Hi-Def Battlefront - Analysis: PS3's impact, Microsoft's role and strategy

The Escapist - Kyle Orland, 11 Dec 2007:

"Videogame consoles have been about more than just videogames for a while now, from Nintendo's news-downloading Famicom modem to the music-playing Sega CD. But the game console didn't really become a multimedia hub until the PlayStation 2 and its included DVD player.

Thanks to a combination of strong brand recognition, a low, Sony-subsidized price point and impeccable timing, the PlayStation 2 became the movie player of choice for millions of consumers ready to advance past the decades-old VHS format. For a time, PS2 hardware was selling better than PS2 software in Japan, suggesting that many early buyers were ignoring the system's game-playing functions altogether. More than any other product, the PS2 drove DVD adoption in the format's infancy, driving down prices on hardware and software through sheer volume and force of corporate will.

Now, one console generation later, videogame makers are again trying to use their position in the gaming space to influence the home movie market. So far, the results of their efforts have been less than transformative."

The Escapist discusses the hi-def battle between Blu-ray and HD DVD - specifically the impact of the PS3, and Microsoft's role and strategy. This report includes exclusive comments and insights from Tom Adams (President of Adams Media Research), Rob Enderle (President and Principal Analyst at the Enderle Group), Greg Kaufhold (Principal Analyst at In-Stat), and Angelique Flores (Managing Editor of Home Media Magazine)

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"Indeed, Sony's attempt to replicate the PS2's DVD-integration success has backfired. "The PS3 was supposed to have ended this fight, but it didn't work that way," says Rob Enderle, President and Principal Analyst at the Enderle Group. "Instead of the PlayStation 3 helping Blu-ray, Blu-ray ended up damn near tanking PlayStation 3.""

"According to Enderle, Sony's decision to include Blu-ray in the PS3 had a double-whammy effect on the PS3's market penetration by pushing the system's release back into late 2006 and increasing its price to a consumer-unfriendly $599."

"And why try to force a new format when good old DVDs are still good enough for a large portion of the market? "A lot of people feel they can watch their DVDs and have a nice home theater setup, and it's working just great for them," says Angelique Flores, Managing Editor of Home Media Magazine. "They don't feel any need to move over to HD. ... It's not like the difference between DVD and VHS.""

"What Microsoft sees as strategic is movie downloads - and they get a royalty for those," Enderle says. "[Microsoft] seems to believe, as many of us do, that [downloads] represent the real future; that HD DVD and Blu-ray both are sort of transitory technologies until people figure out how to do downloads, and once they do we'll take the next step."

"But the scariest option for the high-def movie market might be perpetual war - a generational cycle of new formats and players that starts to resemble the videogame industry. "There are actually two new [movie disc] formats lining up after this," Enderle says, "a lower cost high-definition format's been proposed by a U.S. company that looks like it can come in substantially below HD DVD and Blu-ray, and China has a play that they're going to make. ... This is kind of the last Christmas where we'll be standing around with this fight, one way or the other."

BLACKJACK VII4733d ago (Edited 4733d ago )

Excellent read. And how right they are. The HD war hasnt even gotten started yet, BluRay & HD-DVD will be fodder in a few years replaced by other formats. Just like I've said before, this HD WAR IS NOT GOOD FOR CONSUMERS.

Kleptic4733d ago (Edited 4733d ago )

"That doesn't mean Sony's system is having no impact on the race"...the internet is awesome...people on this site could write a better article...

one thing though...I totally disagree with "its not the difference of VHS to DVD"...yes it most certainly is..."upscaling" or not, you take any modern large screen TV, and then compare a modern (newer movie...for fairness) DVD to a BD or HD DVD...there is a huge difference...and a brand new VHS was said to have a theoretical resolution of roughly 300 horizontal lines at a normal television's refresh rate (I say theoretical because its like film, there is no resolution...its just material saturation and an analog signal)...while standard DVD has a native resolution of 640 X 480 at 30hz (60hz on a Progressive Scan DVD player)...that is also considering its a fullscreen 4:3 DVD, some can be different if enhanced for a 16:9 DVD, but there is never more resolution...except for arguably Super Bit DVDs, which I won't get into...

the biggest issue with this format war is the fact that you now need a better television to take advantage of it...DVDs looked better on TVs that people had owned before VHS even released...any TV with a single composite video input had an immediate difference in video quality with DVD over VHS...and the expensive TVs of the early DVD age didn't do a whole lot to looks tremendously better than some of the cheaper televisions around...the simple fact though was, the bigger the TV...the worse the picture...more or less still around today...

with HD DVD and Blu Ray...its only a difference if you have an HD TV...while a lot of us on this site do...most of the public do not...unless they are wanting an HDTV, BD and HDDVD are no use to them...

but seriously...if you haven't seen the difference...go watch that BD promo at Bestu Buy on some 42" (perfect size for 1080p imo) setup they have...and be sure and not stand 3 inches from the screen...I see peeps doing that all the time...touching their nose on the screen: "meh...looks pixelated"...there is no denying that with the right equipment, these high def formats are the absolute best option consumers have for movies...