Dear High-Definition DVD Makers: Get a Clue from Sirius and XM and Merge

Not long ago, my husband and I finally caught up to latest and greatest entertainment trend: HDTV. It really is true that once you go HD, you never go back. Therefore, instead of being behind on high-definition movies, I found myself stumbling upon a nice HD-DVD player this past weekend. The player comes with King Kong, a smart move on Microsoft’s part to provide a high-quality movie with the kit to convince consumers like myself to go ahead and seek out the exciting technology that is known as HD-DVD.

King Kong was superb in HD. Wow. I decided that I would stock up on my Netflix account with some DVDs for later viewing… except, well, I came across a lot of these:

Blu-Ray and DVD Format only?

Where’s my HD-DVD format when I need it?

That’s when I did some searching and realized that there’s a huge Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD war going on. Now, my clueless self (until now) is personally affected. Am I the only one? I doubt it.

Apparently, HD-DVD was doing well for awhile, but it looks like Blu-Ray is gaining momentum. Still, here’s what Google is telling me:HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Trends According to Google

Putting both formats and their multiple spellings together, there’s an apparent equal amount of interest in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, or perhaps I’d emphasize a little more on HD-DVD (because Blu-Ray is largest in Japan, Sony’s headquarters, and there’s an obvious personal interest in that country). So why are my movies going to the company that built a shoddy video game console that everyone wants to get rid of and that people are trying to now sell at a major loss? (Furthermore, why does the Blu-Ray player seem to be selling worse than a 16-year-old video game console?)

Ah, yes, there’s more that meets the eye: Columbia Pictures, the American film and TV production company, is owned by Sony!

I certainly see the future bringing a player that plays both formats (for a ridiculous price when it is publicly available), but it would be nice if the formats would converge so that I don’t have to buy anything extra, and especially not a PS3 (which, to me, appears to be a failed console at this time). The Microsoft-Sony war for high-definition DVD is finally affecting the consumer. Therefore, I think my message deserves to be heard.

Dear Moviemakers,

If you are going to produce a high-definition version of your movie for public consumption, please consider producing the movie on both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD formats. However, if you really want to use one format, please consider HD-DVD. Furthermore, I really don’t care where your loyalties lie because the end user is the consumer and not Sony.

(Yes, a letter geared to my personal interests … though if I owned a Blu-Ray player, I’d be saying just the opposite.)

With Sirius merging with XM, I think that HD-DVD and Blu-Ray makers should take a clue.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what’s done or how it’s done, but now that I am personally feeling the brunt of this format war, I’m annoyed. I’m happy that the rest of the world has not invested in these players yet. But now that I have and people are continuing to follow suit, something needs to change.

5 Comments

  • Marty says:

    Hi Tamar,
    I’d suggest doing just a bit more research at retail locations. There are Blu-ray disc players available from many more companies than Sony. Most of the major consumer electronics companies (i.e. Panasonic, Samsung, Philips, Pioneer, Sharp, etc.) all have Blu-ray players. On the other side, HD DVD, you’ve got one manufacturer, Toshiba. On the games side, as you note, you’ve got Playstation 3 with Blu-ray Disc versus X-Box with a peripheral drive you can pay extra for to enable you to watch movies in HD DVD. And when it comes to movies, probably the most important point of all, almost every major Hollywood studio is putting movies out on Blu-ray Disc (and most of the studios are only putting their movies on Blu-ray, not on HD DVD. The key reason for this is most likely the fact that Blu-ray Disc offers more capacity — 50GB on a dual layer disc — whereas HD DVD seems to top out at 30 GB. The extra capacity is needed for extra features on high-definition. It’s expected that for a new format to last more than just a few years, there will be a need to add capacity over time and HD DVD simply doesn’t have the same ability to grow over time. I hate to say it, but it sounds like you’ve bet on the wrong horse.

  • Thanks for the information, Marty. Actually, my Microsoft HD-DVD player is a Toshiba-brand player (at least that is what my computer tells me).

    I’m definitely clueless about these high-def format considerations (as I’ve admitted), and my agenda at present is more personal (my loyalties lie in HD-DVD for obvious reasons). I suppose I did bet on the wrong horse, but I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing yet; it’s more of an annoyance than anything right now and I’m looking to wait it out. I think that whatever the case may be, a combined format would be ideal, rather than having manufacturers being pulled in different directions as is the case right now. But if it ultimately means that my HD-DVD player will be defunct in a few months’ time, so be it. It’s a lesson to be learned. :)

  • And it gets even more promising.

    So now I wonder who is going to prevail in this war. Perhaps it is going to be HD-DVD with the larger capacity after all!

    I suppose we’ll keep playing it by ear. But it looks exciting for me. Now when are my movies coming out on HD-DVD? :)

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