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Warner Bros. opts for Blu-ray over HD DVD

post #1 of 83
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Movie studio Warner Bros. has confirmed that it will switch to releasing HD movies only in the Blu-ray Disc format, potentially ending HD DVD's run in the marketplace and affecting the computer industry as a consequence.

The Hollywood business says it will continue producing movies in the two next-generation disc formats until May of this year, when it will use Blu-ray alone. Regular DVDs will still be sold alongside the HD format.

Abandoning HD DVD is a difficult decision but a "strategic" one based on a shifting balance of power between the two disc standards, Warner says. Since more customers are buying Blu-ray titles, choosing the one standard may help decisions at store shelves. Prices for movie players are said to be low enough that encouraging competition between the rival standards is no longer necessary.

"The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger," Warner Bros. chief executive Barry Mayer explains.

Dropping the standard is expected to create a tidal shift in the balance between Blu-ray and HD DVD. While both formats have until now offered a similar amount of movies in their format, Warner's defection may place as much as 70 percent of all major-label HD movies in the Blu-ray camp.

The timing of the choice may prove crucial for Apple. Both analysts and AppleInsider sources have indicated the Mac maker is likely to fully endorse Blu-ray as early as this month's Macworld San Francisco Expo. The company is a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association but has also included basic HD DVD support in its video editing software.

Microsoft has so far put most of its weight behind HD DVD and has supported the medium both through an Xbox 360 add-on and by encouraging use of the format by PC makers.
post #2 of 83
Oh dear. Let the posturing begin. I don't think we'll hear the end of this from either side, be it the shills, cheerleaders or trolls.
post #3 of 83
naturally you have me to thank for this... I knew whichever format I chose would the loser, someone had to be a scapegoat \

Anyhow, I do not see this as the end by a longshot... prices on HD DVDs will plummet because of this, and the average consumer won't be up on the news that HD DVD will soon be dead, or even if they are on the up and up they will buy HD DVDs for $10 a piece... this will cause another major imbalance in numbers... very very interesting how this is all unfolding.
post #4 of 83
I've actually never seen a side-by-side comparison of either format to be able to judge which is better in terms of quality. I know BR holds up to twice as much info - but both formats seemed DRM'd to high heaven.... I guess I really don't care what Warner does...
post #5 of 83
Don't ya just love it...... changes at light speed........ or make that ray speed.
post #6 of 83
Since I want to use optical discs for data, not just for movies, I want the format with the higher capacity to become dominant. That's BD. (And as nice side effects, a BD can hold more minutes of video, and can offer more advanced interactivity.)

Besides, it's just easier to say BD than HD-DVD
post #7 of 83
I'm glad to hear this 'cause I have a PS3. Now I'll hope for The Matrix in blu-ray. Planet Earth on blu-ray is amazing, and 300 is fricken' sweet also.
post #8 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post

I've actually never seen a side-by-side comparison of either format to be able to judge which is better in terms of quality. I know BR holds up to twice as much info - but both formats seemed DRM'd to high heaven.... I guess I really don't care what Warner does...

There is no longer any point in side-by-side comparison. The format war is over, even the HD-DVD people are saying that now.
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post #9 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacojohn View Post

I'm glad to hear this 'cause I have a PS3. Now I'll hope for The Matrix in blu-ray. Planet Earth on blu-ray is amazing, and 300 is fricken' sweet also.

I think the Matrix was always on the way, I think WB was waiting for BD Profile 1.1 or 2.0 before they release it.
post #10 of 83
Apple and Microsoft were only ever bit-players in the BlueRay v.s. HD DVD battle. It was always going to come-down to the content/equipment suppliers and it was Sony's and the "Keiretsu" backing of BlueRay that made its eventual success a forgone conclusion.
post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post

I've actually never seen a side-by-side comparison of either format to be able to judge which is better in terms of quality. I know BR holds up to twice as much info - but both formats seemed DRM'd to high heaven.... I guess I really don't care what Warner does...

In retail, I think a side-by-side comparison would probably be rigged like some recent pro-Monster Cable side-by-side comparisons, which would look better would depend on who is paying for the display or the biases of the person or store setting it up.

In just the movie, the differences aren't that great with respect to sound and video quality. They are both very good, I don't think any retail display can do either format any justice.

Now, HD-DVD had an advantage in interactive features for a year now, but that's going away.
post #12 of 83
Cool...I don't care who won. It just means now I can go out and commit and go by a player. Maybe I'll even get a PS3 now that the PS3 does PiP.

First on the list of movies. Blade Runner 5 disc Ultimate set. Then Hmmmmmm Gattaca.

But wait! What if Paramount or Universal commit to HD?
post #13 of 83
I just like blu-ray for the extra storage space...can't wait until I can burn 50GB on a single disk.
post #14 of 83
I've seen HD-DVD players going for under $200 recently. I wonder if this is why?
post #15 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Cool...I don't care who won. It just means now I can go out and commit and go by a player. Maybe I'll even get a PS3 now that the PS3 does PiP.

First on the list of movies. Blade Runner 5 disc Ultimate set. Then Hmmmmmm Gattaca.

I bought a PS3 and use it primarily to play movies. It's a very nice piece of hardware and since you can do other stuff on it I thought it was a much better buy than a standalone BR player. I've only got one game for it (Oblivion) until Little Big Planet is released.
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post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

I've seen HD-DVD players going for under $200 recently. I wonder if this is why?

I don't think so, they were $200 a few months ago. I bought one of the $99 close-out models. I guess it might be kind of a waste now. It's not a sure thing, but many of the top sellers in HD were WB.
post #17 of 83
But of course! Blu-ray is so superior to HD-DVD that it is weird the latter is still alive. I only hope the new Macs come with a Blu-ray SuperDrive capable of both movie playback and rewrite for backups.

Sales comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlOGSl13O1k

Market share: http://paulstamatiou.com/2007/12/28/...ray-vs-hd-dvd/
post #18 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

But of course! Blu-ray is so superior to HD-DVD that it is weird the latter is still alive. I only hope the new Macs come with a Blu-ray SuperDrive capable of both movie playback and rewrite for backups.

They will.
post #19 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Besides, it's just easier to say BD than HD-DVD

Unfortunately, there are lots of people that look at me funny when I say Blu-ray. I have to say Blu-ray DVD player or something. HD-DVD is kinda self explanatory.
post #20 of 83
Now I just need Apple to release Blu-Ray burners for the Mac Pro so I can drop one in the free disc slot, and then add Blu-Ray burning functionality to iDVD (which will probably need a name change).
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post #21 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gm7Cadd9 View Post

naturally you have me to thank for this... I knew whichever format I chose would the loser, someone had to be a scapegoat \


Nah, it Microsoft we have to thank. They have the anti-midas touch where everything they touch turns to Zune "brown"... Vista OS delayed and then released to mixed reviews, getting into the mp3 market just as demand levels off, Ballmer laughing off the iPhone, going with the HD-DVD format... those guys just can't get a break.\

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post #22 of 83
I really didn't know which way this thing was going to go at the beginning. Now it is crystal clear, with only 2 studios left on board HD DVD there is no way on earth it can survive. Expect Paramount to change its mind again and Universal will probably switch even sooner. I would expect major announcements this week from all involved.

BD is the winner, there can be no doubt or confusion about it any longer.
post #23 of 83
Yay! A third thread on the HDM war!
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post #24 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by docprego View Post

I really didn't know which way this thing was going to go at the beginning. Now it is crystal clear, with only 2 studios left on board HD DVD there is no way on earth it can survive. Expect Paramount to change its mind again and Universal will probably switch even sooner. I would expect major announcements this week from all involved.

BD is the winner, there can be no doubt or confusion about it any longer.

Agreed. I did feel the writing was on the wall for HD DVD sometime in the past few months.

With Sony + WarnerBros + Fox, then like you mention, Paramount... Game over.

I'm browsing the Blu-Ray titles, and it looks sweet.

"Sunshine" (Fox Searchlight) in Blu Ray. That should be fricking, fricking awesome.

My Blu-Ray wishlist:

Resident Evil: Extinction
Sunshine
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Paprika
The Die Hard Collection (Quadrilogy)
Pixar Short Films Collection, Vol. 1
Wall-E (Disney/Pixar, late 2008 on Blu-Ray)
2001: A Space Odyssey
Gothika
Underworld
A Few Good Men
Deliverance
Arlington Road
The Fifth Element (Remastered)
Usual Suspects (Available?)
12 Monkeys(?) (Better post-apocalypse than Legend by far)
Contact(?)

It goes on...

As you can see, I'm more into Sci-Fi, Thriller, a bit of Animated
here and there.

Each disc for me is the equivalent of USD $100+
Tragic.

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when I can DRM strip it and make pure lossless backup
on duplicate hard disks.

My master 1080p collection for 2010 to 2015.
post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

Yay! A third thread on the HDM war!

The war is over.
post #26 of 83
Yeah, the war's been over ever since HD DVD failed to get half the holiday media sales that Blu-Ray did. When you're being outsold more than 2:1 in US retail, 3:1 in Europe retail, and 4:1 in rentals, you're pretty much just jockeying for better terms of surrender. And it pretty much all came down to Blu-Ray being standard on a PS3. The PS3 may be in third place for games, but it's sure a game-changer in video.
post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by docprego View Post

I really didn't know which way this thing was going to go at the beginning. Now it is crystal clear, with only 2 studios left on board HD DVD there is no way on earth it can survive. Expect Paramount to change its mind again and Universal will probably switch even sooner. I would expect major announcements this week from all involved.

Paramount can't switch, because they were paid a large amount of money by the HD-DVD group (meaning Microsoft) to offer their movies exclusively in HD-DVD format. I don't know what they can do about that, if there's a time limit or another way to get out of it.

It may not look like Microsoft was deeply involved in the format, but my understanding is that HD-DVD is based on Windows Media in some way. Does anyone know more about that?
post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Yeah, the war's been over ever since HD DVD failed to get half the holiday media sales that Blu-Ray did. When you're being outsold more than 2:1 in US retail, 3:1 in Europe retail, and 4:1 in rentals, you're pretty much just jockeying for better terms of surrender. And it pretty much all came down to Blu-Ray being standard on a PS3. The PS3 may be in third place for games, but it's sure a game-changer in video.

To be fair, the reason Blu-Ray's been outselling HD DVD in all of those markets is because by and large the only people buying high-definition movies are PS3 owners who got a player for "free" with their game console. Time will tell now if Blu-Ray can expand beyond "movies for PS3 owners" now that a winner in the format war is far more clear. A recent survey found that 75% of HDTV owners feel that DVD is "good enough for them". It's hard to sell a product that people don't want.
post #29 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Paramount can't switch, because they were paid a large amount of money by the HD-DVD group (meaning Microsoft) to offer their movies exclusively in HD-DVD format. I don't know what they can do about that, if there's a time limit or another way to get out of it.

It may not look like Microsoft was deeply involved in the format, but my understanding is that HD-DVD is based on Windows Media in some way. Does anyone know more about that?

Not really. I don't think Microsoft got into the game until the summer of last year, a lot of the format was pretty settled on by then. The VC-1 video CODEC is based on WMV9. But both formats offer VC-1 if the author so chose to use it. The implementation of HD DVD HDi scripting language is done by Microsoft, but Microsoft didn't design the spec, oddly, much of that spec was done by Disney.
post #30 of 83
I think this is great news. I would really be glad to see this war over.

I also think if we had an Apple TV with a BD slot that would be an ideal machine. I would want it to also play DVDs. That way I could have my cable box plus the Apple TV and do almost anything.

I would digitize my vhs tapes and kill my dvd/vhs box.
post #31 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

To be fair, the reason Blu-Ray's been outselling HD DVD in all of those markets is because by and large the only people buying high-definition movies are PS3 owners who got a player for "free" with their game console. Time will tell now if Blu-Ray can expand beyond "movies for PS3 owners" now that a winner in the format war is far more clear. A recent survey found that 75% of HDTV owners feel that DVD is "good enough for them". It's hard to sell a product that people don't want.

Fair enough. However, I don't think that "new" people getting into HD movies would be still 50-50 split on Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD. People that are getting into HD movies are at this stage more likely to go Blu-Ray than HD-DVD.

That the success of Blu-Ray right now is due in a large part to the PS3 is a reasonable argument. It definitely follows though that as such there is a large "installed base" and thriving Blu-Ray ecosystem.
post #32 of 83
Can Blu-ray support (along with all pro app updates) be the big super secret thing Apple is supposed to show FCP users during Macworld? I already see an updated Mac Pro with a Blu-ray drive.
post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by PGDavis View Post

Apple and Microsoft were only ever bit-players in the BlueRay v.s. HD DVD battle. It was always going to come-down to the content/equipment suppliers and it was Sony's and the "Keiretsu" backing of BlueRay that made its eventual success a forgone conclusion.

Maybe bit players, but MS has depended on HD-DVD to drive X-Box sales, so this could be significant negative news for them, which very few are commenting on here.

Though I guess they can bring out a BR external drive, since it's (often, usually, always?) not built in (you can see how much I game, NOT).

Apple's mostly invested words and maybe a little more R&D than we know about, so now they can start to cash in on having backed a probable winner. How about a blu-ray option on the Apple TV 2 (if they're still going that direction)??

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post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by macnick View Post

Can Blu-ray support (along with all pro app updates) be the big super secret thing Apple is supposed to show FCP users during Macworld?

No, that's Phenomenon.
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post #35 of 83
I think the big picture for Microsoft is that they hate paying royalties and licensing fees. They love collecting them. My theory is that MS does not want to have to pay a fee to Sony for every copy of every piece of hardware and software it makes that supports Blu-Ray. From what I have read, the HD-DVD was a much better business deal for manufacturers of hardware and software (manufacturers other than Sony). Wouldn't it piss MS off if Sony made more money off of each and every new PC sold than they do?! I'm thinking ahead to the day when an HD disc drive becomes standard equipment on commodity PCs like DVD is today. Come to think of it, will the next X-Box have to support Blu-Ray? That could mean a higher production cost. I'm sure they are getting a sweet deal on HD-DVD.

Here are a couple examples of MS avoiding royalty payments. Look at how screwed up DVD support is in Windows. As far as I can tell, that's all so some other company pays the DVD related royalties. I would also cite MS' decision to roll its own look-alike fonts for Windows rather than pay for the rights to fonts like Helvetica, not to mention Adobe's industry standard printing and markup system, Postscript.
post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

But of course! Blu-ray is so superior to HD-DVD that it is weird the latter is still alive. I only hope the new Macs come with a Blu-ray SuperDrive capable of both movie playback and rewrite for backups.

Sales comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlOGSl13O1k

Market share: http://paulstamatiou.com/2007/12/28/...ray-vs-hd-dvd/

Please STFU. You don't know what you're talking about.


Many of us following the war knew that after the Paramount deal the money was going to talk and the BS walk. Paramount got paid to go exclusive and now Warner has gotten paid. End of story.

Strategy won this war not superior hardware. For chrissakes we don't even have BD Profile 2.0 which would draw Blu-ray close to HD DVD of today in specs.
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post #37 of 83
i think it's sad, even though BD is the better format, i don't like how sony handled BD and that's why HD DVD has been around so long. it's terrible to release an unfinished standard to consumers like sony did.

i like HD DVD better simply because of the combo disks - if i only have one hd player, then i want my movies to work on my kids' dvd players and in the car where there is no hd. it's unfair to double charge people when all you're paying for is a license.

pirating is sadly the best way to go. no DRM, no BS, and no uncertainty about which format will screw over consumers.
post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

To be fair, the reason Blu-Ray's been outselling HD DVD in all of those markets is because by and large the only people buying high-definition movies are PS3 owners who got a player for "free" with their game console. Time will tell now if Blu-Ray can expand beyond "movies for PS3 owners" now that a winner in the format war is far more clear.

Oddly enough, the HD DVD boosters have been arguing the opposite all along. "Most PS3 owners play games only. They don't buy movies!" "HD DVD is the movie lover's format. People buy HD DVD players because they want the movies, not games." (Not direct quotes.)
post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Please STFU. You don't know what you're talking about.


Many of us following the war knew that after the Paramount deal the money was going to talk and the BS walk. Paramount got paid to go exclusive and now Warner has gotten paid. End of story.

Strategy won this war not superior hardware. For chrissakes we don't even have BD Profile 2.0 which would draw Blu-ray close to HD DVD of today in specs.

Maybe you should take your own advice.

I have no doubt that Warner received money or other massive incentives for their decision, but it wasn't the only reason they dropped HD DVD unlike Paramount's move. Warner's decision makes a winner pretty clear, which obviously clears up the confusion for consumers on what format to purchase. And retailers can now start clearing out their HD DVD stock. Warner's decision probably secured the survival of both HD and physical movies for the next decade.

Could you point me to an online feature that an HD DVD had that is worth mentioning? The majority were just pointers to more marketing crap (and I'm probably being generous because the vast majority of HD DVD titles didn't provide any online content). I think the only one worth mentioning is Transformers' online features. Other than that one disc, the only truly substantial thing that online abilities have provided thus far is easy access to firmware updates which both sides have consistently needed to remedy playback issues in the new formats.
post #40 of 83
You have to cut Murch some slack. His attitude for the last year or two has been, "I don't care who wins. As long as it's not Sony." Once a Toshiba employee, always a Toshiba employee. This is a big shock to his system. He just needs time to grieve.
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