Industry Insiders Master Q&A thread IV: ONLY Questions to Insiders - Page 101 - AVS Forum
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post #3001 of 4687 Old 12-21-2007, 07:08 PM
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No matter which way you slice it, BOGO's cost money for the studio's. I'm not sure if the retailers are participating though...they may recoup the costs in rebates from the manufacturers based on POS data.

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post #3002 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

No matter which way you slice it, BOGO's cost money for the studio's. I'm not sure if the retailers are participating though...they may recoup the costs in rebates from the manufacturers based on POS data.

I agree, but only if the BOGO's take the place of a sale that would have happened anyway. I do feel that if they stimulate a sale that would not have happened otherwise, they are profitable for all concerned.

I also think that as the BOGO's happen with only select resellers, that those resellers are taking part - ie: it's not just a half price sale on discs paid for by the studios available to any reseller, rather that select resellers are getting a discount, conditionally, based on their running the BOGO.

Properly run, on catalogue SKU's, not on day/date releases, BOGO's are probably profitable for all concerned, and good for moving quantities of titles.

Once Hi-Def becomes more mainstream, the need for BOGO's would disappear, but in the meantime, I see it as a way for the studios to increase both their sales volume and their profitability. As a side effect, early adopters get hooked on building a catalogue.

Oh, and thanks for your predictions in the Nielsen thread - I hope you find a way to continue.
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post #3003 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 08:35 AM
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I think they are profitable for the retailers, but make no mistake, HDM is losing money on catalog titles right now for the studio's. The BOGO's are loss leaders for them to get an install base in place for bigger things further down the line. I am willing to be that less than 10% of the releases (day and date and catalog) have turned a profit.

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post #3004 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

I think they are profitable for the retailers, but make no mistake, HDM is losing money on catalog titles right now for the studio's. The BOGO's are loss leaders for them to get an install base in place for bigger things further down the line. I am willing to be that less than 10% of the releases (day and date and catalog) have turned a profit.

When you talk about the HD releases being "profitable", do you factor the cost of the initial film-to-HD transfer as part of the cost? I'd imagine that since the same HD master is being used for both the DVD and HD releases, this initial cost wouldn't be counted against the HD-DVD or Blu-ray releases since the DVD release would more than pay for it- excepting of course instances where a transfer was specifically made for one of these formats (i.e., the FIFTH ELEMENT remaster). Do you consider this when discussing profitability, or do you include the initial transfer that's also used for the DVD as part of the cost of putting out HD-DVDs and BDs?

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post #3005 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 09:46 AM
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>>HDM is losing money on catalog titles right now for the studio's. <<

I don't understand the intense focus on profit right now - DVD was the 'rare' format that showed a profit almost from the start (well, DirecTV did too), but every other format, such as CD, took many, many years to show any profitability... I can't believe companies would be expecting any kind of real profitability in the first few years of a formats life. Heck, look at NTSC color!

As a side-note, at least HD-DVD and Blu-ray arn't being marketed as ineptly as DVD-Audio and SACD were. Incompetent marketing and lack of truly 'good', popular titles, were the real reasons for those formats downfall.

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post #3006 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 09:54 AM
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Vincent,

Authoring costs are still expensive. You just can't take what you did on DVD and send it on over to a HD DVD or BD production facility. The process starts all over. So assuming you have a HD master, you then need to encode the master into a higher bit MPEG-2, VC-1 or AVC encode, add the menu's etc...That doesn't come for free. We are talking a couple hundred thousand bucks. Now if a title has a lot of bonus features (IME, U-Control, etc.), then your costs are going to go up even further. On the BD side, you have the BD-J programming that needs to be done for the menus as well.

There is no free lunch.

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post #3007 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 10:03 AM
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What is the encode time for an HD film in VC-1 or AVC? For example, a 90 minute film? I'm not talking making the whole disc or anything, just the VC-1 encoding - from the time you hit 'start' till the encode is finished. And is VC-1 or AVC multi-pass encode like MPEG-2?

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post #3008 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 10:44 AM
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any insiders have knowlege of the new samsung hd duo player (BD-UP5000)...i'm guessing that it is using Java in place of MS's HDi?? i *think* the XA1 is more responsive on in movie navigation and the menus look *cleaner* ... i notice some jaggie edges on the 5K menus...

also, i'm noticing some issues when playing back 1080i vs. the same 1080i output of the XA1; i.e., interlacing/jaggies type issues...any idea what might cause this?

i have to try it on a display that accepts 24p and see if it is somehow related to outputting 1080i; otherwise this seems like a very responsive dual format unit.

some are also reporting *digital noise* on the 5K; i'm wondering could it have to do with what appears to be some overscanning/resizing on the 5K and/or maybe it isn't properly using the loop filter when decoding and playing back?

TIA

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post #3009 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Disclord View Post

What is the encode time for an HD film in VC-1 or AVC? For example, a 90 minute film? I'm not talking making the whole disc or anything, just the VC-1 encoding - from the time you hit 'start' till the encode is finished.

The process is manual so there is not a single answer. VC-1 encoders run between 2X and 3X real-time. So you would spend half a day encoding the first two passes. Then the manual process starts in fine tuning the parts that don't look right. This could take a day or longer.

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And is VC-1 or AVC multi-pass encode like MPEG-2?

Yes. All optical encoding is a multi-pass process per above. We have much more sophistication than MPEG-2 encoders though in our first two passes, with the number of spots needing tuning well below DVD in many cases. On the other hand, advanced codes like VC-1 have far more knobs to tune. MPEG-2 on the other hand, only had filtering and data rate. So one can be tempted to spend more time playing with the clip than would be the case with MPEG-2.

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post #3010 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

Vincent,

Authoring costs are still expensive. You just can't take what you did on DVD and send it on over to a HD DVD or BD production facility. The process starts all over. So assuming you have a HD master, you then need to encode the master into a higher bit MPEG-2, VC-1 or AVC encode, add the menu's etc...That doesn't come for free. We are talking a couple hundred thousand bucks. Now if a title has a lot of bonus features (IME, U-Control, etc.), then your costs are going to go up even further. On the BD side, you have the BD-J programming that needs to be done for the menus as well.

There is no free lunch.

Oh, I understand that with regards to HD-DVD and BD mastering and authoring. I was specifically wondering if you (and others, including the studios) factor in the initial film-to-HD transfer to the cost of creating HD-DVDs or BDs, seeing as how that same master would also be used for the standard DVDs.

BTW, is there such a thing as "affordable" HD mastering yet? I mean, let's say you don't want to go crazy with IME or U-Control, just a straight mastering to HD-DVD or BD from a nice 1080P master. What's the target cost for a good VC1 encode, for example? Would that still set you back in the hundreds of thousands? My friend Don May at Synapse Films has done some really beautiful 1080P transfers of some great cult films*, I'd love to see some of those come out on HD-DVD or BD someday, provided it's affordable to do so.

Vincent

* His transfer of the Australian movie LONG WEEKEND is practically begging for an HD release.
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post #3011 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

Just a wierd idea I had. But can you author a HD DVD that actually makes your player to a working webb-browser?

FYI, this is one of the use cases I've suggested where BD-J's flexibility will be very valuable in the future. There are at least six companies who sell embedded browsers written in Java, most of which would be suitable for running on a Blu-ray player. Opera Mobile is an extremely popular Java-based browser which runs on cell phones with far less resources than most BD players. Conversely, I don't believe a commercially functional browser written in Javascript has ever been demonstrated.

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post #3012 of 4687 Old 12-22-2007, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

FYI, this is one of the use cases I've suggested where BD-J's flexibility will be very valuable in the future. There are at least six companies who sell embedded browsers written in Java, most of which would be suitable for running on a Blu-ray player. Opera Mobile is an extremely popular Java-based browser which runs on cell phones with far less resources than most BD players. Conversely, I don't believe a commercially functional browser written in Javascript has ever been demonstrated.

And what would such a "browser" do the first time it hits a flash, MS/Real/QT media page, ActiveX, or pdf file? Answer is, disappoint the user. This is why TV browsers came and went. It is very hard to keep them relevant. And I am sure you concede that emulating the above plug-ins is impossible on any of these platforms.

On the other hand, HDi is already a browser albeit, with high performance graphics. So a page can be easily created for it and served to it. So for walled-garden applications the solution is already there.

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post #3013 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 05:56 AM
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Hi Amir,

Nearly a year ago you and I had an exchange in this Insider's thread regarding Meridian's plans for an HD DVD player. I said
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I am following up on some CES discussions. I was one of the people at CES who was told by Meridian that they had no plans to release an HD-DVD player. The press release you pointed out came out after CES and says "we are delighted to be working with Microsoft on the development of high-end players" but is sufficiently vague in that it doesn't actually say they are planning to build a player and sell it under the Meridian name nor when they might be complete with that development (2007, 2008, etc).

Since your statement contradicts what I was told and the press release was quite vague, I followed up with an email to them asking them directly if they are planning to build a player and I was told they won't talk about future products. Essentially they would not confirm that they are planning to sell one (but they didn't deny it either). So it appears you are the only real source for me to get clarification from. Thanks for answering.

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Does Meridian have plans to build an HD-DVD player and market it under the Meridian name?

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Absolutely yes.

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Do you know approximately when that might be available?

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I do but cannot share such data on their behalf. All I can tell you is that we are deep in the development of such a product with them. Moreover, Bob Stuart is very excited about this project. We have been in discussion for some time and once they saw the solid progress HD DVD, it was an easy decision for them.

It's been almost a year now and since you seem to be pretty much the only source for this information will you please give us an update? Are they still planning to create an HD DVD player? When? Will it be HD DVD only or a combo?

[I spent quite a bit of time searching for info on Meridian's plans throughout AVS but couldn' find anything. If I missed it sorry in advance.]

Thanks!
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post #3014 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

And what would such a "browser" do the first time it hits a flash, MS/Real/QT media page, ActiveX, or pdf file? Answer is, disappoint the user. This is why TV browsers came and went. It is very hard to keep them relevant. And I am sure you concede that emulating the above plug-ins is impossible on any of these platforms.

On the other hand, HDi is already a browser albeit, with high performance graphics. So a page can be easily created for it and served to it. So for walled-garden applications the solution is already there.

Since mobile browsers have a large base why wouldn't sites create pages for mobile browsers. I know Comcast does this and there are probably many other sites.

Wasn't TV browsers a concept fostered by Microsoft?

Is an HDi browser a propriety format? If it is are you saying page designers should design browser pages for another proprietary format? Didn't Microsoft try this with Internet Explorer (proprietary formats for pages) and did they not finally have to back off? I remember the MSNBC website originally demanding that if you wanted to see multimedia content you need IE along with Windows Media Player. It seem now Windows Media Player as become irrelevant since even MSNBC has now adopted Adobe Flash Player which can be used by any browser.

Have a happy holiday!
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post #3015 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Merrick97 View Post

Also, to me it seems pointless to include a TrueHD and an uncompressed PCM track. (ex. spiderman 3)
Why is this being done on some releases?

PCM support is provided for those who may not have equipment which fully supports TrueHD. Also, some have reported that they prefer PCM (presumably since TrueHD may have been encoded with dialog normalization). There's really nothing wasted here if the bandwidth would otherwise not have been used...

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post #3016 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 2Channel View Post

Does anyone know why Apple chose to participate as a licensor and licensee of IEEE 1394

http://www.mpegla.com/1394/1394-licensors.cfm
http://www.mpegla.com/1394/1394-licensees.cfm

but not of AVC? That seems odd.

http://www.mpegla.com/avc/avc-licensors.cfm
http://www.mpegla.com/avc/avc-licensees.cfm

In the case of IEEE-1394 most Apple products have Firewire connections, so presumably they require the license, and would appear to have some IP of their own in the specification. With regards to AVC, perhaps they are paying royalties through another licensee rather than directly (pure speculation on my part).

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post #3017 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mosman22 View Post

I was wondering if paramounts less then stellar Lossless codec support has to do with their support of AVC. I am pretty sure that AVC takes up more bandwidth then VC-1.

I don't believe a blanket statement can be made that suggests AVC requires more bandwidth than VC-1 to achieve comparable quality. There are many variables (type of content, encoder, "desired look", etc., but in general I'm told AVC and VC-1 are considered to be comparable at comparable bitrates.

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post #3018 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

OTOH-In this case I guess all patent holders realize they must sit down in good faith to hammer out the percentages, and if one member doesnt, they could face a massive patent war, which I dont think any company wants to spend years in court over a deluge of patent infringment cases.

Patent pools have some significant downsides. I've been involved in one where several companies were patent pool members who would actually be threatened by success of the technology (i.e. they made more revenue from their own proprietary products than they would have from the patent pool), and as a result pushed for very high patent licenses, effectively stunting the growth of that technology and favoring their own.

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post #3019 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jdg345 View Post

The Screener Disc for Underworld: Extinction showed two different menus depending on whether the player was Profile 1.0 or Profile 1.1. The Profile 1.1 menu showed the option for the PiP whereas the Profile 1.0 menu omitted it completely.

My question is: Are these special features being advertised on the box? If so, aren't the Studios concerned that someone is going to see the feature is supposed to be on disc, not be able to find it, and generate a call to the Studio or a Return to the retailer?

Studios will clearly mark features which require player support which may not be provided by all players. This is the intent of the "Bonus View" terminology.

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post #3020 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

In the case of IEEE-1394 most Apple products have Firewire connections, so presumably they require the license, and would appear to have some IP of their own in the specification. With regards to AVC, perhaps they are paying royalties through another licensee rather than directly (pure speculation on my part).

ah, this reminds me, i forgot that there *was* another licensing body of avc other than mpegla but they folded up shop ... it was the licensing arm of dolby actually...can't remember the name now...
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post #3021 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:50 AM
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Wow, I wasn't expecting plain dd to take that much. Does seem very wasteful then to provide both pcm and thd but I guess they do it since decoding of thd on bd is not consistent across all players.

I believe the figures provided included TrueHD and DD, not just the DD track itself. The 448KHz DD track added 220MB (2.21GB - 1.99GB), or .44% of a BD50.

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post #3022 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Everdog View Post

I don't think Warner is going to change anything either right now. I also think that as sales for both sides increase studios are going to have to look at what Warner is doing and realize that they could be making even more money by going neutral (except maybe Sony). It is going to be hard for a studio to say "yes, we know they have a million stand-alones, but we do not support that format".

This argument ignores the very clear point that a very large percentage of consumers (more than 60% by most surveys) are simply sitting this out for fear of picking the "wrong" format. Unless all studios went neutral with equivalent support for both formats (very unlikely Sony would) consumers will still have to make a choice, and many will simply choose neither. Warner going exclusive would likely generate far more revenue in non-participating consumers joining the party than in the relatively modest number of consumers they'd "miss" in the format they don't support, especially going forward in time.

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post #3023 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy Pennell View Post

Studios know from DVD that console attach rates are very low compared to stand-alones, in the long term. Stand-alone attach rates are the important statistic.

Comparing historical PS2 or other console usage for DVD isn't particularly relevant to PS3/Blu-ray usage. The PS3 is the most capable Blu-ray player, as well as one of the least expensive. There is no question that there are many HDM buyers who bought a PS3 exclusively for use as a Blu-ray player. The same was generally not true of the PS2, other than perhaps for the brief period of time where it was one of the least expensive (but never most capable) DVD players.

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post #3024 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rwestley View Post

I asked this question once before but never got an answer. Does the sale of disks to Blockbuster & Netflex get included in the reported numbers of sales?

No.

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post #3025 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by BenDover View Post

any insiders have knowlege of the new samsung hd duo player (BD-UP5000)...i'm guessing that it is using Java in place of MS's HDi??

I would be surprised if their HDi implementation is Java-based since Java isn't otherwise required by the HD DVD specification.

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post #3026 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

And what would such a "browser" do the first time it hits a flash, MS/Real/QT media page, ActiveX, or pdf file? Answer is, disappoint the user. This is why TV browsers came and went.

Yes, general purpose TV browsers are a very difficult proposition. I'm not talking about putting a general purpose browser on a Blu-ray disc, I'm talking about a studio putting a browser on the disc in order to access "walled garden" content intended for viewing only by the Blu-ray community. This allows them to repurpose HTML content (i.e. reformat content already created for a PC-based or mobile community) with very little additional development cost. We've already seen this model used in the Multimedia Home Platform world (broadcast digital TV standard based on the same Java platform as BD-J) where the interactive version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was authored in HTML and broadcast to the set-top box where a Java-based browser rendered the content and provided the interactivity.
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On the other hand, HDi is already a browser albeit, with high performance graphics.

A browser in that it is designed around markup standards, but not one which can handle existing HTML content in any reasonable form.

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post #3027 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BenDover View Post

ah, this reminds me, i forgot that there *was* another licensing body of avc other than mpegla but they folded up shop ... it was the licensing arm of dolby actually...can't remember the name now...

That would be Via Licensing, which hasn't folded up shop but was in fact the licensing body for the specification which I referred to in my patent pool post. Few were happy with the outcome of that pool.

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post #3028 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

Comparing historical PS2 or other console usage for DVD isn't particularly relevant to PS3/Blu-ray usage. The PS3 is the most capable Blu-ray player, as well as one of the least expensive. There is no question that there are many HDM buyers who bought a PS3 exclusively for use as a Blu-ray player. The same was generally not true of the PS2, other than perhaps for the brief period of time where it was one of the least expensive (but never most capable) DVD players.

I know I bought my two PS3 primarily as a Blu-ray player, but also to play games. Currently I have purchased a lot more Blu-ray movies than PS3 games. I also find it interesting that the PS3 has the highest percentage of all video game systems hooked up to high quality HD displays along with high quality audio systems. Do you feel this high percentage of hook ups indicates that the users will use their players for Blu-ray movies? Have any surveys of PS3 owners been done to determine this?

Thanks for participating in this forum and have a happy holiday!
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post #3029 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

I would be surprised if their HDi implementation is Java-based since Java isn't otherwise required by the HD DVD specification.

I would be surprised too as the performance would suck, this is a CE player, not a PS3 so it has an order of magnitude less Java horsepower. I am sure their CAT2 implementation is written in C/C++, as is everyone's AFAIK.

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post #3030 of 4687 Old 12-23-2007, 08:31 AM
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To Dave or any insider,

I have read in the past that studios believe the game console market is in direct competition with the video market, and they are not happy about the game industry booming while DVD sales flatten or even decline.

It this true, and do studios worry that the future DVD replacement may rely heavily on game consoles? I would think that they would be very unhappy to see SD DVD players replaced with game consoles whose primary purpose is to play games...but also play HDM too (360 & PS3).

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Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

Comparing historical PS2 or other console usage for DVD isn't particularly relevant to PS3/Blu-ray usage. The PS3 is the most capable Blu-ray player, as well as one of the least expensive. There is no question that there are many HDM buyers who bought a PS3 exclusively for use as a Blu-ray player. The same was generally not true of the PS2, other than perhaps for the brief period of time where it was one of the least expensive (but never most capable) DVD players.

Doesn't it make sense that studios don't like seeing the vast majority of next gen DVD players being game consoles...since the primary purpose of them is to play games?
It makes sense tht since games compete for users time and dollars, that this would not be something the studios would be happy about.
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