Blu-ray v HD DVD: fighting talk

2nd Sep 2007 | 23:00

Blu-ray v HD DVD: fighting talk

Both sides turn format battle into war of words

This year's IFA show in Berlin has been completely dominated by products focusing around high definition. The exhibition centre's 30-something enormous halls have been crammed with thousands of different high-definition TVs. And there've been plenty of fightin' words coming out of the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps too.

The first eyebrow-raising comment came from Frank Simonis, the chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association. He said told Tech.co.uk that HD DVD just isn't good enough to fulfil the demands of studios releasing high-definition video content. A claim vehemently denied by the HD DVD camp over at the Toshiba stand when we asked them about it.

The truth is that as the HD format war continues to liven up, both parties have been using IFA to fire off the latest volleys of propaganda cannon balls. Facts are mixed with fiction; mist is raised to disguise weaknesses. And no one really knows what on earth is going on.

For a neutral on-looker, both camps sound pretty convincing on their own. But then both claim to have the best format and they can't both be right, can they? Here's a good example...

Hard talk

"The high def format is about standalone players, not games machines. And the truth is that the jury is still out on whether gamers actually will buy movies in favour of games," Ken Graffeo, co-chairman of the European HD DVD Promotion Group, said during his FA 2007 press conference speech.

Frank Simonis, however, said: "HD DVD likes to think that the PS3 should not be included in this market. That is an old way of thinking. In the 21st century, it's all about convergence where one product performs several functions. To think that games consoles should not be counted in HD sales is ridiculous and desperate."

Simonis said it best when he tactfully insisted that despite victory crows from both sides in recent months, "there is no victory for anyone yet, only confusion on the part of the consumer". And that sounds about right. Most people have no idea what format does what, which is best and which one to buy. And so most people don't buy either.

Tech.co.uk attended both the Blu-ray and HD DVD press conferences and they both claimed to be on the road to victory. Toshiba focussed on HD DVD's lead in terms of getting HD into laptops. The Blu-ray Disc Association focussed on all the BD movies that will be exclusively coming out over the next three months.

The Blu-ray Disc Association says it has 70 per cent of HD disc sales. The HD DVD guys on the other hand say that HD DVD films have an attach rate of of discs to players of 7-to-1. So who is right?

For a start, you have to cut through the FUD [Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt]. Both formats have their advantages and to buy into either one of the arguments with 100 per cent commitment would probably be a mistake.

Format war: interviews

Blu-ray boss: HD DVD is not good enough

Blu-ray camp: Microsoft is not the Holy Grail

Blu-ray boss: HD format war over in 18 months?

HD DVD boss: HD DVD movies outsell Blu-ray by 7-to-1

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