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Television Media Hardware

HD-DVD and the Early Adopter Premium 230

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sounds-like-a-waste-of-money-to-me dept.
Hodejo1 writes "The early adopter premium is the difference between the cost of buying the latest greatest techno-toy today and the cost of buying an equal or better unit a couple of years later for much less. That Blu-ray unit you buy today for $300 will cost $80 two years from now. The premium is the $220 you pay to get the starter Blu-ray unit now as opposed to waiting. The same applied for HD-DVD until the axe finally fell and this is where it gets interesting. MP3 Newswire has been tracking post-mortem HD-DVD sales on eBay and surprisingly found that there are many takers. And why are people flocking to buy this decade's Betamax? Simple, they did the math. The demise of HD-DVD format creates "an option where the consumer can get his high-def player NOW without paying the $220 early adopter premium. That savings pays for the player and more. New sealed boxes of the Toshiba HD-A3, which shipped last fall for $300, are now drawing on average about $75 on eBay, where plummeting HD-DVD movie prices are averaging between $6 and $10. "Take a consumer with a 42" plasma set who needs to replace a broken standard definition DVD player. He can a) replace it with another standard definition DVD for about $60. b) He can buy a Blu-Ray player for between $300-$1000. c) He can buy an HD-DVD unit for under $80 and then buy ten $10 or sixteen $6 HD-DVD videos for a total of $180". What really drives this is Blu-ray's skimpy catalog, which will take a couple of years to pump up. Rather than blow the $220 on the early adopter premium just to have access to a limited number of movies the post mortem HD-DVD buyers can enjoy cheap Hi-Def players, cheap Hi-Def videos, and pay less. These users can shift to Blu-ray when players are less expensive and the catalog is robust. Actually, the early adopter premium is more like $320. With the win, Blu-ray manufacturers have raised prices."
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HD-DVD and the Early Adopter Premium

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  • by kesuki (321456) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:25PM (#22687456) Journal
    aacs has been cracked, while BD+ hasn't so everything on 'hd-dvd' can be backed up to a computer, then sold on e-bay or whatever. you can even burn the backed up hd-dvd to a bd-r, if you're willing to pay $600 for a bd-writer...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by makomk (752139)
      Of course, you can't play the resulting burned BD-R on a standalone BluRay player - as I understand it, they only play AACS-protected pressed BD discs.
      • by Zocalo (252965) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:34PM (#22687772) Homepage

        I'm pretty sure that can't be right. I could perhaps understand the control freaks at Sony trying to pull a stunt like that, but requiring AACS is going to have a big impact on another emerging market Sony has a huge stake in; HD camcorders. Currently, the only way of efficiently distributing sizeable hi-res content from such a camcorder to friends and family (assuming they have HDTV capability in the first place) is via a physical HD disc, which essentially now means Blu-Ray. Hitachi even has a HD camcorder [hitachi.com] available that records straight to an 8cm Blu-Ray disc, which is then supposed to be immediately playable in any Blu-Ray player. Unless both the Hitachi camcorder and end-user AV software is also doing AACS encoding before writing content to disc, then that's going to leave a lot of HD camcorder owners just a little peeved when they try and show of their latest home videos in glorious HD.

        Then again, it could actually be a good thing if they don't play on standalone players. It was bad enough having to sit through $random_family_member's holiday snaps, things took a turn for the worse with the first analogue camcorders, but the thought of seeing all that in HD? Won't somebody please think of the children!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dnoyeb (547705)
          As i understand it, encrypted DVDs will only play with HDMI but unencrypted ones will play in hi-def. Since most pr0n is not encrypted, those Blue-Ray players would take a beating.

          I am looking for an HD-DVD myself simply as an upscaling standard DVD player. They are cheaper than the regular upscaling DVD players on average.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by kakalaky (902350)
          While I can't speak for other bd players my PS3 has no problem playing discs without encryption.
      • Are you saying that there is no such thing as a "cleartext" BluRay disk, that I won't be able to burn my home movies?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MikeBabcock (65886)
        Of course you can. The amount of FUD surrounding Blu-Ray is phenomenal. The BD players I know of play DVDs, encrypted or otherwise, BD movies, encrypted or otherwise and even some other file types in some cases.

        My Playstation 3 quite happily plays high definition content over my network using its DLNA (UPnP) functionality which for all it knows could be ripped HD-DVD discs.

        Speaking of FUD and Sony, the PS3 quite happily rips CDs to its hard drive and then lets you copy them off to memory sticks, etc. if y
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DAldredge (2353)
      Doesn't that require a lot of disk space? *looks at the 3 750GB Freeagent Pros that I bought yesterday for 53.99 each* :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kesuki (321456)
        well yes, but you only have to store it on hd for 2 years. since then, burners for BD media will be cheap... i can't remember if hd-dvd does dual layer, so it's like 15-30 gb per movie. as for not playing it on standalone players, you can still play it back on a 'cheap' pc player with a bd-rom bd rom drives are still spendy too, they will be cheaper in 2 years though.
      • by H8X55 (650339)
        where did you scoop those up for $53.99 each?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      "can be backed up to a computer"

      That only interests a small segment of the audiophile population, which is itself a small segment of the consumer population in general. If that truly was a major deciding factor in the purchase, then the MPAA's piracy numbers are accurate. You can't have it both ways.

      Of course, I'd wager you also foresaw the failure of Apple's iTunes because of its DRM format and still wonder how the Virtual Console can possibly make money with ZSNES available for free.
      • by timmarhy (659436)
        "MPAA's piracy numbers are accurate"

        please put the crack pipe down, it's already been established that backing up movies you've purchased is legal.

  • by mccalli (323026) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:26PM (#22687460) Homepage
    Another difference from Betamax is that an HD-DVD player can play today's most popular format without trouble - the DVD. It can also act as an upscaling DVD player, so in fact you'll get better quality than a standard DVD player.

    There was a Digg link where everyone laughed at play.com [play.com] rebranding an HD-DVD player as an Upscaling DVD Player with HD Capabilities. I disagree with the laugh track - I think that's a clever step to take, and it's also completely true.

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • by olddoc (152678)
      Are they really useful? I thought I read that HD-DVD and Blu-Ray take over a minute to boot up and play.
      That would get annoying.

      • by ArikTheRed (865776) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @04:59PM (#22688564) Homepage
        It is... oh god it is. I got a BR player, and it takes forever to boot. Not only that, some discs actually take forever to load beyond the boot-up time. Ratatouille actually took over 5 minutes to load when we tried to watch it... just sat there with a loading screen with a damn rat on it. I swear - it was laughing at me.
        • by Squozen (301710)
          Ouch. That's a night-and-day difference from the PS3.

          The manufacturers swear the standalones will be 'nearly as fast' as a PS3 later this year. Doesn't really help the early adopters though.
      • by dangitman (862676)
        Well, my PS3 boots in 20 seconds or less, and Blu-Rays play as soon as the disc has spun up and mounted - maybe 10 seconds.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        So what? I'm so fed up with people complaining about this. We're so damned spoiled with this "instant gratification" society.

        If you're about to sit and watch a two-hour movie, then WTF is the big deal about having to wait a whole, additional minute for the unit to get ready? Turn it on, go and get a beer out of the refrigerator, then come back. If you're so worried about having to wait 1 minute to watch a 120 minute movie, then I would have to argue that the problem lies not with the player but with
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enahs (1606)
        My A3 takes nearly 30 seconds to boot. Fairly annoying, but I've had decent DVD players that took nearly that long.

        And yes, it's useful. 30 seconds to boot vs. 2 hours to watch a movie on average; you do the math. Turn the player on, grab something to drink, then take a movie off the shelf. By then, the thing's on and you're ready to sit down and feel your ass grow.

        Regular DVDs look fantastic on it, yes. I would recommend that people not turn on the black and rgb enhancement, though; those features see
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Vukovar (1203574)
      True enough. I had purchased an upconvert after getting a plasma TV and the picture was still terrible; the HD-DVD player made an excellent upconvert for regular DVDs to that TV and I couldn't be happier. No, it doesn't boot as fast, but I'll put up with that in turn for an excellent picture on the TV at a fraction of the cost (2nd gen Toshiba HD-DVD players boot faster than the first gen).
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:26PM (#22687464)
    Article says BluRay manufacturers have raised prices. This is not true. The link tracks average sale price, no manufacturer's recommended price.

    Yes, average sale price has gone up after Christmas sales ended.

    Also, if BluRay's catalog is skimpy, what does that make the HD-DVD catalog, which is smaller?

    It'd be great if the HD-DVD fans took a clue from Toshiba and stopped trying to push a dead format. They're not doing anyone any favors.
    • by Berkyjay (1225604) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:45PM (#22687558)
      This article is dead on and people are smart for doing this. Don't hate because someone knows a good thing when they see it. I just bought 10 HD DVD's for $50. And at a later point I will rip them onto my computer then burn them to a Blu-Ray disc.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by badasscat (563442)
        This article is dead on and people are smart for doing this. Don't hate because someone knows a good thing when they see it. I just bought 10 HD DVD's for $50. And at a later point I will rip them onto my computer then burn them to a Blu-Ray disc.

        And play them on what? They won't play on any BD player currently in existence, or likely in existence in the future (by design).

        Then there's the media. How cheap are you expecting dual-layer Blu-Ray discs to be? Go look up the price of a dual-layer recordable D
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Miamicanes (730264)
          > What makes sense at this point is to either stick with DVD, which is fine, or buy a Blu-Ray player.
          > It does not make sense to buy an HD-DVD player at any price.

          You're assuming that many people buying HD-DVD players TODAY are primarily motivated by desire to watch NEW movies in HD, as opposed to picking up a cool new disposable toy because it was cheap enough to say 'Fuck it' and buy just to enjoy the novelty of, and have a future player for HD camcorder videos burned to DVD+R media.

          The fact that Bl
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by slaingod (1076625)
          Yea, Burnable Media will be going out of business a year from now. DVD+R media is the only one BARELY still better than just buying a hard disk and leaving it on there. Once 1TB drives hit $100, then it is cheaper just to buy new hard drives than to 1) Buy a burner, 2) Buy the media, 3) Store the media, 4) Plus the actual time/effort involved in burning as opposed to just leaving an ISO or VIDEO_TS folder on the drive. At $100 per 1TB, the cost of storing a DVD is ~ $0.45, which is about the cost of media
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by elhedran (768858)

          This article is dead on and people are smart for doing this. Don't hate because someone knows a good thing when they see it. I just bought 10 HD DVD's for $50. And at a later point I will rip them onto my computer then burn them to a Blu-Ray disc.

          And play them on what? They won't play on any BD player currently in existence, or likely in existence in the future (by design).

          Um, my perfectly good $59 HD-DVD player.

          Then there's the media. How cheap are you expecting dual-layer Blu-Ray discs to be? Go look up t

        • And play them on what? They won't play on any BD player currently in existence, or likely in existence in the future (by design).
          They will play JUST FINE if they are re-authored -- i.e. the file formats are changed to that of BD (most of the data won't need to be resampled, just reorganized). And even if it won't play - if he's ripped it to his PC, he play it on his PC, TODAY.
    • by vertinox (846076) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:46PM (#22687560)
      It'd be great if the HD-DVD fans took a clue from Toshiba and stopped trying to push a dead format. They're not doing anyone any favors.

      To be fair, I suspect Blu-Ray won't outlive plain old DVD. Unless Sony starts dumping $20 Blu-ray players with $9.99 movies, the rest of the world who can't afford Hi-Def TVs and Sound systems will probaly be satisfied with plain old DVDs for quite sometime.

      Once the initial analog hurtle was jumped from VHS to DVD, there was no real need to go beyond that except those who had Hi-Def. Much like SCDs and mini-discs never took off, I personally believe Blu-Ray will be "good enough" until downloads, holographic discs, or solid state media takes off in 5 years. I still bet DVD will still outlast them for quite some time.

      Just think of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as the Laser Discs of the 21st century rather than VHS or Betamax. They're nice, but most people don't need them or will buy them except hardcore hi-def enthusiasts.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by slazzy (864185)
        I totally agree with you on every point... For me, DVD quality is more than good enough, and I couldn't imagine the point of upgrading to Blu-ray or HD-DVD. maybe my eye sight isn't that good anymore, but I just can't even see the difference. I would pay to upgrade when the media gets significantly smaller so that it can be used in portable devices - I would see the point of that.
      • by Adambomb (118938)

        Just think of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as the Laser Discs of the 21st century rather than VHS or Betamax. They're nice, but most people don't need them or will buy them except hardcore hi-def enthusiasts.

        Exactly!

        This is the part that most people seem to be missing about all this. High Def video is currently a pretty high end luxury item to most people when one considers the cost of the TV itself, sound, players, and then media. Unless high def becomes standard amongst the wider audience, this does not mean a whole heck of a lot to those that arent videophiles/audiophiles in a big way AND have the funds (or perhaps stupid with lots of funds or obsessive with lots of funds, either way needs a good chunk of i

        • I just took a look at Best Buy's website. As a sample, I looked at their 30-39" TVs. Of the 24 they had for sale, 23 had at least 720p resolution. Over time TVs get replaced, so more and more TVs in people's homes will be HD capable.

          Sports are being broadcast more often in HD, over the air and via cable. Sports have the benefit of looking much better and more detailed in HD. It's a difference almost anyone will see. This will drive the sale of HD TVs and general HD awareness. Once people do have HD TVs, the
          • Too bad it won't fix the awful camera angle used to broadcast football. There's so much more to football than the guy with the ball or the line of scrimmage.

            In addition to sports, computer animation should look better in a higher resolution. Beyond those two, though, I don't think there's much purpose in HD.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        the rest of the world who can't afford Hi-Def TVs and Sound systems will probaly be satisfied with plain old DVDs for quite sometime.

        By that metric, VCDs should outlive both DVDs as well as Blu-ray...

        Unfortunately, the reality of economies of scale isn't so nice and simple. If you've bought a pack of CD-Rs lately, you might notice that prices are going up significantly, even while DVD+-Rs are falling. They're not equivalently priced yet, but for the storage, a DVD is much, much cheaper.

        VCDs used to be FAR

      • by westlake (615356)
        most people don't need them or will buy them except hardcore hi-def enthusiasts.

        The fundamental difference between then and now is that the HD buyer begins with a substantial investment in HD video and multichannel digital audio.

        He has practical large screen - wide screen - home projection. He has his choice of display technologies.

        He can spend as much or as little as he chooses on theater sound.

        If he choses the upscale HT receiver, HD radio, satelite radio, Internet radio, PC and iPod integration are

      • by GreatDrok (684119)
        Vertinox said "Just think of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as the Laser Discs of the 21st century rather than VHS or Betamax. They're nice, but most people don't need them or will buy them except hardcore hi-def enthusiasts."

        I think the difference today is home cinema/theater is much more practical. Back when I got into this I had found I was buying various movies in widescreen on VHS (1990 or so) because it was great to see the whole picture. However, VHS just couldn't hold enough detail to allow for widescreen pre
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by armada (553343)
      The story is true and has a good point about early adoption and the value of the now defunct HDDVD. That said, it is not taking into consideration the fact that in 2 to 4 years phisical media delivery will likely be passee alltogether. BlueRay (Disclosure, I liked BlueRay more than HDDVD) will have a short lived victory now that Apple has broken into the download rental market. Once Apple takes the risks and gets a good working modle up (a la itunes store) then others will follow with more competitive pric
  • Great Player (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n9uxu8 (729360) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:28PM (#22687472) Homepage
    The Toshibas are excellent upconverting players...I need another dvd for the basement HDTV, so I plan on picking up another rather than shelling out for a standard upconverting player.

    Dave
    • Re:Great Player (Score:5, Informative)

      by MagicNegro (1242634) <magicnegro@ t r a s h m ail.net> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:01PM (#22687622)

      I'm not feeling too bad about my purchase of a Toshiba HD DVD. I mean, it came almost free with the HDTV that we bought before Christmas, and aside from renting a few HD DVDS, we haven't really invested a whole lot of money.

      It came with 2 movies "Bourne Identity" (love it, great action and good features) and "300" (artist self gratification and generally crap movie), and a coupon for 5 more free. Haven't seen them yet. Doubt I will. It won't matter.

      We will be buying a Blu-Ray once the price point on a medium featured unit goes sub-$200. Typical consumer price.

      • by DWIM (547700)
        Bought my Toshiba HD DVD last Black Friday. Sent in the coupon for the 5 free movies. They arrived two days ago. I expect you'll get them.
  • New titles (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stabiesoft (733417) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:34PM (#22687514) Homepage
    While I think the HD players are an excellent cheap up-scaling DVD player, I question there value as a HD player. The catalog is tiny, and more importantly, there will be no new titles. So if I want the latest new release on a HD format, its blu-ray or nothin. I know, lots of people think up-scaled DVD's look just as good as HD, I just don't happen to be one of them. So, for me, I'll be picking up the high priced blu-ray media. I do think the war ended too soon. I was getting a lot of mileage out of the BOGO sales, which have vaporized as you could predict. Oh, and for those that will mention HD downloads, I'm already rolling on the floor with laughter.
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      What about blank HD-DVD media and drives for recording it? Are they available?
    • Re:New titles (Score:5, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:07PM (#22687654) Homepage Journal

      The catalog isn't that tiny, there's some real gems such as most of the major Kubrick films and the Blade Runner collection (which I ordered right after Christmas for $25. Wow. Most awesome DVD set I've ever had, until then it was the Criterion "Brazil" set but the Blade Runner DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray thing blows that away), and, on the other end of the scale, the only high-definition release thus far of the Matrix series. It's worth checking both Amazon.com and Amazon.de as the European releases covered a slightly different collection of movies to those in the US, due to differing distribution rights; and HD DVD is region free so this really is worth doing.

      Yes, there are plenty of movies not available on HD DVD. But the catalog isn't "tiny", people were buying DVD players back when the available DVDs were nothing like as plentiful as HD DVD is today.

      • Alien Quadrilogy FTW (Score:3, Interesting)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        The Criterion Brazil is great (wish they would re-release it in anamorphic or HD, though). But, for my money, the absolute gold standard of all DVD sets is still the Alien Quadrilogy boxset. It's like God himself came down and designed a DVD set. Nothing else even comes close.
    • "Oh, and for those that will mention HD downloads, I'm already rolling on the floor with laughter." - parent

      iTunes has already made a lot of progress for music, movies will most assuredly follow. All it will take is something like a Tivo that can purchase movies online and allow you back them up for playback on your home PC (presumably after loggin in online) or the "tivo" you purchased it from. And if netflix ever starts actually putting good, and new movies, online for download, which is certainly in th
      • iTunes has already made a lot of progress for music, movies will most assuredly follow.

        I don't think there is anything assured about it. iTunes has been a winner for pop singles, but hasn't made a dent in the album market or in other genres. HD movies are an entirely different ballgame from pop singles. 30 GB vs. 5MB is huge factor.

        iTunes works for 'music as background noise' that you don't pay any real attention to, much like car radio and elevator music.

        HD Movies are a very different usage scenario.
        • As soon as you could buy just the music you wanted, the "album market" was dead. There won't be any more "dents" in that dead horse. Movies make sense, but not at even 4.1GB. We need a return to xvid and/or divx compression and cool VCDs, which would be download-able.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I'd rather download a 700MB xvid or divx than a DVD iso. Time is significant. The quality is acceptable. Maybe its time to bring back XVCD?
  • by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradis@NoSpAm.palegray.net> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:36PM (#22687528) Homepage Journal
    Given the fact that HD-DVD titles are dirt cheap now, what about the prospect of buying up a lot of titles you want now and converting them to Blu-ray later? This is sort of like people converting VHS titles to DVD a few years ago, but without the problems of degraded quality.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I remember hearing that BluRay would only play encrypted/copy protected content. I'm not sure if I'm misinformed, or just not quite correct on the details, but it was my understanding that there wouldn't be any way of having user created content playable on BluRay.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437)
      OR, unless your HD-DVD player breaks (which is possible, but I have 3 "true" DVD players around the house, one of which is about 10 years old, and none have ever broken), why even bother converting? Just keep playing the HD-DVD's.
  • Multi-format players (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ifni (545998) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:47PM (#22687568) Homepage
    Another consideration is that by the time BD players come down in price in a year or two, they are likely to be multiformat players, integrating HD-DVD playback. The technology is already available (http://www.engadgethd.com/2007/09/05/lgs-bh200-hd-dvd-blu-ray-combo-player-set-for--october/), and since there will be a significant market comprised of people that don't want to repurchase their HD-DVD collection, it only makes sense that either this multi-format system will become standard, or be a very low cost option. So all these people taking advantage of cheap HD-DVD players/movies now can also take advantage of low priced Blu-Ray a couple years down the line with almost no down side.

    Despite Samsung canceling its next gen combo player (http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/006597.html), I think that this is a near term decision - when the market picks up for current model combo players, there will be financial incentive to meet that demand with new products.
    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:56PM (#22687910)
      Nobody is going to be building combo players. It just doesn't make sense to add to the cost of a player for a format where there will be no new software.

      • by Ifni (545998)
        Right, because I couldn't find 5.25" disk drives nearly a decade after it stopped being used as a distribution medium, and just try buying a 3.5" floppy drive today, because that format is dead and replaced by USB memory sticks. Oh, and no-one's ever heard of a 5.25"/3.5" combo drive - what market could have ever supported the premium on the price to support dead formats. I've never worked with Dell systems where such things were standard. And no-one makes Betamax players anymore, or VCRs, or DAT players
        • by dangitman (862676)

          Right, because I couldn't find 5.25" disk drives nearly a decade after it stopped being used as a distribution medium, and just try buying a 3.5" floppy drive today, because that format is dead and replaced by USB memory sticks.

          Somebody must have hit you with the stupid stick. The post you were replying to was referring to COMBO players, not being able to get obsolete devices. Did you ever see a 5.25"/3.5" floppy disk combo drive? No? Well, there's your analogy. There is about the same likelihood of seeing HD-DVD/Blu-Ray drives.

          And, of course, Blu-Ray players will never offer backwards compatibility with DVD, since it is soon to be a dead format.

          Again, idiotic. DVD is an established medium, which everybody uses. It is what people upgrade to Blu-Ray/HD from. Of course it is supported. But a format that is dead, and whose only serious manufactur

          • by PoliTech (998983)
            On the question of COMBO drives and floppies, here is a combo drive [newegg.com] that reads 3.5 inch floppies, and just about every memory stick type ever conceived.

            I can buy an HD-DVD BluRay combo drive [google.com] today.

            Why the deliberately obtuse antagonistic belligerent reply? I won't say that you didn't really know what the hell you were talking about, or that you just jumped at the opportunity to be an ignorant blathering fanboy.

            I'm too nice for that.

            • I have a 3.5/5.25 combo drive in storage at the moment. I think it was made by IBM.

              You could only use one drive or the other, but they were in the same unit.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sunspot42 (455706)
            Somebody must have hit you with the stupid stick. The post you were replying to was referring to COMBO players, not being able to get obsolete devices. Did you ever see a 5.25"/3.5" floppy disk combo drive? No? Well, there's your analogy.

            Speaking of being hit with the stupid stick, the 5.25" and 3.5" floppies used completely different form factors, which makes them a poor analogy for HD-DVD and Rlu-Ray, which share pretty much the exact same form factor. It would be a wee bit difficult to produce a "combo"
          • by Ifni (545998)

            Somebody must have hit you with the stupid stick.

            If they did, they hit you harder with it. The quote you take provides foundation for the argument based on the original poster's mention of obsolete media. So, I give examples of two types of obsolete media that persisted for quite some time after they were officially (and repeatedly) pronounced dead. Then, just after you stopped quoting (and apparently reading with a reasonable level of comprehension), I mention a combo drive - a 5.25"/3.5" combo drive, as a matter of fact, which yes, I have seen. I

  • Who pays $60 for a DVD player when you can get one for $30 [walmart.com]?
  • ...a linux box, xine and bittorrent.
    I mean, HD-DVDs ? Physical disks ? Dust ? Uuuh.

    Besides, frankly speaking, this early adopter rush probably has nothing to do with a taste for high quality and everything to do with a pissing contest with your neighbors.
  • embellishment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burnin1965 (535071) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:53PM (#22687582) Homepage

    What really drives this is Blu-ray's skimpy catalog, which will take a couple of years to pump up.

    The articles itself was interesting and looks spot on, however this embellished comment on the article is inaccurate. Amazon lists over 500 HD-DVD titles [amazon.com] and over 700 Blu-Ray titles [amazon.com]. It seems someone is grasping at anything to save face on a lost cause.

    With a large volume of HD content available for the dead format and the player/movie prices heavily cut to move inventory it should be no surprise they are selling. Thats the point of the massive price cuts, to clear out the inventory of the dead format.

    Is this bad news for Blu-Ray? Hardly, once the inventory for this dead format is depleted it will be a Blu-Ray market until a viable alternative is developed. I doubt we'll get any meaningful agreement between hardware manufacturers, software developers, content producers, and telecom providers that will enable a meaningful replacement for Blu-Ray any time soon.
    • Re:embellishment (Score:5, Informative)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:11PM (#22687670) Homepage
      I don't think digital distribution will be a replacement for physical disks anytime soon. If you want to know why, take for example, the WiiShop channel on Christmas day, You couldn't even get on, let alone get to the point where you could download a game. And that's just for downloading tiny ROMS. Using physical disks allows studios to release a very large number of disks to the public, and have almost everybody who wants a copy, gets a copy. Digital distribution of 50 GB HD movies won't be feasible for quite a while. If everybody with a cable connection started to download 50 GB a month, the ISPs would quickly raise rates to account for the massive increase in bandwidth.
      • by cgenman (325138)
        If you want to know why, take for example, the WiiShop channel on Christmas day, You couldn't even get on, let alone get to the point where you could download a game.

        If I follow your argument correctly, you're saying that digital distribution is doomed because demand has been higher than expected?

        • by Cowclops (630818)
          Actually, I think he was getting at the point that the supply (of internet bandwidth) was significantly less than the demand for games and the content producers won't have any direct control over your internet connection.

          If the demand for a DVD is higher than expected, they press more copies.

          If the demand for a download is higher than expected, they scratch their heads and say "damn, the internet is too slow." Its not that there aren't long term solutions, its just that the ONLY way to improve bandwidth is
      • by dabadab (126782)
        Of course, the smart thing would be that ISPs distribute the content themselves, so it does not really cost them in terms of external bandwith. That's exactly what the major ISPs here plan to do with IPTV.
        • Of course, the smart thing would be that ISPs distribute the content themselves, so it does not really cost them in terms of external bandwith. That's exactly what the major ISPs here plan to do with IPTV.

          That's great if you're able to use a major ISP. However, what about all of the people using municipal systems? What about watching a movie somewhere that doesn't have an internet connection, like in a vehicle?

          Sorry, but physical media is here to stay. Sure, it'll diminish in presense, much like it has for the music industry; but the last time I checked, CD's are still selling heathily.

    • This isn't anything to do with saving face on a lost cause, it's saving money on movies that you can buy right now. Don't forget, that HD player will still play regular DVDs, so for someone who doesn't have those "GOTTA GET SOME OF THAT" early adopter genes, a choice of 500 cheap titles for a $75 player is a better deal than 700 full price titles for a $320 player.
  • by rbrander (73222) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:00PM (#22687614) Homepage
    Such a ridiculous premium is put on technology costs by the "first on my block" factor, and so much value is ignored by the "fear of obsolescence" that great economies can be had by doing the opposite - jumping on technologies as they start to age.

    Everybody who buys computers knows there's a "sweet spot" in price/performance that's about in the middle of the pack. If 1TB drives are just available, and you can still get 80GB drives but no smaller (not new), the the lowest $/GB is going to be around the 500GB size.

    Well, the sweet spot for consumer entertainment boxes has tended to be near the trailing edge for over a decade now, not the middle. Unlike computer parts, there's very little Moore's Law involved.

    I got a DVD player when they hit $300, and watched about 20 movies on it by the time they'd dropped below $100. So those 20 movies cost me $5 each to rent, and $10 each to own the player that early; I bought too soon.

    Better results came from buying a LaserDisc AFTER the DVD had been announced and LD's dropped like a stone. I got it for a couple of hundred, watched several dozen movies on it before they were being sold from the stores, bought 20 discs for $5 each, and am still watching them one-by-one (and it's barely less good than DVD). In addition, it's now a conversation piece, a historical curio.

    People still buy technology with the wrong, wrong mindset that it is a capital asset, that it will last a long time like a house, or at least a good car. It's not. It won't last that long anymore; not just the gadget, the ENTIRE FORMAT. My tapes lasted 20 years, DVD came and went in about 10, Blu-Ray is widely expected to be obsoleted by (often downloaded) AVI files in less than 10.

    So treat it as an operating-money decision instead. Figure out the number of movies you watch in a year - if you're out of the dating years, have a family, generally Have A Life, it's probably less than 30, may be under 20. Then figure a five-year lifespan for a format these days, and that's the number of discs you'll play: maybe 100-150. Paying $600 for a player is $4-$6 per disc. Add then rental, and are you sure you don't just want to go to the theatre?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by poormanjoe (889634)

      Add then rental, and are you sure you don't just want to go to the theatre?

      There is nothing family orientated about a trip to the local picture show. Every single time I goto the theater I am annoyed or offended.

      The ultimate combination for the casual TV viewer is a modern antenna [dennysantennaservice.com] mounted on your house [antennaweb.org] plus Netflix [netflix.com] for the remainder of your desired special programming

    • by nasor (690345)

      Add then rental, and are you sure you don't just want to go to the theatre?

      Since it costs $9/ticket for adults at the theaters in my town, it's a minimum of $18/movie for my wife and I to go to the theater - and see the movie once. At 20 movies/year for 5 years, that's $1800 total. So no, it's still an easy choice to rent movies and watch them at home. Especially since you have the convenience of starting when you want, being able to stop the movie if you want to, etc. For the price of a trip to the theater you can usually purchase the movie, especially if you're willing to wait

    • People still buy technology with the wrong, wrong mindset that it is a capital asset, that it will last a long time like a house, or at least a good car. It's not. It won't last that long anymore; not just the gadget, the ENTIRE FORMAT. My tapes lasted 20 years, DVD came and went in about 10, Blu-Ray is widely expected to be obsoleted by (often downloaded) AVI files in less than 10.

      The difference these days is that optical medium have been, for the large part, backward compatible.

      I can play CDs in my DVD pl

  • by Xest (935314) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:01PM (#22687618)
    Frankly I don't give a damn whether I can see some actors face in all it's blemished detail, what I do care about is the likes of Planet Earth, Galapagos and so forth in HD.

    Fact is, picking up a firesale HD-DVD player + Planet Earth, Galapagos and so on in HD-DVD as well as a few films that do actually suit HD well such as 300 and Transformers I've been able to get the content I actually want to see in HD early. I'd never buy an HD player for the likes of the Bourne series, simply because I already think Matt Damon is an idiot and I don't particularly care about watching a high definition idiot in my room, I'm quite content with people like him remaining standard definition, and in not watching that sort of thing in HD I don't feel like I've lost out on anything whatsoever.

    I guess to put it another way, some films you watch for the fantastic visuals, others you watch for the story. The story based films really don't make much difference whether they'd HD or standard def. but you'd never watch something like Planet Earth for the story, whilst it's interesting the main pull to it is the fantastic visuals that make you realise how amazing our planet actually is so I had a choice. Do I wait god knows how long for a Bluray player to come down to £50 - maybe 2years or more? or do I just buy an HD-DVD player addon for my 360 for £50 and enjoy the content I actually care about seeing in HD right now. To me it's really a no brainer, as has been mentioned previously on Slashdot, it's not as if the 360's HD-DVD drive can't be used on a computer to rip the content to disc and burn to a Bluray disc sometime down the road anyway when the prices for burning Bluray discs becomes reasonable.

    Some people look at me funny when I say I bought an HD-DVD player and a few films, but I struggle to find myself as being the joke when I've paid £90 for the same player + content they're paying over £300 for. I'm still possibly going to buy Bluray down the line, I just aint going to pay anything over £100 for it. It's all too easy for some people to overlook common sense and logical action due to over the top brand loyalty. I understand there may be some people who do want to see their favourite actors in all their high definition glory rather than enjoy the storyline but I'm not one of those and plenty of others aren't - for those of us who only watch story based discs for the story then even 700mb XviD (i.e. not quite as good as DVD quality even) is plenty good enough.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Buran (150348)

      I struggle to find myself as being the joke when I've paid £90 for the same player + content they're paying over £300 for.

      You'll be singing a different tune when they spent that money just once and can continue to enjoy new releases while you spent that money once AND have to spend the additional money again when you find that you can't buy anything new that will play on your player. And you'll have to either dispose of the thing or figure out how to make it all fit in your TV stan

      • Maybe not when you work out the economics of it. He can quite possibly buy an HD DVD player, a bunch of movies, and in a couple years throw them all in the trash and buy a Blu-ray player and those same movies and still come out ahead in terms of total money spent. In which case I think the joke is really on the Blu-ray early adopters.

        Just to make my point with numbers:
        100 HD DVD Player
        50 10 HD DVD movies @ 5 each
        V 3 years pass
        100 Blu-ray Player
        150 10 Blu-ray Movies @ 15 each
        =total 400 + time value of mone
      • by Xest (935314)
        I'm not sure how you work out that I'm going to end up spending more? I'm not fussed about Bluray until it comes down below £100, I spent £90 on HD-DVD so far including all the content I require. At most I'll be spending £190 therefore to have my current HD kit and switch to Bluray (I wont switch current content to Bluray, no need it's fine in HD-DVD and I can rip it to my PC/Bluray regardless). £190 is still less than the current £200 - £300 I'd need to spend on Bluray a
    • I guess to put it another way, some films you watch for the fantastic visuals, others you watch for the story.

      Or, to take a less piecemeal approach, a movie experience is a combination of the visuals, the audio, and the inherent movie content which includes story, acting, etc. You might watch Planet Earth for its great visuals but if you're playing the audio on not-very-good stereo speakers then you're missing out on a great part of the experience. HD content with a good setup gives you the best of all aspects of the movie and, while you may be satisfied with only a few of them, others want to get the best possi

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:06PM (#22687652)
    I adopted DVD in 1997 (just months after it came out) with a $450 player (at that time, one of the cheapest on the market). I have no regrets. I got a well-built machine that has lasted almost 11 years now (my parents still use it). That premium got me several years headstart over those still wasting $ on VHS tapes and a machine that was very decent and built to last (unlike many of the cheapo DVD players today).

    I also bought into HD-DVD (bought the $180 xbox 360 add-on drive when it first came out). That $180 got me the ability to watch movies in high-def, access to HD-DVD discs that were generally much cheaper than their blu-ray counterparts, and access to many great exclusives (like the Battlestar Galactica HD-DVD boxset) not available on blu-ray. And it's not like any of that stuff I've already bought is going to turn into a pumpkin now that HD-DVD is dead. It also gives me access to some great clearance deals on discs now. No regrets

    I also bought a blu-ray player (PS3 after the first price drop for $500). Gives me access to blu-ray discs and exclusives, a good gaming system with potential, full hardware backwards compatibility for my PS2/PS1 games (it's the original 60GB American model). And it's easily upgradable. No regrets.

    I'm sick of hearing about the "dangers" of early adoption. IMHO, it's almost always worth it (as long as you don't go crazy with the top-of-the line stuff). Early adoption can buy you years of fun ahead of everyone else and rarely becomes truly worthless even if your chosen format "loses."

  • Prior art (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnw (3725) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:08PM (#22687658)
    In its way, rather similar to what happened with the 3" floppy disc drive. For a while the two battled it out, then it became clear that 3.5" had won out, but then Alan Sugar made use of the fact that the price of 3" drives had dropped to practically nothing and put them in the Amstrad PCW256. Unfortunately, production of the media had pretty much stopped so for a while the drives were quite a lot cheaper than a box of 10 discs (which was more surprising then than it would be now).

    The Amstrad box was so popular that production of 3" discs had to be restarted and 3" drives got a whole new lease of life. Still died in the end though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by glitch23 (557124)

      In its way, rather similar to what happened with the 3" floppy disc drive.

      Just as an FYI and future reference, "disc" is reserved for optical media while "disk" is for magnetic (hard or soft media). So if you have seen CD expanded to "compact disk" it is wrong as far as the nomenclature is concerned. And yes I am aware your ID is a lot lower than mine but when something is factually incorrect it is factually incorrect.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by johnw (3725)

        Just as an FYI and future reference, "disc" is reserved for optical media while "disk" is for magnetic (hard or soft media).

        Bollocks. The two spellings have been used interchangeably for years. Whilst it might be true to say that the trademark "Compact disc" requires the "C" spelling, extrapolating from this to your general rule is purely wishful thinking.

        It is true that "disk" is more common in the USA, whilst "disc" is (or was) more common in English English, but all these things are becoming very blurred.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by glitch23 (557124)

          I'm not sure how many I have to post before you are convinced but here goes:
          Exhibit A (most reliable) from Apple [apple.com]

          Exhibit B (least reliable but similar to what you said) is here [auckland.ac.nz]

          Exhibit C (medium reliability) from Washington State University [wsu.edu]

          In the end, I believe they all support what I said.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by ChrisRed (948482)
            Well they are used interchangeably in the UK. I think it may be different in the US since the Cambridge Dictionary lists it as:

            Definition

            disc, US ALSO disk

            noun [C]

            1. a circular flat object:
              The dog's name was engraved on a little metal disc attached to its collar.
              See also CD; disk.
            2. a small piece of cartilage (= a strong elastic body tissue) between the bones in your back
            3. a musical record or a compact disc

            (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

            from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp [cambridge.org]

  • I grabbed a cheap A3 last fall and then started grabbing some of the B1G1 deals that Amazon and other places were running. When the ax fell in January, I sat back, took stock and realized that with the money I'd spent on the player and about 20 movies, I'd barely have been able to buy the cheapest BD player. I'm not buying any more HD DVDs (mostly because I have most of the ones I wanted), but I did just order an Xbox 360 add-on for $50 so that I can rip the HD DVDs that I do have. I'll most likely pick up
  • by WK2 (1072560) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:28PM (#22687740) Homepage
    > And why are people flocking to buy this decade's Betamax? Simple, they did the math.

    What? The summary does a good job of describing why HD-DVD is a good buy, although they have to make up facts to do it, such as pricing a DVD player at $60. However, I think it is more likely that most of the people buying HD-DVD players don't know that it is dead. Never attribute to average people doing math that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.
  • by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @02:37PM (#22687798)

    And why are people flocking to buy this decade's Betamax?
    Don't know about the rest of the world, but I'd like a Betamax deck (to digitize some old Beta tapes I have).

    Save your HD-DVD player! Some loser, twenty years from now, may want it!
    • by zakezuke (229119)

      Don't know about the rest of the world, but I'd like a Betamax deck (to digitize some old Beta tapes I have).

      Beta was slightly less pointless. For a home theater it offered superior sound and video even in long play mode until SVHS & Hi8 came out. Oddly enough, I found beta to be more practical than SVHS or Hi8 as I found there were more people with beta decks than SVHS and Hi8 ones.

      I had a Sanyo super beta till it died some years back, and I wish that I recorded more with it, esp music videos on MTV's 120 minutes as VHS was in contrast crap even in LP mode.

    • by 1point618 (919730)
      Well, they can still be had:
      http://tinyurl.com/28398p [tinyurl.com]
      (link to ebay listing of a Betamax deck)
  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @03:42PM (#22688174)
  • The value prospect of HD-DVD right now is compelling. Picked up a 360 add-on for $49 - which comes with King Kong and five free* (admittedly, quite limited selection) HD-DVDs.
    * + $10 shipping

    Then picked up a bunch selling at deepdiscount.com for $10.
    Then picked up Planet Earth for $35 (damn Canadian shipping costs - would have been $25 if I lived in the US!).

    In all, I've spent maybe $250. That's not enough to even buy a Blu-Ray player.. but it was enough to get me HD player, plus a whole bunch (20)+ of mo
  • by DCheesi (150068) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @04:23PM (#22688364) Homepage
    What all the "Wal-mart DVD players are cheaper" posters are missing is that the upconversion on those players is mostly crap. If you've got an HDTV that has good internal scaling then all you need is progressive-scan; but some displays *need* a good quality upscaler, and the Wal-Mart brands are largely worthless for that (heck, even the models sold in CC/BB are only mediocre, usually).

    Personally, I bought an HD-A2 when the price dropped below that of the OPPO players, which are widely considered the cream of the crop in upscaling DVD players. Many reviews on AV discussion boards indicated that the Tosh HD-DVD players were(/are) at least equal to the OPPOs, plus you got HD-DVD as a bonus. Meanwhile the only thing I sacrificed was support for formats like DVD-A/SACD on the OPPO, which I didn't plan to use anyway.

    Of course that was before the format "died", so there was at least the *possibility* that the HD-DVD portion would be useful going forward. But if I were looking at it now, I'd much rather have a $60 "HD-A3 than a $30 Wal-mart brand just for the upconverting function...
  • I think the fortune being displayed at the bottom of the page states the issue better than any of the 100+ comments.

    Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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