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BBC cites Planet Earth success on HD DVD as reason to maintain support

When Warner announced at CES that it would support Blu-ray Disc exclusively this summer, many assumed that all partners of the studio would also follow suit. Both New Line and HBO have followed Warner’s lead, but BBC Home Video decided to stand its ground as a format neutral company.

In response to an inquiry from website TV Shows on DVD, BBC Home Video said it will continue to support both formats for the time being, and “will evaluate the marketplace before committing to one format.”

Perhaps the most convincing reason for BBC Home Video to support both formats is its strong sales of high-definition nature documentary Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series. According to the report, more copies of Planet Earth sold on HD DVD than on Blu-ray Disc, giving BBC Home Video a very specific reason to continue its support of HD DVD.

BBC Home Video also has four upcoming high-definition releases in the works for both formats for 2008, giving the company ample opportunity to evaluate the marketplace.

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By InternetGeek on 1/17/2008 4:59:20 PM , Rating: 3
I'll just wait until an HD player sells for $50 or less to jump into the HD bandwagon. Until then I'm happy with my Phillips DVD (it can upscale). I'd rather keep the money in my pocket than theirs ;)

RE: Players
By cmdrdredd on 1/17/2008 5:08:23 PM , Rating: 3
Upscale DVD is nowhere close to being the same as a 1080p movie. You're kidding yourself to believe it is.

RE: Players
By pomaikai on 1/17/2008 5:12:54 PM , Rating: 5
He never said it was close, just that he is happy with upscaled DVD.

RE: Players
By InternetGeek on 1/17/2008 5:52:59 PM , Rating: 1
No opposition to the 1080i/p statement. But the pricing of HD players right now is just too high. They are in the same level as the gaming consoles and even some computers. That just doesn't make sense because you can do more than just play movies with a console than just passive entertainment.

It's not about me affording it or not. I spend in technology I don't need just to satisfy my cravings. But I still want value for my money. The only time I think about a DVD player is a) when mine brakes down, b) as a checkbox in the hotel's website when i'm on travel

RE: Players
By NullSubroutine on 1/18/2008 6:04:23 AM , Rating: 2
$138 dollars for a 720p/1080i player is too much? And yes, the upconverting of DVDs do look better on HD-DVD players (as noted in the AVS Forums).

RE: Players
By InternetGeek on 1/17/2008 5:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
Just in addition to my prior comment.

If studios were really into selling more movies, they could just band with HD player makers and sell the HD player cheaper and give the makers a piece of the pie in movie sales. Makers would just make players in whatever (or any) format that sells, and studios would not have to back a technology (completely out of their scope) to be able to sell.

RE: Players
By Oregonian2 on 1/18/2008 2:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
"Always near", no way. "Sometime near", is true. Well produced double-layer DVD's upscaled to 1080p on a OPPO 981 ($200) DVD player can look VERY good (on a 58" 1080p Plasma).

RE: Players
By djc208 on 1/17/2008 11:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
A decent upscaling DVD player isn't much less than the low end HD-DVD players now. Even once the cheap Chinese players start to hit the market it's going to be a while until you see $50 players. We've gotten kind of spoiled with DVDs but they are a pretty mature technology.

By the time you can get $50 players at every Wal-Mart everyone else will be moving to the next big thing.

RE: Players
By cubdukat on 1/18/2008 12:07:27 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Besides, I'm waiting for "Doctor Who," "Torchwood" or "Last of the Summer Wine" to go HD before I'll even consider buying a BBC title.

Right now, only "Torchwood" is in HD, for some stupid reason, and they claim it's a better choice than "Doctor Who." EXCUSE ME? Without "Doctor Who," there wouldn't even BE a "Torchwood"!

RE: Players
By omnicronx on 1/18/2008 12:18:39 AM , Rating: 2
Newer movies tend to look better. I have yet to buy one HD title that is older than 4 years.

By mmntech on 1/17/2008 4:12:42 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the BBC was mandated by EU law to remain format neutral?

By Schadenfroh on 1/17/2008 4:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
I have heard this as well, but then I read about German film companies going exclusive.

By deeznuts on 1/17/2008 4:18:32 PM , Rating: 3
Well are those german film co's publically funded? And I'm not sure if it's EU law I heard it was UK law. Either way it doesn't matter as a publically funded entity they need to get as much revenue as possible.

BTW, Blu-ray up 85:15 in the US in the latest videoscan numbers.

By sweetsauce on 1/17/2008 6:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
You mean the latest numbers where there was no new hd-dvd titles released? Wow, theres a shocker eh.

By newcastlenellie on 1/17/2008 4:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
Founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd, it was subsequently granted a Royal Charter and made a state-owned corporation in 1927.

The BBC is a publicly funded (through a TV license/tax) by the good people of Britain, and so therefore they have to address all segments of the market so the people who buy the tv license can get the product they paid for on all media. hence they will release on both hd formats until this 'great war' is over. (apart from online media where it is ms and ie only, fireferret not allowed, which is a bit stupid in my opinion but hey)

oh well...
By cmdrdredd on 1/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: oh well...
By sweetsauce on 1/17/2008 6:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
If they release crap, then yes no one will buy it regardless of the format. If they release something worth buying, them in sure they can find some sales in the hd-dvd area. Im not going to abandon my hd-dvd player just because you think blu won.

British logic triumphs again.
By neilrieck on 1/18/2008 7:38:16 AM , Rating: 2
If, by this statement, you mean that Sony convinced studios to limit their publications to Blu-ray, then you are correct. But don't tell me that the consumer market-place had anything to do with it. North America is no longer a democracy, it is a corporation! And lets not forget that Sony has bought up much of it.

On the flip side, if you exclude drives in game playing consoles, there is a 60/40 market-place split between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Movie studios restricting themselves to one format limit their own hi-def sales in the installed market place. Since most studios manufacture hi-def media in Asia, it's not like they even need to make a big investment either way. They just need order/distribute the desired quantity.

On this announcement, "BBC Home Video" proves that British business logic is superior to Hollywood emotionalism.

BBC is European
By Oregonian2 on 1/18/2008 2:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the HD format more successful in Europe than in the US? What are non-US studios going to (they do exist you know)?

The cost of WAR!
By dragonbif on 1/17/2008 6:54:06 PM , Rating: 1
Anyone really know why there is even a format war? Most would think it is quality or something off like that but it is not. Its all about the money, both BR and HD DVD are closed standers and formats, in order to use it you have to pay for it. Whenever a BR or HD DVD movie is sold a percentage, portion or as someone else stated piece of the pie is given to the owners of the format.
Another problem is the coding for the media, BR uses Java (Sun) who also gets a cut from a sale and HD DVD uses HDi and Microsoft owns that. Just FYI HDi does work better on computers and why is that? hehe because its Microsoft and they also own Windows go figure.
When the hardware is sold (such as players) a portion of the sale goes to the owners of the standard. Not only that but if the hardware has an HDMI port on it that standard is also not free or open so a pretty piney goes to pay for the use of that. Most standards in the HD world are not free or open and have to be paid to use it. The only HD open standard that I can think of right now is DP (Display Port) which is going to be on computers only from what I understand.
It really is about money either way you look at it. HD DVD failed to put regional coding onto their standard soon enough so that was a problem for the import/export laws of other countries making it harder to sell.
Who pays for the additional cost of these standards? We do and that’s all there is to it, nothing is free and someone always wants their piece of the pie.

By hubajube on 1/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Fools
By pomaikai on 1/17/2008 5:01:24 PM , Rating: 3
"Don't these buffoons know that the customer has ALREADY chosen Bluray not HD DVD"

Wake up and smell the coffee. Blu Ray was forced down consumers throat. PS3 owners had no choice to buy a PS3 without Blu Ray. According to the majority of people Blu Ray had a better movie selection than HD-DVD. The movie selection was also forced down your throat by the movie companies.

HD-DVD should have won because it is a better format. Not technologically, but who buys a movie based on how much technology the disk has? It was larger than HD-DVD and thats it. The Blu Ray format sucked. They did not have the features that HD-DVD had and had to invent a profile 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 so they could finally match HD-DVD features. They dont even have the 2.0 profile with ethernet even thoug HD-DVD had all the 2.0 features from the start. The player that I have used is very slow to boot up and the menus suck.

I myself have purchased neither because even though HD-DVD was better Blu Ray had all the backing of the movies I wanted.

Again this was forced down our throat. You may buy a movie because it is on a 25GB disc, but I buy a movie because I want to watch it and enjoy the experience.

RE: Fools
By diablofish on 1/18/2008 10:27:19 AM , Rating: 2
Blu-Ray was "forced" on people? No one forced anyone to spend their money on either a PS3 or an Xbox 360. Customers chose which one they wanted based on their desires, cost, and capabilities. And the 360 has sold more consoles, but far fewer HD-DVD add-ons.

And I'm enjoying my Blu-Rays very much. The movie experience has been very enjoyable for me. And I enjoy watching movies on HD-DVD as well. They both display superior video and offer superior sound to DVD (upscaled or not), which is all I care about.

RE: Fools
By BansheeX on 1/18/2008 4:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
You're an idiot with an incredibly hostile view of the market. No one forces you to buy anything. Blu-ray isn't holding you down and "shoving" itself down your throat. The funny part is that people like you bring up stuff that failed like betamax, but why weren't those capable of "forcing" their hand? Face it, the consumer decides, and you decided to be cheap. If you think that blu-ray won because of physical force, you can go back to la-la land and play with the elves and unicorns. The incentive for a single format victory was too great for Warner to deny, and they went with the format that was selling better. Period. And frankly, 25gb single layer recordables are far more important than the fluff profile "features" you're whining about. Pretty soon released are getting delayed to be filled up with bloated crap like PiP and java mini-games and ethernet spyware. Gimme a friggin break.

RE: Fools
By robinthakur on 1/21/2008 6:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing blu ray is not the only thing that's been forced down your throat, given your inflamed attitude ;)

RE: Fools
By inighthawki on 1/17/2008 5:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm waiting for the day when we can have an article about HD formats without some blu-ray fanboy saying something along the lines of "omgzzz blu-ray won hd-dvd sucks pwnzors give it up hd-dvd u cant win, sell now!!"

If only this were possible...

RE: Fools
By Cygni on 1/17/2008 6:11:03 PM , Rating: 5
Saying that the consumers chose anything in the HD/BR fracas is complete ignorance. The consumer had absolutely nothing to do with this entire battle from day 1. It has been a political chess game played between the studios, the distributors, and the electronics manufacturers.

All parties... from Sony, Toshiba, and the other member electronics producers offering multi-million dollar contracts for exclusivity, to disc manufacturers who were promised massive sales that still havent come if they upgraded their production lines, to the retailers who dedicated large chunks of crowded shelf space for the new formats when their sales even when combined have been absolutely abysmal... have lost their hat on this deal.

The consumers have chosen alright... they chose to IGNORE both formats. Just like they should have.

RE: Fools
By cmdrdredd on 1/18/2008 9:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
Cygni, Warner has stated publicly that the sales lead that Blu-Ray commanded over HD DVD was the driving force for their decision to go Blu-Ray exclusive.

That alone, tells the tale. Your ignorance.

RE: Fools
By P4blo on 1/21/2008 8:17:05 AM , Rating: 2
As is yours. The vast majority of any early sales advantage Blu-Ray had was because people bought it 'whether they liked it or not' in their PS3's. Without that it doesn't matter what the movie houses opt for, most consumers wouldn't have poked the massively expensive blu-ray players with a long stick.

So what this guy said holds true. It was manufacturers like Sony that rigged the market by making huge losses. I doubt if PS3 had been kitted out with HD-DVD if their sales would have been any different. Most bought it for the gaming.... Microsoft blew this one (if they ever cared) when they released the 360 too early to feature an HD-DVD drive. They did this to gain early market dominance for their platform, which worked in this respect. Sony are floundering on sales right now (especially compared to Wii) but hey, they won the Hi-Def format war !

RE: Fools
By sweetsauce on 1/17/2008 6:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
I believe these buffoons were too busy counting the money they generated from their hd-dvd sales to be so short sighted as to choose a format that hasn't even captured 10% of the market.

RE: Fools
By bfellow on 1/18/2008 2:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you know the customer has chosen DVD still over HD formats? Both HD formats could die as well.

Steve Jobs is touting AppleTV as a HD disc killer. We must stop him!

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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