October 19, 2005 2:04 PM PDT

Forrester: Blu-ray winning drawn-out format war

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Sony's Blu-ray format for next-generation DVD drives will win over Toshiba's rival HD DVD format, analyst firm Forrester predicted Wednesday--but it won't be a quick victory.

"After a long and tedious run-up to the launch, it is now clear to Forrester that the Sony-led Blu-ray format will win," Ted Schadler, a Forrester analyst, said in a report. "But unless the HD DVD group abandons the field, it will be another two years before consumers are confident enough of the winner to think about buying a new-format DVD player."

Also on Wednesday, Blu-ray backer Hewlett-Packard said it has appealed to the group to incorporate two HD DVD features: mandatory "managed copy," which will mean consumers will always be allowed to copy movies to their computers' hard drives, and iHD, a Microsoft-designed technology for interactive features.

But Blu-ray has several advantages that will help it win the day, Schadler said. HD DVD is a one-trick pony for video playback, but Blu-ray is also designed for games and computers, he said. Indeed, its inclusion in millions of Sony's next-generation video game consoles is a factor. And when former HD DVD loyalist Paramount endorsed Blu-ray, it shifted the movie studio momentum. Finally, although Blu-ray manufacturing will cost a little more initially, it offers more capacity and employs a proven technology, Java, for interactive features.

But unless the HD DVD camp throws in the towel--a move Schadler recommended--the victory will be slow in coming. "Consumers will postpone a decision until the winner is obvious. The war between Betamax and VHS trained a generation of consumers to be wary of competing formats. Many consumers were caught with an expensive device that couldn't play the movies available at the video store," Schadler said.

Also slowing things down: The image quality of today's DVD is good enough that most people won't be itching to switch until high-definition TV is much more widespread.

The arrival of powerful networks has added a new twist to the situation, Schadler said. "The irony of this format war is that it comes at the tail end of the century-long era of physical media." Increasingly, people order movies on demand or watch Internet video.

In the computing industry, Schadler's prediction doesn't bode well for Intel and Microsoft, which allied themselves with HD DVD in September. Days after, Intel's two main PC chip customers, Dell and HP, reaffirmed their Blu-ray commitment.

Based on discussions with Panasonic, which has a pilot Blu-ray manufacturing plant in Torrance, Calif., Schadler believes HD DVDs will be only "pennies per disc" cheaper to build once Blu-ray manufacturing hits full speed.

Technologies such as Intel's forthcoming Viiv and Microsoft's Media Center help put PCs at the center of consumers' electronic entertainment gear, so it's no surprise the companies want the managed copy feature required by HD DVD. But studios are likely to prefer Blu-ray because it "allows...a higher level of copy protection," Schadler said.

11 comments

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Blu-ray
Based on what I have read in the past several months, I like the BLU-RAY format more then HD DVD. Mostly because BLU-RAY is cabapable storing much more data. And that's good news :D, perhaps one day we'll have BLU-RAY DVD burners in our computers.
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<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/</a>
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BR Burner on Day 1
Actually, BR will be re-writable from Day 1 according to Sony and Panasonic. I'm sure it'll take awhile to fill it up though, lol
Posted by Rusdude (170 comments )
Link Flag
Viva la Blu-Ray
I am all for killing off HD-DVD. Microsoft has crossed the line with its new DRM incorporated into Windows Vista.

The nonsense that says if you don't have a DRM enabled monitor, they will cripple all video streams out of your PC.

This kind of Nazi tactic has to be dealt with using force. So HD-DVD is going to take splash damage here because it is on the Microsoft side of the fense.

I'm sorry, but Microsoft is the Typhoid Mary. Anything coming in close contact with them is to be burnt lest the infection spread.
Posted by gerhard_schroeder (311 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BluRay = more DRM - worse the HD DVD
You are obviously poorly informed. The requirement to reduce video output quality is not a Microsoft one but a film industry one - all playback devices will do the same if you dont have an HDMI input on your monitors. Fortunately HDCP removers to convert back to DVI are easy to buy.

In fact Blu-Ray is far worse for DRM. HD DVD is less restrictive.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
Blu-Ray Rocks!
I love Blu-Ray, all for it! Becuase it holds 25GB of storage per layer. I will get it once I get my Playstation 3. And I will possibly buy an external Blu-Ray drive once the technology improves to the point I can burn 2-4 layered discs at 16x. Blu-Ray is backed by many companies and the videogame and the porn industry backs them fully. DO to it's storage capabilities. HD-DVD will suck as it holds much less storage. And Intel and microsoft are being stupid! WAtch and see how Blu-Ray becomes our next DVD format. Imagine a whole season of a show in high def with tons of features on a single disc. Saving space and money for the consumer.
Posted by adonn78 (27 comments )
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Blu-ray sucks!!
Frankly, you would have to be an idiot, to buy a DVD player that gives Hollywood studio parasites even MORE control than they have, over where and when you can watch movies you've already purchased.

Simple&...


If I purchase either, it WILL be an HD DVD.
Posted by (1 comment )
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yeah i agree but i have more to say
ok so here is my statement.
First off, there is no point in having major movie companies backing blu-ray disc movie.
The reason? Well, movies that these companies make are no where near the 25g capacity of a blu-ray disc.
So whats the point then? Your buying the SAME movie and getting nothing.
You do get the high-def picture, but HDTV's really are not as common as the media shows them.
I guess if you do have the money for an HDTV, then you can WASTE your money on a Blu-ray player.
GO FOR IT...
Posted by xraykat (1 comment )
Link Flag
HD DVD sucks!!!!!!!
blu ray has allready won! Ut has support from major consumer electronics and major film studios. better quality better space. And when you buy the disk, you don't care about anything else only what the film is like and the quality!

have a look at this: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/forrester+blu-ray+wi.." target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/forrester+blu-ray+wi..</a>.
Posted by billymcmoy (1 comment )
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what?
Both formats will lose. Physical media will vanish or move to other supports like solid state memory. The future won't be cumbersome disks.
Posted by (8 comments )
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Ultimately yes, but...
I don't see that happening any sooner than ten years or so for HD movies, and I want my hi-def NOW. Plus, I don't really like the idea of only owning a digital copy with some BS digital rights attached to it. At least if I have a physical copy I can always go back to it if I loose hardware memory.
Posted by nakedian (4 comments )
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