Blu-ray - The Emperor's New Clothes? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 255 Old 09-25-2005, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Attached please find a link to a white paper I wrote on concerns about the manufacturability of Blu-ray discs versus that of HD DVD. A little background on myself, I have been involved with optical media since the introduction of the CD in 1982. With DVD, I served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Warner Advanced Media Operations (WAMO), where I led WAMO engineering and management as it developed and marketed the DVD format worldwide. I was later the CEO of Ritek Global Media and President of Deluxe Global Media Services.

In order for people and companies to invest enormous amounts of money, effort and intellectual capital developing new products and formats that will move the industry forward, they need accurate information and data to make an informed, objective assessment. As someone intimately familiar with the economics of media manufacturing, I can tell you that the numbers Im seeing or more importantly, not seeing -- dont add up for a proven manufacturing process.

 

Next Generation DVD Format Review.pdf 20.5048828125k . file
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post #2 of 255 Old 09-25-2005, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickmarquardt
Attached please find a link to a white paper I wrote on concerns about the manufacturability of Blu-ray discs versus that of HD DVD.
When exactly did you write this article? It looks like it was written at the beginning of this year (assuming the numbers on the top left hand corner is a date). If so, why did you decide to wait until now, when HD-DVD seems to be in serious trouble to share it with the rest of us?

Question: do you have a vested interest in the patent royalties of DVD?
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post #3 of 255 Old 09-25-2005, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluescale
Question: do you have a vested interest in the patent royalties of DVD?
Is this the best welcome we could come up with when a new expert in the field arrives here? Maybe folks should come with an FBI background check if they want to say something nice about HD-DVD :).

Seriously, I have only met Rick once at a dinner but I must say, he knows more about optical disc manufacturing then rest of the members here combined. Given this, some amount of respect would not be out of line I would think. We all may learn something from what he has to say.

BTW, I love to see you counter some of his data, given your assertion regarding HD-DVD.

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post #4 of 255 Old 09-25-2005, 09:54 PM
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What, exactly, do you hope to accomplish by posting this?

The "millions" of dollars you speak of to retool is pennies compared to the "multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry" you refer to later in your argument making that argument null and void.

When you have to resort to saying things like, "Even the name of the format (Hd-DVD) is highly consumer-friendly" you have totally slapped the consumers in the face. Consumers may be "fickle", but we're not stupid. Blu-Ray has just as much chance to survive as DVD's did back in 1995. Sure, millions (if not billions) were spent on DVD production lines. That's OLD technology.

You say, "Consumers want a format that’s familiar..." To that, I ask the following: Where do you get off telling CEOs and CFOs what the consumer wants? It's obvious that your objective is targeted at CEO's and CFO's and the bottom line. Here's what I say to the CEOs and and CFOs: Bet on HD-DVD and it's obvious to your consumers that you ONLY care about the bottom line.

If every studio decided tomorrow to support Blu-Ray and drop support for HD-DVD, noone would shed a tear. Including your sacred stockholders.

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post #5 of 255 Old 09-25-2005, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm
Is this the best welcome we could come up with when a new expert in the field arrives here? Maybe folks should come with an FBI background check if they want to say something nice about HD-DVD :).

Seriously, I have only met Rick once at a dinner but I must say, he knows more about optical disc manufacturing then rest of the members here combined. Given this, some amount of respect would not be out of line I would think. We all may learn something from what he has to say.
Sorry if it seemed that way, but I never questioned who he was or his level of knowledge. I did question his motives. I am not a Blu-Ray fanboy like many on this forum. Frankly, I could care less which side wins, as long as one does indeed win. That said, with a degree in English, a minor in journalism and 8 year under my belt working for a very large software corporation (one which has nothing to do with this fight) I can spot sensationalistic writing when I see it. I've seen my company do it, and I've seen my company be the target. This piece of writing is a prime example of FUD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm
BTW, I love to see you counter some of his data, given your assertion regarding HD-DVD.
Um...which assertion would that be? That HD-DVD seems to be in trouble? (Note, I said seems rather than is, since I have no insider information). I'm a bystander in this argument. I don't have the information to counter or corroborate Mr. Marquardt's information, so I won't even pretend to. I simply found his motives a bit suspicious, and asked some questions based on that. Call it a gut instinct. I did read the article, and it's not really loaded with information. It basically says HD-DVD is cheap and Blu-Ray is really expensive. We've been hearing that drumbeat for a long time now.

Now, let me ask a couple less unfriendly question (and please bear with me, since I sincerely do not know the answers): When DVD was introduced, didn't it require a significant retooling of production lines? What about CD?

All this said, your point about hospitality is well taken. Mr Marquardt, if I offended you with my initial post, I apologize. I didn't mean to be rude, but I am still interested in the answers to my original questions.
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post #6 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm
Is this the best welcome we could come up with when a new expert in the field arrives here? Maybe folks should come with an FBI background check if they want to say something nice about HD-DVD :).
Amir, somebody writes a 5 page attack on Blu-ray that looks like a spam letter and you expect us not to be suspicious?


Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm
Seriously, I have only met Rick once at a dinner but I must say, he knows more about optical disc manufacturing then rest of the members here combined. Given this, some amount of respect would not be out of line I would think. We all may learn something from what he has to say.
Well obviously Amir he might know a lot about optical disc manufacturing but I am guessing that so too did the people who made the Blu-ray format. Also Amir the only thing anyone can learn about from this letter is that the HD-DVD companies must be getting really desperate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm
BTW, I love to see you counter some of his data, given your assertion regarding HD-DVD.
What data? The vast majority of his letter was based on general attacks against Blu-ray with little in the way of actual information. The only information he provides is an estimate of what Blu-ray lines may cost along with the ridiculous idea that Blu-ray would cost a billion dollars to equal the number of DVD line. This ignores the fact that the cost of Blu-ray lines will decrease with time which is something he mentions but does not seem to honestly calculate. Amir, this letter is clearly done to attack Blu-ray and mentions none of the advantages that Blu-ray has in terms of capacity, recording, or maximum data rate.
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post #7 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 02:51 AM
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Too bad the link seems dead now?

It is "WOW" TV!
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post #8 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 06:22 AM
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Rick-

Welcome to AVS.

That's an interesting paper. You address your previous affiliations. May we ask for whom you work now, or what industry affiliations you have currently?

-Steve
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post #9 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 06:43 AM
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It's football season, time to brush off the astro-turf
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post #10 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 06:50 AM
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Rick -

I'd also like to welcome you to the forum, though you have obviously jumped into the middle of a highly religious issue.

Any predictions about the timetable or viability of any of the higher density holographic formats?

- Tom

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post #11 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 06:55 AM
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Welcome to the board Rick!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Paul
Well obviously Amir he might know a lot about optical disc manufacturing but I am guessing that so too did the people who made the Blu-ray format.
I doubt that. Most of the people who made the Blu-ray format are CE companies not replicators. Rick knows exactly what is involved for a replicator to be the first to introduce a new format (DVD).
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post #12 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 07:08 AM
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interesting read... the replicators are gonna take a bath. too bad they don't have clout in the politics & royalties squabble which made this fiasco inevitable.

DVD's are about movies & people watch them in living rooms, how many people actually use their computer drives to sit and watch movies- Bluray's Andy Parsons
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post #13 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 07:57 AM
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rickmarquardt: welcome to the site and hope you will decide to stick around because I am sure Amir can confirm that we love a good debate.
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post #14 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 07:57 AM
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Pretty clear to see which posters work with/support which camp.

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post #15 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trbarry
Rick -

I'd also like to welcome you to the forum, though you have obviously jumped into the middle of a highly religious issue.
I join in with Tom's welcome and warning, but guess you were already aware of the situation before posting. :)

The thing with 'white parpers' is that based upon our experience at this site, they are often (but not always) the result of corporate sponsorship or someone who has some kind of agenda, or is looking for some kind of affiliation with some member(s) of the industry. I’m not stating that is the case here, but also found some of your remarks to be of a sensationalistic nature. So at the very least, expect to be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism, as anyone under similar circumstances would.

I would also join in with the request stated below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by scaesare
Rick-

That's an interesting paper. You address your previous affiliations. May we ask for whom you work now, or what industry affiliations you have currently?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shore
Welcome to the board Rick!

I doubt that. Most of the people who made the Blu-ray format are CE companies not replicators. Rick knows exactly what is involved for a replicator to be the first to introduce a new format (DVD).
I disagree. Most of the CEs involved have patent royalties in the DVD format, and should be well aware of the impact of replication costs based upon their prior experience. Certainly, the studios (including Disney, Fox, Lion’s Gate) and other entities like UMG are. Yet, they’ve still determined to cast their lot with BD.

Let me pose a question to you Rick. Why should I as a consumer care about these issues (which based upon your paper are primarily directed to studio execs), if at this time, we have no indication that the industry intends to pass along a sizble portion of the additional expense to the consumer?

Finally, although this is completely OT, I was wondering if you have any relation to our own Dan Marquardt (obviously, I wouldn’t be asking if your last name was ‘Jonesâ€). :)

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post #16 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scaesare
Rick-

Welcome to AVS.

That's an interesting paper. You address your previous affiliations. May we ask for whom you work now, or what industry affiliations you have currently?
Pivotal (unless that's a different Rick Marquardt).

http://www.pivotal.com/newsroom/pres...se.asp?NID=358
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post #17 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 08:14 AM
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now forthe chritisism of the article :)

I am disappointed in it. I won't go into details (since I just read it fast) but let's just start from the beginning you say a new BR line will cost 1.7M$ while a retooled DVD line is 150K$. And even though I am sure that those numbers are correct, that part is just HD-DVD self-serving and if it was a real analysis of the situation would be totally worth less. For instance DVD lines are now run at capacity, so chances are even if a replicator wanted to retool they would not be able to. Also as we found out through CED even if the capacity was there to retool a line it would not make sense because a retooled line is no where as efficient as a new line. Now I don't know if it was supposed to be an honest assessment of the situation it should have at least mentioned the cost of new HD-DVD lines and the benefits of going either way. On the other hand then I guess you would not be able to say that BR is 10x more expensive.

Quote:
In order for people and companies to invest enormous amounts of money, effort and intellectual capital developing new products and formats that will move the industry forward, they need accurate information and data to make an informed, objective assessment.
so in other to look at this with an informed eye (not that it matters since I don't think anyone will make a decision based on what is here on AVS) can you tell us what a new from scratched HD-DVD line will cost?
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post #18 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickmarquardt
Attached please find a link to a white paper I wrote on concerns........
This link does not work (or to TOO busy), can you just post your piece? Thanks in advance.

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post #19 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyP
Also as we found out through CED even if the capacity was there to retool a line it would not make sense because a retooled line is no where as efficient as a new line.
Anthony, you are really twisting words here. Of course taking an old line and modifying to spit out HD DVD won't be as fast as a new line. But this doesn't translate into incremental cost being equal to a new line as you imply later. A new HD DVD line can be used to fully produce current DVDs. So the argument that incremental cost is only $150K stands for both old and new lines. What's more, I suspect the $150K cost for new line will reduce to zero when HD DVD gets into full production.

Contrast the above with BD lines which can ONLY be used for BD production. So in no case does the cost of BD equipment approach anything close to $150K let alone zero.

So Rick's math stands regardless.

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post #20 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluescale
Pivotal (unless that's a different Rick Marquardt).

http://www.pivotal.com/newsroom/pres...se.asp?NID=358
Pretty sure that is a different person.

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post #21 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 10:11 AM
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I'm not of the same marquardt clan... but I'd still bet he comes from minnesota stock!

http://www.hamrick.com/names/names.c...=xxx&type=html

as an aside: I once met a fellow dan marquardt at cisco. it resulted in a bizarre comedy of errors at the front desk (marquardt is away, marquardt has arrived, etc..)

as to the paper: why write something like this and publish it here? do all the CEOs actually come here to learn new info and make decisions? is he going to sway the early adopters with something like this? why should I care how much it costs to manufacturers?



I hope he comes back to answer some questions. new info and voices are always welcome!
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post #22 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 10:31 AM
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I'm definitely new to all of this, but I have to side with others and ask why this was even posted here. If the intention is to inform us consumers.......great. But the way I read this paper was how can the industry make more money for itself.

Might the familiar name of "HD-DVD" also hurt the format, in general? I mean, most of my consumer friends already equate regular DVD with digital high-definition. And what about super-bit DVDs? I would think that a lot of money would have to be spent on informing consumers that "HD-DVD" is a whole new format that is different from regular DVD. Blu-Ray already has new format name recognition. I just don't see the argument behind the "familiarity of HD-DVD to the consumer" being a total positive for the format.

I also have to question why there was no discussion of the applicable merits of Blu-Ray. I know that the author of the paper seems to want to encourage "new products and formats that will move the industry forward." Well, why not talk about the increased storage capacity of Blu-Ray? Its possible future ability to have up to four layers of data? I know that the author's area of expertise is disc replication, but if the intent of the article is to inform companies and consumers of the best possible way to move the industry forward, shouldn't all aspects of both formats be considered? The lesser cost of HD-DVD would be a no-brainer if the two formats were almost the same, but I believe these are two different animals. Are companies trying to get by with "just enough to satisfy consumers"? The line "We better make sure we get HD right" is then directed at only the money-making corporations, no?

In any case, thank you for posting this paper, and thanks for sharing information with this forum. Sorry for rambling.
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post #23 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Anthony, you are really twisting words here. Of course taking an old line and modifying to spit out HD DVD won't be as fast as a new line. But this doesn't translate into incremental cost being equal to a new line as you imply later. A new HD DVD line can be used to fully produce current DVDs. So the argument that incremental cost is only $150K stands for both old and new lines. What's more, I suspect the $150K cost for new line will reduce to zero when HD DVD gets into full production.

Contrast the above with BD lines which can ONLY be used for BD production. So in no case does the cost of BD equipment approach anything close to $150K let alone zero.

So Rick's math stands regardless.
I am twisting words? if a new HD-DVD/DVD line implemented just for HD-DVD will cost them 1.15M$ you are saying the DVD part is costing them 1M and the HD-DVD 150K. And I am twisting words. I don't need to twist words luckily in this wired world we can get the info directly from the people that care and Cinram said that the difference between the new HD-DVD lines they bought and the BR lines <500k$. I guess using your logic all BR needs to do is make some 1020$ versions of movies that come with a free BR player and all other movies at 20$ :)

man that is creative accounting are you sure you never worked for Enron?
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post #24 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyP
man that is creative accounting are you sure you never worked for Enron?

I think that's a little uncalled for, Anthony.
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post #25 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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It was written recently. The numbers in the corner are references to dates.
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post #26 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluescale
When exactly did you write this article? It looks like it was written at the beginning of this year (assuming the numbers on the top left hand corner is a date). If so, why did you decide to wait until now, when HD-DVD seems to be in serious trouble to share it with the rest of us?

Question: do you have a vested interest in the patent royalties of DVD?
I have no vested interest in the Royalties of any format.
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post #27 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckenisell
What, exactly, do you hope to accomplish by posting this?

The "millions" of dollars you speak of to retool is pennies compared to the "multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry" you refer to later in your argument making that argument null and void.

When you have to resort to saying things like, "Even the name of the format (Hd-DVD) is highly consumer-friendly" you have totally slapped the consumers in the face. Consumers may be "fickle", but we're not stupid. Blu-Ray has just as much chance to survive as DVD's did back in 1995. Sure, millions (if not billions) were spent on DVD production lines. That's OLD technology.

You say, "Consumers want a format that’s familiar..." To that, I ask the following: Where do you get off telling CEOs and CFOs what the consumer wants? It's obvious that your objective is targeted at CEO's and CFO's and the bottom line. Here's what I say to the CEOs and and CFOs: Bet on HD-DVD and it's obvious to your consumers that you ONLY care about the bottom line.

If every studio decided tomorrow to support Blu-Ray and drop support for HD-DVD, noone would shed a tear. Including your sacred stockholders.
I have no stockholders. I only refer to the physical disc structure. Different does not mean better. The data volumes are close and the technology of manufacturing for greater then HD DVD 30 and BD 25 is the same.
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post #28 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 11:20 AM
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Rick,

Thank you for your replies. Just for clarification, do the dates at the top of the paper mean it was written in January of this year? I'm curious why this was posted in late Sept. if you wrote it so long ago, especially since this point has been debated to death on this forum for quite a while.
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post #29 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluescale
Sorry if it seemed that way, but I never questioned who he was or his level of knowledge. I did question his motives. I am not a Blu-Ray fanboy like many on this forum. Frankly, I could care less which side wins, as long as one does indeed win. That said, with a degree in English, a minor in journalism and 8 year under my belt working for a very large software corporation (one which has nothing to do with this fight) I can spot sensationalistic writing when I see it. I've seen my company do it, and I've seen my company be the target. This piece of writing is a prime example of FUD.



Um...which assertion would that be? That HD-DVD seems to be in trouble? (Note, I said seems rather than is, since I have no insider information). I'm a bystander in this argument. I don't have the information to counter or corroborate Mr. Marquardt's information, so I won't even pretend to. I simply found his motives a bit suspicious, and asked some questions based on that. Call it a gut instinct. I did read the article, and it's not really loaded with information. It basically says HD-DVD is cheap and Blu-Ray is really expensive. We've been hearing that drumbeat for a long time now.

Now, let me ask a couple less unfriendly question (and please bear with me, since I sincerely do not know the answers): When DVD was introduced, didn't it require a significant retooling of production lines? What about CD?

All this said, your point about hospitality is well taken. Mr Marquardt, if I offended you with my initial post, I apologize. I didn't mean to be rude, but I am still interested in the answers to my original questions.
There is no offense taken. At the writing of the white paper, I have nothing to gain financially from either format winning. I left Deluxe recently and I have taken a job with a start-up company.
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post #30 of 255 Old 09-26-2005, 11:40 AM
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The Ad Hominem attacks here are astounding.

Rather than try to refute any of the points, let's just ask why he posted the paper in the first place - as if it will burn our very eyes to read it. Better yet, we can avoid the paper all together if we can show how suspicious his timing is! Bleh...

It wouldn't matter if he were getting paid by the HD-DVD camp, and was releasing the data purely to effect public opinion. You can either refute his assessment or you can not. Otherwise, we should go back through this thread and start criticizing the timing and author of every post that is supportive of BR, and be left with absolutely no information to discuss.
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