Friday, September 07, 2007

The State of High Definition Media in Home Theater

A recent post on a friend's blog indicates that the state of HD media may be looking up with the introduction of two new "combo" players that can play both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD media.

I'm sorry to report that I feel differently.

Back when I was single, I was clearly crazy enough to lay down $1000 for a player, but these days I don't even get interested until there's something below $400 and baring special circumstances, I think I player has to be less than $200 before I would drop my hard-earned cash on it. Now of course, all new electronics start out at a ridiculously high price point geared toward enthusiasts and then eventually drop into the realm of affordability, but that takes time, and it's not clear if the general consumer is even interested in a "combo" Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player. In fact, it's pretty clear that consumers, in general, don't care.

This recent article, on, analyzes the state of the market.

As I've posted before, I recently purchased a Sony Playstation3 to use primarily as a Blu-Ray player, and I don't regret my purchase at all. I also don't regret my SACD player purchase or my DVD-Audio player purchase, but I don't know too many people that own those players either.

As as been arguing for years now, a format war does nobody any good. It generally creates confusion in the market and often nobody wins just like what's happened with SACD and DVD-Audio.

After seeing Transformers in movie theaters recently, I walked out thinking that I needed a "High Definition" player because this was one movie I didn't want to re-buy later on in a High Definition format. When it comes out I wanted to buy it on High Definition right away. I wasn't sure which studio produced Transfomers, and I did realize that with the current format war it was possible I was going to buy the wrong system, but the Playstation3 ran its pricing promotion shortly after that and I was sold. I was also presently surprised after connecting to the Playstation Store for the first time that the trailer for Transfomers was downloadable... I thought that was a sure sign that Transformers was coming to Blu-Ray.

Since then, Paramount (studio behind Transformers) and Dreamworks got a big check from Toshiba (primary supporter of HD-DVD) and now those studio are HD-DVD only for a year and half (at least).

And I lose.

Consumers are staying away in droves from High-Definition media for situations just like this despite increased sales in High Definition televisions.

There are some people that feel that the "next generation" video format is going to be downloadable "on-demand" services and not media at all. We've heard that promise before and its failed to really come to fruition. Besides, I think that smells of a clever way to milk more money out of us all.

This format wars needs an end.

For the record, is sticking with the recommendation that Blu-Ray is the format that will ultimately win if either of them does, but they concede that there is a 3rd possibility and that's neither format will win... and that means all of us lose.

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