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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is the future really Blu?

Ok, I am back from my break.. With the holidays and CES (I worked the whole show - a week in Vegas is 4 days toooo long) I needed some time to rest. So at CES our good friend Warner turned the tables on HD-DVD, backing only Blu come May of this year. The announcement was a shock to many and the reason they defected made very little sense. If you are truly concerned with the Economy (because of rising gas costs, housing, etc) your best move is to continue to back both formats as Warner is making money off both. This really bothered me along with the noise on the show floor that strongly suggested that Blu paid to end the war. I heard 400 million on several occasions but of course had no evidence. Then the week after CES some news drops of what really went down. A reputable reporter for the Pittsburg Post Gazette claims that Fox was going to defect from Blu to join Warner in the HD-DVD camp. This started to explain my Fox had been selling Blu-Ray discs at 2 for 1 prices in Nov and Dec. Remember when I talked about Blu-Ray yields and cost production and many of Blu Fan boys called me a liar? Strange how the main motivator for Fox was Blu-Ray production costs and issues.. Apparently Blu paid 120 million to get Fox to stay and then Warner felt like they had no choice but to side with Blu helping to bring things to an end (after taking a reported 500 million). It appears Warner did not want go over to HD-DVD alone... On some level you have to appreciate Warner aggressiveness in ending the war. They did make a real effort to back the superior format first but when $$$ prevailed, HD-DVD was doomed.

With Blu finally embracing features that made HD-DVD the format to beat, things "should be" ok but unfortunately the consumer will pay for Blu's victory. The PS3 is the best Blu-Ray player the camp has. Not because of Visual Quality but because it can support profile 1.1 and 2.0. Other Blu owners are screwed scrambling to spend more of their hard earned cash on future players. Visual performance of the PS3 is weak. The PS3 suffers from soft images just like the 1st gen Samsung player (Samsung 2nd Player schools the PS3 in visuals). It is a shame that the camps best player is "half-ass" with profile support but weak visuals. Remember, the PS3 is a software player and not driven by an SoC (System on a Chip). Microsoft did a much better job on visual performance with the 360 HD-DVD Player than Sony did with Blu-Ray support in the PS3. Will Sony work to improve the visual quality of the PS3 (actually putting the CELL to work)? I sure hope so because right now it is the only player to own.

With Blu's ever changing profiles and high cost, Blu will never reach the mass acceptance that DVD has. HD-DVD has a damn good chance to take on DVD as the prices are getting very close to the sweet spot but Blu is doomed and Digital Downloads will rule the future (believe that). At CES this year Digital Content was front and center ready to dominate our digital lives in the near future. :)

from : The High Definition World... Simplified!

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