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Blu-ray and HD-DVD fight kicks up a notch amongst critics [Update]

With our PS3 Blu-ray library growing week by week, we try to stay abreast of the latest in fervent format war discussion. More recently, the ongoing battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray polarized opinions of two key industry critics. Last week, Harry Knowles over at Aint It Cool News, posted a write-up of his decision to "go HD DVD" with his purchase of the Toshiba HD-A2 player. In response, Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits, interjected and laid down what we perceive to be one of the most well written responses on why HD DVD will not win the HD format war. Attacking all fronts, we most enjoyed the Digital Bits interpretation of the porn industry's influence on HD DVD (or lack there-of), and their critical stab at Toshiba and their price drop on HD DVD players, likening it as an act of desperation for a doomed format. Certainly a good read for our Blu-ray fans.

[Update: After comparing the two, we felt compelled to change the "picks" to "kicks" in our post title, as suggested in our comments. Thanks, BlackBeltJones.]

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(Page 1)

1. "and their price drop on HD DVD players, likening it as an act of desperation"

Sony announced last minute yesterday their new Blu-ray standalone player price has been slashed from 599 to 499. I guess that's "desperation" too? The problem with the Digital Bits is it takes some good points (if blu-ray ever matches the price, HD-DVD is doomed) and shoots it to the moon with hyperbole ("$100 off the player = DESPERATION!"). Bill Hunt has really lost touch with the whole format war. He was widely respected during the DVD era, but let's be fair, there wasn't a format war for people to get emotionally invested.

What I have to wonder, though, is if this will affect PS3 sales. For a while, the PS3 was the cheapest blu-ray player, and people were picking it up JUST for blu-ray movies. Will this lead to slower adoption?

Posted at 1:44PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Space_Butler

2. I couldn't care who wins the "war" tbh as long as both formats have there fair share of films and such out.

I'll be getting the 360 HD addon soon just so I don't miss out on any HD-DVD exclusives.

Posted at 1:45PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Luke

3. @ElwoodJD
Thanks for being honest. You can compete with its install base by lowering prices for sure. There will be games for the ps3 and come fall, with home, lbp, and many other titles, then you can claim problems if the pickup rate doesn't increase. I know as the previsou owner of 6 360 consoles, the 360s reliablity its a shambles, one that converted me to the ps3. Most won't given the imbalance of games but when that turns around, I know many who will. Of course if the 65nm unit fixes it, I will respect M$, but they haven't even bothered to resolve this issue near 2 yrs in, I doubt they have the knowledge to rsolve it once and for all. Hell, it shouldn't be that way in the first place. :)

Posted at 2:13PM on Jun 5th 2007 by John Mayock

4. This response seems a desperate rant to what seemed to be a personal journey into the HD format.

Posted at 2:21PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Welshbloke

5. All this talk of war -_- God Dam it!!!

Lets play GAMES!!! ...... O yey the only thing to talk about with Ps3 is the Blu-ray drive =(

Posted at 2:31PM on Jun 5th 2007 by L

6. #3

It really depends on the context. Obviously we cannot link to every price drop in the technical market as an act of desperation. Prices drop for many reasons to spur sales, sometimes it's because competition, sometimes it's because manufacturing costs have gone down. For HD-DVD, it sounds like it's neither of those two. Sure, Blu-Ray players are dropping in price, but HDDVD still maintains the cheapest players. It seems like they're just trying to drop the price as low as possible to increase the adoption rate. But let's say something first, the "desperation manuever" comment was that of the Digital Bits, not PS3Fanboy, or Sony or anyone else.

The PS3 is different in a few ways, first, if Sony did drop their price, it would be because of lower manufacturing costs, and because it's price is significantly higher than that of the 360. Price is a major impedance to the PS3.

Toshibas HD DVD player on the other hand, is the lowest price player on the market yet they are continuing to drop the price despite the fact that this advantage has not changed.

It would be as if the 360 dropped it's price by 100 or 150 in order to drive themselves into the red just to spur sales. Sure, if their manufacturing costs had gone down, it would make sense, but what if it didn't? Even if they still maintained a 100-200 dollar price advantage over the PS3?

The PS3 is heavily criticized for being so expensive, and seeing as it's 600 and the most expensive console, there's alot of credit to that statement. So when Sony drops the price, it would be due demands for a cheaper PS3, so it would be more affordable. But really, how many knowledgable early adopters are criticizing HD DVD for being too expensive? Comparatively speaking to Blu Ray or combo players? $300 vs. $600 vs. $1200? (respectively)

Sorry if my post is messy, I was doing a few things while writing this, but I think my point stands. They're in really different positions.

Posted at 2:36PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Taylor B

7. "and their critical stab at Toshiba and their price drop on HD DVD players, likening it as an act of desperation for a doomed format."

The same could've been said about the BD disc sales earlier this year.

Posted at 2:37PM on Jun 5th 2007 by h0mi

8. I would like to mention something, and you can apply this to just about anything in tech.

When expensive things get cheaper, it's expected, but when the cheapest things, suddenly get cheaper, it's worth examining.

Posted at 2:42PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Taylor B

9. HD-DVD exclusive LOL LOL LOL. Damn thats funny. I've seen very little if anything that perks my interest in that format. But I guess thats what happens when you only have one Studio supporting you. Even the porn on HD-DVD is inferior. So it's pretty easy to believe that the price cut is a true act of desperation. They're despritly trying to up their install base. Any moron, except MS Fanboys can see that.

Posted at 2:48PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Ed

10. the sad thing is that the bottom line is that is isn't the same war as betamax vs. vhs.. it's an unfair war. If all movies were available on "BOTH" formats then we could have a fair battle ,but the article has one thing right and if your a fan of HD-DVD sorry to say this ,but blu-ray is a safer bet because whether you like sony or not they do have a lot of influence in this market and all you have to do is look at the computer world and note that pc's have blu-ray drives and burners out on the market NOW...HD-DVD isn't doing anything in this arena. HD formats are great ,but if you can't copy your own stuff the niche group of people out there won't buy your shit..sorry toshiba maybe next time your try a bit harder..maybe?

Posted at 2:57PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Doc

11. #3 - At least your an honest fanboy!!

Heres the thing - Its the playstation BRAND vs the Xbox BRAND. Even though the PS3 costs a fair bit more then the 360, the 360 is still quite expensive.

The PS2 is still outselling the 360. The Xbox 180 is dead. PS2 sales + PS2 install base + PS3 sales = a TON MORE 360 sales + install base of Xbox 180.

Posted at 3:15PM on Jun 5th 2007 by TK00

12. whoop typo:

I meant : a TON MORE then...

Posted at 3:16PM on Jun 5th 2007 by TK00

13. By the way , Joystiq: I think this site gets a lot of traffic, no? You got to be making some money. Invest in a web 2.0 dev and get a simple EDIT feature for the comments. It's a pretty common feature.

Posted at 3:19PM on Jun 5th 2007 by TK00

14. "This response seems a desperate rant to what seemed to be a personal journey into the HD format."

It's a very dickish response, is what it is.
I'm a vegetarian, a Mac user and pretty much a Nintendo fanboy.
Being all those things, I've had to deal with those kind of, "YOU'RE WRONG, STUPID!" responses for AGES. I really do hate when people tell you that a personal choice that made that has no course altering impact on your life is wrong.

Personally, I don't give a hoot one way or the other about BR or HD-DVD. I fully intend to sit on the fence until players are around $150 and a winner is chosen (if there even is one).

Posted at 3:30PM on Jun 5th 2007 by samfish

15. Exactly why I won't buy in to either format. I will stick with DVD till its death, and when the dust is settled, there won't be HD DVD or Blu Ray, we will just store the data on hard drives and be done with it.

Posted at 4:01PM on Jun 5th 2007 by blasphemizer

It was only a matter of time before the 360 / HD-DVD trolls would question and try to spin the honest truth spoken by Bill Hunt of Digital Bits. If you have not read this lengthy piece, I encourage you to do so because it's one of the best well written explanations of why HD-DVD is failing from a non-subjective point of view. To call Bill Hunt a subjective Blu-ray fanboy would be ignorant if you know anything about the man or the respect he commands. Like it or not, he calls the truth over and over again.


HD-DVD is dead. Live with it and move on. If you own a HD-DVD player, try and sell it before the bottom falls out.

Posted at 4:06PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Breeze

17. I think Taylor B's hit the nail right on the head. Good call.

As far as PS3 sales go, I think Sony's just about saturated the market for people who are willing to shell out copious amounts of money for the latest tech (including those who needed a Blu-ray player this early on). Unfortunately, I don't see us moving past four million this year. 2008 will be a good year for us, but it won't mean a damn thing if 360 or Wii have already reached critical mass (ala PS2 circa 2003).

Samfish, you are wrong, stupid. Thanks for letting us know that you're the hippest hipster in town. Take your popped collar, black rimmed glasses and fauxhawk elsewhere.

Posted at 4:24PM on Jun 5th 2007 by upz

18. @17

"If you own a HD-DVD player, try and sell it before the bottom falls out."

sorry mate, too busy enjoying the Matrix trilogy on it to listen to you rantings......

Posted at 4:25PM on Jun 5th 2007 by WTangoFoxtrot

"sorry mate, too busy enjoying the Matrix trilogy on it to listen to you rantings......"

So you're the ONE that bought it. I'd sell it too.

Posted at 4:50PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Breeze

20. Harry Knowles is such a misinformed geek. It was probably Eli Roth who told him HD-DVD was the best. Yeah, like you can rely on the guy who directed Cabin Fever and Hostel. Yawn.

His post was FILLED with inaccuracies and wild guesses. Odd for someone who claims to have researched it a lot.

Posted at 4:55PM on Jun 5th 2007 by Brian Spence

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