Blockbuster goes Blu-ray, HD DVD=beta?,


Blockbuster announced they will go exclusively Blu-ray. How much will this effect the format wars? Will this send HD DVD the way of the Beta? Could this be the Sony KO punch, or does BB really have that much clout? Sound the alarm or hit the snooze button?
blkadr
it will depend now on what walmart does....the players for both camps continue to struggle.
Jaybo, I do not think that Walmart's primary customer base is into cutting edge tech video and audio. I somehow do not see Walmart being a big player in the format wars. I am sure they would still be selling 8-tracks if they could find a source.

I could be wrong. I only go into my local store about twice a year. Walmart is my last resort store and it usually disappoints.
Just for clarification; of the HiDef video offerings currently available, Blockbuster will only carry Blue-Ray in their B&M stores, but will carry both Blue-Ray and HD DVD on line.
Last year Walmart significantly altered the whole retail video industry with discounted Plasmas. Don't discount, the power of the bottom line and the clout to deliver it. Now that HD DVD players can be bought for $300, don't be surprised if Walmart or another discount giant has a profound effect on the HiDef video market.
Unsound,

I see Walmart as a follower, not a leader. It may jump on a hi-def bandwagon (Blue-Ray or HD DVD)but only after the winner has been decided. Walmart does not make markets (= take risk) for products. It invests in inventory and shelf space after critical mass has been achieved in public demand.

Walmart already carries both BlueRay and HD DVD players.
So tell me, are both these Hi-Def formats in 1020i, or 780p. Nice screw job to all the folks that bought Hi-Def TV's...in 780p. Whoops, now here comes the 1020i format, at $1000.00+ over the 780p TV's. Is anyone [broadcast, cable, or satellite] even offering the 1020i format?

I'm still using a vintage 1996 50" Pioneer analog projection TV, and playing Laser Discs, thank you very much!
Netflix has a complete selection of both formats and no wait time. I stick with the original (Netflix) even though there's a BlockBuster within two miles. 1) All the yrs of getting ripped off by BlockBuster has soured me, 2) BlockBuster is a WalMart/Target mega corp, 3)Netflix is back in my mail every two days
since walmart represents 40% of all video and audio sales in north america, they are the linchpin for any format, if the studios want to eventually have the format succeed. i agree, its not their nature to be on the cutting edge, but if they decide on 'just one' of these formats, the other is a goner.
Never heard of 1020i, but I own a 1080i, and it is being replaced by the newer 1080p this year. I think you were referring to this, were you not?
The local BB store @ Chatsworth and Zelzar carries BOTH--(LA,Sanfernando Valley) Blueray just seems to have more studio support;and THAT makes a difference. I have both formats.---Further,I rent from Netflix and they have both.
Jaybo, The question is who is "they". Walmart is unlikely to make an arbitrary decision. Either Walmart will receive an offer they can't refuse or the customers will vote with their wallets. If sales are uneven enough Walmart may drop one format. And that will be bad for that format and hasten its final days but it may only be an indicator that the format has already lost, not the actual cause.

By offer they can't refuse, I mean some exclusive deal. But who in either camp (HD DVD or Blue Ray)is big enough to make an exclusive deal to the exclusion of the other? I do not understand the distribution model but is there a single distributor of either format that is large enough to create an exclusive deal with the big "W"? That sure wouldn't make the other retailers happy.
Snooker14, I think that I screwed up...was it 720p, now going to 1080i? And I thought that the maximum HD channel bandwidth allowed for either 720p or 1080i, but NOT 1080p.

After some research, I found these interesting websites:

1080i vs. 1080p #1

1080i vs. 1080p #2
This is almost reason enough for me to buy an HD-DVD machine and some disks. I absolutely dispise Blockbuster and am enjoying watching them suffer from Netflix.

I think this will hurt HD but I also think that there are lots of people like me who don't patronize BB anymore due to the poor service they have received over the years.

I hope all those late fees were worth it Blockbuster - you will never get another penny of my money.
Unlike, Beta v VHS there will be universal players that do both formats. Walmart's percentage of the market is huge. As for Walmart's customers not being market makers just remember Joe Six Pack chose VHS over the higher picture quality Beta. Don't forget the international market's influence on if one format comes out on top.

Personally, I expect the high def disc market to be a niche product like LaserDisc, SACD, and DVD-A. Many can't tell that much difference between a regular DVD and high def discs. You need a 1080p set to get the most out of Blu-ray/HD-DVD. The penetration of HDTV much less 1080p displays is still fairly low. Joe Six Pack hasn't likely even run Avia/DVE on his HDTV much less had it calibrated. Then he's still watching so much SD on his HDTV that standard DVD looks really good in comparison.
I think it can be either an excellent move for Blockbuster or a horrible one.

Many people still do go to blockbuster, i do. Reason being is no fricken late fees meaning i can rent a video game for almost 30 days and it will only cost me an extra 1.25... and new movie tuesdays are huge becuase the only time i ever go in is on tuesdays so i can keep the new 2 day rentals for an extra 5 days.

Believe or not blockbuster is still a powerful video company and this decision may altar the race a little. i know for a fact if one of the 3 blockbusters in my area begins to carry blu ray i will surely begin renting them.

Though if somehow blu ray loses the format war. blockbuster is semi-skrewed because they can still sell off their blu ray movies used...but who would buy if hd-dvd wins... nonetheless this will have an impact on blockbuster...
The thing is, Blu-ray players are still $600 and up, mostly up, whereas you can currently get a Toshiba A2 or D2 for $249-299, and a full-featured 1080p (with 5.1 analog output) machine for about $500. Plus they're excellent upconverting players and CD players as well.

Blu-ray's biggest advantage is the Sony pictures juggernaut--Blu-ray exclusivity on releases from Sony Classics, Columbia, MGA, UA, Disney, and Fox.

HD DVD's advantages are lower price of admission, excellent digital transfers on most releases so far (bravo Universal), a higher standard for required audio, ability to play CDs, etc.

One thing that puzzles me however is that so far all HD DVD players are Toshiba (plus LG if you count their dual format player), whereas you can get Blu-ray players from Sony, Sanyo, Pioneer, Panasonic, and Philips.

In the past, Sony shot themselves in the foot with Beta by refusing to license it to other mfrs, while JVC made VHS available to everyone. Toshiba also got industry-wide buy-in on std. DVD when it came out. So I wonder what's going on with HD DVD? Is Toshiba trying to keep the technology to itself or are other manufacturers simply not throwing in with Toshiba this time?
Don't forget that Sony's Play Station 3 will play Blu-ray, so there a huge market penetration due to the sale of these machines.

06-21-07: Fatparrot
Don't forget that Sony's Play Station 3 will play Blu-ray, so there a huge market penetration due to the sale of these machines.
And Xbox does HD DVD. But on the worldwide market, you're absolutely correct: Playstation has by far the dominant market share.

Microsoft is accustomed to setting standards, but in the case of gaming, Playstation has far more market penetration.

Having recently acquired a Toshiba A2, I wonder if I bet on the wrong horse given the disparity in studio support for the two formats, but at $249, I guess I can afford to for now. If I "lose", I still have a really good upconverting DVD player and a very decent CD player, and current Blu-ray players don't do CD.

For now, Sony is sitting in the catbird seat based on movie studio support, but the high price of Blu-ray players is blunting the theoretical advantage.
Never the less, with the introduction of the sony s300 at 500 dollars starting price (only to go down) also is rumored to play cd's.

the best buy near my house just got ours in yesterday and i wasnt set up yet so i havent had a chance to check it out but as far as i know its very good quality

On matters of the Toshiba... my guess for right now is they are trying to get a payday. they are probably hoping to beat the blu ray and then possibly make a lot of money if they win due to "trust" because they have been making them the longest helping them to sell the most.

Another rumor is there is going to be a "wal-mart" brand blu ray player. then again there is a reason it is a rumor so it may not be true.

Honestly, i am pulling for blu ray because there is still room for expansion as far as the possibilities because of the memory of the discs themselves.
Playstation 3 is the only Playstation that can be a Blu-ray player. Wii is outselling PS3 right now by 4 to 1. Xbox 360 is the Xbox that you can add an external HD-DVD player to.

Research firm Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) revealed that there are 1.5 million Blu-ray players in the U.S., compared to only 300,000 HD DVD players. But while the HD DVD hardware base is a nearly equal split of set-top boxes and Xbox 360 HD DVD players, the Blu-ray camp is divided up into 1.4 million PlayStation 3 systems and 100,000 set-top boxes.
Blu-ray Disc Beating HD DVD...Thanks to the PS3
Actually Blockbuster will carry HD-DVDs for online rentals. Walmart coming out in December with 199 players for HD-DVD from China and not selling any blu ray devices is the true KO and Blu-Ray will likely be the Beta.

Netflix will probably get more business from this actually over time, since their marketing is more straightforward and untainted by backroom palm greasing.
Also, most folks with PS3 dont watch Blu-Ray DVDs; The device itself requires the use of a bluetooth game controller, incompatible with the infrared home theater master controls. You can buy another remote for 25 dollars however.

Fundamentally the Blu ray disc is a bit of technologic problem because it requires much more processing and hard drive space to function than an HD-DVD player; thats why they really havent been able to roll out all of those purported added features on the blu ray discs. When the do, current blu ray machines will be obsolete; and amazingly, may not even play the upcoming changes in blu ray disc technology. Lots of infighting too. Just too much basis cost to deliver the product.

HD-DVD is straightforward and elivers the goods, with out all of the false Hullaboo about a "Blu Ray victory is ineveitable" and other marketing drivel. Cart came out way efore the horse. Chinese HD-DVD players will detrmine the market, the 720P displays will disappear, and HD-DVD players will be defacto Walmart type products, delivering outstanding pic and audio performance for under 200 dollars. First format with players under 200 dollars wins; most folks won't pay 500 or more for a DVD player. The value isnt perceived as being there, as Standard DVDs really are still quite nice.
I just bought the Sony S300 it upconverts DVD's nicely and plays CD's too. I hear that $400 will be the price point at Xmas.

IMHO, it is the lack of content/new realeases coming out on HD-DVD that will drive people to Blu-Ray. I already have most of the movie DVD's I want....so I wanted to ensure I get the most out of what is newly released (I do not plan to re-purchase my existing collection in HD or Blu Ray format).

A salesperson told me Blu-ray players are outselling HD-DVD 6 to 1 but this was not what deecided me.

Check this out Product Wars
Lack of content depending on what you watch. There are many movies on HD-DVD that you cant find on Blu Ray. Its about top movies.

The European studios are almost 100% HD-DVD and Asia is leaning that way too.

I like foreign films personally.

Salespeople work for places that are paid to "Place" products favorably. Blu-Ray has greased a lot of palms.
A salesperson told me Blu-ray players are outselling HD-DVD 6 to 1 but this was not what deecided me.

That is if you include Playstation 3 sales but there is no way to know if a PS3 is being purchased for Blu-ray or gaming. 150,000 stand alone HD-DVD players have been sold v 100,000 stand alone Blu-ray players.

06-24-07: Rysa4
Fundamentally the Blu ray disc is a bit of technologic problem because it requires much more processing and hard drive space to function than an HD-DVD player; thats why they really havent been able to roll out all of those purported added features on the blu ray discs....

HD-DVD is straightforward and delivers the goods, without all of the false hullabaloo about a "Blu Ray victory is ineveitable" and other marketing drivel. Cart came out way before the horse.
That's the way I see it too. Blu-ray is *not* the better mousetrap. HD DVD is a more elegant solution, requiring less storage space to achieve equal resolution, standard interactive features, and standard high-def surround sound schemes which are optional on Blu-ray.

I hope the public sees it that way. I think Blu-ray is so complicated and memory-dense that it'll take years to work out the bugs and realize the theoretical potential. You can have it all right now with HD DVD.
I am not sure if you are all aware but someone has already hacked the HD-DVD format over the Xmas holidays 2006.

This could be another factor that is driving content providers and industry support towards Blu-Ray.

In essence the lower technology hurdles and lower cost may seal the fate of HD-DVD....ironic though this might be.

You might envision a future with Blu-Ray media only used for consumer players (protecting copyright) whilst PC's move towards HD-DVD burners for data etc. I can imagine those industry execs worrying about copy protection being thwarted so easily by PC users. Of course they will worry about the higher manufacturing costs of Blu-Ray too....but the greater hurdles and tighter control on copy protection may win the day.

I recall how Sony went after the company that did Playstation 1 emulation - in the end they have proved themselves at defending a controlled proprietary game console format....and that must be what they pitch to Hollywood. Remember that game consoles are often sold at a loss with profit taken from content sales and peripherals.

Think about it...which is the lesser of two evils?

Sony makes big royalties but has the money and major incentive to protect the medium from piracy. Hollywood studios will want this even if distribution costs are higher (as they plan to pass these costs on to customers).

Equipment player manufacturers would probably prefer the other way round....HD-DVD means no royalities to Sony...a lower cost product, higher sales growth and fatter margins (and who cares if there is piracy...as wide cheaply available media will just result in more player sales!)
There's so much spin coming out of both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray camps that it's hard to really get a clear picture of what's really happening in the marketplace.

Talking off the record to mass market dealers, neither format has seen significant adoption up to this point. Gross sales have been described as "dissapointing."

Still, it's far from over.

And no matter how much we deride Wal-mart, they have snuck their way up to being #2 in mass-market CE behind Best Buy, and are gunning hard for #1. They've got a lot more savvy than I would prefer to give them credit for.
actually you can tell if ps 3's are being sold for gaming or blu ray... just look at sales of the actual movies... then you can tell who is beating who...
"actually you can tell if ps 3's are being sold for gaming or blu ray... just look at sales of the actual movies... then you can tell who is beating who..."

That doesn't really work either. If every gamer bought just one title to check it out that is a heck of a lot of sales. So far, sales swing back and forth based on who has the hot titles being release. Now if titles were being released on both formats and we could see those numbers.
06-26-07: Newbie13
So far, sales swing back and forth based on who has the hot titles being released. Now if titles were being released on both formats and we could see those numbers.
Paramount and Warner release in both formats.

There are some titles, however, that Warner has so far only released in HD DVD. Not sure if Paramount has done the same thing.

But they have certainly released some titles in both formats.
lol if you check one out you will get hooked... almost all the big movies coming out are AVAILABLE on blu ray some on HD DVD ... more consistancy on good movies for blu ray
Not to be negative, but I've sat through a lot of demos of both formats, and have yet to be wowed by any of the content beyond what I've seen done by good DVD-players that upconvert 480p content, or a dedicated scaler component for that matter.

I'm just not sold yet.
Not to be negative, but I've sat through a lot of demos of both formats, and have yet to be wowed by any of the content beyond what I've seen done by good DVD-players that upconvert 480p content, or a dedicated scaler component for that matter.

If you get Planet Earth box set (either HD-DVD or Blu-ray)just remember to catch your jaw before it hits the floor....it is simply stunning!

06-26-07: Leedistad
Not to be negative, but I've sat through a lot of demos of both formats, and have yet to be wowed by any of the content beyond what I've seen done by good DVD-players that upconvert 480p content...
I have a 720p/1080i RP LCD 55" Hitachi display I've been viewing for 1-1/2 years. This past Spring I experienced a noticeable upgrade by getting a cable/DVR box with HDMI input to the TV. About 3 weeks ago I also added Toshiba's entry-level HD DVD player.

My observations so far? HD programming is all over the map. Some of it has been phoned in, some of it is pretty good, and some of it is stunning. At the bad end is the cable broadcast of "Da Vinci Code." It's in 16:9 aspect ratio, but that's about it. I've seen better resolution on upconverted standard DVDs. No kidding. I wonder if that's what the Blu-ray looks like?

In cable, however, one of the best sources I've seen is the UHD channel--Universal Studios' HD. It's a 1080i channel and some of the films that come over it look great--far better than upconverted DVD.

With my own HD DVD machine, the best disks definitely look better than cable HDTV because--even though the resolution is the same 1080i max--with the faster transfer rate the picture looks sharper because fast motion does not produce pixelation. This weekend I watched the HD DVD reissue of Spartacus. Although it wasn't the sharpest image I've seen, that is mostly attributable to the source, because I could actually see the film grain consistently throughout the movie.

Finally, I got a taste of the future at a Best Buy display of a Sony 1080p Blu-ray demo disk playing into a Sony 1080p LCD Bravia direct view screen. I had to get within 14" of the screen to see dots or picture elements at all. Anything beyond that looked continguous and organic. Granted, this was a demo disk, tweaked to bring out the best in the signal chain, and some of Sony's own Blu-ray releases won't approach it in sharpness, texture, or color resolution, but it *is* indicative of the potential of the medium.

This demo elevated the paradigm. HD DVD can also do 1080p so that format can probably equal what I saw. What I saw was a picture quality that in sharpness, motion, color saturation, color gradation, and most of all, texture, exceeded anything I've seen at home or in a theater. Before seeing this demo, I'd only hoped for home theater to equal the picture experience in a good theater.

It had never occurred to me that it could exceed it.
If you get Planet Earth box set (either HD-DVD or Blu-ray)just remember to catch your jaw before it hits the floor....it is simply stunning!

That's the BBC series you're talking about, Shadorne? I shall seek it out, then.
You can get Planet Earth from Netflix in standard DVD, HD DVD, or Blu-ray.
That's the BBC series you're talking about, Shadorne?

Yes it is currently the best selling HD-DVD and Blu-ray title on Amazon.

I agree with Johnny...some stuff is excellent and some is mediocre and barely much better than DVD. A lot depends on the individual production quality.

I am watching on 1080p on a screen with full 1920 x 1080 pixels on the screen. Any HD TV with less than the exact and appropriate pixels (to match the source) will not quite give you the full monty.
I went for the Toshiba D2 from Costco. At $249 and 5 free HD DVDs its hard to pass up. HD and upscaling looks very good, plus the free HD DVDs, I can watch the format wars play out in relative comfort.
I bought the PS3 for Blueray
it's great!

If BestBuy favored one format that would probably settle it
they go with a dual player
i work at best buy
we sell everything although i am not a fan of the lg dual player i think you would be better off spending 500 on the sony s300 and 400 on the toshiba a20 lol and it would cost less and you can use the interactive menu on the hd dvd player. look for hd dvd end caps to pop up within the month though. best buy has not even started to lean to a side yet
07-02-07: Blkadr
I went for the Toshiba D2 from Costco. At $249 and 5 free HD DVDs its hard to pass up. HD and upscaling looks very good, plus the free HD DVDs, I can watch the format wars play out in relative comfort.

I will say that price points like that add a new factor to consumer's decision-making: The "why the heck not?" factor. For $249 you can throw caution to the wind and take the format for a ride, as opposed to spending a grand and having a 50% chance of it turning into a doorstop.
I went for the Toshiba D2 from Costco. At $249 and 5 free HD DVDs its hard to pass up.

I will say that price points like that add a new factor to consumer's decision-making: The "why the heck not?" factor. For $249 you can throw caution to the wind and take the format for a ride

Agreed, however, at $249 + 5 free movies, I assume the player is selling for about $150 (almost as cheap as the cheapest DVD players). This is disasterous for a new technology - it means the technology is essentially worthless - selling it at costco implies it is low tech too (cool image factor/pride of ownership is very low).

People said the same about Apple iPod...when the iPod came out late to the market, the experts said "nobody would pay so much money for a portable music player that has copy protection!". And then "experts" realized that it was all about listening to music, ease of use (iTunes store) and a certain "cool" or exclusive factor rather than price.

Blu-Ray owners have the pride of owning a slightly better and more expensive technology with more disc space and, more importantly, having access to far more of the latest hot movie releases from the studios (remember it is often about content and protecting content providers copyrights and NOT the widget itself - this is the same factor which drove the iPod and drives game console wars).

I see no future in HD-DVD without major defections from studios supporting only Blu-Ray (something HD-DVD supporters must be desperately praying for and strategically pushing by flooding the market with cheap low cost players everywhere...the MP3 player makers tried the same thing to fight Apple). I may be completey wrong but this is my hunch.
Shadorne, you make an excellent point about prestige ownership vs mass-market consuption. The accelerated race to zero for HD-DVD is troubling when you compare it to the more gradual price compression of DVD. By comparison, the decine of the price of CD players was graceful and stately over a ~30 year period.
The accelerated race to zero for HD-DVD is troubling when you compare it to the more gradual price compression of DVD.

When competitors fight brutally on price...the only winner is their customers. Even stores like Best Buy and Circuit City will logically prefer to sell a higher price Blu-ray over a Toshiba player...even if the markup (which is very small on electronics) is the same then the higher priced item will yield more to the bottom line. Currently they need to sell two HD-DVD players for each Blu-Ray player to make the same net....although a lot of profit comes from selling the "super duper" expensive cables and other accesories ( accesories were a big factor that drive iPod's also...just as replacement plastic cell phone belt clip holders cost $30 !!! )
For sure. In the case of the iPod, the accessory market is critical for retailers because the dealer markup on iPod is <10%. But I digress.

07-05-07: Shadorne
Currently they need to sell two HD-DVD players for each Blu-Ray player to make the same net....although a lot of profit comes from selling the "super duper" expensive cables and other accesories...
Yeah. Unless you get a special edition DVD player from Costco or Sam's, hi-rez DVD players *never* come with the HDMI cable. Circuit City sells the 6' Belkin HT HDMI cable for around $100. You can get the identical cable in identical packaging at my local Sam's Club for $22.

The computer printers are the same way. Get a Lexmark printer for $99, but it doesn't come with a USB cable. USB cables at Circuit City and Best Buy are around $60, but you can pick up a 3-pack at Sam's for $15-20.
Actually there is more overall content available on HD-DVD than Blu Ray- there is almost no adoption of Blu Ray among European studios, and none in Asia as well. Blu Ray is actually inferior technology; The disks are more difficult to author ( thats why there are so few game titles for Playstation three). Also, the generational steps of Blu Ray hardware is causing early obsolescence among early adopter Blu Ray player buyers. A very expensive waste for them. Blu Rays hunger for hard drives space and processing is a burden and factors directly into its higher cost than HD-DVD. Its not better- its just more expensive to build to do the same thing HD-DVD already does.

The lower production costs of HD-DVD players is the reason they cost less- nothing else. AS far as studio adoption--its a 60% vs 90% issue among American studios. Its more about which studios have the more popular movies- not who theoretically can make the most-- both sides have large catalogs and can produce mass numbers of Hi Def re-releases for years.

The lower production costs both for players and disks means HD_DVD will win this in the end, and the lack of any international support for Blu Ray to speak of seals the deal.

I am all for a bunch of dual-format players. That makes it easy---but it will be a bit too late before that becomes ubiquitous among offerings. Barring unforeseen change ( which could happen)- its HD-DVDs game to win come Christmas and the Walmart adoption of lower cost chinese made HD-DVD players. There are no blu ray licenses in China for Hardware-- and that dog dont bark-- as they say.

If you can't make electronic in CHina, then you cant compete on price, and you wont succeed in the mass market.
shadorne,
i work for best buy and they are close to even as far as how much it costs for the store...
thing is hd dvd players can sell for less because they can make more money with their discs because they cost so much less to make than a blu ray disc

blu ray has to make some profit because of the higher cost to produce the discs by selling their superior players for a higher price... :)