Thursday, February 14, 2008

Is There Something I'm Missing Here...?

So, I guess as much as I hate to admit it, it looks like HD-DVD has lost and Blu-Ray has won. HD-DVD fought hard, but in the end Blu-Ray  had enough money to bribe "create synergies" with all but two of the major movie studios. Add to that the one-two punch from Best Buy and Netflix this week and it looks like it's all over. Frankly, I was hoping the war would just stalemate until the next big thing, probably streaming media, came in and crushed both with one blow.

So what we end up with is admittedly a technically superior format, however one that is controlled by one party: Sony.

Now that the war seems to be over, I'm seeing a lot of people posting on various on-line forums that prices of players will be coming down.


As is my understanding Blu-Ray is controlled by Sony. Companies that want to make said hardware pay a licensing fee to Sony to use the Blu-Ray technology. No matter who you are, if you want to make a Blu-Ray disc player you have to pay Sony. This creates a situation where there is one company that controls creation and distribution of a product.

So, what incentive does Sony have to lower the prices? They are the only game in town, and could charge whatever they want. Now, I know that Sony isn't going to do something stupid like price themselves out of the market, and I don't begrudge them the right to make whatever they feel they deserve out of their creation. But seeing as they just spent a ton of money to "synergize" with all these studios, I don't see how the this is going to translate into lower prices for Blu-Ray players.

Am I wrong here? I hope I am because I can't see myself paying $300 for a Blu-Ray player. And yes, I know the Play Station 3 plays Blu-Ray movies and games. I barely have time to use the XBox I have, I don't need (or really want) another gaming console.

On the plus side, the HD-DVD fire sales have already begun. If you're a movie collector now might be the time to pick up an HD-DVD player and some movies on the cheap.


Audrey said...

Hey, this is James Bender from Mt. Orab, Ohio. I googled my name and found your blog. As we are close in age (I'll be 35 in April) I thought I would say hi. My e-mail is By the way this will post from Audrey my wife just in case you wonder.

James Bender said...

@Audrey - Sorry, don't even know where Mt. Orab is.

Brian H. Prince said...

I will NOT buy a PS3, although I might buy a BR player.

Interesting plan B for HD-DVD would be to make the format open source. Bwa ha ha ha!

Todd Kaufman said...

I don't see how standardizing on one format could be bad. Sony doesn't control Blu-ray anymore than Toshiba controlled HD-DVD. The licensing fees aren't driving prices anywhere, it's production costs. Few are being made right now so costs are higher. As more and more are made (which will definitely happen now that we have one format), prices will drop.

Samsung has a BD player for less than $400 now if you don't want a PS3. Someone recently announced an internal drive for PCs at $199.

So yes in a nutshell you are missing something. :-)