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Toshiba Subsidizes $200/Unit on New HD Player 222

Posted by timothy
from the making-it-up-in-volume dept.
WestTexasWaltz writes "According to a teardown analysis, Toshiba is losing $200 per unit, of its new HD DVD player, in order to gain some marketshare. Interesting that integrated circuits account for more of the cost than the drive itself. Also, this particular analyst concludes that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will "not be a repeat of VHS vs. Beta" and that a stalemate is the likely outcome."
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Toshiba Subsidizes $200/Unit on New HD Player

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  • by SaDan (81097) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:14PM (#15592995) Homepage
    What a crock. Thanks, but no thanks, I'll just stick with DVDs until Blu-ray loses this battle and the prices come down on HD-DVDs.
    • by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:18PM (#15593013)
      I'm not going to touch either for probably a very long time. I'll *consider* a BD or HD-DVD player once the prices come way down and the movies are playable under Linux with entirely free software. If HD-DVD/Blu-Ray continues being the DRM-encumbered mess that it is, they can keep it and their "high definition" movies...I'm perfectly happy with DVD.
    • Troll?
      To me this seems to be a logical thing to do until the execs can remove there heads from their rectum.
    • At this rate, Sony is doing everything it can to make sure Blu-Ray loses. Betamax all over again.
    • Unless the DRM situation with these things changes drastically (for the better, that is), I wish them both death by a thousand stalemates.

      Even if that comes to pass, don't bet on the big players seeing DRM as a major factor in the formats' demise. However, if they watch a boatload of R&D capital go down the drain while outlets of unencumbered content (e.g. mp3tunes.com and emusic.com) gain market share, who knows - perhaps a light could go on somewhere, or perhaps a foundation or open consortium could s
      • Unless the DRM situation with these things changes drastically (for the better, that is), I wish them both death by a thousand stalemates.

        Is it safe to assume that these players can play non-DRM formated HD movies? In that case the only problem is the MPAA monopoly that will only sell DRM'd movies, ie a non-hardware issue.

        You should be able to download a HD movie from a torrent, and record it to a HD disk, correct? I am guessing you will have to pay-up a second license for a license to encode a disk, tha

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:16PM (#15593005)
    The cheap china manufacturers coming out with units that play both HD-DVD and BluRay discs... and pick up a player cheap at WalMart (or whathaveyou) for $100.

    It's DVD-R and DVD+R all over again. Only with slightly better picture quality, if you have the right setup.
    • The best part (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sterno (16320)
      If that's true what will end up happening is that anybody who makes a player to play both will end up paying twice as much in royalties. Good times.
      • Well the two formats use the same codecs, which is a bunch of the royalties. Really, the biggest difference is in the OPU (the Blu-ray one is more expensive). Making a Blu-ray player hybrid is pretty cheap, so we may see a lot of HD DVD only players, and some hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD players.
      • Not really twice:

        As soon as one format takes a lead and hardware producers are tempted to drop the other one, royalties for that one will magically approach zero.

        Royalties might even end up cheaper overall with two rivaling formats than with one format monopoly.
    • It's not really accurate to say "slightly better picture quality". DVD resolution is 720x480. The highest HD resolution is 1920x1080 or, for less capable HDTVs, 1280x720.
    • Ummm...no, it's really not like DVD-R and DVD+R. The only difference there is spindle speed, 1.2:1 difference to be exact, DVD+R to DVD-R. The underlying technology and interface are exactly the same beyond that. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are totally different technologies. HD-DVD uses a standard red laser operating at a much lower wavelength of light, yielding a much larger focal point of light. Blu-Ray uses a blue laser with a higher wavelength and smaller focal point of light. The more highly focused, tig
      • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:42AM (#15594956)
        Boy, are you misinformed.

        The only difference there is spindle speed, 1.2:1 difference to be exact, DVD+R to DVD-R. The underlying technology and interface are exactly the same beyond that.

        Wrong. There are significant differences in tracking, linking, and error management.

        HD-DVD uses a standard red laser operating at a much lower wavelength of light

        Swing and a miss. Both Bul-ray and HD-DVD use a 405nm blue laser.

        Beyond the cost for a blue laser system, you then have to support two dual chip sets for processing HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray discs because of the completely different DRM standards being used.

        Nope. Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD use AACS.

        And yes, this is hardware decoded in consumer devices so you're talking about quite a cost if you wanted to build custom ASICs to do both in one chipset, in licensing fees alone!

        You clearly don't understand the IC market very well. There are ASICs that handle the vast majority of the needs for a DVD player, including drive servo / spindle control, MPEG2 decoding, multiple different audio formats (MP2/AC3/DTS, often MP3 and WMA as well), video scaling, OSD generation, and, in many cases, even incorporate a microcontroller.

        Extreme integration is very common for a market this size.
    • Why is it that all chineese designed stuff has CRAP remote controls.

      * crap looking designs, made by engineers that probably only have used remotes themselves in the last 5 years, not from 1985 when they were kids. Having
      that indirect experience of good/crap remotes help in design.
      * week IR power, why is it their remotes are so damn week, needing 30deg field or 5ft distance? Do they use crap LEDs or bad software reading it?
      Are their test clients living in closets? Common, get with it, even in 1990 we had son
  • by Speare (84249) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:18PM (#15593018) Homepage Journal

    I don't give a rat's ass about HD-DVD or BluRay or any new format... until a player comes out (third-party hacked or not) which overcomes the MPAA's nefarious ideas about region encoding or forced chapters. If you want some market share, grow some balls and deliver a machine that plays the media *I* purchased anytime that *I* want to, without sending a colorectal scan to the governments and corporations of the world. And while you're at it, make false advertising phrases like "Own it on HD-DVD today!" completely off limits.

    • So, you own a DVD player by now, right? It really shouldn't matter as long as you put a disc in and a movie player. Time will pass, prices will eventually drop to $100, and hacks/mods will be abundant. No reason to be the 15th person in the thread to bandwagon on about DRM and region locks. Nobody cares.
    • There was a story some months ago about studios considering dropping region coding for both formats, but I've never seen a followup to see if that's the case.

      One nice thing for those in the US is that even with region coding on, for Blu-Ray Japan and the US are considered to be the same region. Great for games and just as good for anime.
    • Both formats use AACS for copy production. In addition, Blu-ray uses BD+ on top of AACS.
  • by b1t r0t (216468) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:18PM (#15593019)
    I predict the winner will be... DVD!
    • And I predict that the failure of both HD formats will be blamed on pirates. The solution will be to install DRM in a chip in everyone's head, which can also conveniently project commercials into your auditory and optic nerves.
      • I think I already have one of those. It takes the most annoying bastard commercials, and repeats the audio ad infinitum, especially when I'm trying to concentrate, until I want to start bashing my head on the wall.
    • I predict the same as you.

      I think the winner will be determined by what ships by default with the most computers, as that is the number one place people currently have the capability to watch HDTV* and so they can burn/back up their data. DVD isn't enough for this purpose anymore, but I think HVD (if it's not vaporware) will provide a bigger capacity at a lower price than Blu-ray/HD-DVD.

      *Nearly every computer monitor had the resolution for ages or at least the last 5-8 years.
    • Seconded. Widely available, high quality over previous generations with little to none of the degridation issues. I don't know a single person with the setup, or interest in the setup, to do HD video anyway. Why is this even relevant? We've got a depressed economy, now is a stupid time to launch a new media type so soon after DVD has been around. Let alone two compeating ones that have little real technical merit over the other (compaired to DVD). *AND* they've managed to burn the early adopters over the wh
    • What? You're trying to say this HD-DVD and BlueRay won't have the same mind blowing suck-cess that DVD-Audio did? Besides, unless you've got 25/20 vision, HDD/BR isn't going to look one iota different to you than DVD on an HD tv.
    • Isn't it true that Blu-ray is a readily burnable format?

      If I recall correctly, the data storage is 25 GB per side, whereas HD-DVD is 15 GB. In this respect Blu-ray is a given winner simply because it has more space, say for archival reasons. What would you archive? pr0n!

      But seriously, this will become handy...why were 2 GB HDs and 16 megs of ram good 10 years ago?

      What's it going to be 10 years in the future? 4.2 GB is gonna be tiny!

      In this respect, Blu-ray wins; HOWEVER, the only way these two formats w
  • Linux (Score:5, Funny)

    by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:18PM (#15593021)
    I'm suprised that Slashdot hasn't mentioned that these machines use RedHat Linux. Yes, people complain about the boot-up time.

    Since it's a standard Pentium 4 PC design, it seems pretty obvious that the player software will be "liberated" eventually.
    • Pentium 4? In an embedded product? Yeesh, no wonder they can charge an arm and a leg and still lose money.
      • It takes a lot of power to decode HD signals. The minimum requirements for 1080p [wikipedia.org] are a 3 GHz P4!

        Yeah an embedded product should be able to do better, but either way it's going to take a lot of cycles.

        My guess is they're just using a P4 for now because there's already x86 -- mmx, sse, sse2, etc, optimized algorithms available. Probably in the future after the format war dies down we'll see custom chips designed specifically for decoding the HD signals, which will drive the price down to a more reasonable l
        • Re:Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Wesley Felter (138342)
          Even worse, there is a Broadcom ASIC that performs the actual decoding. The Pentium 4 must just be used for DRM and drawing the menus.
  • Hm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:18PM (#15593022)
    So, is the fact that they're massively subsidizing the HD-DVD players a sign of trouble for Toshiba, or like everything else is it only a bad thing when Sony does it?

    Anyway I for one will just sit and wait a few years until Samsung finally gets their way and gets to start making hybrid players that support both HD-DVDs and Blu-Rays. Samsung's said they want to, they're just being held up by consortium politics. I think those consortiums will get a little more lenient once time passes and they realize everyone's still just buying DVDs.
    • by tktk (540564)
      I think it's because Toshiba's only making players.

      Sony, on the other hand, seems to be betting the entire company. Sony needs to succeed in selling players, selling PS3s, and selling films.
    • by richdun (672214)

      So, is the fact that they're massively subsidizing the HD-DVD players a sign of trouble for Toshiba, or like everything else is it only a bad thing when Sony does it?

      I'm not sure that Toshiba's subsidies are a bad sign; hardware manufacturers have done this for years to gain marketshare for software, accessories, etc. I think the bad sign is that this week at Best Buy, Blu-Ray 'DVDs' are buy 3, get 1 free.

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:22PM (#15593047)
    I don't happen to agree with the analyst that the format war won't be a nightmare. But maybe I'm wrong.

    So, the best test I can come up with is asking early adopters if they plan on buying either player, or if a dual format player if it were available. Slashdot tends to have a lot of early adopters, so how about it? Is anyone chomping at the bit for these things, or will the format war and the "good enough" state of current DVDs relegate this product to the likes of Laserdisc and Sony Minidisc?
    • I'll have a Blu-ray by proxy, as I'll pick up a PS3.
    • Blu-Ray with PS3 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall (25149)
      I'll probably be getting a PS3 and so will have a Blu-Ray player...

      Having had a taste of HD video (on Dish, which I eventually cancled due to repitition of content) I actually am looking forward to some movies in true HD. Even 720P looks so much nicer than even normal digital cable, you don't need to get a 1080p set for dramatic effect.

      I'm putting off buying the new Star Wars box set until a re-release in a higher definition format.
      • I'm putting off buying the new Star Wars box set until a re-release in a higher definition format.

        You mean the version where neither Han, nor Greedo shoot and have a tickle fight instead?

        • No the HD boxed set after where they bundle the Tickle-Me-Greedo version with the orignal to force you to buy both at an inflated cost.

          Or perhaps that will be after the 3-D versions are released in HD... (not kidding).
    • Oh, c'mon, that argument is getting so old and tired.

      Saying "DVD is good enough" is the same thing as saying "SD TV is good enough resolution, nobody needs the resolution provided from HDTV".

      But that's dead wrong... consoles have decided that SD is not good enough. OTA TV broadcasts, cable and satellite have decided that SD is not good enough. WM9 and Quicktime have decided that SD is not good enough.

      There's so much HD content available already that eventually, >50% of people will buy an HDTV.


      • OTA TV broadcasts, cable and satellite have decided that SD is not good enough. WM9 and Quicktime have decided that SD is not good enough.

        But have consumers decided that SDTV isn't good enough? I don't see many people buying HDTVs. There's some, but really SDTV is fine for the price HDTVs are going for. DVD is even better resolution than SDTV, so people are really settling for less quality than DVD can offer.

        There's so much HD content available already that eventually, >50% of people will buy an HDTV.
  • Pick A Winner (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iridium_ionizer (790600) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:23PM (#15593051)
    I know how a definitive winner could come about. Sometime before Christmas this year, Blockbuster and Netflix and Best Buy get together and agree to evaluate both the HD-DVD and Blue-Ray on terms of quality and price. Then they declare a winner. There is no way in hell either Blue-Ray or HD-DVD would survive if all three of them together said, "We don't want to stock more than one type of hi-def DVD. And this is the type we choose." Whichever they chose would thrive and whichever they dissed would die. Of course the longer they wait, the harder it will be to break the stalemate.
    • Re:Pick A Winner (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AuMatar (183847) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:27PM (#15593076)
      It would be against Best Buys best interest. They can stock both players, and some people will buy both. Then they can make more money later selling combo versions to the same people.

      Blockbuster and Netflix have an interest in seeing one win, but thats because they don't sell hardware, so they only get the negatives of dual inventory, not the profits.
    • Re:Pick A Winner (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JDevers (83155)
      Even better, wait until the second gen (they will still be FAR from mainstream) and Wal-Mart will start stocking them. They more than likely will only stock one, and that will be the defacto winner. Not just because a lot of people buy consumer electronics at WM, but also because they will more than likely not stock movies in the other format. A huge mass of people will not even know that another standard EXISTS.
    • If best buy is going to pick a machne, they will pick the machine that they get paid extra to sell. Thinking that anyone would sell on the basis of quality is like thinking that best buy reviews the music and movies and only puts the highest quality on prominant display.

      Netflix and blockbuster will choose on the basis of what machines are sold. It does them no good to stock something if only four people have the machine. When the PS3 begins to sell, and blockbuster starts renting the games, it would ma

    • Re:Pick A Winner (Score:2, Informative)

      by dalerb (935786)
      Netflix already stocks HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs. You just tell them which format your system supports, and if a movie in your queue is available in that format, that's the disc that will be shipped to you. (Go the the Help Center and search on the keyword "blu-ray".)
    • Netflix and Blockbuster deal in discs, not players. Most of the movie studios will be bringing their films out in one format or the other, not both. HD-DVD has Universal; Blu-Ray has 20th Century Fox, MGM, and Sony Pictures. That means for many films, they'll have to stock one format or the other but not both, or not stock the hi-def at all. Which means overall, they have to support both formats, and it's up to their customers to have the right player if they want to see a movie from a studio aligned with o
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:24PM (#15593056)
    The only places HD-DVD are even mentioned anymore are Xbox 360 sites and a few tech sites like this one trying to generate hits in portraying some sort of 'format battle' with BluRay.

    The battle was fought last year. HD-DVD lost badly. The studios have rallied around BluRay. As 1080p TVs fall into the sub-1000 dollar range over the next year there will be a battle between people sticking with the old DVD format. And then life will move on with BluRay until the next standard comes about a few years later.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:33PM (#15593108)
    I don't find the rationale. By the time they win, it means the prices will be under $299/199 anyway. They are losing $200 per unit now to make $50 tops per unit later? They'd have to sell 6x as many units then to make it back as profit.

    Since I don't follow Blu-ray vs HD-DVD too closely, is Toshiba the only manufacturer of HD-DVD? What is their incentive for marketshare in this area?

    From the article:
    "It's unusual to find this level of subsidization outside of the video-game console and mobile-phone markets," said Chris Crotty, iSuppli's senior analyst covering the consumer electronics segment.


    I heard that video game consoles being loss leaders was an urban legend, perhaps due to faulty analysis. The companies, especially Nintendo, break even pretty much at time of launch. Or may take a slight loss but nothing like $200 per unit.
    • You can see how they can twist their accountant's arms with those figures, especially when you consider that they would shift much less units in that first -$200 year, than in each of the subsequent 10 years of +$50 due to slow early adoption rates.
    • I heard that video game consoles being loss leaders was an urban legend, perhaps due to faulty analysis.

      This article is an ad for iSuppli Corp and their teardown services. Having read their similar analysis of the XBox 360 [linuxelectrons.com] and iMac Core Duo [appleinsider.com], I'm underwhelmed with everything that's come out of them. There's a lot of estimates based on the general going rate for buying things, but I don't see any reason to believe iSuppli has real insight into the part pricing scale a company like Toshiba receives on their
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What is Toshiba's incentive? Patents. The patent licenses for any technology format that gets a foothold in the mass market are *incredibly* lucrative. Every replicator who makes a DVD today has to pay a fee to patent licensing pools that cover the technology used. Likewise, every replicator who makes an HD DVD today has to pay a fee to license patents held by HD DVD godfathers NEC and Toshiba, and every replicator who makes a Blu-ray Disc has to pay a fee to a consortium that includes Sony and Pioneer, amo
    • Royalties. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WoTG (610710)
      Toshiba has a lot of the IP behind HD DVD. They stand to get a few bucks from 10's of millions of (legally licensed) HD DVD player manufactured in the next decade -- but only if HD DVD wins.

      Loosing a few bucks on initial HD DVD shipments is chump change in comparison.
  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:34PM (#15593112) Homepage
    Also, this particular analyst concludes that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will "not be a repeat of VHS vs. Beta" and that a stalemate is the likely outcome."

    Wow, such insight. Given that the reason we had to "choose sides" before was that VHS and Beta were analog systems and were physically incompatible, I don't understand why anyone with half a brain would compare it with this. It seems downright obvious that what we're probably going to end up with is combination HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players. Evidence DVD[-RAM|-R|+R] drives. The only argument left is whose obnoxious DRM is going to ruin the party.

    • by MoxFulder (159829)
      Also, this particular analyst concludes that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will "not be a repeat of VHS vs. Beta" and that a stalemate is the likely outcome.

      Yeah, that's just retarded :-) Basically they're saying:

      "History be damned! No one will win *this* format war. The merits of these products are similar, and these things are always won on technological merit."
  • by vadim_t (324782) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:36PM (#15593126) Homepage
    Specs: P4, 1GB RAM, 256MB Flash, 32MB MirrorBit Flash. And apparently runs Red Hat.

    Is that overkill or what? Sounds like they don't have all the decoding hardware ready, so they went with that. Otherwise, all decoding could be done on a specifically designed chip, not needing anything as powerful as a P4, and I don't really see what they want that much RAM for. The flash size can probably fit the required parts of the OS without any trimming. Either that, or they've got lots of graphics there.

    • I don't really see what they want that much RAM for.

      My guess is to cache A LOT of the video in RAM since it will have to be software decoded and it would be quicker that way. There most likely will be a buffer of decoded video as well that is stored in RAM. It still seems like a lot of RAM but it may be necessary for the hack job they put together.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:44PM (#15593162)
    What I have not seen so far is any kind of convincing argument that explains why the combination of a Blu-Ray drive in every PS3 along with higher capacities does not mean pretty much an automatic win for Blu-Ray.

    Yes the PS3 is expensive. Put that aside for a second, does anyone doubt that millions will sell in the US alone within months of the launch? That then in turn is a few million consumers that will be able to play Blu-Ray media, and you know Sony is not going to pass up a chance to push Blu-Ray along with the PS3 including some Blu-Ray media in the PS3 box.

    Contrast that against the still very expensive Toshiba player, and less than thirty HD titles. How long will it take to even get 100k units sold?

    Studios would seem to agree with this assesment as there are more studios backing Blu-Ray than HD-DVD.

    On the computer front for storage alone, why would you buy an HD-DVD burner when Blu-Ray discs hold more data, and the blank discs themselves seem to be cheaper (in a Slashdot study of Japanese HD media a few months back the HD-DVD 20GB media was more expensive than Blu-Ray 25GB media).

    I can't see personally how the situation looks anything like a stalemate. It looks like a rout in the making. Would HD-DVD even be around if Microsoft was not still backing it? And would HD-DVD even still be pushed by Microsfot if it was not for HD-DVD using Microsofts own menuing system for movies (for which they would of course collect licencing fees), not to mention Blu-Ray using a menuing system based on a form of Java? Microsoft seems to be backing HD-DVD more out of hubris than anything else.
    • I don't think 100K units is even remotely a problem.
      If you'll look at the released Blu-ray movies, you'll note that somehow they mostly have fewer features on them than their supposedly smaller DVD counterparts. The released HDDVD's on the other hand, all have at least the same amount, and some of them have movie length added features.

      How could this be? with Blu-ray's huge storage advantage? For that, you need to look closer at what they've actually managed to ship.
      Shipping: HDDVD - 30GB dual layer discs. V
      • It's silly to argue about video quality of the two systems when both support the same codecs (Blu-Ray also supports MP4, it just doesn't happen to be the standard movies on that format are mostly going to arrive in). Also people generally really do not care as much about the upper bounds of quality, as witnessed by the acceptance of MP3 and similar formats. Do you think most people are really going to tell the difference between an MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 feed if both are displayed at 1080p? No they are not.

        A
      • I just did a little further reading on blu-ray/hd-dvd movies out today and came across this [pcworld.com]:

        First Movie Titles and Disc Capacity.
        In a recent column, I observed how much disc space was utilized by eight HD DVD titles. Even though all eight titles relied on the latest video codecs--VC-1 and MPEG-4 AVC, both of which are more efficient encoders than MPEG-2--most of the titles showed signs of pushing HD DVD's capacity limits. The Last Samurai topped out at 27.3GB, Mel Brooks's Blazing Saddles at 25.4GB, The
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:45PM (#15593171) Homepage Journal
    While Sony, by cramming a $500 to $600 PS3 down our throats, has decided to lose the war.

    It's that simple.

    Look, the major revenue is not the players themselves - it's the licenses for the patents from the manufacturers, the license fees from the people cranking out the discs (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray), the license fees from the music, the movies, the motion ...

    You get the drift.

    You can either play to win - or you can lose and look good doing so.
    • While Sony, by cramming a $500 to $600 PS3 down our throats, has decided to lose the war.

      Except that $500 box can let me play Assassin's Creed [eurogamer.net], while the Toshiba box lets me see some 30 different HD titles most of which I have already seen.

      Not to mention that I get games with a wider range of textures and environements and content due to the increased storage offered. There is benefit to gamers beyond just beign able to watch movies in HD.

      Your thoughts that Sony has decided to loose the way by offering a b
      • Re:Usefulness (Score:2, Insightful)

        by WillAffleckUW (858324)
        Dude, for $500, I can play Red Steel and about 15 other games on the Wii, and ignore the format wars until I actually buy an HDTV that's big enough for me to care, in about three years when they'll be selling for $300 on sale. Including the Star Wars game coming out where you battle with light sabers as your Wii controller literally sounds like it is a lightsaber ... or a blaster ...

        Not everyone likes to spend more than $500 on a lark.

        [caveat - I liked the E3 demo so much, I sold my 400 shares of MSFT and
        • I'll proabbly also get a Wii as that expereince looks pretty unqiue as well.

          But once you've seen real HD video on a good screen... well it's worth some bother. And there's nothing wrong with wanting a system with as unique games as the Wii will have along with a system built for sheer graphical power like the PS3.

          $500 is not a lark if you plan to use the system for many years. It's a carefully considered gaming upgrade.
      • Not to mention that I get games with a wider range of textures and environements and content due to the increased storage offered

        I highly doubt this will be an issue. A dual layer HD-DVD maxes out at 30GB which, yes, is 20 GB less than a dual layer Blu-Ray disc but I highly doubt any games will come close to using that much space with the majority of it taken up by textures and environment details. The only thing that I can think of that would be able to fill that space up rather quickly is HD video clips
        • I highly doubt this will be an issue. A dual layer HD-DVD maxes out at 30GB which, yes, is 20 GB less than a dual layer Blu-Ray disc but I highly doubt any games will come close to using that much space with the majority of it taken up by textures and environment details. The only thing that I can think of that would be able to fill that space up rather quickly is HD video clips but if that is the case then remind me not to buy that game since I can't stand video cut scenes and prefer cut scenes that use th
  • From the summary:

    Also, this particular analyst concludes that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will "not be a repeat of VHS vs. Beta" and that a stalemate is the likely outcome."


    Stalemate my ass! There can be only one [imdb.com]! On the other hand, none of those films have been released in HD-DVD or Blu-Ray yet.
  • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Friday June 23, 2006 @06:48PM (#15593184)
    Presuming that since HD-DVD and BLU-RAY are roughly equivalent products that players for each have roughly equivalent components does that mean Sony has a $300 profit - a 43% margin (minus whatever the middlemen skim off) on their $1000 BLU-RAY player?
    • Good guess (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)
      Rather than go for market share now (which they can get later this year with the PS3) they have opted to get players into the hands of people for whom $500 or $1000 is not much of a difference, and make some profit in the meantime.

      I honestly cannot see Toshiba grabbing a lot more marketshare with a $500 player than Sony with a $1k player; Given how few titles are out at the moment both are impractical for the average (or even not so average) consumer.
  • We all know the first one that can be copied, and that copy played on a player, will be the one that wins out. Pirating will get the players into peoples homes, then people will buy the HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray Discs. It's easy, put out a couple flicks without copy protection, make it so that blu-ray burner can burn them and they'll play, allow HD over component video, and lock everything down in a year when your format has been the winner for some time.
  • Wait and See (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbrander (73222) on Friday June 23, 2006 @07:53PM (#15593494) Homepage
    My decision was already made the other day, courtesy of Slashdot's story on the first 3 Blu-Ray offerings, of which "50 First Dates" was given as the reason to go HD and see Adam Sandler's every pore. Clearly, these people are not SERIOUS about selling to any but the most fanatic Early Adopters.

    I can wait. Specifically, I can wait until they issue "Apocalypse Now" and other cinematographer's triumphs in 1080p and you can get a large 1080p TV and a player for it (that either plays the winning format, or both formats if the War is protracted) for a total under $1500.

    With DVDs, I note that one can currently get computers (MythTV, etc) that will ignore all the playing restrictions. Here's my "horror" story on that.

    I have a nice Pioneer DVR/DVD player (520H) that never met a DRM instruction it didn't obey slavishly. Not only will it not so much as record from a protected video tape, or tape made from DVD (that THAT, analogue hole) but it won't FFWD during the FBI warning or any of the corporate logos, or *ADS* if they choose to put that rule on their disc. The screen shows "That Operation is Forbidden by This Disc" when you hit the remote button repeatedly while waiting some minutes for your movie to actually start.

    The other day, I popped in a disk while some news was on, and it started loading. Just at that moment, major breaking news hit the TV channel...and the DVD screen started showing the FBI warning. Frantically, I hit the STOP, then the EJECT buttons on the remote. But no, even those just got "That Operation is Forbidden By This Disc". Nothing could make it stop showing the FBI Warning and go back to the TV feed.

    On discs with trailers and ads you can't skip, I've learned to pop in the disc and walk away from the TV for several minutes, because I get so mad if I stay. It's so great to put DVDs in my computer upstairs, where Kaffiene cheerfully skips all that crap and goes right to the movie I paid for, when I hit "go to Menu".

    Maybe the computer world will defeat the DRM on an HD disk enough so that I can be the one to say what the computer is forbidden and allowed to do; that would make me opt in to this new technology, too.

    But for a couple of years, I'm just going to wait and see. See DVDs. With a Linux media-computer that puts me in charge of my own damn living room.
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @08:43PM (#15593750) Journal
    HD-DVD/Blu-ray is just not worth it in my opinion. I have a 50" Sony HDTV and an upconverting DVD player and I am very pleased with the picture. I was at an electronics store watching The Last Samurai on a good sized TV for nearly twenty minutes before a salesman asked me what I thought of the new HD-DVD format. I was completely underwhelmed and didn't even realize I was watching an HD version of the film until the salesman told me. With players that cost C$700 and movies that are over C$35 each it just doesn't make economic sense to me.

    I think both HD-DVD and Blu-ray are a bust.
  • by kesuki (321456) on Friday June 23, 2006 @09:09PM (#15593869) Journal
    they seem to be listing the full retail cost for the memory module. Why would toshiba be paying retail price on anything in the unit? wouldn't they be buying wholesale? if all their numbers are off, that's up to a 30% inaccurate estimate for the price of the parts. which takes away most of the 'so called loss lead per unit'

    anyways, they could be taking a loss per unit, but i am really skeptical about the numbers being given in the parent article.
  • Gawd I just got a DVD player [philips.com] that can play Xvid and anything else I can throw at it. I torrent, I burn, I watch. What in the hell do I need and thing else for?

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