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Studio boss knocks Blu-ray for poor image quality, high price

It looks as though Sony just can't catch a break these days in the news. Last week we learned that Sony was delaying the European launch of its PlayStation 3 from November 17 to March of 2007 along with the announcement that an initial batch of 500,000 total units would be available for the November 11 Japanese launch and November 17 North American launch. The launch delay/shipment reduction is due to Sony's problems with manufacturing blue laser diodes used by the Blu-ray drive on the PS3.

Well today, we learn of even more bad news for the Sony camp. Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, came out swinging against the Blu-ray standard calling HD DVD the "hands down" winner in the next generation movie formats. "Look at the blogs, look at the reviews by the early adopters and even look at the mainstream media – HD DVD has maintained its first-to-market advantage and delivered on the promises of providing the best high definition image and sound quality at the best value for consumers today," said Kornblau.

Kornblau is likely referencing three head-to-head comparison reviews done on Blu-ray and HD DVD versions of 'Training Day,' 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' and 'Rumor Has It....' In those comparison tests done by High-Def Digest in early August, HD DVD clearly came out ahead of Blu-ray in image quality. The Blu-ray titles featured increased noise/artifacting and darker overall color casting. Issue of cropping also popped up with the three Blu-ray titles tested.

However, a more recent test by High-Def Digest produced more promising results from the Blu-ray camp. 'Firewall,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Full Metal Jacket' were tested this time around. With the exception of 'Full Metal Jacket,' the titles this time around used VC-1 compression instead of MPEG-2 resulting in much improved image quality across the board:

But to summarize, with this batch there is no clear "winner." If last time Blu-ray took more than its fair share of slings and arrows over picture quality and the format's reliance (up until now) on MPEG-2, this time the more level playing field has helped close the gap between Blu-ray and HD DVD. If nothing else, our second Blu-ray versus HD DVD face-off strongly indicates that what some people had declared a format war won is still far from over.

So while Kornblau is right in pointing out HD DVD advantages in pricing and availability, the image quality debate is still alive and well.



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RE: Deja vu............
By morbius2006 on 9/18/2006 3:08:53 AM , Rating: 2
As it turns out, the manufacturers are hamstrung by thier licensing agreements, if you can believe it, sony at least, and likely the HD DVD Group has forbidden manufacturers from creating Dual standard players, Sony has specifically stated that they will not allow dual standard units to be created, they want the whole pie, so much for common sense. The other thing to remember is that the DVD-/+ war wasnt much of a standards issue as it was a media issue, in the end, the media manufacturers won no matter what, they sell us both types of media, and make both types, not so in this case. only sony makes Blue Ray, only sony makes Blue Ray Discs.

HD-DVD is a broader standard, and is based upon a recognisable Label "DVD" as customers already know it, they will likely accept HD-DVD as an upgrade product, sony BlueRay just sounds like betamax to the average consumer, it just doesnt have the level of brand recognition that everyone will accept and explore.

Sony is in trouble, they were betting the farm on the Blue ray/PS3 tie in, given that only 500,000 units will ship for November, they will have No Real market for thier movies or games to speak of, word of mouth is a great sales tool, but just like micro softs stinky Xbox360, if you cant buy it, it wont make them any money, and it wont sell their movies if it cant be bought. When will this boneheads ever learn :P


RE: Deja vu............
By Visual on 9/18/2006 4:27:56 AM , Rating: 2
You're soooo off the track it hurts just to read your post.
What is your source about either party forbidding the combo players? I've never seen such a thing. In fact, there were several manufacturers that had announced plans for combo drives or players (LG, Pioneer, Samsung) though all of them either gave up or announced that such combos might come in future but there aren't any specific current plans. Samsung also said they are working on a combo recorder. Liteon is now working on separate PC drives for both formats, but there could be an eventual combo drive in the future.
Also, keep in mind Sony is not the sole authority on all things blu-ray. There are many more BDA members, so even if "Sony has specifically stated that they will not allow dual standard units to be created" was true (which it isn't) they could never enforce such a ridiculous thing.

Also your statement "only sony makes Blue Ray, only sony makes Blue Ray Discs" is such utter crap that I just don't know what to make of it.

You're right that the DVD-/+ "war" is quite different though. This time around, the differences are considerably larger, so combos will be harder to get and even pointless from a certain point of view. I mean, if you have a player that reads both, there's absolutely no reason to use HD-DVD media given its lesser capacity, speed and poor coating. The only thing HD-DVD has for it now is the cheaper players.

Also I'd love to read your explanation of why or how is HD-DVD a "broader standard".
Your comment about the format names is right on the spot, though I pity the users that make purchasing decisions based solely on names.

Your concerns about the poor PS3 sales are touching, but a bit premature. Wait till it launches, ok? I agree that just 500k at launch day seems low, but other batches will follow soon enough. Sony is still expecting to sell 2million units by the end of the year, 6 million by the end of march 2007.
Also, there are quite a few good brands of BD players coming october/november, its not all PS3.


RE: Deja vu............
By othercents on 9/18/2006 11:30:35 AM , Rating: 2
I have also seen a few articles about the Sony licensing of BD and it has been mentioned that Sony is forbiding a combo player. If your a manufacturer the best way to make sure you beat out the rest of your competition is to build a combo player, and the only reason I see for most of the manufacturers canceling their combo players is because of the license agreement. However none of this can be proven unless you have a copy of the license agreement.

For the PS3 we are looking at 400k at launch and 800k more shipped before the end of the year. This is if there isn't a problem with the initial batch of diodes or cell processors.

Other


RE: Deja vu............
By EclipsedAurora on 9/18/2006 11:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
Also your statement "only sony makes Blue Ray, only sony makes Blue Ray Discs" is such utter crap that I just don't know what to make of it.

I agree with u in this point. Most people here are too naive to see BD=Sony. They simply missed out Pioneer, Panasonic, JVC, Sharp, Mitsubishi, Thomson, Samsung who are also trational blackhorses in AV market.

Recently a spokeman from Denon also showed their intension to produce high end BD player, in the high end Audio-Visual Expro 2006 in Hong Kong.


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