High-Def Discs Grow at Faster Pace than Standard

Posted by Dave Cowl on January 25, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Format War, HD DVD

300-tm.jpgWe read at Video Business that HD Disc format growth is ahead of the standard DVD curve.

Price-driven promotions are the main reason for high-def’s steeper growth curve, according to Paul Erickson, DisplaySearch director of DVD and HD Market Research.

Standard DVD players were priced more steadily during their first months on shelves, he explained, as they were never embroiled in a hyper-competitive format war.

So, War, what is it good for? Cheaper pricing and faster growth, apparently! 

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10 Responses to “High-Def Discs Grow at Faster Pace than Standard”

  1. Kevin Murphy on January 26th, 2008 11:05 pm

    So, Warner’s decision was a bad one as it ended the war? Wouldn’t surprise me as Warner’s choices regarding HDM have been about as wrong as could be.

    They made a mistake in going neutral. If they hadn’t there would have been no war.

    They could have ended it by going Red when Paramount did; the tide would never have turned back.

    They could have stayed neutral and let the war continue, as the new dual-format players that are now dead dead dead would have solved the problem another way.

    But no, they found a way to make it as expensive for every as possible. Most expensive players, most rapacious studios, most bloated DRM, least standardized format.

    Bet you that sales drop for the next 6 months as the Red Nation drops out.

  2. Dave Cowl on January 27th, 2008 12:23 am

    Can’t disagree with you more I am afraid. If Warner went HD DVD, it would pretty much be a 50:50 split. How would that solve anything? HD DVD having cheaper players was about all it had going for it – and the only reason that the players were cheaper was that if they weren’t it would have failed even sooner. By limiting the specifications to those of ordinary DVD manufacturing lines, HD DVD was created to be of greatest benefit to the studios, not the consumer. And this is reflected in the fact that the studios keep all of the cost benefits of cheaper disc manufacturing for themselves, leaving the consumer paying the same price for discs with less capacity and bandwidth than the competition. Personally I am more than happy to pay a little more for the player to get the titles I want with the best possible quality. As far as the ‘Red Nation dropping out’ – with 20% or less software market share for the last couple of weeks, and less than 10% market share in players, hasn’t that already happened? Seems that Blu-ray on the other hand had increasing player sales.

  3. Merrick97 on January 27th, 2008 9:14 am

    100% correct Dave.

    HD-DVD fans just need to get over Warner Brothers and realize that it was the RIGHT move for HDM in general. I totally fail to understand how HD-DVD camp has ANY argument when bluray sales have controlled greater than 80% of the market after Warner made their decision. Not to mention that hardware sales have also been in blurays favor since December. The consumers ARE choosing and they are favoring bluray and have been for greater than 52 straight weeks!!!

    Why does HD-DVD camp ignore this?

  4. Kevin Murphy on January 27th, 2008 10:26 am

    Well-off consumers choose blu-ray. Since the BD prices are locked where they are until they sort out profile 2.0 and audio codecs, it’s fairly good bet that blu-ray will continue to be a niche product until download quality and ease surplants discs entirely.

    If Warner’s idea was to create the DVD-successor mass market, they went about it all wrong. Yes, in January 2008 they were stuck with no good choice, so they picked from two by-then awful ones. Their actual mistake came in 2005 when they decided to support Blu-ray along with HDDVD. Every choice since then has led inexorably to their untenable position before CES.

    Warner’s inability to make a decision until the consumers had divided into two large camps (a pretty firm 60-40) left them having to shaft over a million people either way.

    THe people who bought HD DVD, having chose the cheaper format, are far less likely to spend double what they already spent on another player after being burnt. They’ll stick with DVD until 2010 or whenever BD prices come down.

    The people who spent $799 for blu-ray have already shown they don’t care what things cost and would have just added a HD DVD player. They might have grumbled, but they wouldn’t have gone back to DVD.

    It’s economics: the people who invested in Red largely could not afford Blue, and still can’t. Warner halved the market size, and it will take quite some time to recover.

    Oh, and bugger the idea the blue-ray was “better.” Wasteful and expensive overkill is in no way “better.”

  5. Dave Cowl on January 27th, 2008 10:51 am

    Did you consider that these people who chose the cheaper path also might not want to spend money on discs? Perhaps the problem with making the players so accessible so fast is that the buyers don’t buy many movies, where the people willing to invest more in a player will?

    Warner didn’t half their market size, they dropped ~ 33% of it. If they dropped BD they would have dropped 66% of it.

    And HD DVD has already shown that it is inadequate with releases like Transformers and American Gangster that don’t even have enough capacity/bandwidth to have PiP and lossless audio. Is that your idea of the format of the future? One where you have to choose which of the advanced features any given title will have due to format limitations?

    No limitations at the same price in the store is better. For example War and 3:10 to Yuma both have PiP and LPCM 7.1 audio at the same price as Transformers. I don’t know why you think it is expensive or overkill.

  6. The Guardian on January 27th, 2008 10:55 am

    Wow, I don’t even know where to start with that last post!

    I own Blu-ray and I’m hardly well-off (I’m a student, actually) … BD prices are not locked, Profile 2.0 has been finished for ages and is completely optional for players, and what is there to sort out about audio codecs?!

    Download quality is 5-10 years MINIMUM away from being able to match Blu-ray quality. I’m sure it will eventually, but that’s a LOT of bandwidth! And how is it easy? Instead of having a convenient little disc and an integrated player, I have to have some kind of set up between my computer (which has to be fairly good, and they also have a tendency to not work properly) and my TV, I have to have a really good internet connection, a very big hard drive, and after I click “buy/rent” I have to wait who knows how many hours for the movie to download before I can watch it, instead of having walked to the nearest store (OH NOES!!! WALKING!!!! END OF THE WORLD!!!) to buy a disc.

    Let’s take the upper limit and say there are a million HD DVD owners out there (in reality probably far fewer due to multiple players per house etc). Do you think Warner or the BDA really care that much about them as a group? Of course not, because they are still a tiny portion of the total market for home video. A lot of them likely own BD players already anyways.

    Blu-ray players also have NOT been $799 for quite a while, and probably only 1% of the players out there were purchased for that much. The vast majority were likely purchased for $499 or less.

    What I really find hard to understand is why some people like you are so anti-Blu-ray. What’s the big deal? Long term, you’d not actually be losing anything by dropping HD DVD and going to Blu-ray. The same could NOT be said for the reverse.

  7. Jonsson on January 27th, 2008 10:58 am

    Warners (latest) decision was a good one. If Warner mad a poor decision it was by not deciding right away and thus not preventing this stupid war.

    Saying that Blu-rau is a “niche product” is just plain luicrous. Blu-rau simply outsells HD-DVD on all markets, plain and simple.

    Oh, and bugger the idea that Blu-ray isn’t better is also ludicrous, at least as far as my opinions goes.

    This war very much resembles the VHS/BetaMax/V2000 war and then the cheap low quality product won. This time it looks like that might not happen.

    Yes, I would have forked up the money for a HD-DVD (with some grumbling) if HD-DVD would have won the war but I think the bottom line is that a lot of people, including me, would have invested in HD hardware a lot sooner if there wouldn’t have been this war and the uncertainty.

    If just Universal and Paramount would do the right thing and concede I would go out and buy both hardware and films right away but as it stands today, no way.

  8. Merrick97 on January 27th, 2008 11:05 am

    Dave and Guardian both make good points.

    In regards to HD-DVD being cheaper the person who buys 100 HD-DVDs vs. the person who buys 100 blurays, the difference in cost between the two becomes absolutely negligible possibly even higher for HD-DVD since many combos still sell for more than their bluray counterparts.

    All this stuff about HD-DVD being cheaper is just a bunch of nonsense. If the movie prices were about $20 for HD-DVD and $30 for bluray then I can feel that HD-DVD has a huge price advantage, but no the movie prices are the same and in many cases even higher than bluray.

    So, the argument of HD-DVD being cheaper holds little water.

  9. Kevin Murphy on January 27th, 2008 7:16 pm

    Look at it from my point of view.

    To go from DVD to full audio codec HDDVD cost me about $400. All I had to do was add an HD-A35 to my HDMI-less Denon 3803 via analog audio, hook it to my TV va HDMI or component, and I was done.

    To replace that with Blue-ray I first have to find a BD player that outputs DTS-MA for real, internaly decoded, of which there are approximately none for sale today. I’d settle for TrueHD, but no one seems to use that on BD discs. Only on HDDVD.

    Or I wait until maybe someone comes out with one that does it Real Soon Now. And not Marantz or Pioneer or Denon or other $2K devices.

    Or I replace my perfectly fine $1400 Denon receiver with something like the Onkyo 875 for at least $1100, so I get HDMI 1.3 and can use the Onkyo decoders and have equivalent specs. Assuming Onkyos do what they claim.

    Or I can get the Samsung BD-UP5000. Oh, wait, I did that and took it back because it doesn’t do what it claims and apparently never will. Assuming it can ever play a blu-ray disc — BD+ and BD-J break it.

    And even then I need to get a player that passes advanced audio over bitstream. Panasonic seems to be the only game in town there, at $400 min.

    So, to get BD with equivalent specs to my $400 (now $250) HD-A35 I need to spend about $1500.

    And you wonder why I think the emperor has no clothes?

  10. Dave Cowl on January 27th, 2008 7:38 pm

    While your plan seems wise, you then find that the HD DVD of Transformers has no lossless audio. Nor Shrek 3, American Gangster, Bee Movie…

    It will be interesting to see what happens when these movies get release on Blu-ray disc. We already know that DreamWorks had lossless audio planned for Blades of Glory so I think the chances are good.

    Yeah, you probably want to wait for the Panasonic BD50 if you want ‘the works’, which should street around $500 – not a whole lot more than the A35 (was).

    Also Fox and New Line are the only studios that favour DTS Master Audio – the others have LPCM or TrueHD that plays just fine in even first gen Panasonic players…

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