Menu
Warner's Blu-ray Disc move has industry buzzing

Warner's Blu-ray Disc move has industry buzzing

The decision by Warner Bros. to drop HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray Disc for high-definition movies has set the electronics industry abuzz. Announced on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show, the move put a single question in the minds of thousands of industry-insiders heading to the show in Las Vegas: Could the high-definition format war be over?

Since both formats launched they have been locked in a battle that pitted some of the industry's biggest consumer electronics companies against each other. Backing Blu-ray Disc has been Sony, Panasonic and Samsung, while HD DVD's main supporters have been Toshiba, Microsoft and Intel.

The battle also divided Hollywood and left consumers with a difficult choice: their favorite movies were likely split between the two formats and there was a risk the player they bought would become irrelevant. As a result consumers kept away from the formats and sales have been sluggish.

Warner's decision will give Blu-ray Disc an advantage in terms of content. With the move, five of the big seven Hollywood studios now back Blu-ray Disc with only two, Paramount and Universal, backing HD DVD.

The Warner announcement certainly put the HD DVD Promotion Group's CES plans in disarray. Within hours of the announcement, the group cancelled its scheduled Sunday-evening news conference and subsequent media interviews at CES.

"They're definitely regrouping and considering their options at the moment, this could be extremely important," said Tom Coughlin, a storage analyst at Coughlin Associates. "This could be the beginning of a major pivotal turning point in the high-def format war, which if we could define the format which is going to win would be extremely important for the industry because this would free up consumers to start making decisions on the purchase of their systems."

Better sales would help consumer electronics manufacturers increase production and that would in turn lead to lower prices, said Coughlin. Those lower prices would then lead to better sales and that would help the entire industry, he said.

Warner touched on the format battle's impact on the consumer electronics industry in a statement announcing its move.

"A two-format landscape has led to consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition, which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption and becoming the important revenue stream that it can be for the industry," said Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner's home entertainment group in a statement.

Whether or not the fight is really over remains to be seen.

Toshiba said it was "quite surprised" by the announcement from Warner "despite the fact that there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD DVD."

"We will assess the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluate potential next steps. We remain firm in our belief that HD DVD is the format best suited to the wants and needs of the consumer," Toshiba said in a statement.

For some, the Warner decision marks the end of the format battle.

"I think the war is over. HD DVD has lost. It really is game-over for Toshiba and the other vendors," said Robin Harris, an analyst with Data Mobility Group. "The basic issue is not technology. It's about distribution, it's about marketing, it's about content and Blu-ray has been winning the content war for sometime. I don't know why [Toshiba] keeps pouring money into it, it's time to stop."

Harris credited Sony's inclusion of Blu-ray Disc in the PlayStation 3 with being one of the instrumental moves in winning the fight for Blu-ray Disc.

"I think Sony's brilliant move and one of the few they have made in this effort is putting Blu-ray into PS3," he said. "Even though PS3 hasn't sold so well in the console wars, in terms of being a platform for Blu-ray distribution it's been a success for them and I think that's what really put Blu-ray over the top."

The praise comes as Sony has finally started to see PlayStation 3 sales pick-up after a year of sluggish sales. Ironically the company has been often criticized by analysts and the media for the inclusion of Blu-ray Disc in the device as that contributed to a high price that put many consumers off buying the high-def games console.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags blu-rayhd-dvd

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments