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HD DVD vs Blu-ray – The Nail is in the Coffin

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Movies | Posted on 16-02-2008


To keep my blog drafts organized I keep an arsenal of blog drafts around using Live Writer.  When an idea hits me I open Live Writer, write down the subject, maybe a few paragraphs of what I was thinking and then I’ll move onto something else.  This keeps blog entries free flowing and allows me to work on them over time.  Some of them never see the light of day.  Some of them get merged into other posts or whatever. 

A few months ago I really really really wanted to purchase a high definition DVD player to go along with my new entertainment center I built out.  The problem was there as no clear winner or a way to determine which player and or format to invest in.  I got to the point of utter frustration and started writing an entry entitled:

HD DVD vs Blu-ray – This really sucks

I didn’t publish my rant about the situation at the time because I was so enraged most of the article was four letter words.  Fast forward to the past few weeks and we’ve seen some major moves supporting Blu-ray as the medium of choice.  Here is sort of a timeline of events that occurred:

  1. January 6th – Warner Brother’s announced they would start to support Blu-ray exclusively.
  2. February 8th – Microsoft cut price of Xbox HD DVD player
  3. February 11th – Netflix jumped ship to Blu-Ray
  4. February 11th – Best Buy recommends Blu-Ray
  5. February 12th – Amazon slashed prices on HD DVDs by 50%
  6. February 13th – Wal-Mart trims HD DVD player lineup
  7. February 15th – Wal-mart drops Xbox HD DVD from online store and picks Blu-Ray officially
  8. February 16th – Nail in coffin:  Toshiba announced it give up on HD DVD format war (56 minutes ago)

The snowball rolling down hill first started when Warner Brothers announced their move to support Blu-ray exclusively.  As soon as Microsoft dropped their Xbox drive prices this is when the ball really started rolling down hill quickly.  Within a few days Toshiba declared a defeat in the format war.  It just shows you how fast information travels in the Internet age.  Who knows, if we had the Internet back during the day VHS tapes maybe have never happened.  For those studying history this really shakes up what many had predicted.  When the adult film industry announced they were going to support HD DVD many said history was just about to repeat itself since that was a turning factor as to why VHS won out.

I don’t really have anything constructive to say about the HDDVD vs Blu-ray war.  As a consumer it just plain sucks to be at the mercy of studios and producers lining their pockets with kick backs because a manufacturer wants their beloved technology to win.  It should be really simple from a consumer stand point:

Choose the one with the best picture.

The problem with going the logical route in the beginning of the format war and choosing the format that was superior is different studios decided to back one and not the other.   This left consumers who purchased a Blu-ray player not being able to play movies that were only produced in HD DVD format and vice versa.  This whole ordeal has been sad and I should have some type of regulation around it I think to stop this kind of stuff from happening again.  Why in an age when I can have multiple operating systems communicate over a standard protocol do I have to put up with two different industries fighting for dominance in the market place?  The short answer is money and licensing. 

Look at the millions of dollars Toshiba is going to loose and then look at how much money Sony is going to make off of this since their technology won.  Sony could easily say for every Blu-ray disc created, we want $5.  This scares the crap of me as a consumer.  Imagine for a moment if the TCP/IP protocol was licensed and controlled to a specific vendor.  Can you even imagine the number of law suits there would be today?  Suddenly IBM and Novell come to mind with token rings and IPX. 

Sony needs to “do the right thing” and just open the format up and let the marketplace go to town.  Sony is not known to play nicely with the other children.  They have created more proprietary devices and gizmos than any other company I can think of.  They started their track record of not playing nice with other children with the Beta Max and I also remember Mini Disc Players and recorders which were cool but didn’t support the already established MP3 standard.  Of course we can’t forget their cameras that don’t support standard SD cards requiring consumers to purchase a higher priced Memory Stick

See a pattern?  Are you starting to get worried that Sony just won the war?  Here is what I predict will happen.  A new kid on the block will emerge that will ultimately trump Blu-ray which will have a higher resolution and more of an open format that one vendor doesn’t control ultimately giving control back to the consumer and the industry.

I’m happy the format war is over but unless Sony handles themselves in a proper fashion it may not be over.  Just remember you read it here first.


Movie: Remember the Titans

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Movies | Posted on 26-10-2000


If you are somewhat of a sports fan (not necassary) then I would suggest checking out “Remember the Titans”. This is the best movie I have seen so far this year. It is based on a true story starting in 1971 when a small town in Virginia was ordered to integrate racially. A new head coach of the football team was appointed (Denzel Washington, who is black) and the rest of the movie is based on his battles with his team, town, and fellow co-workers while building a state championship team. Whether you wait, or go to the theater be sure to add it to your list.

Hollow Man and The Klumps

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Movies | Posted on 07-08-2000


Ellen and I went and watched two movies this weekend! It just worked out that way. The first one we saw as Hollow Man. I still don’t really know what to say about it. The effects were great but we’ve come to expect that nowadays. Not really a plot through most of the movie and the ending was rather bad. A typical horry story ending, the guy sneaks up from behind, the girl saves the day, the villan dies.

The Klumps on the other hand is a different story. Although the movie steered a little away from something “that could actually happen” Eddie Murphy was great. The “Grandma” he plays is really funny. Overall it was funny. Ellen really liked “The Klumps” so she gives it a thumbs up.