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HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray - Is It All in the Name? 208

Z asks: "As most of you are aware, the dawn of the nex-gen format wars is fully upon us. We have all talked about it until we are Blu in the face, but there is one simple, yet important topic I have yet to see discussed. What is in a name? Now, bear with me for a second here while I explain. As much as we geeks would like to believe it, we are not going to be the ones who decide which format wins out in the end; consumers are. Now, we all know people hate change. Users already know what DVD is, and most would like to think they understand HD. But Blu-Ray? Your average Joe only wants one thing when it comes to new technology, a feeling of comfort and understanding; something I think Blu-Ray is going to have a hard time giving them. I can't help but wonder, is HD-DVD going to win out simply because people are going to be more familiar with the name? "
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HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray - Is It All in the Name?

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  • I really doubt it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mattkinabrewmindspri ( 538862 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:48PM (#15201853)
    Look at how quickly people embraced DVD, or how quickly people started using the MP3 format.
  • by GeekGirlSarah ( 915748 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:51PM (#15201866)
    I think that it's entirely possible that the name issue could actually be a significant market differentiator for the two products. The "HD-DVD" products may come off as seeming like being just a minor upgrade to the old DVD standard, whereas Blu-Ray could seem to be a much fancier, different product. Since it seems like many people are hesitant to upgrade, but not necessarily hesitant to embrace entirely new technology, I think I can see that working in Blu-Ray's favor.
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:56PM (#15201886)
    MP3 (as an audio format) took off very fast in the computer world - at that time, there was simply nothing else comparable. Once consumer electronics started supporting the format, it was only a matter of time until prices dropped and MP3 earned the adoption it has today.
  • yes and no (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Beuno ( 740018 ) <{argentina} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:56PM (#15201891) Homepage
    I don't completely disagree, but I do thing "Blu-Ray" can catch on as a new "hip" and "bleeding edge" name.
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:58PM (#15201906)
    Why is the DEC corporate logo the graphic for this article?

    Did HP decide to use their corporate corpse to produce Blu-ray or HD-DVD players?
  • by Flimzy ( 657419 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:59PM (#15201908)
    How quickly people started using the MP3 format? MP3 was invented in 1991. It wasn't "widely used" (depending on your definition of wide usage) until after the release of Napster in 1999.

    I'd say MP3 took a long time to catch on.

    Not that I'm blaming that lag on it's name... I'd say the format had to wait for commodoty computer hardware, and consumer knowledge to catch up with it. But still, this doesn't apply to the point you're trying to make.

  • by Kasracer ( 865931 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:21PM (#15201998) Homepage
    I honestly think HD DVD will win over Blu-Ray. While name recognition will help, it won't be the deciding factor.
    Remember, many don't have much faith in Sony anymore. They've had numerous delays with their PS3, which is their main way to market Blu-Ray. The PS3 is expected to be $599 or possibly more. Not only that, but their last format, UMD, failed miserably and is being pulled off Wal-Mart's shelves. Combine that with their previous failures with formats like Mini-Disc and Sony doesn't have much of a track record with having successful mediums. Also, don't forget, many consumers have a bad taste in their mouth because of Sony installing rootkits on their computers even if they disaggred to their EULA.
    Other things that will help HD DVD is the fact that it has at least a 3 month lead on Blu-Ray. That and right now, you can buy an HD DVD player for $499 [toshiba.com] where as most Blu-Ray players are expected to cost around $1,000 when they're released.
    Also, when customers find out that many Blu-Ray players will include a feature to disable themselves remotely [engadget.com] if anything "odd" has been detected in the player (I'm sure this will also be exploited by hackers). This permenantly damages the palyer requiring chips to be replaced.
    Honestly, I think Blu-Ray is great for doing huge backups and working with large files on computers, but I can't see it succeeding in the movie market.
  • by hirschma ( 187820 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:50PM (#15202097)
    I've noticed a whole lot of confused folks in various forums that already think that they have "HD-DVD" - when what they have, in fact, are upsampling standard DVD players.

    Funny enough, most of the folks thinking that they had something that hadn't shipped yet owned Sony units. Perhaps this is not a coincidence. But people are going to be pitched DVD players with HD resolution - the confusion that this will breed will probably kill HD-DVD.

  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:57PM (#15202132) Homepage
    I remember the pre-MP3 world. No one used sound on computers like they do now. There were little sound clips and such, but they were low quality.

    MP3s at 128 kpbs are a meg a minute. CD quality WAV files are 10 megs a minute. Considering how fast your hard drive would get full, people didn't rip their music. Even if you cut the quality to 22 Khz instead of 44 Khz, your file is still 5x larger than an MP3 and wouldn't sound as well. Cut it in half again (8-bit instead of 16-bit) and you're down to 2.5 megs a minute. Cut it down AGAIN (11 Khz) and you're at 1.25 megs a minute.

    25% larger files for clearly inferior sound quality. It wasn't worth it.

    Yes, you could compress things, but the compression wasn't nearly as good. 2-3x maybe.

    It was the vastly superior file size of MP3 that helped made it famous and ubiquitous. Like DVD, there was a very clear difference between the old and new format at the time.

  • by Babbster ( 107076 ) <aaronbabb@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:43PM (#15202321) Homepage
    Then encourage the BluRay player builders to add a $5 DVD pickup laser and a $2 MPEG2 decoder chip so the BluRay players can also play back old fashioned DVD too.

    This is already going to be automatic. Nobody is going to release a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player that doesn't play back DVDs. As for a "$2 MPEG2 decoder chip," you really don't need anything extra in that area since both formats support MPEG-2 encoded data by default (FYI, broadcast HD is already MPEG-2).

    As for the marketing, that's not bad but they would be in for a serious fight with the HD-DVD folks if they tried it. :)
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:50PM (#15202340) Journal
    I imagine that one of the points to be talked up will involve the blue laser used in Blu-Ray.

    You know how some salespeople will essentially make stuff up to push a sale through? Blue Lasers will be their main explanation.

    I doubt HD-DVD is going to get their advertising campain kicked off by associating their technology with the color blue. The HD-DVD people will obviously talk up the HD aspect.

    Meanwhile in the Blu-Ray camp
    Why is it called Blu-Ray: blue laser
    High resolution: blue laser
    More disc space: blue laser
    Cool features: blue laser

    IMHO, it's going to be much easier for Blu-Ray to distinguish themselves: "Why buy DVDs when you can buy HD-DVDs" vs "Why buy DVDs when you can buy Blu-Ray"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @12:17AM (#15202458)
    Not much of a gap??? I'm seeing prices that are almost DOUBLE their "plain" DVD counterparts.

    It amazed me that the studios got away with charging MORE for DVDs than for VHS tapes in the first place... But then, the buying public didn't know how much less expensive DVDs are to produce than VHS, and the quality was increased, so perhaps that's why that value proposition worked.

    It seems to me that HD-DVDs are priced for videophiles right now and no one else. I can't see any of my neighbors replacing their (relatively new) DVD collections at twice the price, no matter what the increment of quality gain that may accompany the new discs.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @01:26AM (#15202658)
    HD-DVD was a terrible idea for a format name. Why? Because as you noted, a lot of people think they already have HD-DVD - and thus will buy HD-DVD discs when they come out. After all, they have an HD TV set...

    So what happens when they take the discs home and find they will not play? A very, very high return rate and a lot of pissed of customers. I don't want to be the poor returns desk clerk who has to explain for the eight billionth time "You need a HD-DVD player, not a DVD player". You know that's going to be hard for a lot of people to comprehend as they just hear the words "DVD" twice and know they get HD signals via cable.

    At least with Blu-Ray you know you need a new player.
  • by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @02:52AM (#15202845) Homepage Journal

    Yes, I wrote about this before, but I think you've got it backwards.

    Try this, say "H. D. D. V. D" three times fast, and you'll see a problem: it's long, it's cryptic, and it's hard to use in conversation. It becomes very "techy" sounding, and has no charm, it conjures no imagery what-so-ever. "Blue Ray", on the other hand, is two simple words that are already used in everyday conversation. When put together, they create wild space age imagery, not of the "techy" kind, but of the "wow" factor. It's two sylables compared to it's competitor's five. Blue is a color commonly associated with the calm and understated, and synergizes with the more aggressive imagry of its "Ray" counterpart. After all, "RedRay" immediately conjures up images of fire, blood, and bad 70s B sci-fi flicks.

    As a graphic designer, I'll votche for BluRay having much more possibilities for aesthetically pleasing logos. It's use of lower-case letters (which give it a more personable feeling), combined with it's cute spelling make it endeering. It has symmetry, and varried "skyline" (the shape the tops of the letters make).

    HD-DVD, on the other hand, is made of mostly sharp edged letters, all upper-case, very impersonal, intimidating, and institutional in nature. Accronyms are not comforting to people. FBI, CIA, IRS, WTF... all negative connotations. People tend to make accryonms of subjects that are undesirable or discomforting, since shortenning the name gets it over and done with being said more quickly. I assure you that if the FBI really stood for "the Friends of Birds and Igloos", people would much less rarely refer to it as "The F.B.I"... and when they did, they would call it "Feebee". A product with an accronym in its name has a harder time endeering itself

    Yes, all these perceptions are going to be subconscious, yet, most of the innitial judgements about the product are going to stem from the subconcious "feeling" you get when you first see or hear about it. Thus, a name and a logo can litterally shape and define a product for the consumer before they even see it. Steve Jobs and his staff were geniouses when they shortened the cryptic "Performa 7300/200" to "iMac", there's no coincidence that the relative success of the iMac was shaped by it's more personable and less intimidating portrayal... and that all starts with a name.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.