[opendtv] Fiddling With Format While DVD's Burn

  • From: Monty Solomon <monty@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: undisclosed-recipient: ;
  • Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 00:41:47 -0500

Fiddling With Format While DVD's Burn

December 26, 2005

The war for control of the next-generation DVD is approaching a 
critical juncture: next week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics 
Show, companies championing the two competing high-definition DVD 
standards - Blu-ray and HD-DVD - will unveil their lineups of new 
players and movie titles.

There are growing signs, though, that the battle for supremacy in 
this multibillion-dollar market may yield a hollow victory. As 
electronics makers, technology companies and Hollywood studios haggle 
over the fine points of their formats, consumers are quickly finding 
alternatives to buying and renting packaged DVD's, high definition or 

"While they fight, Rome is burning," said Robert Heiblim, an 
independent consultant to electronics companies. "High-definition 
video-on-demand and digital video recorders are compelling, and 
people will say, 'Why do I need it?' " when considering whether to 
buy a high-definition player.

The fight between the Blu-ray and HD-DVD groups is based on different 
views of what consumers want. The HD-DVD camp, led by Toshiba, 
assumes that consumers will buy high-definition DVD's and players, 
but only at the right price. So it is improving existing DVD 
technology, which can be made cheaply and quickly.

The Blu-ray group figures that something brand new is needed to get 
consumers interested, so it is developing discs with enough capacity 
to allow for innovative features in the future.

Both sides agree, however, that now is the time to introduce 
high-definition DVD discs and players. Sales of high-definition 
televisions, with their sleek design and superior picture and sound 
quality, are soaring, and the major networks are broadcasting more 
programs in high definition.

Game console makers like Sony see high-definition video games as a 
way to increase sales, and Hollywood hopes that high-definition discs 
will offset slumping sales of current-generation DVD's in the $19 
billion prepackaged disc market.

Yet the alternatives to these new players and DVD's are growing by 
the day. The most promising is the on-demand programming, both 
standard and high definition, being offered by cable companies. The 
percentage of cable customers who watch on-demand television has 
doubled in the past year, to 23 percent, according to the Leichtman 
Research Group.

With thousands of free movies available at any time, consumers have 
fewer reasons to rent a DVD at Blockbuster or buy a new one at Best 
Buy. They are also likely to think twice before spending $1,000 or 
more for a new high-definition DVD player, or $25 or so to own a disc 
of a movie they might already have in standard definition.



You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at 

- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
unsubscribe in the subject line.

Other related posts:

  • » [opendtv] Fiddling With Format While DVD's Burn