Industry Insiders Q&A MASTER THREAD [separate thread for Xbox/Add On & PS3] - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 4841 Old 01-04-2007, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Post Questions [only questions] directed to and answered only by Industry Insiders who are asked to identify themselves as such in their sig : subject to AVS approval

Industry Insiders only may answer questions or make comments: this is the thread for chat between Insiders as well

any AVS member can post questions [only questions please] for Insiders- but we will not tolerate any bashing

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This is a continuation of the original thread Industry Insiders Q&A Thread: only Questions to insiders please which did not end well: any more of this and we will take strong action: Insiders are to be treated with respect:

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post #182 of 4841 Old 01-04-2007, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by chad_cincy View Post

I'm a little confused. If the BDA cannot come up with a feasible BD/DVD hybrid solution, how can Warner come up with a BD/HD DVD solution; Which is essentially the same thing?

Good observation . What BDA failed to do was to put the SD and BD layers on the same side. Our assumtion of the solution by Warner is that it is a flipper design, with the BD on one side and HD DVD on the other. Still challenging to produce mind you, but not nearly as much as the abandoned design by JVC/BDA.

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And will the cases be a purplish color (blue and red mixed)??

You know that is funny because I was thinking of the same thing . My imaginary solution was a white color as in peace.

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post #183 of 4841 Old 01-04-2007, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by dialog_gvf View Post

Is there any confirmation LG is planning to release a full out player, rather than merely an optical drive?

Gary

Yes, this is a real machine, not just a drive.

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post #184 of 4841 Old 01-04-2007, 04:30 PM
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Question: is it fair to claim a title supports PiP if there's only one video stream being decoded?

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post #185 of 4841 Old 01-04-2007, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by amillians View Post

Question: is it fair to claim a title supports PiP if there's only one video stream being decoded?

Not in my book. PiP is "Picture in Picture" so there has to be two "P"s .

Who is the guilty party so that we go and talk to them?

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post #186 of 4841 Old 01-04-2007, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Good observation . What BDA failed to do was to put the SD and BD layers on the same side. Our assumtion of the solution by Warner is that it is a flipper design, with the BD on one side and HD DVD on the other. Still challenging to produce mind you, but not nearly as much as the abandoned design by JVC/BDA.

When I suggested a back to back approach for BD combos quite some time ago, didn't you say there is an issue with the hitting the needed tolerances with a thinner (0.5mm?) substrate?

Any word whether this is something for non-key titles, or whether Warner intends an accross the board approach?

Gary


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post #187 of 4841 Old 01-04-2007, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by dialog_gvf View Post

When I suggested a back to back approach for BD combos quite some time ago, didn't you say there is an issue with the hitting the needed tolerances with a thinner (0.5mm?) substrate?

Probably so. This is still a challenging disc to manufacture, even though it is not as bad as the BD combo where both layers are on the same side. Putting aside the difficulties of making the discs, their yields go down yet again from the BD process which as we know, is not that great compared to HD DVD/DVD. You take a working BD disc and by the time you glue something to the other side, you are going to ruin some, reducing yields even more.

And of course, every bad disc means a production HD DVD disc needs to be thrown away, rather than just a blank BD disc. Put another way, the blank now costs as much as an HD DVD-30.

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Any word whether this is something for non-key titles, or whether Warner intends an accross the board approach?

Gary

I don't have definitive data to share at this point unfortunately.

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post #188 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

You know that is funny because I was thinking of the same thing . My imaginary solution was a white color as in peace.

White... err clear is already being used by the PS3 games (I always thought the blue Blu-ray would have been more appropriate myself, but that's neither here nor there).

I oppose the hybrids/combos on general principle, though, as I can only see the prices of such being higher. I've avoided a couple HD-DVD's I kinda want because of the pricing (over $30 = no deal unless it's a must-have A-list title like Star Wars or LOTR or something and there are no titles out right now that I put in that category).

Question for any of the Microsoft / Xbox types... would it be possible that a future update to the 360 could include a bitrate meter/codec display like the PS3? That feature just has huge geek appeal to a computer geek like myself.

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post #189 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BENN0 View Post

Any comment from insiders on the recent announcement from LG?

From my take, this is an unfortunate, though not unexpected, development. I foresee a few possible scenarios:
  1. LG, HP, and probably a few others release universal players. They are more expensive than single-format standalones, but if properly implemented still appeal to a specific segment of the HT population. Blu-ray still ultimately wins the format war due to its still-significantly greater vendor and studio support, but it takes a few years longer for a single format to emerge, resulting in slower overall consumer adoption, higher prices due to lower volumes, fewer titles, etc.

    In this scenario the only beneficiaries are those who bought universal machines, in that they can still use them as Blu-ray players after HD-DVD is gone.

  2. Universal players become the most popular option, and most vendors ultimately offer them (as most DVD burners today support both + and - formats). Both formats persist in the marketplace indefinitely. The studio allegiances don't change much from today; there's little value in publishing in both formats if most people have players which can support either. Blu-ray remains a preferred publishing format due to higher capacity, BD-J, and the number of PS3's which can play Blu-ray but not HD-DVD discs.

    In this scenario Toshiba and Microsoft benefit because HD-DVD doesn't perish, but studios lose because those who support both formats have to author everything twice. Consumers lose because all players are now burdened with much higher royalty costs and complexity, leading to higher prices, less feature innovation, and more bugs. Consumers also lose because it will take longer for prices of universal players to drop to levels where J6P is willing to buy in, so overall high-def format adoption continues to lag. Retailers lose because they continue to have to devote more shelf space to duplicate titles (from neutral studios).

  3. Universal players are slow, buggy, and expensive, and as a result see little adoption and have little impact on the format war. Blu-ray continues to pull ahead quickly with 2G players, millions of PS3's, and an increasing advantage in title count, and by the end of 2007 is the undisputedly dominant format with HD-DVD's days clearly numbered.

    In this scenario Toshiba, Microsoft, and Universal lose because the format they exclusively backed goes away. LG and HP lose because of the dollars they spent developing and marketing unsuccessful universal players. Everyone else wins because the sooner we have a single format the faster consumer adoption we'll see leading to more titles and lower prices.

Per thread rules, insiders are welcome to comment here, but non-insider follow-up should probably be addressed elsewhere (perhaps the Format Battle thread? I haven't yet browsed to see if other more appropriate threads have been created).

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post #190 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 06:20 AM
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What about Component video output? I believe the studios can encode their discs with an image constrait flag with downconvert output resolution to 960x540.
Or is it to be an must have HDMI equipped High-def TV situation?
Many HDTV owners lack of DVI and HDMI inputs.

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post #191 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 08:17 AM
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Amir,
With news of the 2nd gen xbox 360 including hdmi output, can you tell us if it will output decoded dolby truehd via pcm?

http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/05/t...dename-zephyr/

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post #192 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Ja Phule View Post

Amir,
With news of the 2nd gen xbox 360 including hdmi output, can you tell us if it will output decoded dolby truehd via pcm?

http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/05/t...dename-zephyr/

will it have an integrated hd dvd drive?

anyone want to buy a 2-month old xbox 360 and hd dvd addon ? (mods, j/k)
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post #193 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by High_Def DVD View Post

What about Component video output? I believe the studios can encode their discs with an image constrait flag with downconvert output resolution to 960x540.

This is true although no studio has set the flag in either format. And some do not believe in using this option at all.

Quote:


Or is it to be an must have HDMI equipped High-def TV situation?
Many HDTV owners lack of DVI and HDMI inputs.

It is true that HDMI equipped sets are not impacted this way. So if you are buying a new set, I of course recommend that you get one with HDMI.

For now though, studios understand the role early adopters play in making these formats take off and are not setting the flag. Years down the road they might but buy then, you will hopefully have a player and TV with some form of HDCP protection (which HDMI does).

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post #194 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 08:35 AM
 
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So will the new version of the XBOX integrate an HD-DVD drive. Feel free to make news here, Amir.
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post #195 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 08:54 AM
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I am not going to comment on unnannounced things guys. You know that already. So please don't keep asking. But feel free to discuss in other threads....

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post #196 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

From my take, this is an unfortunate, though not unexpected, development. I foresee a few possible scenarios:

Thanks for reflecting on the news Talk. I am relieved that my read of the BD company reactions to this news being negative was not out of line at least wrt to your views.

Two question though per your gracious offer:

Quote:


They are more expensive than single-format standalones,

Can you clarify if you mean it is more expensive to build or that they would retail at higher prices? I am specifically curious to know if you are saying that they will retail for more than current BD players listing for >$1,000.

Second question I have is whether you could reassure people here that there will be no retaliation against LG for building HD DVD compatible products. In other words, will they have to take the drafty seat from now on next to the bathroom, or can they keep sitting where they are in BDA . Do you expect their role to change in BDA as it did with HP no longer representing the BDA marketing activities?

BTW, as a professional courtesy in return, I just want to make it clear that you should not feel obligated at all to answer these questions. This is a forum for non-insiders to ask questions and us asking each other much sharper questions must allow for the privilege of being ignored .

Thanks!

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post #197 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 09:18 AM
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Talk or Amirm

Would you agree that another possible scenario is that hybrid players cannabalize the high end Blu-ray player sales and not affect the lower priced HD DVD players at all? If that is the case wouldn't that be very bad for Blu-ray?

If the fact of their existence encourages Blu-ray studios to go neutral or Universal and Warner to release more HD DVD titles and also encourages consumers to buy more HD discs in general. But since more HD DVD players will be on the street, the more things would accelerate for HD DVD.

Isn't this just as valid as your other scenarios?

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post #198 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Kosty View Post

Talk or Amirm

Would you agree that another possible scenario is that hybrid players cannabalize the high end Blu-ray player sales and not affect the lower priced HD DVD players at all? If that is the case wouldn't that be very bad for Blu-ray?

Obviously the ability to play two formats is an extra feature that stand-alone products from either formats do not have. So if priced the same, and the stand-alone products do not differentiate themselves in other ways (such as price that you mention), they are liable to take a sales hit.

Quote:


If the fact of their existence encourages Blu-ray studios to go neutral or Universal and Warner to release more HD DVD titles and also encourages consumers to buy more HD discs in general. But since more HD DVD players will be on the street, the more things would accelerate for HD DVD.

To be clear, what helps HD DVD is that these previously BD-only players, now play HD DVD (and their companies support HD DVD). The fact that they are universal players or not, is hard to predict wrt to views of studios. Yes, HD DVD is cheaper and easier to make so all else being equal, that is helpful for HD DVD. But I don't want to overstate the role of universal players in this respect. It is the increased installed base of HD DVD players which is helpful. If this is the point you are making, then yes, I agree.

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post #199 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 09:41 AM
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Amir,

Assuming, as you mention, that these combo players increase HD DVD install rates, doesn't it also do the same for Blu-ray - but at a higher rate? Assuming (as you will probably agree) that HD DVD has a larger install base at this point, and those who are currently supporting HD DVD will begin supporting Blu-ray as well via purchase of second player or combo player (and vice versa), doesn't Blu-ray have the most ground to gain, and thus a higher percentage of gain in sales? This is of course assuming that people see these dual format players as an end to the war and an adoption of both formats.
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post #200 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 09:44 AM
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In regards to the Total HD discs

I thought Sony is the only ones replicating and has rights to the actual BD50 discs. Can other companies make them on there own with out any say from the BDA/Sony? I cant picture Sony producing or allowing there BD50s being bundled with an HD DVD side

Does this violate any rules or patents to package something like a Blu-Ray title that goes against the standards approved by the DVD Forum for high def with an actual HD DVD title that was approved by the DVD Forum?
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post #201 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 09:50 AM
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Speaking of HP, what was the reason for them to join HD DVD camp and why not BD only?

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post #202 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd2012 View Post

Amir,

Assuming, as you mention, that these combo players increase HD DVD install rates, doesn't it also do the same for Blu-ray - but at a higher rate? Assuming (as you will probably agree) that HD DVD has a larger install base at this point, and those who are currently supporting HD DVD will begin supporting Blu-ray as well via purchase of second player or combo player (and vice versa), doesn't Blu-ray have the most ground to gain, and thus a higher percentage of gain in sales? This is of course assuming that people see these dual format players as an end to the war and an adoption of both formats.

Well, yes and no .

To the extent before this news LG was only going to make BD players, and then they go and make universal players with BD+HD DVD, obviously the only net gain here is for HD DVD. In addition, I see little impact on the mass HD DVD market which is made up of less than $400 products today (360 and discounted Toshiba). Universal players will not play in that circle for a long time and by the time they do, stand-alone HD DVD products will be even cheaper than they are.

The bigger impact though, is that when a company learns to make HD DVD products, and builds up intellectual property around it, then they are liable to also release HD DVD-only products if they choose to do so or the market dictates (say, HD DVD continues to make headway and they want to compete at the lower price levels mentioned above). Look at HP. A year ago they went neutral but the only products in the market eventually turned out to be HD DVD because this technology is more readily available to them and they see a better opportunity in HD DVD so far.

And of course there is the impact on the studios when they see that CE companies in BDA are starting to also support HD DVD.

But yes, universal products are always a bit of a wild card and that they could have negative impact in certain scenarios. My prediction is that in the short to medium term, the positive impact far outweighs the negative for HD DVD.

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post #203 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 10:11 AM
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Amir,

Thanks for answering my question. Though, a cheerful scenario based on hardware isn't difficult as HD DVD could only gain (Toshiba wasn't going to start making Blu-ray or Combo players).
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post #204 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 10:24 AM
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Following up on the effect of dual-format players, I also see it as a good thing for HD DVD.

The one practical thing BD has had going for it is the promise of a huge player installed base due to PS3 and greater CE support. This has lead to things like more studio support, etcetera. Certainly, no BD title has demonstrating any real advantage over HD DVD titles, while HD DVD is delivering a better average experience due to better mandatory features.

Given the greater authoring, mastering, and replication costs for BD, and the fractured installed base for advanced features, why would a studio remain BD-only once they decided that market for HD DVD titles was going to be comparable to that of BD for a sustained period? Due to higher one-off and per-disc costs, BD's promise of greater profitability per title required a much higher installed base.

A lot of what momentum BD had was because of the promise of an early slam dunk, and with that no longer in the cards, HD DVD's other advantages become much more relevant.

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post #205 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benwaggoner View Post

Given the greater authoring, mastering, and replication costs for BD, and the fractured installed base for advanced features, why would a studio remain BD-only once they decided that market for HD DVD titles was going to be comparable to that of BD for a sustained period? Due to higher one-off and per-disc costs, BD's promise of greater profitability per title required a much higher installed base.

Ben,

Do you have cost estimates for current HD DVD and Blu-ray replication? I keep hearing about these costs differences from many people, but have yet to see the hard data backing it up.

To answer your question (not sure if it was aimed at me), a studio would remain Blu-ray for the potential PS3 market (as you indicated) and because dual format players remove the need to make a switch at this point. Assuming dual format players catch on as the norm (why wouldn't they at this point with both formats here to stay), the minority of the standalone market share over the next 5 years will only support a single format, with the majority supporting both. Is a studio really going to invest the time and money to switch formats when the majority of people will buy it regardless?
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post #206 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd2012 View Post

Do you have cost estimates for current HD DVD and Blu-ray replication? I keep hearing about these costs differences from many people, but have yet to see the hard data backing it up.

I've never seen non-subsidized quotes for BD-50 replication. Only Sony has it, and they're subsidizing it to a degree only they know.

Quote:
To answer your question (not sure if it was aimed at me), a studio would remain Blu-ray for the potential PS3 market (as you indicated) and because dual format players remove the need to make a switch at this point. Assuming dual format players catch on as the norm (why wouldn't they at this point with both formats here to stay), the minority of the standalone market share over the next 5 years will only support a single format, with the majority supporting both. Is a studio really going to invest the time and money to switch formats when the majority of people will buy it regardless?

But because implementing a full HD DVD player is so much cheaper (remember BD-Live is the HD DVD-competitive spec for BD, and we don't even have a ship date for a single model yet), we're much more likely to see BD standalone players add HD DVD support than vice versa. If MSRP based on COGS for a dual player should be $1100, with stand-alone BD players at $1000 and HD DVD at $500, it makes a lot more sense to HD DVD only players, and hybrid players, than for anyone other than Sony to make a BD-only player.

So, for players used for movies (stand alone players + HD DVD accessories + (PS3 * movie use rate)), I expect HD DVD will mantain and even grow its real-world lead. Plus HD DVD will also have a title advantage (PIP, advanced audio, rich interactivity) for the foreseeable future, which will be compelling to studios as well.

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post #207 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 11:18 AM
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paidgeek (if you are still around):

i noticed this morning after downloading a number of hd trailers onto the ps3 that the trailers were encoded using avc...

1) sony has stated that they will use avc when it is ready; it seems ready, doesn't it? why isn't sony using it for their bd releases?

2)why were some encoded as both 720p and 1080p? (i downloaded the 1080 of course)
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post #208 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Can you clarify if you mean it is more expensive to build or that they would retail at higher prices? I am specifically curious to know if you are saying that they will retail for more than current BD players listing for >$1,000.

Clearly it will be more expensive to build, this is indisputable. We'll know the retail price in a few days, but given that they have apparently announced a PC combo drive for $1200, I have a hard time believing a full player incorporating a similar drive (though no Blu-ray burning capability) would be substantially less. LG is also probably not in a position to subsidize the player since they receive little if any revenue from the format outside of selling the players themselves.
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Second question I have is whether you could reassure people here that there will be no retaliation against LG for building HD DVD compatible products. In other words, will they have to take the drafty seat from now on next to the bathroom, or can they keep sitting where they are in BDA .

Seating is mostly alphabetical, so I don't expect that to change!
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Do you expect their role to change in BDA as it did with HP no longer representing the BDA marketing activities?

Leadership positions of the various task forces and committees are voted on by the full board. Clearly (and appropriately) some voters are likely to weigh a company's commitment to the success of Blu-ray as a factor in whether to support a given candidate for a leadership position. Would you consider this "retaliation"? To use your example, I would certainly consider a BDA statement from an HP spokesperson in support of Blu-ray (especially relative to HD-DVD) to be less credible when other HP spokespeople are on the record in support of HD-DVD.
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BTW, as a professional courtesy in return, I just want to make it clear that you should not feel obligated at all to answer these questions. This is a forum for non-insiders to ask questions and us asking each other much sharper questions must allow for the privilege of being ignored.

As long as it's understood that I'm posting my personal opinions, not formal BDA position statements, I can conceive of few questions for which I'd hesitate to respond!

- Talk

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post #209 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kosty View Post

Would you agree that another possible scenario is that hybrid players cannabalize the high end Blu-ray player sales and not affect the lower priced HD DVD players at all? If that is the case wouldn't that be very bad for Blu-ray?

I think this only happens if the high-end Blu-ray players don't have features justifying their price, in which case lower-cost Blu-ray players or the PS3 would eventually do the same thing (cannibalize the high-end market). To my knowledge LG isn't known for particularly high-end A/V equipment. The market segment willing to spend $1K+ on a piece of HT gear is going to carefully way video processing, advanced codec support, build quality, and other features which high-end standalone players are more likely to support than an LG universal player. Given the far greater complexity and cost of making dual formats work relative to single formats, something's gotta give, and in the short term I suspect it will be features like 1080p24, HDMI 1.3, high-quality DVD upscaling, 7.1 analog output, startup/load time, etc. If LG can get the price to within, say, $300 of an entry-level standalone player and doesn't obviously sacrifice performance relative to those players I think they could do fairly well, at least as long as both formats seem to be viable in the marketplace. I would expect the high-end standalone players on both sides to continue innovating in order to justify a premium price point.
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If the fact of their existence encourages Blu-ray studios to go neutral or Universal and Warner to release more HD DVD titles and also encourages consumers to buy more HD discs in general. But since more HD DVD players will be on the street, the more things would accelerate for HD DVD.

It might increase the number of HD-DVD households relative to if a consumer had bought a standalone Blu-ray player, but it increases the number of Blu-ray households by the same amount. There is still no additional incentive for a Blu-ray exclusive studio to release on HD-DVD when doing so would mean eliminating the PS3 households as a target market. Therefore, I don't see why the existence of universal players provides any incentive for Blu-ray studios to go neutral.

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post #210 of 4841 Old 01-05-2007, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

Clearly it will be more expensive to build, this is indisputable. We'll know the retail price in a few days, but given that they have apparently announced a PC combo drive for $1200, I have a hard time believing a full player incorporating a similar drive (though no Blu-ray burning capability) would be substantially less. LG is also probably not in a position to subsidize the player since they receive little if any revenue from the format outside of selling the players themselves.Seating is mostly alphabetical, so I don't expect that to change!
Leadership positions of the various task forces and committees are voted on by the full board. Clearly (and appropriately) some voters are likely to weigh a company's commitment to the success of Blu-ray as a factor in whether to support a given candidate for a leadership position. Would you consider this "retaliation"? To use your example, I would certainly consider a BDA statement from an HP spokesperson in support of Blu-ray (especially relative to HD-DVD) to be less credible when other HP spokespeople are on the record in support of HD-DVD.
As long as it's understood that I'm posting my personal opinions, not formal BDA position statements, I can conceive of few questions for which I'd hesitate to respond!

- Talk

are you saying that LGE doesn't have any IP in the various standards that are licensed for both formats: AVC, VC-1, MPEG-2, HD DVD, BD??
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