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CES: what will it mean for HD?

As previously mentioned, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) starts tomorrow in Las Vegas. All the major players will be out in full force, and both sides of the high definition home video war - HD DVD and Blu-ray - will be in attendance, touting their wares. I haven’t yet said much about the early buzz regarding what we can expect to see tomorrow, but I feel that now is as good a time as any to point out that the HD landscape looks set to change dramatically, with the introduction of HD DVD/Blu-ray hybrid discs from Warner and a HD DVD/Blu-ray hybrid player from Lucky Goldstar. This, to me, says that neither side made any real headway over the Christmas period, and at least some companies are buckling down to make the most of a market in which both will be around for a long time.

Would I buy a dual-format player? I can’t deny that it would be nice to be able to play any HD disc that came out, but I can’t say I’d be willing to plunk down the $1,200 (US) that this player will initially cost, even if I did have that kind of money to burn - especially when you consider that, for the time being, there are at most five Blu-ray exclusive titles that I would even consider buying (a number that will most likely drop to two if Lions Gate go dual-format as predicted). For the time being, I expect this house to stay HD DVD-only, but it’s nice to know that the option is there to get in bed with both in the future without having to own two different players.

Speaking of Blu-ray, here’s their latest boner: apparently the blue camp can’t get picture-in-picture working because the only player that supports it is the Playstation 3. How, then, did Lions Gate manage to enable picture-in-picture on their recent release of The Descent? Answer: by including two copies of the film on the same disc, one with a video window superimposed. Nice to know those 50 gigabytes are being put to good use.

Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2007 at 6:57 PM | Comments: 5
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | HD DVD | Technology



I think that hybrid players will have a higher chance of taking off than hybrid discs. I don't see rival companies wanting to cough up money on royalties.

There's apparently a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that states that there are 695,000 consumers who own Blu-ray or HD-DVD players compared to 300,000 DVD players sold in their first year of release.

That divides into 400,000 PS3s, 25,000 stand alone BR players,120,000 stand alone HD-DVD players and about 150,000 HD-DVD xbox360 add-ons.

Though technically there are more Blu-ray players sold, not every PS3 owner bought a PS3 for the purpose of watching or buying Blu-ray films, where as you could that its true in the case of HD-DVD standalones/add-ons.

Posted by: broadwayrock, January 7, 2007 8:01 PM


Yeah, I’m very wary of any analysis that counts every PS3 as a Blu-ray player. Technically it can play Blu-ray discs, but I would equate that to counting every PC with a DVD drive as a DVD player - in which case only a small percentage will ever watch a DVD on their computer.

I agree that a dual-format player is much more likely to make an impact than a dual-format disc. If the price of Warner and Universal’s DVD/HD DVD combos is anything to go by, Blu-ray/HD DVD combos will probably cost a fortune and further confuse an already baffled public.

Posted by: Whiggles, January 7, 2007 8:12 PM


If BD went all VC-1, I'd probably go neutral but like you, there aren't many BD exlusive titles that would prompt me at time being. Warner and Universal have been doing some really good title selection as opposed to almost every other studio paramount included

Posted by: , January 7, 2007 10:33 PM


Yeah, Paramount are a joke at the moment. They don’t seem to give a damn about HD at all - I mean, they released, what, 11 titles last year?

Posted by: Whiggles, January 7, 2007 11:18 PM


I must admit the dual-format player does have some appeal for me. It doesn't look like the format war is going to be over any time soon and that in itself is putting me off taking the HD plunge. I'd like to see someone other than LG making 'em, though.

On the other hand, I'm not buying anywhere near so many SD DVDs now because there's a voice in the back of my head going "HD... HD... HD... ". At least it's saving me money, I suppose.

Posted by: Philly Q, January 7, 2007 11:53 PM

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