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Blu-Ray//HD-DVD battle: Who was actually fighting...

by shawnlin / February 17, 2008 11:13 PM PST
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by navsimpson / February 17, 2008 11:32 PM PST

I just blogged about this - that the limit of the 'free market' is that 'choice' is constrained by backroom deals and corporate self-interest. Sony put a Blu-Ray drive in the PS3 to create another revenue stream. Warner, Best Buy, Netflix et al accelerated the end of the format war to try and mitigate slowed growth in DVD sales and end consumer hesitation about HD discs. Companies, as they always do, were looking out for their bottom lines. If HD disc sales take off (while they'll never match DVD, they might still become a profitable business) then the fact that we'll be buying Blu-Ray discs will not be a result of the 'market having spoken' but will be another example that displays that the 'free market' is as much dictated by vendor/manufacturer interests as it is consumers' desires.


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No surprise
by surfpark / February 18, 2008 10:41 AM PST

Yeah, I'm not surprised by this at all. Even with a mass effect of everyone buying HD-DVD, it wouldn't have changed the outcome. The key is to get the distributors to sell the product. This is why many people decided to wait and see. Unlike an election where everyone is encouraged to show their support, many people were advised to just stay out of this fight...and if someone had to pick a side, choose wisely.

When you're dealing with companies, proprietary hardware, and bottom lines...the only real winners are the shareholders. Buck the customer from any equation...this was was fought with money, not politics.

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Customers were not kept from participating.
by minimalist / February 18, 2008 1:55 PM PST
In reply to: No surprise

This was just an example of supply with not all that much demand. The demand may (or may not) increase with a single unified format (my guess is that it will). But nobody kept consumers from participating. In fact, the consumer's lack of adoption sent a pretty strong message. So the supply side has made some adjustments.

The DVD format was decided behind closed doors too, but interestingly nobody who is criticizing the way this went down was all up in arms about that.

Industry standards are good things. When you sell a consumer electronics device for media playback, you are not just selling a product. You are selling a promise to support that product for years to come. Without the common ground of an industry standard you just have fragmented market and the mainstream consumer stays home.

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(NT) well said
by chrisemcleod / February 19, 2008 1:01 AM PST
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And this is why I've never understood the argument that
by minimalist / February 19, 2008 2:39 AM PST

the format war was actually a GOOD thing for consumers. Where did this misguided idea come from that claims ?Sony will have no incentive to lower prices?? Last time I checked neither Sony nor any of the other me,bers of the BDA had any control over what Samsung, LG, Sharp, Panasonic, etc charged for their players or what Warner, Lionsgate, etc charged for their movies. Making money off of Blu-ray is just like making money off of any other licensed industry standard (HD-DVD, DVD, VHS, AAC, MP3, etc). Pay your licensing fees, meet the minimum specifications and you are free to sell your products for whatever price you deem appropriate.

So why on earth would any of the Blu-ray manufacturers rest on their laurels now that HD-DVD is gone? Does anybody actually think they would rather sell players and discs to a million people or to 100 million?

It might be helpful for people to remember that, in 1997 (almost 2 years after the first DVD player hit the market) the cheapest DVD player I could buy at the time was almost 400 dollars and discs routinely cost between 30 and 40 dollars. This is all just a natural part of a product?s life cycle.

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by Renegade Knight / February 18, 2008 10:47 AM PST

I'm going to kick around DivX. I haven't looked at this format yet, but it looks like DVD Menu System funcionality is part of the format all in an single file.

Maybe that's going to be the real winner.

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I Forgot to Add
by Renegade Knight / February 18, 2008 10:48 AM PST

HD-DVD was the more consumer friendly format. Less Digital Restriction Management.

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