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Maybe the Blockbuster animals are discussing high-def formats too
HD DVD dealt a major blow with Blockbuster brush-off

Few corporations have the sort of influence on the movie industry that that Blockbuster Inc. has, and the rental juggernaut is about to exert its influence on the high-definition format war. Blockbuster will be taking sides with its announcement that it plans to rent only Blu-ray Disc movies in 1,450 stores next month, according to the Associated Press.

This news comes as a significant blow to HD DVD, which is currently fighting against Blu-ray Disc for market dominance. Blockbuster has been renting both high-definition formats in more than 250 stores in the U.S. and Canada since late last year, and claims that its consumers were choosing Blu-ray movies more than 70 percent of the time.

"The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing," Matthew Smith, senior vice president of merchandising at Blockbuster, told the AP.

Blu-ray Disc has been ahead of HD DVD title sales since the beginning of 2007, though that some attribute that not to one format being more popular than the other, but rather more new titles have shipped for Blu-ray Disc this year. The greater availability of titles for Blu-ray contributed to Blockbuster’s decision to pick only one next-generation format.

"When you walk into a store and see all this product available in Blu-ray and there is less available on HD DVD, I think the consumer gets that," added Smith.

The North American HD DVD Promotional Group viewed Blockbuster’s move as short-sighted and skewed by the early success that Blu-ray enjoyed thanks to its stronger release schedule.

"I think trying to make a format decision using such a short time period is really not measuring what the consumer is saying," said Ken Graffeo, co-president of the group.

Blockbuster said that it will continue to rent HD DVD titles at its original 250 pilot stores for high-definition movies, though it is unclear if it will continue to carry new releases or rent out its existing inventory.

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By CorrND on 6/18/2007 8:37:23 AM , Rating: 5
I can understand devoting more shelf space to Blu-ray if the rental numbers are better, but how is it a good business decision to tell people that only own an HD-DVD player that you don't want their business at all?

RE: Ridiculous
By paydirt on 6/18/2007 8:45:02 AM , Rating: 3
It's possible that people who are easily offended would take it that way, but it's not like HD-DVD owners throw out their regular DVD player.

People can still rent HD-DVD's from Netflix. I wonder if Blockbuster's online rental system will still offer HD-DVD?

RE: Ridiculous
By CorrND on 6/18/2007 8:50:35 AM , Rating: 3
Good point regarding DVD rentals. They're not throwing away all the business of HD-DVD adopters.

I just don't see how it's an advantage to Blockbuster to not stock HD-DVD.

What do they have to gain by not renting HD-DVDs?

RE: Ridiculous
By shanegl on 6/18/2007 8:55:48 AM , Rating: 1
It costs them less. They obviously see from their numbers that BR has the advantage. By focusing on BR alone they can reduce costs and actually provide a boost to BR by giving people on the fence more confidence in the company.

I'm sure they won't be too worried about alienating HD-DVD owners, since there's so few of them at the moment anyway.

RE: Ridiculous
By shanegl on 6/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Ridiculous
By CorrND on 6/18/2007 9:04:40 AM , Rating: 3
I don't see where the savings would come from. Blu-ray and HD-DVD cost essentially the same and to Blockbuster, a rental is a rental (i.e. it costs Blockbuster the same to rent a DVD, Blu-ray disc, HD-DVD or video game). Stock your shelves according to rental rates.

I do see your point regarding Blu-ray confidence, though. They could see this as an attempt to hasten the format war. If one format wins, the whole movie industry -- player manufacturers, movie studios, movie theaters, rentals stores -- will end benefit.

That said, I don't think one format will win. Hybrid players are the answer.

RE: Ridiculous
By chick0n on 6/18/07, Rating: -1
RE: Ridiculous
By CorrND on 6/18/2007 9:16:25 AM , Rating: 2
Come on, that's not how it works!

From Blockbuster's perspective, they have shelf space and they have items to put on it. If you put an HD-DVD there, you pay that price. If you put a Blu-ray disc there, you pay their price. If they cost virtually the same (and they do), there's no cost difference and no savings.

RE: Ridiculous
By mmoramarco on 6/18/2007 9:58:28 AM , Rating: 5
It's not so much that Blockbuster will be saving money (in terms of expenses). They will still have to buy the Blu-Ray discs (or HD-DVDs had they gone that way). They will also still have the same overhead expenses (rent, electricity, etc.). There might be some cost savings in terms of inventory management, though giving the number of titles they carry, this is likely to be minimal.

Rather, Blockbuster's move is designed to generate larger revenue. That is, if Blockbuster can rent a Blu-Ray movie 6 times a month or they can rent a HD-DVD movie 3 times per month, then assuming the rental costs are the same then Blockbuster's return is greater on the Blu-Ray movie.

Ultimately, the move is not designed to reduce costs, but rather improve their revenue and return on invested capital.

As for the idea that Blockbuster will be getting rid of their HD-DVD customers, this is not inherently a bad thing on Blockbuster's part, assuming that all of their expectations and calculations are correct on the finance side of things.

The adage that the best business move is to keep the customer happy is not correct. Rather, the best business move is the keep the right customers happy (i.e. the ones that drive the most revenue/income). Blockbuster ahs determined that the loss of their HD-DVD customers is less then the benefits of keeping their Blu-Ray customers happy.

In my opinion, this is simply good business practice. As I said though, it all depends on if Blockbuster predicitionsa and expectations are correct. If HD-DVD wins and Blu-Ray loses, Blockbuster will not be in an enviable position. However, if Blu-Ray wins, Blockbuster will be a step ahead of their competition (in terms of an all Blu-Ray infrastructure and sufficient supply).

RE: Ridiculous
By CorrND on 6/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/2007 12:01:59 PM , Rating: 3
Like you said, shelf space needs to be filled. If you're a business owner, which would you prefer? $60 from Bluray rentals or $80 from both Bluray and HD DVD rentals? As a business owner, I'm only interested in making money, not playing politics.

RE: Ridiculous
By Final8ty on 6/21/2007 6:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
More likely that 60$ BD as all copies of a title are all rented out & 80$ with HD.
But 100$ with just BD because you now have more copies per title on a format that has the higher demand.

RE: Ridiculous
By Munkles on 6/18/2007 12:27:37 PM , Rating: 3
"The adage that the best business move is to keep the customer happy is not correct. Rather, the best business move is the keep the right customers happy (i.e. the ones that drive the most revenue/income). Blockbuster ahs determined that the loss of their HD-DVD customers is less then the benefits of keeping their Blu-Ray customers happy."

Ive got to admit I think this is an incorrect statement. Its a well proven statistic that an unhappy customer will tell 10 people about their negative experience and a happy customer will tell only one person about their positive experience.

By brushing off hundreds of thousands of potential customers, you are actually potentially losing MILLIONS of customers.

I agree you cant make everyone happy all the time, but if your idea is to simply brush of people who arent dumping masses of dollars into your revenue stream, then you are DEFFINETLEY not the kind of employee I'd want working for me. That kind of attitude seeds long-term brand resentment and hurt, and thats something not easily regained.

RE: Ridiculous
By mmoramarco on 6/18/2007 1:46:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think you misunderstood what I meant about keeping the right customer happy. I am definately not advocating angering your customers. Rather, the ability to segment customers is a fundamental practice of businesses.

If you look at different grocery stores of the same chain around any given geography, you'll notice that many stores carry different products based on the consumer demographic (i.e. some stores will carry many more expensive bottles of wine while other stores will carry very little wine).

There is nothing wrong with this. This is what I perceive Blockbuster is doing. They are merely segmenting their consumer base. I agree, it is far more difficult to do with a current consumer population that already frequents ones store/chain because. as you said, this will likely infuriate some customers leading to a backlash.

The easier solution would have been for Blockbuster to start out only carrying Blu-Ray. This would have had the same effect as their current plan, without the backlash you are worried about. However, Blockbuster added both formats to their stores so they'll have to be extra careful in the execution. Perhaps they can offer their HD consumers coupons for free rentals or something. Blockbuster will likely come up with some marketing program designed to minimize to the backlash (whether it'll work or not is a complete unknown).

Blockbuster's move is a terribly risky one. You're right in that Blockbuster could be alienating a great many customers (though I'm not sure how many people rent HD-DVD or Blu-Ray from Blockbuster). I would argue that Blockbuster simply calculated out its potential risk and returns and determined that this was the best course of action.

There is nothing wrong with ignoring millions of customers. Look at the likes of Neiman Marcus or Saks. They cater to a very small segment of the population yet make significant profits.

If Blockbuster executes their plan poorly, then you are most likely right, they will lose many customers due to the negative experience. However, if Blockbuster can mitigate that negative experience, this could be the right move (depending on Blockbuster's assumptions).

Best Buy attempted something like this a while ago.

Their implementation strategy was not to turn away the "devil" customers as the article describes, rather Best Buy would just not implement the programs that drive the "devil's" demand and foot traffic to the store. Thus, the argument is that Best Buy would decrease the bad customers without giving them negative experiences.

This is what Blockbuster has to do and what I'm advocating for. There is nothing wrong with losing the wrong consumers from your business as long as it's done in the right way.

RE: Ridiculous
By greenchasch on 6/18/2007 1:49:51 PM , Rating: 1
> "There is nothing wrong with ignoring millions of customers."

They aren't ignoring millions. BD and HD-DVD combined are only a few tens of thousands of customers. And BB is being paid quite well by Sony to ignore almost half of them.

RE: Ridiculous
By CorrND on 6/18/2007 2:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
It may not be millions -- though it could be, depending on what percentage of PS3 users you believe are playing BR movies -- but it's definitely measured in 100s, not 10s of thousands.

RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/2007 2:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
There is nothing wrong with ignoring millions of customers.
Well, which is it? Ignoring or "segmenting"?

RE: Ridiculous
By Munkles on 6/18/2007 2:11:03 PM , Rating: 4

Thank you for rebutting in a very intelligent manner :)

I do most certainly understand what you mean about segmenting your market, and how the knowlege of the products and services your clients want can drive your business. The only issue I see with your argument is that you compare block buster to a Saks or Neiman Marcus, where the average product is priced substantially higher and relies on the image/illusion of higher quality to drive its clientelle to purchase their exclusively. Saks and Neiman Marcus are also status symbols. Im not sure that BR-DVD's are!

Understanding your market and catering to them is one thing, but as you stated the success of this venture lies in the execution.

To the guy who posted after you in referance to my post about potentially alienating millions of customers....

The validity of that comes not from how many HD-DVD players are sold but from a decrease in brand loyalty due to an unhappy few. Quite frankly most people have no idea why they dont like most things. A lot of it comes from what people have spoon fed them. I.E. Why dont people like Vista? Most people simply respond "i just dont" Why DO most people say they like macs? "because... i just do".

Those kind of arguments are not foundationally based in ANYTHING just simply that people have told them a positive or negative experience based on their on experiences with the company/product and thus you have a mass of people who will share that negative opinion of that company even though the original "issue" never even remotely involved them.

RE: Ridiculous
By mmoramarco on 6/18/2007 2:43:31 PM , Rating: 4

Thank you also for replying in an intelligent manner as well.

I agree that the Saks and Neiman Marcus analogy is a stretch. I was just using it as an example of companies that have segmented/ignored (I believe for some companies these terms can be interchanged) certain consumers successfully.

Mostly, I was just hoping to counter your statement that "[I'm] DEFFINETLEY not the kind of employee [you]'d want working for [you]." I hope I have changed your mind, if but a little.

As you point out, it is not wise to haphazardly alienate any consumer. But I do believe that if a company has the correct expectations/assumptions/execution then the risk might very well be worth it. I would just hope that Blockbuster was very careful in their analysis and this is what led them to conclude that Blu-Ray is the way to go.

Munkles, again, I appreciate are polite business discourse. I'm always appreciative on boards when two people can argue (though I think dicuss would be more appropriate) two diverging views in a polite and rational manner.


RE: Ridiculous
By RubberJohnny on 6/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Ridiculous
By Hawkido on 6/20/2007 2:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
You are making the Bold assumption that the customer will blame block-buster for not having HD discs. That would be like blaming the gas station for not having Propane for your propane powered car... I think the customer would be more inclined to beat them selves up (or the salesman who pressured them into the purchase) rather than the store that makes it's money suppling the greater market.

The Marketing of Blu-Ray is SOOO much better. The name sounds next gen. HD-DVD sounds like a bump tech, a hold over. Blu-Ray secured the titles that would make it sell better. Sony liked up Blockbusters (No pun intended) to push the format. Sony Developed a game platform around it (okay not such a great move... but can you argue with the end result if they win?) The ads for Blu-Ray continually equate all the good movies that come out with Blu-Ray. The HD-DVD ads just seem, to the casual consumer, to be just movie ads.

I think this truely is the first real victory for Blu-Ray. The war is not over, but it is looking very bleak for HD, and I don't see a way out for them. Sony learned its past lesson. Marketing... That's all it takes.

Just think if Sony had named it Old-Ray... would you have thought it was next gen? Some people who have progressive scan on their DVD players probably think they already have a HD-DVD player.

What's funny is the rush to buy the technology (one or the other format) hasn't even really started yet. It's still in the early adopter phase.

Christmas 2008 will be the rush. By then SDTV's will be hard to find, and 720p HDTV's will be the budget alternative. I see 46" 1080P HDTV's at Wal-Mart now for $1600USD. Just 2 years ago something like that was $6000USD and you didn't have a chance to find it at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, K-Mart, etc... You had to go to a Specialty store, online, or maybe Circuit City.

Once the 32" 720P HD's hit $350 the Rush will start and will continue till after the 40ish" 1080P's get under $800.

RE: Ridiculous
By Final8ty on 6/21/2007 6:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
Ive got to admit I think this is an incorrect statement. Its a well proven statistic that an unhappy customer will tell 10 people about their negative experience and a happy customer will tell only one person about their positive experience.

In this case that generalized scenario is not so clear cut.
If blockbuster drop all HD support then HD moaners will not have any effect on BB as they are no longer customers anyway.

RE: Ridiculous
By CorrND on 6/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Ridiculous
By deeznuts on 6/18/2007 12:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a better way to say this:

Blockbuster currently has some HD-DVDs on the shelf.
They're going to replace them with Blu-ray discs.
The replacement Blu-ray discs cost the same as the HD-DVDs they are replacing.

Therefore, there is no cost savings.
That's only one way to look at the situation though. You can argue, that with over 70% of rentals being Blu-Ray, by cutting out HD DVD, you are spending 50% of what you were spending before, while still retaining 70% in earnings.

Another way to look at it would be, instead of having to buy two versions of the same movie, they only have to buy one.

RE: Ridiculous
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 12:42:48 PM , Rating: 3
BD sales have been 62% of the market, not 70+%. I strongly suspect rentals are in the same pattern.

Quite obviously, the financial incentive from Sony to Blockbuster is the larger reason for this move, not any cost savings from abandoning 38% of the marketplace.

RE: Ridiculous
By jadedeath on 6/18/2007 1:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
The article above says that people choose Blu-Ray more than 70% of the time.

How does that get negated down to 62% ?

Creative editing on your part?


RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/2007 2:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
No, it's called good information. Why don't you try looking it up for yourself before attempting to correct mashers information? Google is your friend.

RE: Ridiculous
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 2:57:57 PM , Rating: 3
The article repeats a claim by Blockbuster regarding rentals. My implication (though I apparently didn't explain it clearly enough) was that rental sales were actually tracking more closely with total disc sales (62% on the year), and that BB probably chose a specific period (or did some creative rounding) in order to better justify their decisoin here.

RE: Ridiculous
By deeznuts on 6/18/2007 6:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
So basically you're just talking out of your ass. Carry on.

RE: Ridiculous
By theflux on 6/18/2007 7:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure where you are getting 62% from, but the official Nielsen YTD is 67% Blu-ray.

RE: Ridiculous
By theflux on 6/22/2007 11:54:24 AM , Rating: 2
I know you are just a blogger, but that doesn't mean you should go around spreading numbers without sources. I finally found that you got the 62% from a single retailer (DVD Empire). The Nielsen numbers which are a survey of many brick and mortar retailers as well as Amazon have far more data, and their YTD is 67%. I know you made your famous posts that the data was tracking closely, but 10% difference between the numbers is not close in my book. You do a disservice to DailyTech readers when you post numbers without giving a source.

RE: Ridiculous
By shanegl on 6/18/2007 9:11:40 AM , Rating: 2
The costs savings would come from the (I presume!) fact that people aren't renting HD-DVD as much as BR. Having to dedicate floor space to a format that people aren't renting would cost them, especially if it is at the expense of the more popular BR. I'm just guessing here, but I presume someone in Blockbusters has run the numbers and decided that the benefits outweigh the costs.

RE: Ridiculous
By Munkles on 6/18/2007 12:28:56 PM , Rating: 2
Then thats not cost savings, its increased revenue from stocking the right product.

RE: Ridiculous
By deeznuts on 6/18/2007 12:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Then thats not cost savings, its increased revenue from stocking the right product.
It is costs savings in the form of percentage of revenue. Don't look at it like $x,xxx > $y,yyy. Look at it in terms of percentage of revenue, profit margin, operating margin, etc.

RE: Ridiculous
By Munkles on 6/18/2007 1:41:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ok thats fair, but dont label it as a savings, Block buster is paying just as much to stock those BR-DVD's as they would HD-DVD just as you said the return on that investment isnt as great.

So a better way to put it is "Blockbusters N.O.P. will see growth due to moveing more product".... Talking about cost savings, makes you look for something that was CUT from your P&L not added to it.

RE: Ridiculous
By Aprime on 6/19/2007 8:27:40 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, if you like to pay royalties to two different consortium.

I think I'm gonna go with Blu-ray, if you don't mind.

RE: Ridiculous
By RjBass on 6/20/2007 12:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hybrid players, hmmmm that's a good idea.

Is anybody paying attention to that?

RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/07, Rating: -1
RE: Ridiculous
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 12:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
The (unsubstantiated) rumor is that the Sony Studios agreed to sell Blockbuster BD movies below cost as well as a cash payment, in exchange for the (heavily promoted and advertised) exclusive contract.

So while they lose the HD-DVD market, the total rentals on both formats combined are so negligible, that I imagine its still a profitable decision for Blockbuster. Once rental volumes are much higher, I don't see the situation's probably only a one-year agreement.

RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Ridiculous
By sdsdv10 on 6/18/2007 2:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
I believe theflux is referring to the afore mentioned DVD formats (not HD formats) that you listed. "DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, plus dual-layer formats for most of the above." I think his/her premise is the standard DVD recordable media would be less expensive now if say there was only the DVD+R format (with RW and DL sub-formats) than what we have with the current situation. The further assumption is that if the community would pick one HD format now (either BluRay or HD-DVD) the cost of media would go down more quickly than if both remain viable. Thus we would more quickly arrive at the "high volume" argument that you mentioned. I'm not saying I agree, I just think your HD follow up analysis was not what influx was getting at.

RE: Ridiculous
By Hawkido on 6/21/2007 9:37:31 AM , Rating: 2
Glad you weighed in. You most often have good info. I was hesitant to say Sony had so direct of a hand in the deal, but since you reported the "unsubstantiated" rumor, let's discuss that, and let's make the assumption that it is true.

Sony paid BB to go exclusive. BR has been edging ahead in the disc sales. Now they pay for a coup de grace. In a year BR is truely dominant. a year later HD-DVD is nary heard of again unless it is to equate it to BetaMax.

All I can Say is "Bravo." Not because Sony won, but because it would be a brilliant move. Sony (and Friends)would recoup development costs, the PS3 would then hit full stride in time for the Prime of it's life. PC's would have to adopt BR as a standard Optical format. One format means dedicated manufacturing and lower costs. Of the two formats both are pretty much equal (storage is close enough, quality is close enough, cost will settle out soon with economies of scale) All movies will be placed on BR, until the online revolution catches up. BR will be the last mass storage format. Everything after that will be on the net or Hard Drive.

Two years from now (assuming the ploy works) the masses will all have BR, and the old HD-DVD owners will have BR too. 98% of the owners won't care that HD-DVD lost or ever existed.

As to multi format. Why? I wan't one side to win. A single format player will be cheaper. Raise your hand if you have a multi format laser disc/cd player... one maybe 2 people out here. It's not too late to weed out the unnecessary format.

HD-DVD just doesn't have the marketing or the guts to make it work. HD-DVD doesn't hav ethe insider contacts to make it happen either... Microsoft pictures, Microsoft music, Microsfot games? One out of three ain't good. replace Microsoft with Sony now... see the difference. Plus Sony has friends in all three catagories. Microsoft not so much.

Just let there be a winner and soon! I want a HD format player but I will not buy a dead end product. I think that is why BB signed the contract. They are loosing business to online movie rentals, because there is no clear HD format winner and the middle adopters (not as adventurous as the early adopters) are waiting for a clear victor. If one doesn't sho up soon, the Online revolution get those customers. HD movies online won't be happening anytime soon, not en masse anyway. The TelCo's have a lot of work (5 to 10 years) to do on the infrastructure to get that kind of bandwidth out to the market.

Before you say "I got it!" do you live in the top 1% of the population density centers of the US or S. Korea? well you are an exception.. That is where they usually field the newer technologies.

RE: Ridiculous
By AlexWade on 6/18/2007 8:53:04 AM , Rating: 4
Me, personally, don't care. I don't go to Blockbuster, not since they decided to call 12 less hours to rent "an extra 12 hours to turn in your movie" and then charge late fees when you are 1 minute late. In other words, when Blockbuster became consumer un-friendly I dumped them.

I always preferred Hollywood Video. But now, if I want, I use VOD with my 360. I save money on gas, save time by not having to wait for it to come to my door, and get it in High-Def no matter what format it is on. That is a win-win.

RE: Ridiculous
By Legolias24 on 6/18/2007 9:36:23 AM , Rating: 2
While I'm not saying you should go back to renting from Blockbuster because it is obvious you have found a better solution, but they did drop the whole late charges thing so now you can return a movie a week late and not get slapped with late charges...or at least the charges are very minimal. :)

Still though, I agree with why you don't want to go back there. If I get treated poorly somewhere, you can sure as hell bet that I won't go back...or at least I'll go back under protest! :P

- Legolias

RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Ridiculous
By christojojo on 6/18/2007 10:23:35 AM , Rating: 1
While I agree that the late fee thing is a bit of trickery and VOD is super convenient, I think Xbox's VOD is a bit draconian. You can only watch and rewatch the movie 24 hrs after you start the vid the first time. That is the worst type of rental when you have a kid that absolutely loves a movie. Though not all too often, I want to see a movie more than once (i.e. Old Woody Allen movies which are great once in a while but I would not buy them.) At the price they are charging, its better to pay a late fee from a B&M.

RE: Ridiculous
By designgirl on 6/18/2007 10:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
too many young people around. this was the same thing with Beta vs. VHS. Sony lost with Beta btw.

a format has to be choosen and it's got to happen sooner than later, sooner being better. It will be better for the industry overall with just one format. take some business/strategy classes and you'll see why.

RE: Ridiculous
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 10:54:46 AM , Rating: 2
> "a format has to be choosen..."

Oh really? I give you DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, plus dual-layer formats for most of the above.

No format "won" the recordable DVD format. It will almost definitely be the same in the HD videodisc war. Consumers won't buy in until dual-format players abound, and they'll neither know nor care which "sub-format" they actually buy or rent.

RE: Ridiculous
By theflux on 6/18/2007 11:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
Combo drives have solved the burning problem, but that is it. The media is still more expensive because they can't all focus on a single standard, and the playability of each can still be a crapshoot.

RE: Ridiculous
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 11:54:46 AM , Rating: 4
> "The media is still more expensive because they can't all focus on a single standard..."

The media is more expensive because "high sales" for an HD release are in the 5,000 copy range, whereas a standard DVD can easily sell a thousand times as many. Some BD/HD-DVD releases sell under a thousand copies, which doesn't even pay back the mastering costs.

A single format doesn't solve that problem. Only higher volume does. And that will only happen once players are significantly cheaper, and more people have 720p/1080p sets.

RE: Ridiculous
By theflux on 6/18/2007 7:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking about DVD-R, DVD+R and their dual layer variants.

RE: Ridiculous
By dosun on 6/18/2007 1:36:42 PM , Rating: 3
They coexisted because the end product is the same to the average consumer. It didn't matter if +R, -R, DL, was used to record the media. When all is said and done its just a DVD that works in almost all standard DVD players. Not the same situation with the HD formats.

RE: Ridiculous
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 1:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
> "Not the same situation with the HD formats..."

When dual-format players are available at Walmart, it will be.

I'd also like to point out that, early in the recordable DVD era, there were plenty of drives that worked only with one or the other format. The "war" was decided by the arrival dual-format drives, which rendered the point moot.

RE: Ridiculous
By theflux on 6/18/2007 7:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
That moot point kept media prices high, and left compatibility at far less than 100%

RE: Ridiculous
By BBock727 on 6/18/2007 10:42:51 AM , Rating: 1
Its a good business decision when exec's at Blockbuster realize how much influence on the market their decision will make. Blu-ray already accounts for 70% (ive seen figures as high as 85% in other articles) of the High Def format. Blockbuster's new business decision should effectively cripple the HDDVD format unless Netflix, the next largest rental company choses to back HDDVD exclusively.

Its obviously not a bad business decision since people who are in the market for these players will based a good portion of their decision on rental ability. There has been <1% of household saturation for these new formats, and news like this can put Blueray on the top. (Nevermind other things such as PS3, more DVD titles, etc). Now, all blueray needs is the execs at the major production companies to get nervious about this and start moving away from exclusive HDDVD deals.

RE: Ridiculous
By JustKidding on 6/18/2007 11:37:18 AM , Rating: 2
Business decision? Yes, it was business. Very likely, Sony offered them discounts (they do own a major studio, and possibly other financial 'incentives' ;) ) in exchange for exclusivity. Sadly, it's often the way business is done. Just try to get a product on the shelf of a supermarket chain with out 'incentives'. Shelf space and locations are purchased, either directly or by offering marketing, inventory discounts, jobber racking, ect. "The consumers are sending us a message." - no, the consumer isn't being given a chance to choose. I do hope that a major player like Netflix offers both formats and truly lets the consumer choose.

RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/2007 12:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
Netflix offers both which is the best money-making decision.

RE: Ridiculous
By ATC on 6/18/2007 2:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, that's exactly what it was; a business decision. What's wrong with that?

And why should Sony be singled out here when every corporation does the exact same thing. MSFT, for instance, is a much bigger example of what you speak.

I say, let the air out of HD-DVD and get going forward with one format. HD-DVD was dead in the water before this whole thing started.

RE: Ridiculous
By hubajube on 6/18/2007 3:02:41 PM , Rating: 1
HD DVD wasn't and is not "dead"! Do any of you guys do any research here before talking? Or do you just assume that the random thoughts in your heads are facts?

RE: Ridiculous
By ATC on 6/18/2007 3:56:05 PM , Rating: 4
You're right. I apologise for calling a format, that has a weak major-studio support, almost a non existent major CE hardware support and one that is technically inferior, dead in the water. What was I thinking?

Please point me to the research that states otherwise.

RE: Ridiculous
By ttowntom on 6/18/07, Rating: -1
RE: Ridiculous
By ATC on 6/18/2007 5:10:54 PM , Rating: 3
Blu Ray has more major studios, but HD-DVD has more total studios overall.

That does not matter. When most of the big box office titles are not on HD-DVD then come back and tell me "but HD-DVD has more studios overall". Think Disney, Casino Royale, Spiderman 3, etc...that's where the money is.

HD-DVD discs are cheaper to make

Today, maybe. As was the case with CDs, DVDs and will be for BD. That should not factor into anything.

less fragile and harder to scratch

Not true. BD has the advantage due to a special hard coating developed by TDK. I've seen demos of it where one tried to physically scratch a treated BD with a screwdriver without success.

So whats "superior" about BD? The extra 20 gig?

Not quite. TDK has already demonstrated a 200GB BD disk at this year's CES back in January. It's all about headroom and that translates into a big negative for HD-DVD. This isn't all about movies or how many disks are required for a season of 24. This is going to be used in IT whether you believe it nor not and that's why almost all big OEMs are behind BD.

RE: Ridiculous
By ttowntom on 6/18/07, Rating: -1
RE: Ridiculous
By ATC on 6/19/2007 12:11:30 AM , Rating: 2
they care about what specific movies are available

Exactly, and it just so happens that almost every movie that's killing at the box office these days came from the major studios. Shrek, Spiderman, Casino Royale, Pirates of the name it....are all BD exclusives.

Cheaper discs means everything.

What I meant was that cost is very dynamic. The cost delta between making BD vs HD-DVD will only reduce with time. And that in itself makes it a non-issue. It was the same when CDs came, everyone said that no way will it penetrate and it did....same thing happened with DVD and now with BD. Cost will continue to plummet to a point where it will absolutely make no difference whether you're making an HD-DVD or a BD.

BD data layer is much thinner, meaning that IF the disc gets scratched

Yeah, but if it takes a lot more than an intentional act with a screwdriver to damage the disk then we're splitting hairs here, aren't we? The demos I've seen on the TDK treated BD was so impressive that I definitely would not call this a disadvantage of BD. Quite the contrary.

Do you seriously think this has any bearing at all?

Of course it does. This format war may not be strictly decided by movies the way things have been going. This may not have the impact to kill one format and float the other, but BD has reached out to the IT crowd in a big way and no one knows the impact of that yet. It will some time.

RE: Ridiculous
By BBock727 on 6/19/2007 10:22:28 PM , Rating: 2
HD DVD wasn't and is not "dead"! Do any of you guys do any research here before talking? Or do you just assume that the random thoughts in your heads are facts?

A tipster at an unnamed retailer tells us they've had more HD DVD player orders canceled over the last few days than they've seen over the entire life cycle. The kicker? All of them were canceled because of the Blockbuster announcement.

There is also greater than a 10:1 bluray to hddvd sales. Thats a fact i can live by. HDDVD is dead in the water.

RE: Ridiculous
By Siddeous on 6/18/2007 8:33:54 PM , Rating: 1
I think it is ridiculous what Blockbuster is doing. Bluray is not the superior standard. The numbers that the Bluray group and what Blockbuster used in their decision. The numbers show that Bluray is leading 70/30 percent in terms of players. Those numbers are skewed since Playstation 3s are included in the numbers. Most PS3 owners don't own a HDTV.

In terms of actual players HD DVD is leading the market. HD DVD is the better format. The movies use the VC-1 Video codec which has a better signal to noise ratio than Mpeg4. Dolby true HD is supported aswell. The movies in Bluray have been using Mpeg 2 (YES 2) and 4. Few have used VC-1.

I do have both Bluray and HD DVD titles and I can say HDDVD is better. Has anyone compared the picture quality between the two? Might I suggest using Batman Begins for a comparision.

RE: Ridiculous
By theflux on 6/18/2007 8:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Who cares if PS3 owners have an HDTV or not? Clearly it didn't stop them from renting 70% Blu-rays. Blockbuster doesn't care what you do with the disk once you have it, in fact I'm sure they would be just as happy with you NOT watching it. They get paid either way.

RE: Ridiculous
By RubberJohnny on 6/19/2007 12:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
The movies use the VC-1 Video codec which has a better signal to noise ratio than Mpeg4. Dolby true HD is supported aswell. The movies in Bluray have been using Mpeg 2 (YES 2) and 4. Few have used VC-1.

Get with the times, only a hand full of early Blueray titles used those inferior codecs. If HD-DVD is so good why did you buy a Blueray player? Couldn't find enough content?

RE: Ridiculous
By walk2k on 6/25/2007 11:06:22 AM , Rating: 2
I think I hear the fat lady warming up!

Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By Amiga500 on 6/18/2007 9:04:28 AM , Rating: 2
I honestly cannot see how it is.

There are duplication of costs for many suppliers and customers.

The sooner it is over and a standard format adopted, the better for everyone.

By allnighter on 6/18/2007 10:05:36 AM , Rating: 1
My sentiments also. Everyone seems to be unhappy with Blockbusters move since they're undercutting HD-DVD? Aren't you folks happy that this may be a step towards ending this ridiculus format war situation? And a pretty significant one too? Dual format players? Sorry bro, not really going to happen, and waiting for the prices of those to come down to acceptable level is going to take even longer than prices of one flavor player or the other.
Looks like BD is going to be it. Blockbuster's blessing of one HD format is pretty much equal to what porn industry did for the video. This will heavily tip the scale, so all of you on the fence can now slowly start coming down, or if the price of $499. (or $599. for a PS3) is still too much, wait a little longer 'cause the prices will drop.
/end rant.

I just want to see this frmat crap over with.

By christojojo on 6/18/2007 10:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
Gm, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chrysler, MB, BMW, etc.... end format war and ... some would say a merger of the auto industry would be bad for the people but bring it up in data format and people can't wait for competion to end.

No, disrespect intended, just a point.

RE: Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By MrPickins on 6/18/2007 11:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
That is a poor analogy.

I can use my same driver's license, gas, oil, ect with all those vehicles, how could they be considered different "formats"?

The real analogy is that the entire auto industry has conformed to a set of regulations, same as a standardization in data format.

And yes, the sooner the format "war" is over, the better. I still remember lamenting the fact that my parents bought beta-max instead of VHS, I don't want a repeat with the current generation of video technology.

RE: Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 11:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
> "I can use my same driver's license, gas, oil, ect with all those vehicles..."

There are 51 different drivers licences, 15+ different reformulated gas blends mandated by state or federal governments, and a wide variety of different oil weights and types.

On the other hand, the differing players of HD discs still use the same "standardized" electricity and electric outlets. This is certainly similar to both a BMW and a Ford being gased up at the same pump.

Analogies are a tricky business. I believe the OP was correct, and that both formats will persist...though dual-format players will eventually make the point moot.

By MrPickins on 6/18/2007 11:26:29 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, neither analogy was very good.

But, I disagree where he states that an end to the format wars would not benefit the consumer.

Standardization leads to less confusion, and reduces the possibility of prematurely obsolete hardware.

By christojojo on 6/18/2007 11:24:30 AM , Rating: 2
Game systems still use the same electricity, the same TV, etc.

The auto industry still has format differences...

bolts (Ford truck commercial comes to mind)

Yes, I am being picky. But things that we take for granted now were the things our relatives were concerned for way back in the crusty rusty old days.(I can't list the words I learned when my father bought a spare tire and wheel for his AMC Matador and got a Toyota wheel instead (hub spacing wasn't the same)).

All I was trying to point out, was that format wars may be annoying but they are not always a bad thing.

RE: Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By MrPickins on 6/18/2007 11:31:47 AM , Rating: 2
All I was trying to point out, was that format wars may be annoying but they are not always a bad thing.

Aside from the possibility of the competition bringing down hardware prices faster (which will happen anyway due to competition between manufacturers), how exactly does the format war benefit consumers?

RE: Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 11:42:43 AM , Rating: 3
> "how exactly does the format war benefit consumers? "

Good question. It does so by giving them freedom to choose. They can pick BD and get a larger format and (theoretically at least) more expensive discs and players, more functionality in BD-Java, and a slightly more secure (and possibly restrictive) DRM technology.

Or they can choose HD-DVD, with cheaper players and (again, theoretically) cheaper, more reliable discs and a wee bit less DRM.

Some of the advantages on either side may be negligible or even non-existent. But the fact is there's a choice, and thats what benefits consumers. Having a single format mandated by the industry may have advantages...but it has very real disadvantages as well.

RE: Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By MrPickins on 6/18/2007 12:08:07 PM , Rating: 3
In reality, each is so close to the same that there is very little difference between them for a non-techie. The average consumer doesn't care about what they would consider trivial details in the difference between the two formats. They want something that works. That is one reason DVD has been so popular. In almost any case, it just works.
(Of course DVD-R has format issues, but I'm talking about commercially pressed discs.)

We can debate technical merits till we're blue in the face, but until one format (or hybrid drives) become dominant, the majority will not accept either technology. If the majority doesn't adopt the tech, prices will never fall to DVD levels.

I'm all for choice in the market, and I wouldn't like to see a standard mandated by industry, as much as adopted I'd like to see it adopted by the majority.

By MrPickins on 6/18/2007 12:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all for choice in the market, and I wouldn't like to see a standard mandated by industry, as much as adopted I'd like to see it adopted by the majority.

I'm all for choice in the market, and I wouldn't like to see a standard mandated by industry, as much as I'd like to see it adopted by the majority.

Bah, proofreading is my weakness!

RE: Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 12:14:16 PM , Rating: 3
> "I wouldn't like to see a standard mandated by industry, as much as adopted I'd like to see it adopted by the majority... "

That's just the point. If a standard is adopted rather than mandated, then it must have been chosen by consumers And that choice meant another format must have existed, which implies a format war.

That's how these situations benefit the consumer. Without them, an industry mandate is the only alternative.

By christojojo on 6/18/2007 12:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you masher for expressing my viewpoint so eloquently.

As for anologies, how about Microsoft OS? DT is loaded with people taking both sides of the Microsoft Monopoly. BTW, I am both for and against MS.

I love the standards, the pretty much standardized GUI, which OS to buy for my friends and family.

I hate the fact that it is slow to adapt, patches always seem to create more headaches than cure, and the cost for an OS IMHO is ridiculous (let alone Word, PP, etc).

Yes, they are expensive to produce but so are games, and other non one horse race programs; With the volume that MS is guaranteed to sell it should be cheaper.

I will give MS this though if its OS was free, there would be someone out there complaining.

(Just for fun - wouldn't be like Toyota (pretend Monopoly) charging $12,000 for a four cylinder, 19,000 for a six, and 35,000 for an eigth.)

By theapparition on 6/19/2007 7:06:47 AM , Rating: 2
BTW, I am both for and against MS

Way to take a stand! :-)

Just for fun - wouldn't be like Toyota (pretend Monopoly) charging $12,000 for a four cylinder, 19,000 for a six, and 35,000 for an eigth

That's not too far from the truth.......

By christojojo on 6/20/2007 11:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
Way to take a stand! :-)

I hate monopolies in general, (no choices). But when you live within that monopoly, i.e. MS's OSs there is little to compare a product with.

Yes, I know Apple, to me it's slow and has no real game support. Linux, ditto; with the added benefit that it would be a headache for me to tech support it for the rest of my extended family.

Basically, I am forced to use MS's OS until somebody comes out with a better mousetrap.

By Slaimus on 6/18/2007 1:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is, consumers don't really have full choice, because Sony owns major publishers like Columbia and MGM. They are releasing movies in BD not because consumers demanded it.

By CorrND on 6/18/2007 10:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
Dual format players? Sorry bro, not really going to happen....

I have to disagree. With identical format size (this was not the case with VHS vs. betamax) and virtually identical decode pipelines, the only thing that really needs to be duplicated is the laser necessary to get the data off the different discs. I believe chips that decode both formats are already available.

A final outcome of dual-format players seems very likely to me.

RE: Is this format war a benefit to the industry?
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 11:47:18 AM , Rating: 4
> "Dual format players? Sorry bro, not really going to happen..."

Samsung's DB-UP5000 is a dual-format player. It'll be released in time for the holidays:

By allnighter on 6/18/2007 3:29:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'll give you credit for that when Sammy announces it in $150-200 price range.

By christojojo on 6/18/2007 6:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that it is coming out at all is all that some consumers need to hold off buying the next gen players. As some else said in a post here most people buy only one player; for me that one player is a dvd until we get a multiformat or solid single victor.

By bfonnes on 6/20/2007 3:38:26 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe they're going after that market yet... Companies usually charge higher prices for early adoption until economies of scale kick in.

By Boushh on 6/20/2007 5:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you see that Dual Format drives will mostly benefit BR ?

Most people will have the same problem: Almost all the movies they want are BR, but a few important ones are only HD DVD. Buying a BR player means you will be able to watch most of the movies you want, but you will lose out on some.

A Dual Format player solves the problem: You can still buy most movies on BR, and in the event of a HD DVD only release you can still watch that movie.

So a Dual Format drive will solve the choice problem, but most people will still be buying BR.

Besides, the whole 'format war' is over when Universal decides to release it's portfolio on BR. And that is much more likely to happen than the otherway around.

And I think that Microsoft and Intel are only supporting HD DVD because their 'enemies' are supporting BR. Microsoft could have made de HD DVD drive standard on the XBox, but they didn't. And Intel has nothing to offer at all.

By masher2 on 6/18/2007 11:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
> "Dual format players? Sorry bro, not really going to happen..."

Samsung's DB-UP5000 is a dual-format player. It'll be released in time for the holidays:

The real message
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 10:11:38 AM , Rating: 5
"The consumers are sending us a message" Matthew Smith, senior vice president of merchandising at Blockbuster, told the AP...
Three of the four Blockbusters in my area have recently shut their doors. I think the real message here is consumers are increasingly avoiding Blockbusters, preferring instead to rent online or just buy their discs outright.

RE: The real message
By FITCamaro on 6/18/2007 10:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I haven't been to a Blockbuster in a long time. I have a Netflix subscription. My parents do as well. Blockbuster has a lot of people who got pissed at them back in the day and thats still biting them in the ass.

RE: The real message
By encryptkeeper on 6/18/2007 10:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
Blu-ray Disc has been ahead of HD DVD title sales since the beginning of 2007, though that some attribute that not to one format being more popular than the other, but rather more new titles have shipped for Blu-ray Disc this year.

I've been saying this for the last year. Who cares how expensive the players are if there aren't as many good movies to watch on it?

RE: The real message
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 10:50:18 AM , Rating: 2
Comparing total releases, the two sides are nearly equal. HD-DVD has 240, Blu Ray: 265. But both these figures are dwarfed by the tens of thousands of releases on DVD.

Until both formats get out ten times the movies, they'll be shunned by the average consumer...and by then, dual-format players will be ubiquitous, and the "format war" be over with both sides announcing victory.

RE: The real message
By kalak on 6/18/2007 11:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
That's not the reality here, in Brasil. We have a lot of BB here. Maybe because of the DVD high prices ($20 for a Movie DVD ?! C'mon...), so it's cheaper to rent Movies than buy them. And we don't have too much options to rent online too.

RE: The real message
By theflux on 6/18/2007 11:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
Blockbuster has fallen on hard times, no question. This is exactly the reason why they can't afford to stock up on a format that will only appeal to a shrinking minority of their renters. The cost of titles and the wasted shelf space just don't add up for a company trying to turn itself around.

RE: The real message
By hubajube on 6/18/2007 12:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's not wasted shelf space because the movies will still get rented LOL! Look at masher's post at HD movie releases. It's damn near even. Also, look at masher's post about Sony's monetary involvement with BB. The message is clear, it's not about the consumer or HD movie sales, or even making money for that matter, it's about back patting and shoulder rubbing.

RE: The real message
By jadedeath on 6/18/2007 2:11:37 PM , Rating: 2
Aren't you one of the guys on here who should be neutral and report the news on this stuff?


RE: The real message
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 3:02:04 PM , Rating: 6
I'm a blogger, not a paid staffer. That means I'm allowed to have an opinion. :)

And, since I express it only within a blog or a posting, there's no violation of journalistic ethics and standards, as both fall under the "Op-ed" category.

Blu ray
By AlmostExAMD on 6/18/2007 8:00:29 AM , Rating: 1
My guess for the decision is simply "Playstation 3".

This could be the deciding factor in th hd wars, Maybe if Blu-Ray wins outright I can regain my confidence and invest in a player/movies again, At the moment I am holding back on either and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

RE: Blu ray
By Allen Iverson on 6/18/2007 8:35:17 AM , Rating: 1
Just wait till the hybrid players become cheap. In the end it will be mostly Blu-ray with a bit of HD-DVD and most of the players will be hybrid.

RE: Blu ray
By paydirt on 6/18/2007 8:38:35 AM , Rating: 2
You're definitely not the only one. If people looked into the issue before purchasing a player, they would see that the total number of movies out for either format is still relatively small (and was very small back in January). Most rational consumers (the ones who don't need to be coolest on their block) would have held off on a purchase on that aspect alone.

Then there's the whole format wars aspect that also discourages a purchase (why buy a player if there's a decent chance they won't be making media for it in 5 years?).

RE: Blu ray
By kalak on 6/18/2007 8:48:51 AM , Rating: 2
why buy a player if there's a decent chance they won't be making media for it in 5 years?

That's the point... People won't buy "a player"... they buy a Videogame that comes with a player !

RE: Blu ray
By christojojo on 6/18/2007 10:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
The key word in your phrase is "rational". Most of us will agree that is a very small percent of the population. Just look at the fanboy (fanboi spelling is just goofy and doesn't impress me)post ion the hollowed halls of DT. People will insult you, you're family and gasp you game system over even the slightest interpretted slight against them.

If this is true here can you imagine how bad it is out in the vast non-thinking world?

Finally, A workout guru was asked what is the best exercise. His reply, "the one you do."

My belief in game systems, pcs, etc. is the same the one you use regularly. Of course, if it always breaks down, poor service, .....

RE: Blu ray
By paydirt on 6/18/2007 12:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
By rational in this case, what I mean is that most people don't feel the urge to be the first person on their block to own the latest, greatest gadget. Yeah, there's plenty of those folks around, and YES they are vocal on the Internet, BUT they are vastly outnumbered.

RE: Blu ray
By christojojo on 6/18/2007 6:50:30 PM , Rating: 2
Point taken.

Ps. Thanks for not gigging my poorly typed post. : )

RE: Blu ray
By dnew418 on 6/18/2007 8:42:32 AM , Rating: 3
I propose that the two sides come to some sort of compromise. the only thing two formats creates is consumer distrust and frustration. People are tired of spending big money on high dollar items that may or may not be in the market place for long. The biggest thing tthe two sides should realize is they took a SURE THING and botched it. No way in hell am I spending money on either one until I know the champion. However, I do like the idea of having the dual dvd/hddvd option on the movies that some are making.

RE: Blu ray
By kalak on 6/18/2007 8:43:45 AM , Rating: 2
My guess for the decision is simply "Playstation 3".

I agree. There's a lot of P3 owners out there and they are "making the difference"...

RE: Blu ray
By mdogs444 on 6/18/2007 10:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
They are right now, you are correct. However, I see that trend changing in the near future. With the previous post that The PS3 & 360's were outsold by Wii, DS, PS2, and PSP, it goes to show that people are not being console system because of the features they offer. They are buying based on a low cost for the system, games, and accessories.

Now that the original PS3 & 360 launches are well past, the number of sales are going to continue to drop until the prices hit a point that makes the average consumer happy and will to part with their money.

In the mean time, i think that also means less BD & HD sales until the standalone DVD players also reach a price point which makes consumers want to go buy them. Im guessing the in $150> range, we'll start to see a trend on which format will start to take charge.

HD vs Blue-Ray
By tgolamb on 6/18/2007 10:11:51 AM , Rating: 2
In the end, it will be who markets the best. Are you old enough to remember the battle between VHS vs (Sony) Beta? Although beta is actually a better format (more compact too), VHS won out.
There have been other formats in the past that didn't make it because of poor marketing... 4 channel stereo (and radio), ElCassette, laser discs.
Of course the advances in technology can obsolete something in the wink of an eye. Have you ever tried to find reel to reel tapes for home use any more, or even parts for one? Regular cassettes are even becoming scarce.
In the end, it will be who markets the best.

RE: HD vs Blue-Ray
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 10:30:40 AM , Rating: 5
> "In the end, it will be who markets the best..."

I give consumers a little more credit than this...very little credit, perhaps, but still.

I remember the VHS vs. Beta debate, and in my opinion Sony did a far better job of marketing than the other side. They lost because consumers weren't swayed by the marketing, and went with the choice which was more convenient for them-- a wider selection of cheaper players, more movies (including porn), and a four-hour format that allowed long movies on a single tape.

The same goes for things like 4-channel stereo (not enough extra benefit over 2-channel for most people), laser discs (too expensive for all but non-videophiles), and many other examples.

Marketing goes a long ways, especially when the choices are nearly equal-- say beer and toothpaste. But in the technology realm, its much more limited.

RE: HD vs Blue-Ray
By christojojo on 6/18/2007 10:42:29 AM , Rating: 2
Plus 1 from me masher2.

RE: HD vs Blue-Ray
By omnicronx on 6/18/2007 10:50:02 AM , Rating: 1
Sony lost the beta vs vhs war because they are stupid, the quality was technically better but originally they only offered 1 hour tapes vs 3 hours max of vhs.. they also would not license their product the same JVC did (funny considering sony licensed much of the technology used in vhs).. eventually allowing almost any company to make vhs with barely any more going to jvc (well not barely but not nearly as much as beta would have raked in... Or BD now ;) )

Sony just doesnt like to share, they never have, never will.

RE: HD vs Blue-Ray
By JustKidding on 6/18/2007 11:52:10 AM , Rating: 2
Marketing goes a long ways, especially when the choices are nearly equal-- say beer and toothpaste.

Hmm . . . beer flavoured toothpaste. Perhaps one of the formats could offer a free tube with the purchase of a movie.

RE: HD vs Blue-Ray
By Oregonian2 on 6/18/2007 2:49:27 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh... no Beta was the inferior format.

In the beginning when the wars were being fought, Beta was a 1-hour per tape format, VHS was a 2-hour per tape format.

Beta took two tapes per movie, VHS one. VHS was more "compact" per movie.

Also for one recording movies off of TV, a popular thing, one could record a movie via timer using VHS. Didn't work for Beta because tapes had to be changed manually during the movie (hopefully during a commercial). This was a major reason to buy a VCR and beta's performance doing it was very lousy. Beta's video quality was excellent for a movie's first hour, but was HORRIBLE during the second hour that didn't exist because the tape ended and the machine stopped during the recording.

Sony didn't want to compromise their video quality by extending their format to 2 hours (or longer) but did so when they were forced to by falling behind in the "war". Too late.

By Sulik2 on 6/18/2007 4:06:44 PM , Rating: 3
Blockbuster never sent out the new release HD-DVD discs. I have complained for 6 months now that we only get retail HD-DVD releases and no new ones. We got Departed, Children of Men and Dreamgirls in 6 months. And those three are rented constantly. Where are the other dozens of movie released on HD-DVD in that time period?

But with Blu-ray we get retail and rental copies of nearly every movie released for Blu-Ray. Big surprise they are getting rented more often. HD-DVD owners have nothing new to rent so they don't rent any HD-DVDs.

Blockbuster is shooting itself in the foot with this one. Same way they got rid of DS rentals at my store for six months a while b/c they though the PSP was going to win. That worked out well, they had to give us back a DS section . Blockbuster killed HD-DVD itself in the stores by not getting the new releases. And when HD-DVD fails to die the way they expect they will have to bring it back as well.

By ttowntom on 6/18/2007 4:15:45 PM , Rating: 3
> Same way they got rid of DS rentals at my store for six months a while b/c they though the PSP was going to win

They didn't think at all. They just took the money from Sony and ran with it...same as they did this time.

By Proteusza on 6/22/2007 11:36:21 AM , Rating: 2
I do think you are right, when Sony's wallet talks, small companies like blockbuster (compared to the sony's and microsoft's of the world) tend to listen.

By walk2k on 6/25/2007 12:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
Got to love these conspiracy wack jobs.

Time to adjust your tin foil hat there chief, it's obviously cutting off the circulation to your brain.

Death Knell Sounds for HD DVD Format
By w3stfa11 on 6/18/2007 2:03:38 PM , Rating: 4

The news of Blockbuster going with the Blu-ray format in 1,700 stores is "pretty significant," said Forrester analyst James McQuivey, who noted that, by itself, the Blockbuster development might not be fatal to the HD DVD format. "But it is part of a series of blows that will eventually give Blu-ray the triumph," he predicted.

>> Unfortunately, I think he's right.

By hubajube on 6/18/2007 3:06:43 PM , Rating: 1
Unfortunately, he is wrong. BB is circling the bowl as a company with netflix giving them continuous kidney shots. Their stores are closing and they are NOT competitive in online sales. Witness the last gasps of air from Blockbuster. This is just the nail in their coffin.

Goodbye Blockbuster, I masturbated to your rentals well.

By theapparition on 6/19/2007 7:09:10 AM , Rating: 2
OMG this is going to kill sales of....

Wait, did you say Blockbuster?

Errr, nevermind, who goes to blockbuster anymore?

By Webgod on 6/18/2007 10:01:18 AM , Rating: 2
I think Disney going with only Blu-Ray has a lot to do with Blockbuster's decision. Parents have this idea that they have to collect/rent all of the Disney movies for their kids.

I've been renting Blu-Ray movies from Netflix for a while now, and I'm about out of stuff to rent. I've had to throw some regular DVD's into my Queue just to keep movies coming to use up the subscription. I miss several Universal movies that are only on HD-DVD and I'll be adding HD-DVD to my collection when I can afford it.

RE: Disney
By GlassHouse69 on 6/18/2007 11:56:58 AM , Rating: 2
that's terrible. you cannot watch movies just because of a format war. that's so stupid. I wonder if combo players will ever become a real thing.

RE: Disney
By DSolomon on 6/18/2007 6:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
Have any of you wondered who rents their movies? Maybe their decision to go with Bluray is the fact that families come in and rent a movie for them and a movie for their kids. Ask any family and the majority will tell you that they usually rent 2 movies, an adult movie and a kids movie.

Now that Disney is going with Bluray it would make sense to go with Bluray. The funny thing is no one will be happy. You have 50% who say this is a great thing and the other 50% say this sux for HD-DVD, Now if Blockbuster came out and said they are going with HD-DVD and you'll have the same flip flop. No one is ever happy.

Plus, this is for the retail stores that they are stocking Bluray, they will still continue to support HD-DVD via their online strategy verse Netflix. This move is for the folks who walk in their stores and that's the majority of the families out there. Not single guys and gals.

Plus do any of you actually know how many PS3 games they rent out vs. XBox games? Probably not. So besides the strong Disney support. No one really knows their financial move to go with Bluray. How about we get some Blockbuster employees to comment on this instead of people complaining about lame HD-DVD vs Bluray purchase numbers.

I'm sitting out this format war
By Delegator on 6/18/2007 10:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
This format war is very different from the DVD vs. DIVX battle of the 1990s. In that one, the advantages to the consumer of DVD were so clear that it made sense to choose a side and try to ensure that DIVX didn't succeed.

In this case, however, I'm happy to let the various mega-corporations fight out this format war until there's a winner. Between the involvement of deep pocketed technology providers (Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Toshiba), content providers (Sony again, Disney, other studios), and industry groups like the RIAA and MPAA, the only group not being represented at the bargaining table is the consumer.

Let the industry titans fight it out, and buy a machine when you can get a $200 (or cheaper) player that will handle all new releases. Until then, a progressive scan DVD looks just fine on my big screen TV.

By FITCamaro on 6/18/2007 10:37:40 AM , Rating: 2
I'm with you. Upconverted DVDs on my 360 via HDMI(which supposedly doesn't upconvert well yet) look great on my 720p TV. I won't be upgrading to a high def format until a good player is in the $100 range and the movies are the same price as DVDs.

RE: I'm sitting out this format war
By walk2k on 6/25/2007 12:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
You need new glasses if you can't tell the difference between a DVD and hi def (or maybe a new TV).

If you have Xbox you can get the addon player for around $160 with coupons. Of course it's HD-DVD so maybe not a good idea but it's not very expensive and the discs cost about the same (actually the hybrid DVD/HD-DVD discs usually cost more). Netflix rents both formats, for the same monthly fee....

I Thought Format Wars Ended
By spillai on 6/18/2007 12:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
I thought format wars came to end since there were already a lot of lessons for the greedy. Why dont they make it for the customers and let them decide who to win


RE: I Thought Format Wars Ended
By masher2 on 6/18/2007 12:24:19 PM , Rating: 3
> "Why dont they make it for the customers and let them decide who to win..."

That's just what they're doing. If there was only a single format, how could we decide which one was best?

Poor choice?
By rowenmeister on 6/18/2007 8:50:53 AM , Rating: 2
For a company struggling to produce a worthwhile investment for shareholders this seems like a poor move. I know this article is about in-store, but if anything it means delivery service would be only Blu-ray. Other services, such as Netflix, offer both.

RE: Poor choice?
By rowenmeister on 6/18/2007 8:58:23 AM , Rating: 2
Update: I meant to state that it probably means that eventually only Blu-ray would be offered.

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb
By tjr508 on 6/19/2007 5:29:42 AM , Rating: 2
there has to be some sort of kickback involved? you don't see chevrolet cutting the regular cab pickup b/c it's only 30% of all pickup sales.

It would make more since just to stop renting, say, the 30 least popular hd movies, regardless of format.

RE: dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb
By walk2k on 6/25/2007 12:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
They don't want to have double the shelf space maybe?

Of course it's less than double since there are far fewer HD-DVD titles, but still. More shelf space is required to stock both formats, plus all the consumer confusion and frustration when they get the discs home and they won't play. It's probably bad enough with DVD vs the HD formats already.

Relax guys
By dsumanik on 6/20/2007 1:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
Hey everyone thats it HD DVD is toast!

Its gonna be an avalanche after this now...get a blu ray player or go the way of betamax.


this is why you wait instead of paying up the nose for immature/unproven technology. Mob mentality will always win and it looks like blu ray has won.

Blockbuster would not base its whole business model on a format that is going to fail, period.

So get on the bandwagon, at least you know there will be blu ray movies to rent for yeats to come now.

RE: Relax guys
By omnicronx on 6/25/2007 1:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
get a blu ray player or go the way of betamax

I love the irony of that quote..
worst comparison EVER!

so what your saying is buy a sony product or go the way of a sony product that failed miserably? can someone say SMRT?

I hope it will be over soon...
By SoBizarre on 6/18/2007 5:41:15 PM , Rating: 3
There are people who chose side and picked a player. They will defend and support “their” format.
Then, there are those who have players for both formats. They would probably like the “format war” to never end.
And then there is the rest of us (myself included). People who are still waiting to make a switch to HD. And for us it's a good thing to see the escalation of the war as of late. It could mean the end of it is very close.
One of the existing formats will be dropped at some point in a very near (hopefully) future. I don't care which one will prevail. All I want is a standard . Standards are good :-) .

By Dailytechbias on 6/22/2007 6:20:19 AM , Rating: 3
What a surprise.

I noticed Dailytech didn't post the recent HDDVD PR showing over 60% set top player sales are HDDVD, but they post all the Blu Ray PR. I wonder why?

By Mday on 6/18/2007 9:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how the latest reports of prematurely deteriorating BR movie discs (aka blu-rot) would have on decisions like this. This is a major blow to BR if it's NOT an isolated incident.

Google if you want to read more.

By GlassHouse69 on 6/18/2007 11:54:50 AM , Rating: 2
Well, hd-dvd is toast in like 1 years time.

that's for sure. I think though that this is a foolish thing to not carry both. Some titles are hd-dvd exclusive. However, where I live, in a place where these disks will be bought and sought after, hd-dvd is never mentioned at my "high end" appliance store. We cater to the above average wealthy and to the ultra wealthy at times, those that live around Central Park in Manhattan. They never. ever. mention hd-dvd. they ask for blu-ray players. I have not met anyone of more modest income ever ask for a hd-dvd player at the store either. I think blockbuster sees this and has alot of tip-offs as to the demise of the other format. I am all for the death of a lesser format. VHS sucked, it should never have one if it was handled properly top down.

By Oregonian2 on 6/18/2007 2:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
Blockbuster is doing the proper thing in making a decision, but it probably was done a year or two too early. I assume they did this very risky thing to save they money it would have costed to inventory both formats in all of their stores... and they didn't want to wait the year or two before expanding inventory to all of their stores.

They're also taking a risk that the folk they drive to Netflix for HD format won't bite them in a year or two. A balancing act between future-sales risk and current day cashflows. They've rolled their dice...

P.S. - Wonder if Disney (etc) gave them financial incentives?

By Gladius777 on 6/19/2007 12:07:49 AM , Rating: 2
I spoke to the Proprietor of my local Video-Ezy store (in Australia) last Sunday about HD-DV vs Blu-Ray and he justed wanted a format to be "it".

He did mention that when Hard-coat DVDs get scratched (which they do), that they grind the coating off in their "disc wizard" scratch remover and its all o.k. This is fine with DVD & HDVD having 0.6mm data depth but Blu-ray having a 0.1mm data depth means the disc is unrepairable.

Little Johnny will always find a way to scratch it eventually and it's his Mum & Dad who will be paying for a new movie (or the store). This one aspect about Blu-Ray sucks, but it will sell more discs over time...

By gman64 on 6/19/2007 11:51:52 AM , Rating: 2
This decision may make sense if a movie is released in both formats, but is Blockbuster simply not going to stock high def DVD's for any current or future Universal films?

I bet neither format will win
By Hakuryu on 6/25/2007 4:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
I still buy regular DVD's, just got David Chappelles Block Party and Children and Men recently, and have about 100 DVD's total.

I don't think Blue Ray or HD-DVD will win a format war. Reasons - cost, existing compatibility, and time.

HD and Blue Ray players are falling in cost, but still cost too much, and their movies are normally $10+ over the cost of a normal DVD. Even when a time comes when they are cheap, you will end up spending alot more in regards to my next point - existing compatibility.

Existing compatibility is the ability to play a DVD on my player, then put it into my PC and play it, and then move it to my car and play it. All this existing hardware means the total price to choose a new format for me would be - new standalone player, new PC players, and I don't even know if you can get a HD or Blue Ray player for a car system. So instead of 1 piece of expensive equipment, I need at least 3, and could probably tack onto this cost any remaining worth in my current equipment (if I regarded the equipment like an accountant and amortized the cost over time).

Another cost issue is exactly how many people can afford to upgrade? If you live in the middle or upper class, you've probably seen HD players, but if you live in East Cleveland, I bet you don't see many. I still have friends in a poor area that only have a VHS player and like 20,000 movies for it.. which they still buy (and the movies are super cheap).

Time is my last point. Technology grows so quickly these days, in 5 years there probably be a better format. At this point in time, I foresee many HD and Blue Ray players sold with dropping prices, but I still foresee many people using and buying regular DVD's.

Money makes the world go round, and if some smart business type doesn't try and take advantage of a growing industry like this and shake things up... I'll be amazed.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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