# Nathan Arnold said:

I don't recommend just getting the Playstation 3 as a cheap(ish) Blu Ray player. Of course I had to get a couple games to go with it and now WAY too much free time is sucked up playing the damn thing.

But yeah, movies look amazing :)

on January 15, 2008 09:36 AM
# Tuna Jones said:

DRM has not been a concern (for me and other CloneDVD/AnyDVD users for both HD DVD and BR) for many months now. My biggest concern is that Sony is locked into the equation. I already have a problem with the premium prices Sony charges on their products, and with HD DVD out of the picture they will have less pressure to lower prices on BR hardware and media.

The real winner is SD DVD as it is still outselling both formats. :)

on January 15, 2008 10:24 AM
# Nelson Minar said:

I can watch any movie I want in HD right now with no "format war". Everything plays Xvid. As a bonus the movies are free, arrive in a couple of hours without me having to leave the house, and often are available about a week after the film's theatrical release.

The only downside is it's not legal. I take that seriously, but I'm unusual in that.

on January 15, 2008 10:26 AM
# Doug said:

@Nelson

Thats far from the only difference. To the audio and videophiles that actually care about high definition, your xvids aren't even close to the quality that bluray and HD-DVD can provide.

on January 15, 2008 12:01 PM
# Nigel said:

I gambled on BluRay, but I've also got an AppleTV & at 2.99 for old movies & 3.99 for new release for a 24 hour viewable HD stream vs 20-40 for a BluRay disk I'm not sure how many more bluray disc's I'll buy now.

on January 15, 2008 12:48 PM
# Brian said:

@Nigel Do keep in mind that the video you get for rentals via the AppleTV won't be the same quality as HD DVD or Blu-ray.

The $2.99/$3.99 pricing is for standard 480p movies. HD movies will be $4.99.

Also, the movie will be in 720p, as opposed to what's almost guaranteed to be 1080p on optical media.

You also miss out on all of the bonus content that DVDs tend to have.

Now, personally, I almost never watch bonus content, so iTunes movie rentals seem great to me. I've already been renting movies via the Xbox Live Marketplace, and while it's only 720p, it's still a damn sight prettier than a normal 480p signal, and surprisingly fast, all things considered.

I bought an HD DVD addon for the Xbox because it was a relatively cheap way to get into HD video. I'm glad for the purchase, even if it turns out I may wind up losing out on the format war (which is effectively over but there's still no official Universal/Paramount announcements). I have Planet Earth in HD DVD, and it looks absolutely stunning, and there are a lot of other HD DVD videos out there (over 300, if you can believe it), including a lot of awesome stuff from Discovery and such, so I'm still pretty happy with it, even if I eventually wind up getting a Blu-ray player too.

on January 15, 2008 01:44 PM
# Michael said:

Well, looks like you have your answer...the discs just got bypassed.

http://www.apple.com/appletv/

And now it won't be long until someone comes up with a way to enhance the new AppleTV :)

on January 15, 2008 02:12 PM
# Nigel said:

@Brian, My screen is 60" 720 so I'm not to concerned there, it's something I'll be interested in trying, though I'd rather if you had an option of adding extras days viewing, eg. extra $1 for HD + $1 for additional days up to say 5 ( your right my numbers were off, it's $3.99/$4.99 for HD on iTunes ).
I agree with you on additional content, it's rarely worth the look & the differing aspect ratios is annoying ( alot is in 4x3 ).
I suspect it'll be an additional content source & not replace totally optical media, but I really like the UI for the AppleTV, it makes watching YouTube with friends real fun & this just adds to it's usefulness, but also moves further to your computer being in an appliance & you have multiple, whether AppleTV, Time Capsule or whatever & I do thing Apple have a decent jump on the market in terms of form factor, usability and relationships with the Media companies.

on January 15, 2008 02:47 PM
# Allen Cole said:

Even if the battle is mostly decided the fact that there was a battle will keep some people out of the market. When there is an easy, cost effective way to download HD content from the net who will want DVD's? The IPOD has pretty much killed CD's.

Allen

on January 15, 2008 04:21 PM
# PPC Management said:

I really thought HDDVD would take this. Looks like BluRay and its marketing is the winner. But in the long run the winner will be downloadable content, no question.

on January 16, 2008 11:56 PM
# tUNA jONES said:

I envy a friend with Verizon FiOS. He pays for for some of the Premium channels like HBO and Showtime, so come 1st of the month, he has immediate access to ALL of the movies the premium channels offer. Video on demand from Verizon (and maybe from TW or other cable companies) sounds pretty damn good. Not sure about what is available to view on a PPV basis, but probably that is pretty good too. Then there is the 15Mb data service...

on January 17, 2008 08:51 AM
# Amit Patel said:

It's even worse will Blu-Ray 2.0 discs (coming later this year, labeled BD-Live) play on Blu-Ray 1.0 and 1.1 players? Probably not. And the players you buy today will be 1.1 at best. So they'll be obsolete next year.

on February 4, 2008 03:41 PM
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