Blu-ray Olive Branch...?http://www.digitalbits.com/#mytwocents
Well... the Microsoft counterstrike for HD-DVD never materialized this evening. I spent a couple hours waiting in line to get into Bill Gates' big CES opening keynote presentation, and it ended up as much ado about nothing with respect to the format war at least. The house was packed as you'd expect, but not a single time in the entire hour did Gates or his associates mention the HD-DVD format, which is interesting, because VERY reliable sources had informed us that, prior to Warner's Friday announcement, as much as 30 percent of the presentation was originally devoted to HD-DVD developments connected to the Xbox, Xbox Live, etc. Neither did Gates announce any kind of ultimate Xbox 360 with a built-in HD-DVD drive, though he did reveal that British Telecom and other CE companies will be partnering with Microsoft on Xbox-based media devices.
Instead, the focus of the presentation was on Microsoft's plans for "the next digital decade" in which Microsoft devices and software will allow consumers to access their media (photos, music, movies, etc) over a variety of devices and in any location, from the home, to cell phones, to your car and so forth. Software was demonstrated that, for example, can assemble a series of separate digital images into a single extrapolated panorama. Other software was teased that can recognize faces and locations, so your cell phone will one day identify where you are, show you where you want to go using Virtual Earth and 3D maps, help you find nearby services (like restaurants and stores) and even let you buy movie tickets over your Windows enabled portable device, all via highly intuitive, more natural interfaces. These same devices will recognize your voice commands, touch, gestures and even your facial expressions. The overall concept is that you're always connected, your devices always recognize you, and your media goes whereever you do. You can share your media with friends online, and everywhere you go you'll find hot-links to contextual online content.
I hadn't been to one of Gates' keynotes before, and this was apparently his last (as he's stepping down from his role at Microsoft to get more involved with his foundation), but it was largely geared toward hard-selling Microsoft products and services with the help of various celebrity appearances, video clips, etc. Bill is nothing if not the ultimate software guy - a 21st century Barnum. But again, there was not a single mention of HD-DVD.
One last note this evening: That idea I floated yesterday, that the BDA should offer an olive branch to HD-DVD consumers? I mentioned it to senior BDA executives this evening, and I think you can safely say that they're going to move forward with something along these very lines in the weeks ahead. We'll post more when we can, but the idea was definitely warmly received. In fact, plans are already in the works. We'll post more on this as things develop.
We'll be back tomorrow night with more on the BDA's press conference tomorrow evening, and any other interesting news that comes out of the show tomorrow. Stay tuned...
and this is what he was talking about prior...
I actually posted this earlier today, as part of my original comments this afternoon, but we've gotten such a strong positive response to the idea, that I felt it was important to break it out into its own post this evening for emphasis.
I was thinking last night about how HD-DVD fans must be feeling right now, in the wake of Warner's announcement of their intent to go Blu-ray only later this year. We've gotten more than a few e-mails from them over the last 24 hours, as you might imagine, and they're understandably feeling a bit down right now. I have to say, however, that with just a few exceptions, they've been very classy today in accepting what most of them acknowledge is the defeat of their preferred format with good grace.
Given that, I think it would be wise at this point for the Blu-ray Disc Association and its member studios and manufacturers to make a peace offering of sorts to HD-DVD supporters. Warner and the rest of the BDA should make some kind of offer to HD-DVD enthusiasts that would allow them to exchange a few of their HD-DVD discs for Blu-ray versions of the same titles, or to provide some kind of additional discount on Blu-ray players to those who have purchased HD-DVD players prior to December 31st 2007, to help them migrate to Blu-ray more easily and painlessly. It would be a nice gesture. It's not like both camps aren't giving tons of free discs away already in "buy one get one free" offers. It might cost the BDA a little up front, but the goodwill it would generate among enthusiasts would be worth the expense, I think. It would be a nice way to welcome HD-DVD consumers into the Blu-ray fold, and it's a way to help put this format war foolishness - and the acrimony that it's inspired online - behind us. It's worth considering.
Our next post will be tomorrow, with a little luck, from CES. Stay tuned...
Can ya feel the Blu-ray love, warming your HD DVD heart?
See...that's quite classy of the BDA if this comes to fruition for you HD DVD guys. This means you might be able to turn in your HD DVD players or Discs for either discounted hardware or discs. So, ya never know, it may be more to your advantage to take this olive branch from the BDA than to try and buy a Universal player.