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Current state of affairs of format war (where do we go from here?)

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Current state of affairs of format war (where do we go from here?)

Old 11-02-07, 09:45 PM
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Current state of affairs of format war (where do we go from here?)

As most of you know I am an ardent BD supporter but I can't help but notice that the momentum has fully swung the HD-DVD way within the last week. How can any hi-def supporter ignore the great prices Toshiba is giving right now?

I'm still in shock that I've been able to pick up an A3 and 9 HD-DVDS for $200 dollars today. I also stopped by two Walmarts and picked up 4 HD titles as well. While I was at Walmart, I saw something that has truly changed my view on this hi-def war. J6P was buying an A2 by the droves! The Walmart I was at sold out of 75 players in 2 hours! I got a chance to talk to one gentleman and tried to give him a summary of the hi-def war and if most J6Ps are like him they're not buying a BD player. He said that he will just buy the dvds for titles that are not on HD. That got me thinking that Toshiba had planned this coup of Walmart for a while and have been saving the warchest for this massive blow.

Two things I would like your opinion on. Can Toshiba continue their momentum from what they are building on and can the BDA recover from this massive onslaught of new adopters?

Last edited by tonymontana313; 11-02-07 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:00 PM
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The important thing to remember is how weak both of these formats still are. Things can swing a lot with neither being close to challenging their real opponent standard DVD.

At first I didn't think dumping a few thousands A2s at $99 would make a big difference, but man this is really being talked about a lot. Many people were at Wal Mart today and people at work I have never even heard mention HD were talking about HD DVD.

Still, I don't know if it will matter in the long run. In January we will see the sales for both formats and have an idea if any of this mattered. Unless one of these formats becomes the "thing" to get this Christmas both will continue to sell a few percent of standard DVD and both will probably linger on in a niche for another year while they prepare to battle again Christmas 09.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:08 PM
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Toshiba/WalMart's move today definitely got some momentum going for the HD-DVD camp. This momentum will continue if they keep the $100-rule in effect. How much is Toshiba losing per unit on $100 A2s? I don't know the answer to that question. Heck, maybe they are even *making* money on a $100 G2 unit, considering that they are now manufactured in China.

Can the BDA recover? Sure. But now it's going to take serious price cuts, and Sony made pricing commitments to the various CE manufacturers to get them on board in the first place.

Bottom line: the genie is now out of the bottle. With inexpensive players for sale during the holiday season, regular folks (meaning people who didn't give a rat's ass about HDM yesterday) are taking notice. This format war is still far from over, but it really does come down to price. That's the only way either format will ever make it out of a niche category.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bretski
Toshiba/WalMart's move today definitely got some momentum going for the HD-DVD camp. This momentum will continue if they keep the $100-rule in effect. How much is Toshiba losing per unit on $100 A2s? I don't know the answer to that question. Heck, maybe they are even *making* money on a $100 G2 unit, considering that they are now manufactured in China.

Can the BDA recover? Sure. But now it's going to take serious price cuts, and Sony made pricing commitments to the various CE manufacturers to get them on board in the first place.

Bottom line: the genie is now out of the bottle. With inexpensive players for sale during the holiday season, regular folks (meaning people who didn't give a rat's ass about HDM yesterday) are taking notice. This format war is still far from over, but it really does come down to price. That's the only way either format will ever make it out of a niche category.
There have been reports that Toshiba sold the A2s to Wal-mart for $50 each...but they were breaking even on them? Apparently these have been in the works for many, many months, hence the denial about carrying the Venturer. At this point, with all the reports I have been reading, Walmarts accross America sold roughly 100k players...that, coupled with Best Buy selling out yesterday of all A2s, various stores price matching, CC selling it for $129, the 360 AO deal last week...I wouldn't be shocked to say that HD DVD may have just gained 150k new HD DVD owners...all ready to buy catalog titles and new releases.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:23 PM
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Who's gonna buy a Venturer now that you can get a Toshiba for less?

Now that you've got tons of new HD owners, Toshiba needs to subsidize a software sale to whet all those new hi-def appetites.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:31 PM
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The players have been sold, but the movies need to be discounted as well. Blu-ray will have hardware sales between now and Christmas. If not, I'd be VERY surprised.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:50 PM
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Too early to tell. I do think though that the next best move for HD DVD (and for me!) would be a Universal BOGO at Amazon!
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Old 11-02-07, 10:51 PM
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Dell seems to have gone with Blu-ray, or at least I finally got an e-mail about it.
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Old 11-02-07, 11:28 PM
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the rumour 5 months back was that Wal-mart had an order for 2 million players at $50 each.
If they've sold only 100,000- that means they have another 1.9 million they can discount at will for the next 7 weeks and beyond (expect big post holidays sales as well).

to put this in perspective, 5 months back we were all wondering, conjecturing what a possible sub $200 no name player might mean at Walmart, and now we not only have Tosh's at a sub $200 at just about every retailer, but we have expectations of more sales in the $100-150 range in the next few weeks, and confirmation that there actually is a price point where *average* people will become enthusiastic about an HD disc player.

Toss in one multi-day BOGO for HD DVD media across all studios, along with some expected Black Friday lures, and HD DVD is likely to be looking at parity with Bd sales for much of the next year, and beyond- and if that is the case, then Bd better get its replication issue under control or there is going to be little reason for a studio to spend any more money publishing on that format when they could move just as many units while paying out quite a bit less.
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Old 11-02-07, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tonymontana313

Two things I would like your opinion on. Can Toshiba continue their momentum from what they are building on and can the BDA recover from this
massive onslaught of new adopters?
Point A. I feel we'll see a MS add-on deal and at least one more Toshiba deal before the end of 4th qrt.

Point B. The BDA NEEDS to get their hardware prices down. Somewhere along the line one of the CEs are going to have to take one for the team.
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Old 11-02-07, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul_SD
the rumour 5 months back was that Wal-mart had an order for 2 million players at $50 each.
If they've sold only 100,000- that means they have another 1.9 million they can discount at will for the next 7 weeks and beyond (expect big post holidays sales as well).

to put this in perspective, 5 months back we were all wondering, conjecturing what a possible sub $200 no name player might mean at Walmart...
But didn't Walmart, at the last minute, decide to NOT sell the Venturer DVD player? Makes me think this was a last-minute decision by Toshiba. Not sure if I'm right on this one, so somebody correct me.
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Old 11-02-07, 11:56 PM
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Outside of having an HDTV for about a year and a half, I've made no other move into the HD arena. With a dozen local stations involved in digital broadcasting, and 8 of them broadcasting HD, I have plenty of OTA HD conten to satify me...for the time being. It's unlikely that I will invest in a HD player until there is only format...or a ultimate winner is so obvious there is no longer any real reason to put it off.

The "success" (or not) of this move by Toshiba is something that only time will tell. I've always held to the notion that the price of content (movies) will determine the formet "winner," not the price of players.

The old expression "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched," comes to mind.

I'm dubious of the influence of JSP on the outcome of the format war. How much content is JSP going to be inclined to buy when he finds out HD-DVDs (and BDs) run 2 to 3 times the cost of DVDs? And what's he going to do when the kids start crying for some hi-def Disney titles?

JSP dad, "Merry Christmas (Happy B-Day, whatever), Sweetie. Let's watch Shrek."

JSP offspring (with quivering lip), "But...but I wanted Cars (Sleeping Beauty, whatever). Waaaaaaahhh!!!!"

Yeah...that's gonna go over well.

No...I wouldn't being touting the "success" of this sale with JSP types as a victory for HD-DVD. As we all know, JSP isn't exactly noted for his intellect prowess in home entertainment circles like DVDTalk. In case we've forgotten, JSP was a big supporter of full-screen DVD releases.

And here's something else to think about, how many of those Toshibas were bought by Blu-Ray people taking advantage of the opportunity to pickup a cheap HD-DVD player? We know of at least one.

Maybe some of the various websites like DVDTalk, HTF and others should have some polls to find out how many of their BD members did just that? As much as such results could be trusted, it might be interesting to find out what the percentage was.

Last edited by Jon2; 11-03-07 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 11-02-07, 11:57 PM
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I'm thinking that the Toshiba/Walmart thing was a done deal last summer, Paramount got wind of it and agreed to switch to HD-dvd exclusive.

I don't think it was ever confirmed that the Venturer was ever intended to be sold at Walmart but my memory could be wrong. They stated something to the likes of, "we have no intentions of carrying that model."

I AM curious however as to what is going on with the Venturer player if it isn't going to Wal-mart. I've started to think recently that the entire thing was a fake smokescreen which was started to hide the ultra cheap sale of the Toshiba players. That is certainly something none of us saw coming at under $100.
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Old 11-03-07, 12:22 AM
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One thing I will say is this hurts future sales of Toshiba players over $99.

Would anyone that missed out on the cheap A2s really pay $300 for the A3? As quickly as A2 prices dropped the past few months it would be foolish.

You can't just drop 100k $99 players on the market and think now that those are gone everyone else will pay $300.
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Old 11-03-07, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by darkside
One thing I will say is this hurts future sales of Toshiba players over $99.

Would anyone that missed out on the cheap A2s really pay $300 for the A3? As quickly as A2 prices dropped the past few months it would be foolish.

You can't just drop 100k $99 players on the market and think now that those are gone everyone else will pay $300.

I agree completely with this. They may get away with going back up to $199 after the holidays, but not $300.
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Old 11-03-07, 01:36 AM
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Well, this sale has made me decide to wait for G4 to come out before I pick up an A35.
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Old 11-03-07, 02:05 AM
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HD DVD needs better titles to release.. they need something big like pirates and spidey.. they are not going to win with just shrek 3 and star trek season 1 remastered.. they need something bigger. I have both.. I have more titles on bluray then HD DVD.

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Old 11-03-07, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Jon2
I'm dubious of the influence of JSP on the outcome of the format war. How much content is JSP going to be inclined to buy when he finds out HD-DVDs (and BDs) run 2 to 3 times the cost of DVDs? And what's he going to do when the kids start crying for some hi-def Disney titles?

JSP dad, "Merry Christmas (Happy B-Day, whatever), Sweetie. Let's watch Shrek."

JSP offspring (with quivering lip), "But...but I wanted Cars (Sleeping Beauty, whatever). Waaaaaaahhh!!!!"

Yeah...that's gonna go over well.
You can still play SD DVDs in these players and with upconversion virtually all of the animated SD titles look better than ever, certainly good enough for the toddler set (since your example posits unhappy children).
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Old 11-03-07, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by darkside
One thing I will say is this hurts future sales of Toshiba players over $99.

Would anyone that missed out on the cheap A2s really pay $300 for the A3? As quickly as A2 prices dropped the past few months it would be foolish.

You can't just drop 100k $99 players on the market and think now that those are gone everyone else will pay $300.
Ah, Shill Hunt's diving fighter theory . I'm guessing that $100-$130 low-end players will become the norm, with higher price points for the newest players or those with more bells and whistles. Aren't the A3s already down to $200 or so, with a half dozen or more free movies?

The beauty of these $99 players is that it gets a bunch of them into J6P's home now (just in time for the holidays) and it sends the message that HDM has suddenly become affordable for the masses. I'm thinking this turn of events will have a much, much greater impact than the Paramount move.
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Old 11-03-07, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
But didn't Walmart, at the last minute, decide to NOT sell the Venturer DVD player? Makes me think this was a last-minute decision by Toshiba. Not sure if I'm right on this one, so somebody correct me.
Things like this just don't happen at the last minute (just like Fox didn't just realize it wasn't going to be putting out 2 MGM catalog titles next week). The players were coming. we knew it. Some people expressed doubt, but others in the know said "just wait you'll see".
People merely assumed that Venturer was going to be the brand on the players manufactered in China- partly because of the wholesale price points and the expected retail prices and because of W-Ms ties to that brand. People expected sub $200 players, but no one expected them to come from a name brand- hence the speculation about Venturer and Wal-marts factual denial.

This was a deal obviously in the works for some time and Paramount (and others, I'm sure) were well aware of it, which is why they could be so easily enticed to go 'exclusive'.

Pretty damn amazing when you realize 2 years ago at this time, people were anticipating the debut of both these format...each at a $1000 price point.
From $1000 to $98 in less than 2 years.
As Gary Busey would say in Under Siege..."Outstanding".

Last edited by Paul_SD; 11-03-07 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 11-03-07, 05:05 AM
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Or as Bill Paxton so eloquently observed in Alien, "Game over man, game over!"

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Old 11-03-07, 09:27 AM
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I didn't have anything against HD when I jumped in to the fray with BD back in July. I just felt with Blockbuter going Blue, there would be more to choose from and the prices were'nt that different. Once I saw some great title on HD, it was a price waiting game. I wanted to get things like SMokey and the BAndit and Bourne trilogy.

If you read Digital Bits, he railed against all the J6Ps who bought the 1080i machine and how low Toshiba is going. To be honest, that's what competition is all about. That's why VHS beat Beta even though Beta was the better format technologically. More features at a lower price.

I watched both Bourne movies on a 47" LCD and A3. To be honest the picture was every bit as good as my $600 SONY in 1080p. For $200 with 9 movies I'll take the deal Howie.
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Old 11-03-07, 09:48 AM
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I just hope next year at this time. We only have one format! This 2 format shit is for the birds.
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Old 11-03-07, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tacos
I just hope next year at this time. We only have one format! This 2 format shit is for the birds.
We will lose the low prices if that happens.
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Old 11-03-07, 11:55 AM
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HD looks fantastic on both HD-DVD and Bluray though Bluray supports better technical specs, the odds of people seeing/hearing them are very low, at least with current equipment. I sided with the cheaper side that had more movies I'd actually like to own.

I'd love to have a BD too, but the price is still a wee bit steep.
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