I find myself making assumptions about HD-DVD issues
I’d like to think I’m ambivalent. I’d like to think I was unbiased… Completely sterile in my logic and reasoning. But I’m not. I’m pissed. These companies (HD DVD and Blu-ray) are absolutely driving me insane. The writing is on the wall, history is laid before them and they are like a couple of giant children with overgrown bank accounts who are playing ‘sissy fight‘ with a couple of marketing companies.
OK, let me break this down for those of you who haven’t followed the HD DVD saga of late:
- Some studios produce discs solely in the HD DVD format
- Some studios produce discs solely in the Blu-ray Disc format
- Several studios produce their software in both formats
- There is a format war going on which I believe neither format will win
- Movie Studios are greedy little corporations with zero creativity, zero planning and zero sense of responsibility to the consumer
- Consumers are getting hosed from both sides
Here is how consumers are getting hosed. They either have to a) choose a format and then find themselves unable to acquire several significant titles being issued solely on the opposing format, b) purchase BOTH HD-DVD player types to be able to enjoy all studio titles, or c) purchase a dual-format player, most of which are as expensive as buying separate players and have less features to boot.
It is with the above scenario that I find myself wondering just why on earth the studios are forcing consumers into this mess. The answer is simple: greed. Let’s take HD DVD in particular. The discs, by virtue of how they are made, cost less to mass-produce. Let’s assume a dollar less per disc. Studio A realizes that “Hey, this stuff is niche right now anyway and we could care less who wins, though we are partially vested in the hardware through some parent company (in most cases) – let’s make more money.” How do they make more money? By not passing any cost-savings on to the consumer. Since the discs are essentially selling at identical prices, studios behind HD DVD can make more in the short term due to a) not having to reinvest in expensive equipment and b) enjoying the same success rates and costs of current DVD production.
Sound too simple to be true? Mark my words, this is a major part of their motivation. The end result is that the format war continues – and will as long as studios select one format over another. Just a month ago, people were sounding the death knell for HD DVD, not the war is revitalized.
I don’t care who wins, but someone dying off quickly would be nice and establish the dominant niche market winner. Until then we have a niche market split in two – and that’s going to result in the guarantee that HD-DVD will not replace DVD anytime soon. And by soon I mean EVER, since it is my believe that, while things have staled so far, VOD (video on demand) will dominate the HD landscape in the foreseeable future and render physical media obsolete for the most part. It’s too easy to protect and ownership is overrated when it comes to films and the realities of how often most people view content.