Sony CEO: format war in 'stalemate'
We were winning until Paramount got off the fence...
The two next-gen optical disc formats - Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD - are running neck and neck, Sony CEO Howard Stringer has conceded. And he admitted yesterday that Paramount's move to favour HD DVD has hindered Blu-ray's pitch.
"We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides," Stringer said last night at a meeting in Manhattan, Associated Press reports.
In July, Paramount and Warner were the only major movie distributors supporting both formats. The following month, Paramount said it would no longer offer Blu-ray movies.
"It's a difficult fight," he said and admitted the battle had reached a "stalemate".
More to the point, he admitted the argument was largely symbolic - the two sides are fighting for the prestige of winning rather than because of any significant technological superiority.
Indeed, both formats have pros, both have cons. HD DVD has the DVD brand, lower manufacturing costs, higher physical resilience and a more complete standard. Blu-ray has lead in capacity, the bigger installed base and a better established recordable and re-writeable formats.
capacity & resilience
Thing with capacity is many Blu-Rays are released in 25GB format, and some in 50GB.
Almost all HD DVDs are 30GB, but can often be released on 2 discs if the equivalent Blu-Ray is a 50GB. That's 60GB total. Okay it's two discs, but lower costs and existing DVD replication plants means it's easy to do, and no one seems to care about 2 discs with DVDs these days.
As for resilience, I think Blu-Ray initially had some problem with the data layer being closer to the surface than on DVD, hence the scratch problem and resolving it with a coating. I got the impression it was less of an issue on HD DVD.
The best thing now is for Sony to do what they should have a couple of years back and take up the offer to join with HD DVD. Create a dual-format or merge the standards under one name, then have dual-format players, and release whatever format they like for a title and then anyone with a dual-player can play them without a care in the world. Like with DVD+/- R formats.
Early adopters and PS3 owners will have to buy players for the alternate format though, unless dual-format discs are released.
Re physical resilience
Blu-ray is supposed to be coated with an anti scratch coating (its not on all) The disk is not as resistant to snapping an HD-DVD. The surface of a proper Blu-ray should be harder. However i've managed to scratch some blu-ray disks and ruin them. Once you scratch blu-ray its pretty spoilt all the data is very close to the surface
Sony Conceding Defeat?
"'More to the point, he admitted the argument was largely symbolic - the two sides are fighting for the prestige of winning rather than because of any significant technological superiority.'"
These guys always choose their words carefully.
If you deconstruct this, then it seems they are conceding the possibility they won't win. For anyone involved in the format 'war', this is big news.
I thought they'd started on the triple layer (51GB) HD-DVD's which makes capacity less of an issue (although I did hear of a 200GB Blu-Ray in development but there's no point in that for movies)
The format wars are more between DVD and Next Gen!
The way this is continuing there is going to be no next gen at all because everyone is to scared to comit to any of the two formats.