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Thread: VHS vs. Beta all over again as Sony and Toshiba compete for your high-def hearts -- a

  1. #1
    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Question VHS vs. Beta all over again as Sony and Toshiba compete for your high-def hearts -- a

    Hi to All

    I have no comment on the following other than i was with Toshiba during the Beta/VHS Wars. Beta a superior product lost in the long term and angry consumers where the big losers overall.

    This smacks of much the same to me.

    Just thought I'd present this so some may gain more insight into the situation for themselves and possibly save a few bucks in the long term. Though a Canadian perspective, it serves both Canada & Elsewhere in its views.
    ==========

    ----

    Sunday Sun, April 30, 2006
    --


    It's VHS vs. Beta all over again as Sony and Toshiba compete for your high-def hearts -- and wallets
    By BRUCE KIRKLAND, TORONTO SUN
    ---



    The future of DVD is here -- and that future is murky, confusing and potentially expensive for you, the consumer.

    The trouble is this. As the 9-year-old DVD revolution evolves into its high definition era, there soon will be two competing formats. It is a situation that Toronto director David Cronenberg recently labelled "a disaster" for filmmakers and the public.

    "It's fascinating," he told the Sun about the potential benefits of high definition DVDs, "but it's still frustrating because what you really want is a universal medium that is accessible to everybody."

    Hollywood studios and multinational electronics companies developing the technology have failed to agree on a single format. So the one-time videocassette war between VHS and Beta is back, this time with DVDs. It's causing skepticism about the survival of either format.

    'WOW' FACTOR


    Backers of both formats claim there's a "wow" factor that will excite anybody willing to take the risk. Both formats offer sharper, more detailed visuals, better sound and vastly more content place for extras, including the possibility of interactive control over the movies you watch.

    The first format on the battlefield is HD DVD. It was introduced in the U.S. April 18 in a low-key, soft rollout -- a whimper, not a bang. Toshiba, which will manufacture the first generation of HD machines, expects to have them in Canadian stores by Friday. But there are only three movies available to play on the new machines: Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby, The Last Samurai and Phantom Of The Opera. Other titles are expected to follow on May 9 and 23 but many chains will not carry any of them until there's consumer demand.

    The second format is Blu-ray. Sony, which developed it and claims superiority over HD, has delayed introducing its machines to June 25, although a first wave of Blu-ray titles is expected May 23. The initial list includes House Of Flying Daggers, Hitch, The Fifth Element, XXX, The Last Waltz and A Knight's Tale.

    The most important thing for consumers to know is that you need a high-definition TV to begin with and you will need a new machine to play each of the new -- and incompatible -- formats. Your existing DVD machine will not play either the HD DVDs or Blu-ray discs. Each of the new machines will play your old DVDs, however. Neither will play the competition's discs, although third-party manufacturers are developing hybrid machines to play both as well as your old DVDs.

    So the DVD war is on. But Peter Jackson, the Oscar-winning director of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and the King Kong remake, predicts both formats will be losers. "In this case," he told the Sun, "I suspect neither format will win. I think they'll both just exist and serve for a few years until eventually DVD itself becomes a thing of the past."

    Jackson said the real future for home viewing will be legal downloads. "In some period of time, within two or three years, DVDs themselves will be replaced by hard drives and we'll be downloading high definition material off the Internet and you'll be storing stacks of hard drives in your house instead of having plastic boxes with DVDs."

    That possibility, as well as frustration with two competing formats, has some people locked in a "wait-and-see" mode. "I'm very, very hesitant about jumping into HD or Blu-ray at the moment," Bill Rammos, the national purchasing manager for Entertainment One, said this week. "I'm very cautious because I just don't think there is that 'wow' factor."

    As well as buying software -- DVDs, videogames, etc. -- to distribute to retailers across the country, Rammos described himself as a tech enthusiast who would normally be eager on a personal level.

    "I fit in that demographic that, with anything cool like this, I've got to have it."

    Not this time.

    The DVD war, Rammos said, "has the potential to be a fiasco. Confusion is the big thing because there are two formats. You're asking consumers to pick one and spend pretty good coin and then cross their fingers that the format that they pick wins."

    Sony strategists are counting on what they consider to be Blu-ray's superior qualities and its convergence with videogames in future PlayStation 3 machines to win the high-definition DVD war.

    But first Rich Marty, vice-president of new business development for Sony, answers the skeptics, saying that the explosion in sales of high-def TVs will fuel interest in high-def DVDs. "There is a definite appetite out there for some new pristine content that can be played on those screens," Marty told the Sun from Los Angeles. "This is really the reason you built your home theatre in the first place."

    Blu-ray is going to gain the advantage over HD DVD, Marty said, because it is the new high-def platform for films, music, games and some computers. "The big thing for us in the convergence."

    PLAYSTATION THIS FALL

    When PlayStation 3 machines come out in November, they will play Blu-ray movie discs as well as games, he said. "For Blu-ray discs, PS3 is really the ace card that we have." That will broaden the audience, he said.

    Sony is also hoping that, with seven Hollywood studios on its side, and only two of them prepared to release their movies in both formats simultaneously, Blu-ray will win. "If you pick HD DVD, you'll miss out on movies from five of those studios." For example, Sony, which owns Columbia Pictures, will release the Spider-Man movies in Blu-ray only. "And that's really what it's all about -- content."

    Well, not quite. Marty said that Blu-ray discs hold 67% more content than HD DVD discs -- and that number is expected to grow. That means staggeringly sharp pictures, uncompressed audio that will sound better than in many movie theatres and huge disc space for more content.

    "The big challenge for us," Marty said, "is to educate the retailers so that they, in turn, can educate the consumers."

    ====

    The companies behind the two competing high definition DVD formats don't like it when you call this the next Betamax vs. VHS battle. And who can blame them? A protracted, messy format war benefits no one, especially consumers.

    But as they say in Highlander, "there can be only one." HD DVD and Blu-ray will co-exist for a time, but consumers will ultimately vote with their dollars and decide which becomes the favoured format and which goes the way of the laserdisc.

    Or maybe confusion will reign for so long that neither will gain ground over the other and digital content delivery will become the true killer app for HDTV.

    Whatever the case, both sides claim the superior product, but there are some strengths and weaknesses to each. We've tried to sort through the stats and claims to present a head-to-head breakdown of Blu-ray versus HD DVD.

    ---


    BLU-RAY

    WHO'S BEHIND IT?

    Sony is the leading flag-bearer, with Samsung, Pioneer, Hewlett-Packard, Sharp, Philips, TDK, Apple, Dell and others throwing their support behind Blu-ray.

    WHEN CAN I GET IT?

    Retailers are cautiously saying the first players will be in stores by the end of June, but some industry watchers are saying they're unlikely to arrive before the fall.

    HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

    One of the first Blu-ray players we'll see in Canada will be Samsung's BD-P1000, which will retail for $1,299. Movies will range in price from $32 to $37.

    WILL IT PLAY MY STANDARD DVDS, TOO?

    Yes

    WHAT MOVIE STUDIOS ARE ON BOARD?

    Warner, Paramount and New Line will back Blu-ray also, with Disney saying that so far they plan to release movies only on Blu-ray. Not surprisingly, Sony-owned Columbia and MGM will release films only on Blu-ray.

    HOW MUCH STUFF WILL FIT ON THE DISCS?

    Maximum storage capacity is 50 GB, theoretically allowing for more hours of video or movie extras per disc.

    HOW PRETTY WILL THE PICTURES BE?

    Will support 1080p resolutions from the get-go.

    WHAT ABOUT VIDEO GAMES?

    Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 will include a Blu-ray drive for movie playback and reams of game data storage.

    WHICH ONE WILL WIN?

    Blu-ray has more manufacturer and studio support, but HD DVD has been gaining ground in recent months. Right now, it's too close to call. And it might stay that way for a long time to come.

    -

    HD DVD

    WHO'S BEHIND IT?

    Toshiba is the major backer, and the first company to release a high definition DVD player. NEC and Sanyo are also in the HD DVD camp, and Microsoft has picked the format for Windows support.

    WHEN CAN I GET IT?

    The first Toshiba HD DVD players will be in Canadian stores literally any day now, with Future Shop and Best Buy pegging Friday as the hardware's release date.

    HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

    Toshiba's HD-A1 will retail for $699 and its slightly more feature-rich model, the HD-XA1, will go for $999. Movies range in price from $32 to $40.

    WILL IT PLAY MY STANDARD DVDS, TOO?

    Yes

    WHAT MOVIE STUDIOS ARE ON BOARD?

    So far, Warner, Universal, Paramount and New Line have said they'll release movies on HD DVD.

    HOW MUCH STUFF WILL FIT ON THE DISCS?

    Maximum storage capacity is 30 GB.

    HOW PRETTY WILL THE PICTURES BE?

    Will support resolutions up to the cutting edge 1080p seen on the newest HDTV models, though the first players will support "only" 1080i and 720p.

    WHAT ABOUT VIDEO GAMES?

    Microsoft has said an HD DVD add-on will eventually be released for the Xbox 360, but that it will only be usable for movie playback, not games.

    WHICH ONE WILL WIN?

    The HD DVD camp has a strong advantage in being first out of the gate, and offering players that are significantly cheaper than the Blu-ray hardware.
    Previous story: Remote control
    Next story: 'Sit back and let everybody fight'

    ====

    'Sit back and let everybody fight'

    Don't bother trying to buy an HD DVD or Blu-ray player at Bay Bloor Radio, T.O.'s most high-profile, high-end electronics outlet.

    Bay Bloor is waiting and worried. "This is likely to be another SACD audio fiasco," warned manager Richard Dawden, referring to a high definition audio CD that failed in the 1990s despite its quality. "SACD is a classic example of something that was a disaster. Yet it is a fabulous format."

    As for new DVD formats, he said, "There are always a number of people who will jump on whatever is brand new. I don't know what's going to win. I've seen them both. What interests me is to wait to see them come to maturity and see which is fair to the customer. Because I'm actually tired of seeing manufacturers taking a run at customers.

    "It's not like we don't like to sell stuff but, with these two new formats, people are going to spend a huge amount of money on it and then they're going to go through exactly the same thing as on SACD -- going to be going crazy at Sam's and crazy at HMV going, 'How come there's nothing to play on this stuff?'

    "I think the intelligent position to take is to sit back and let everybody fight. I'm not saying somebody's going to lose, but certainly somebody's going to get an upper hand."

    ===


    regards

    minir

  2. #2
    SG Enthusiast Kyle's Avatar
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    You'd think that Sony would learn eventually.

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    Junior Member zooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle
    You'd think that Sony would learn eventually.
    nah.

    they've got tunnel vision.
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    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Hi Kyle & zooner


    Its all about Patents & the Licencing of them Fellas. That's where the big bucks are. Whomever Wins this little contest in the long term stands to make Millions off its licencing agreements.

    Sad but that's how it goes and the Customer is stuck in the middle and is the one who usually takes a hosing or wins depending on his decision at time of purchase.

    Thanks Guys and do have a terrific day

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    regards

    minir

  5. #5
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    So reminiscent of the beta vs vhs wars isn't it?
    I've been through this battle once alrready, don't think i'll byte again.
    Sony, with superior but over priced product, Toshiba with a great product but at a better price. I went to the Sony camp at a $1000 for a machine, but soon found I couldn't get titles and switched to vhs for around $700.

    Even the out the gate prices of Blue-ray vs HD are reminiscent of that fiasco.
    Think i'll sit here with my home theater pc and download whatever I want:
    not getting burnt again

  6. #6
    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Hi Chris

    Your decision to me is the most sensible one Chris.

    Funny only 2 days ago i bumped into a neighbour of mine and we got to yakking and it came up that our usual Spring Cleanup Sale was on a few days ago where everyone tries to get rid of stuff they no longer want at a Community Yard Sale and he was laughing that he took his old Beta machine and 50 movies to it not expecting anyone would be interested and was pleased he got $25 bucks for the whole shebang.

    I too had Beta as that's what i was selling, but a Dealer gave me wholesale on a VHS as there were few titles available as time went on and i eventually sold my Beta to a Dealer for a Rental. He had a lot of them out and was desperate for more.

    It will be a struggle i think before someone declares victory by which time something new will have emerged probably.

    Thanks Chris and have a good one

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    regards

    minir

  7. #7
    Elite Member Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle
    You'd think that Sony would learn eventually.
    The company that develops the "winning" format will basically get a royalty check for all products using said format. In other words, if Sony can get Blu-Ray to be the default HD disc format, they'll be making far more dough than they would with a joint Blu-Ray/HD-DVD disc. And SCEJ may just have a large enough trojan horse to pull that off...

  8. #8
    Advanced Member Zerohero's Avatar
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    Why would I buy any of those, that will force me to buy a HD tv, when I chill comfortably with DVD's at a nice decent price? They will probably go out like Laser disc's if anything.
    The Chicken Hawk has spoken...

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    SG Enthusiast Kyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    The company that develops the "winning" format will basically get a royalty check for all products using said format. In other words, if Sony can get Blu-Ray to be the default HD disc format, they'll be making far more dough than they would with a joint Blu-Ray/HD-DVD disc. And SCEJ may just have a large enough trojan horse to pull that off...
    I understand that, it's just amazing how many Sony formats have not made it as a standard over the years.

  10. #10
    Reigning Genious aagiants's Avatar
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    wrote a term paper on this...
    Sony will win i think mainly because of the PS3. ps3 is such a cheap hd media player.

    All-in-all by the time this stuff is ready to be popular Holographic dvd's and digital media will be here already...

  11. #11
    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Hi Jim, Zerohero, Kyle & aagiants
    --


    Jim, Zerohero, Kyle & aagiants

    Nothing like Corporate Greed at play. Consumers be damned. The Bottom Line takes precedence here.

    I recall when Toshiba built its new Headquarters in Toronto just down the street from Sony. The Japanese where here in force to ensure that We were on higher ground than Sony, with a more impressive Building. Very important to them.

    I cracked a joke that when We flushed our toilets theirs would backup. Man did they love that. Busted a gut laughing and many pats on my back for coming up with that one.

    There is extreme jealousy amongst these Manufacturers in Japan and a definite pecking order they follow.

    --

    regards

    minir

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