The Look and Sound of… Super Bowl XLII?

Posted by James Segars on January 29, 2008 
Filed Under: Format War, HD DVD

HDDVDlogo.jpgWith Blu-ray victory-cries building to a deafening roar, consumer electronic stores dropping support for HD DVD hardware, and a relatively wan response from the remaining HD DVD supporting studios, everyone is looking to the HD DVD advertisement in the Super Bowl for an official word from Toshiba/HD DVD.  

Will they pull out the big guns — announcing both the 51gb discs and a stellar slate of exclusive content — or will they be resigned to promote what many believe to be a "fire sale" for their third generation players?

On a different note, there are many rumblings that another killer announcement is on the way, to fall conveniently within the one-month anniversary of WB’s defection.  While these whispers could be nothing more than fluff, it would be ideal for either side to enact the next stage of their attack.  For Blu-ray, any further success — acquisition of another HD DVD supporting studio — will likely result in the immediate death of HD DVD.  On the other hand, if Toshiba’s $2.7 million purchase of Super Bowl airtime is any indication, perhaps they do have a couple tricks up their sleeve.  We sure hope this is the case, because the online release schedule through HD DVD’s official site — while grossly inaccurate — is looking rather grim.

In the end, it all depends on what the HD DVD crowd has been doing in the interim between the WB shocker, and the decision to buy airtime in the Super Bowl.  To be sure, they’d better not be counting on Imperioli and the recent price drops to keep them afloat through 2008.

Either way, we’ll know soon enough.

Related posts:

  1. Toshiba Unveils Cell processor Laptops with Super Upconversion
  2. Toshiba Releases Firmware 3.0 for First Gen HD DVD Players
  3. The Bourne Identity and 300 Included w/ All 3rd Gen HD DVD Players
  4. CBHD Leads Marketshare over Blu-ray in China
  5. Toshiba Releases HD DVD Firmware 4.0 Update


18 Responses to “The Look and Sound of… Super Bowl XLII?”

  1. Mehar on January 29th, 2008 12:28 pm

    Well Toshiba said it would be used to promote the players didn’t they? I hope that was a front for a even bigger announcment!

  2. Mehar on January 29th, 2008 12:30 pm

    A dream that may not happen: 51GB disc is announced, Disney switchs, Universal announces Scarface, Jurrasic Park, etc Paramount announces Back to the future, Titantic, etc! That would be a great setup, and in the end they could announce either:

    A. A sale on 3rd gen players
    B. 4th gen players

  3. Dave Cowl on January 29th, 2008 12:39 pm

    They need to do something pretty impressive.

  4. Tim on January 29th, 2008 12:40 pm

    They’re not going to use this to announce anything. It’s 30 seconds of airtime, and they’re talking to sports fans.

    They’re going to tell them that the best movies are on HD DVD, that their players upconvert standard DVDs to HD resolution, and that that’s the way you take advantage of your HDTV.

    That is all. If they announce new things, they will do so to a tech audience.

  5. James Segars on January 29th, 2008 12:48 pm

    Tim, I think you’re right, however, they could just as easily be priming their audience for a big surprise announcement in the week following the Super Bowl.

  6. Belard on January 29th, 2008 1:23 pm

    Hmmm… Perhaps $50 A3 players with 25 free movies, only from the offical website?

    Yeah, thats it! That’ll work!

  7. Ryan on January 29th, 2008 1:36 pm

    Likely see American Gangster rolled out on the red carpet (Similar to Shrek 3 ads) – and I agree info on cheap HD players.

  8. Kevin Murphy on January 29th, 2008 3:36 pm

    A line of dual-mode players at $299 – $599 might be of some interest. Mass introduction of dual-mode players at blu-ray prices could save the format, especially if the discs were a bit cheaper.

    Bundle the Godfather Saga and Titanic in with it.

  9. Ryan on January 30th, 2008 4:42 am

    Yeah new releases announced would be excellent.

  10. Jonsson on January 30th, 2008 5:03 am

    HD-Custers Last Stand hopefully!

  11. Belard on January 30th, 2008 9:12 am

    I doubt anything cheaper would help HD. I don’t think Titanic is on the release list yet, which would be a BIG seller for HiDef. This is one of the things that shows the true position of Paramount.

    What would sell & look better on HiDef? Titanic or Blades of Glory? Since these players plays both OLD dvds and such. It means we’ll continue to buy DVDs for a long time… Especially of titles that DON’T take advantage of HD… like TV-Series from before 2000… Where they were originally videoed-taped at 450~500lines.

    It takes quite a bit of time to RE-Master a video to HD… not just simply pull a reel off and burn it to disc… ;)

    If during the Superbowel, Toshiba announced the A3 for $50, I still wouldn’t buy it. And people who spend $1500~3000 on HD TVs are not going to wet their pants on a cheap player. Come on, we live in an age where people spend $300~600 on a cel-phone! $150~250 for an MP3 player.

  12. James Segars on January 30th, 2008 11:30 am

    In all fairness though, Belard, with the way the economy is right now, the uber-materialistic/hyper-consumerism mentality seems to be on the way out. Now, that doesn’t mean HD DVD is in a better position necessarily, simply because all things HD, and other superfluous purchases, might take a huge hit in the months/years to come.

    It is too early to say what might happen, but with gas prices going nowhere but up, and the economy on the decline, I don’t think that people will be looking towards a MORE expensive player, when there are cheaper ones that are equivalent in almost every way, and better in some.

    To be quite honest, I’m worried that both formats are on their way out. The reason? Neither has come close to putting a dent in DVD sales/rentals in the ~2 years since their debut.

    Most people still don’t even know what Blu-ray or HD DVD are. Blu-ray is doing a better job of educating the masses, and I think that is why they maintain the lead. HD DVD seems like they finally get the idea that the players aren’t going to sell themselves, and that they can’t exist on word of mouth alone, especially now when many people are declaring them dead. Either way, even if one of these formats “win” they will need to take down DVD, and that will be a far greater war than HD DVD vs. Blu-ray.

    I think that is why we see HD DVD lowering their prices so much. Not because it is a “fire-sale” but because they are looking to kick the legs out from under the up-convert market, and finally woo the mass market.

    I realize that Blu-ray has a greater capacity, and more studio support at this time, but the average consumer is completely oblivious to this. It’s hard for us to imagine simply because we live and breath this tech news, and after all most of us are owners of either, or even both formats.

    You should know that I’m not saying it looks particularly great for HD DVD, nor does it look great for Blu-ray either.

    I’m just not sure that a single HD format will successfully lasso the mass market. They might very well become niche market products. I think the economy will definitely have to bounce back before the masses are able to justify luxury items such as HD disc media, and HD players.

    Oh, and you’re definitely right that the HD transfers take quite awhile, and that’s why I think it’s been so quiet on the HD DVD front. Either they are prepping a load of HD DVD heavy-hitters, or they are re-encoding their previously released titles for Blu-ray.

    Surely anyone could argue either way, but we’ll just have to watch and wait to see what happens in the weeks to come.

  13. Merrick97 on January 30th, 2008 12:02 pm


    I just fail to understand, the “HDM has failed to make a dent in the dvd market” argument.

    DVD didnt make a dent in the VHS market overnight.
    In fact, DVD didnt really become mainstream until 2001 or so. 4 years after it had launched.
    In FACT, it has been reported that HDM is growing FASTER than dvd did at this point in its lifetime.

    HDM is never going to totally replace dvd, but you darn well better believe that it can be successful.

    Nobody expects HDM to be as successful as DVD.

  14. James Segars on January 30th, 2008 12:18 pm

    Well, I definitely want HD media to succeed in general, but I think that both are going to be facing an uphill battle in light of the economic conditions.

    I think that HDM could be as successful as DVD, but there are a lot of contributing factors that will determine the success, or failure, of HDM.

    All in all, HD equipment is still a luxury in many people’s eyes. The sooner the HDTV prices drop (they are lower, but they need to be rock bottom for the masses), and the sooner all HD players/software drop, we should end up seeing a mass exodus from SD DVD, that is of course assuming that a cheaper/better HDM distribution method has not infiltrated the mass market.

    I know you and I both don’t like digital distribution, and I don’t think it will succeed (not for awhile anyway), but perhaps SSD really could come out of nowhere and take the mass market by storm.

    You are right to say that HDM is on the right track, but I’m worried that the economy might otherwise derail its current momentum.

    Does that clear things up?

  15. Merrick97 on January 30th, 2008 2:06 pm

    Yes, that was a good post and another point I want to add is that while bluray and HD-DVD really only have picture and audio quality improvements over standard DVD. While DVD had those and MANY other improvements over VHS, such as non degrading, easier to store, special features actually became existent.

    To be honest, special features is what really turned me onto DVD back in 2000. I was floored to see deleted scenes for all my favorite movies.

    This newness isnt present for HDM. Its basically dvd with better picture and audio quality, which is a BIG thing obviously.

    In short, the only real reason people have to jump on HDM bandwagon is to get better picture, while those who jumped from VHS to DVD, had many more reasons other than just picture quality.

    Although, I never really figured out why laserdisc failed. Perhaps it was too big…

  16. Belard on January 30th, 2008 7:15 pm

    Well… HDM will not replace any DVD, nor does it need to. As I posted here or somewhere else, Many things on DVD – such as broadcast shows ARE not in HD quality to begin with… upconversion doesn’t insert missing information… better than nothing, true.

    The new Bladerunner Ultimate box set (Which I bought and have waited years for) looks LIKE CRAP on a upconverted DVD player to a 62″ DLP screen… compared to the actual BluRay (or HD) Disc.

  17. Segarsj on January 30th, 2008 9:59 pm

    Well, so long as it was shot on film, or an HD video format, you should be able to have a perfectly fine transfer to High Def disc.

    As for shows that were shot primarily on SD video equipment, they won’t end up looking much better than they would upconverted.

  18. cliff williams on February 3rd, 2008 3:29 pm

    HD-DVD the look and sound of desperation.
    What more can they do put up kiosks in malls and give away players and 25 movies. They are beginning to remind me of the soldiers they found on remote Pacific islands in the 1950`s and 1960`s
    who thought WWII was still going on.
    Quit being cry babies, and take the loss with some honor. I am like a lot of people i`m not going to spend $150 for a machine with only two studios backing it, with only a handful or so movies i would want in HD. Besides didn`t Toshiba say up converting gives you a nearly perfect picture for your standar dvd`s. Gee my blu-ray will do that.
    Also unimount has been very tepid in support of late for HD-DVD, of late. Who knows what ll happen in six months or so.
    Also Universal screwed up the upcoming American Gangster HD-DVD, only the theatrical version will be in HD, not the extended version.
    DUH, I wonder if it`s because HD-DVD does not have as much storage space on them.
    Meanwhile i fear the HD-DVD ship is sinking, is that “Nearer My God to Thee” I hear the band playing?

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