January 5, 2006 12:25 AM PST

HD DVD backers promise 200 movies

LAS VEGAS--The video format wars kicked into high gear on Wednesday when the companies backing HD DVD said that nearly 200 titles would be available for the format by the end of the year.

Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, HBO Video, New Line Entertainment and Warner Home Video stood up with Toshiba at the Computer Electronics Show here and pledged that movies such as "Million Dollar Baby," "Harry Potter 4: The Goblet of Fire," "Blazing Saddles," "Full Metal Jacket" and "Jarhead" (not to mention box office clunkers like "Sahara" and "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow") would come out this year on HD DVD discs.

In all, these five studios represent more than half of the movies ever made, said Nancy O'Dell, host of Access Hollywood and ersatz syndication TV celebrity who served as the emcee for the event at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Europe's Studio Canal and the Weinstein Co., responsible for hits such as "Shakespeare in Love," also will come out with movies in the HD DVD format, according to the HD DVD Promotion Group.

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Toshiba, the prime backer of the format, unfurled two HD DVD players--a $499 model and a deluxe $799 model--that will hit shelves in March. Toshiba also showed off a prototype Qosmio notebook with a built-in HD DVD drive. Pricing, availability and specs on the notebook will come out later this quarter.

"HD DVD is now playing," said Yoshiihide Fujii, CEO of the Digital Media Network Co. of Toshiba. "HD DVD delivers a quantum leap in how consumers view video."

By May, nearly 50 titles will already be out, Fujii said.

One of the chief advantages of the format, as compared with the Blu-ray format supported by Sony and others, is that it is compatible with existing DVDs, executives said. Thus, consumers can buy a HD DVD player and use it to play existing DVDs. Some companies will produce dual-sided discs that will contain an ordinary DVD movie and an HD DVD version.

"Many consumers have made a significant investment in DVD libraries," said Greg Hart, Amazon.com director of North American music, DVD, computer and video games, and software. Amazon began to take pre-orders for Toshiba's units Wednesday. Customflix.com, a company Amazon acquired that burns DVDs for independent and small filmmakers, will give independents a potential opportunity to sell HD versions of their movies to the public.

Microsoft and Intel back the format.

"We have to make sure that content is easier to buy rather than to pirate," said Don MacDonald, vice president in Intel's Digital Home Group.

Many companies, though, will support both. Hewlett-Packard, the largest PC maker behind HD DVD, will also support Blu-ray. Studios will also issue movies under both formats.

"It's too early too tell" which will win, Matt Lasorsa, executive vice president of marketing at New Line Home Video, said in a brief conversation after the presentation. "The ideal solution would be a universal player."

The audience got a chuckle out of the suggestion that all of the kinks in home networking aren't ironed out yet. Kevin Collins, a senior program manager at Microsoft, told the audience of about 200 reporters that he was going to show them how phenomenal HD DVD viewing was. Unfortunately, he couldn't get the movie on Toshiba's HD DVD player to play after several attempts. Collins, however, did manage to get movies running on Toshiba's Qosmio notebook.

42 comments

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Hopefully
Hopefully we can fit LOTR extended edition now on 1 disc instead of 4.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just wait a few months more for BD-ROM
The BDA (Blu-Ray Disc Association (I think its an association)) has the support of 80% of movie studios, which I'm sure can provide a lot more movies than just a mere 200. If the HD-DVD camp seriously wanted people to buy it, they should have released enough movies that a wide enough range of people will want to replace their collection.

However, Blu-ray wont make you replace your collection, since it will be backwards compatible with current generation DVDs.

The ONLY reason the HD-DVD camp is still going is Microsoft poured so much $$$ into it to make it a thorn in Sony and the BDA's side. MS figures, if people go buy a HD-DVD player, they wont need the BD-ROM player on the PS3, and in this way they hope to divert people from buying Sony (PS3), making Sony take a fall in the market.
Posted by tech_junky (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Check your facts
Why don't you actually try reading the story. Blu-Ray is NOT backwards compatible but HD-DVD is.
Posted by EvlD99 (18 comments )
Link Flag
you'll stretch a long way to bash MS
As pointed out already, you're just flat out wrong. Not incorrect or mistaken, just wrong - with an agenda.

And it's title count, not studio count that matters to the buyers. I don't care what cartel owns the title, just what's on the shelves when I go to buy.
Not to mention that the overhead cost to set up and produce HD-DVD is significantly cheaper which SHOULD (but probably won't due to industry greed) translate into cheaper prices for the consumer and higher initial production capacity.
Furthermore nobody is buying a PS3 for movie watching. It's a fringe benefit, but not the motivator.

PS
You don't actually have to replace your collection, you'll be able to buy a normal DVD player for years to come... I can still get a good deal on a VHS unit!
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
MS BASHING
It's funny that people don't care that intel came out to support hd dvd at the same time as ms, but ms is the only company mentioned most of the time as wanting to influence the hd dvd market.
Posted by Pascoli (74 comments )
Link Flag
and be full
of Sony DRM and rootkits
Posted by techguy83 (295 comments )
Link Flag
Get your facts right
Why don't you actually try reading the story. Blu-Ray is NOT backwards compatible but HD-DVD is.
Posted by EvlD99 (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get *YOUR* facts right
That assertion in the article is nonsense. The disk format has nothing to do with backward compatibility. It's the players. If a DVD player supports previous formats, *IT* is backward compatible. Just like every DVD player/recorder sold today also plays CDs. I don't understand why it was even mentioned as an issue.
Posted by Eggs Ackley (34 comments )
Link Flag
It is backwards compatible
Will Blu-ray be backwards compatible with DVD?

Yes, several leading consumer electronics companies (including Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and LG) have already demonstrated products that can read/write CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs using a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical head, so you don't have to worry about your existing DVD collection becoming obsolete. Although it's up to each manufacturer to decide if they want to make their products backwards compatible with DVD, the format is far too popular to not be supported. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) expects every Blu-ray Disc device to be backward compatible with CDs and DVDs.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/#2.4" target="_newWindow">http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/#2.4</a>
Posted by hugh dunnit (35 comments )
Link Flag
Industry Drivel
"The ideal solution would be a universal player."

Then again, perhaps a single format might even trump a universal player... ;)

I for one won't be buying either until one dies. No sense in spending premium $$$$ on a disc or player that may not be around in a few years. But wouldn't the studios LOVE that: I buy all my movies in HD-DVD to replace by DVD collection and then 3 years later re-buy them all in Blu-Ray to replace my HD-DVD collection. Not to mention some of these I bought in DVD to replace my VHS collection.
Golly darn it, they won't have to make a single new movie for 5 years if they play their cards right!
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get something Else
Aren't you correct :), but luckily for me my kid is going to buy a PS3, while I get a Qusmio(no loss there!)
Posted by Lord_alda (17 comments )
Link Flag
Could all be Moot with Holo Storage Coming
Atomic Holographic Optical Storage Nanotechnology will dramatically improve applications like 6,840 raw uncompressed high quality Video/TV hours, or 2,100,000 chest x-rays, or nearly 10,000,000 high-resolution images, or 30,000 four-drawer filing cabinets of documents, or 20,000 DVD'S Worm's , or 4,000 BLU-Ray Worm disk's, or 100 - 100 gigabyte disk drives or 50 Inphase Holographic Disks on ONE 10 Terabyte 3.5 in. removable disc.
Posted by grey_eminence (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ummm no...
just gonna cut and paste from my previous comments...

of three things...cost, content, necessity.

i love it when a next gen DVD article come up and every geek on earth says 'no way man...holographic is going to kill...'

don't get my poo pooing wrong. i think that its a very promising technology for next generation STORAGE needs (most likely in enterprise/business settings). but probably not in consumer mass produced entertainment applications.

there hasn't been one movie studio to annouce support for this technology. until that happens, holographic challenge to any next gen DVD standard is dead on arrival. sorry man, i don't want to buy all new equipment and watch YOUR home movies.

by most accounts, the holographic drives will start at $15k and discs will start at $100 per. now i realize that over time it'll come down but these starting prices are way higher than both next gen DVDs...and they haven't even started yet. here comes the nasty catch. by the time holographic gets down to some reasonable price, there will be enough next gen optical DVD drives out there (at a lower price mind you) that will continue to put off holographic as a DVD content standard. plus content owners will not want to further confuse the market with another (more expensive) option. prices drop with volume production. volume production comes with consumer adoption. consumer adoption comes with breadth of content.

the last thing is that there is no need for that much storage when it comes to entertainment content. please save your 'but what about having every single episode of MASH on one disk' argument. you know as well as i do that probably 90%+ of the entertainment content out there are movies. even 3 hour movies (and even those are a small minority) will fit just fine in HD on either BD or HD-DVD. and with higher capacity versions of both, this argument becomes less and less relevant. plus no one is going to pay $100 bucks for a copy of a movie. even is volume production gets it down to say $20, content owners will pad it with their margins and make it cost $40...still too high...and still higher than BD or HD-DVD

massive tera storage is useful in enterprise class applications for backup...not in consumer home movie watching.
Posted by tlite722 (160 comments )
Link Flag
Not reliable
A reliable holographic storage device has yet to be created. Current designs have to high of an error rate in comparison to hard drives and CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-Ray storage formats.
Posted by msievers (27 comments )
Link Flag
Who cares?
Forget holographic storage, magnetic is so cheap that just about
anyone can afford to keep as much digital entertainment files as
they want. I added 1TB (LaCie ext. FW) to my system for about
$700.

By the time the disk makers finish fighting each other most
people will be downloading their entertainment. The big cable
companies are already rolling out their technology and their are
tons of options for the "adventurous" p2p users as well as
straight shooters.

Stick a fork in entertainment disks. They're done.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DVD/HD-DVD Hybrid discs...
Lots of discussion on here about the possibility of HD-DVD discs containing both a standard DVD copy of films and an HD copy of the film. Its true that this might be enticing to some buyers, but I have to wonder if its really going to work out. Its been suggested that studios might fight producing such discs as they would lose money not selling the movie twice to some buyers. I'd also argue that they might price such discs higher than the single format version anyway, meaning that the consumer won't necessarily save that much vs. buying a DVD copy now and an HD copy later.

I'm going to go out on a limb and argue that this isn't as big of an advantage as it might initially seem anyway. Most consumers probably aren't going to be willing to rebuy films they already own. Collectors, yes, but thats a minority in the consumer population. This means that they already have standard DVDs that won't be replaced with HD versions. What's a few more going to hurt?
Furthermore, not all current DVD's will be re-released anyway. That's more regular DVDs in the collection. And of course, not all films are even worth owning in HD. The quality can only be as good as its source.
Posted by someguy389 (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hybrid
This is what its all about Hybrid DISC's!
The Topic is on Hybrid!
Posted by Lord_alda (17 comments )
Link Flag
Misleading as HECK
"One of the chief advantages of the format...is that it is compatible with existing DVDs. ...Thus, consumers can buy a HD DVD player and use it to play existing DVDs."

That paragraph leads to soooo much confusion. Blu-Ray players WILL play existing CDs and DVDs. Please get your facts straight, as executives will lie about the competition.

You've just spread a nasty rumor and will lead to months of "but I thought Blu-Ray wouldn't play my old DVDs!!"
Posted by bspence11 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ho,,Hum,,, HD-DVD
I was at the Summer CES in Chicago(1982 I think) when Magnavox showed the first Laser Disk Players, Only to have two competing video disk formats come out 6 months later. The VHS/Beta wars where heating up, lots FUD everywhere. I think I'll wait a couple of years on the HD-DVDs and have look see after the dust settles.
Posted by jcrobso (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no need to wait
Some think that there will be a war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. No way!HD-DVD will also read DVD as well. Since many people have large libraries of DVD's, its a no-brainer which will win. On top of that Microsoft has endorsed the DVD-HD technology. Sorry Blu-ray, you loose.

Mike Smith
Posted by kingofclubs (1 comment )
Link Flag
Forget the format, what about resolution
I don't care which format wins or even if both format survive and I end up buying a universal player. What I want to know, and can't seem to find anywhere in press releases, is whether these hi-def movies are going to be released in 720p, 1080i, or 1080p. Have the studios agreed on a hi-def standard for all of their movies? Are the studios planning on two sided discs with 720p on one side and 1080i/p on the other? Or, are we going to see simultaneous hi-def releases similar to the simultaneous release of wide-screen and standard defintion DVDs?

I know I could not just care and let the hi-def TV scale the movie to its native resolution, but I've seen scaling problems in even some to the best hi-def TVs that I've looked at.
Posted by little.willie (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's a confusion.....
720p, 1080i and 1080p are all HD formats in either 24 or 30
frames per second. Add to that the fact that no HDTV (so far) can
show both 720 and 1080 formats, one is standard, and the other
must be converted within the set to that standard.

In a couple of years, the bog HDTV's should all be 1080i/1080p
standard. And by then, Hollywood should be following along.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
1080p
Blu-Ray has 1080p standard, but it's upto what the players support. All HD-DVD players currently only support 1080i. While most of the Blu-Ray Players support 1080p (like the PS3)!
Posted by Lord_alda (17 comments )
Link Flag
Dual Format
The biggest win I see in dual format is a lack of consumer confusion at launch time, given that the format wars are still fresh, I think the studios might opt for this even if it does cost them some money in selling two copies of the same movie. This is particularly the case if this advantage belongs to HDDVD and not blu-ray, they'll want to leverage it to advance their own format.

If consumers wind up in a state of confusion about which disc to buy, that will add up to a good deal of bad press for either format.
Posted by Jotunheim (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Partially Right!
But this was the big thing for HD-DVD, until Warner Bros. co-developed BD-j for SONY creating that dual format you talking about! Just look at why they joined the group in the first place!
Posted by Lord_alda (17 comments )
Link Flag
BD-J
Their manufacturing advantages are finished (the chip, and TOPPAN's paper 25gb disc, and BD-J), their storage advantage are finished (proof of 50gb discs were released),
their backwards compatibility advantage are finished (thanks to the laser chip developed, so that you can switch from a red laser to a blue)laser using a single lens!) , their interactivity/managed copy advantage is finished (BD+ can offer java based interactivity, also allowing you to download additional goodies off the internet! Manadory Mangement has been included to allow you to enjoy safe networking of movies over the home, with the movie studio's choice, and their durability advantage (Durabis exclusive to Blu-Ray is scratch proof, compared to HD-DVD's 6 Layers of current DVD manufacturing!). All confirmed my the DVD forum

So all the HD-DvD group can do now, is release fake hype, and release strange rumours about the competition! I say bring on Blu-Ray more 1080p movies, and no pre-arraged pitiful Hype.

NOTE: Please don't reply to this with unconfirmed/old rumours circulating around!
Posted by Lord_alda (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What HD DVD's are already for dale?
I am trying to find where I can buy genuine HD DVD films. Some people are stating that digitaly remastered are high def but most are not as they play on a standard DVD player. Any ideas?

Stu Wright (UK)
Posted by Stu Wright (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What HD DVD's are already for sale?
I am trying to find where I can buy genuine HD DVD films. Some people are stating that digitaly remastered are high def but most are not as they play on a standard DVD player. Any ideas?

Stu Wright (UK)
Posted by Stu Wright (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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