OK, first I have to confess my own bias. I've bought into HD-DVD and are an ardent supporter/proponent of the format.
That said, isn't it odd that not a single member from the HD-DVD exclusive or neutral studios was interviewed for this story? Read it again, only spokesmen for the Blu-ray exclusive studios were interviewed. Yes, Blu-ray had a solid Q1 result but the article fails to mention that Blu-ray achieved its sales with a hardware advantage over HD-DVD of nearly 10:1 (about 3.1 million PS3's worldwide, 1.1 million here in the US, and a handful of stand-alone BD decks versus approx. 200,000 stand-alone HD-DVD decks and add-ons for the XBox 360 system). The attach rate of BD movies bought per hardware compared to HD-DVD given the amount of BD-compatible PS3's out there is puny (and to be honest, HD-DVD's attach rate is only slightly higher than BD's). Also not mentioned: sales for both formats combined amount to less than 1% of of home video sales to date.
Then there's this little bit of news that came over the weekend and has been the rage on the HD-DVD/Blu-ray forums:Technology NotebookWal-Mart Enters HD Packaged Media in Earnest
By Erik Gruenwedel Home Media Magazine
- April 20, 2007
Retail behemoth Wal-Mart, heretofore a spectator regarding HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, is quietly ramping up efforts to overcome its late arrival to the next-generation optical media party.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is selling the recently reduced $399 Toshiba HD-D1 player ($348 online) and Blu-ray RCA HD V5000 ($450) and Philips BDP900 ($898) in about 750 stores, with movies in both formats available in additional stores, according to a company spokesperson.
Melissa O'Brien, senior manager of corporate communications for merchandise, said the chain will carry Sony's new Blu-ray player when it is released. Wal-Mart also stocks Sony's PlayStation 3 game console, which includes a Blu-ray drive.Wal-Mart's beachhead in high-def packaged media could evolve into something more significant following a report the retailer had ordered 2 million Chinese-made HD DVD players for $100 million.
AVS Forum reported that upstart Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer Fuh Yuan had partnered with TDK in China to manufacture the projected $299 players.
Spokesperson O'Brien wouldn't comment on the HD DVD player order but said Wal-Mart is in the process of revamping its electronics department to entice both tech savvy early adopters as well as general consumers with improved products at discounted prices.
[Most] of the shoppers asking about and purchasing either Blu-ray or HD DVD are already pretty savvy technically about both they are the kind of consumer that absolutely wants the very best and latest in quality that's available, said O'Brien via e-mail. It's not quite yet a product the average shopper is attune too, but we anticipate that will change very soon as prices continue to come down.http://www.homemediaretailing.com/ne...ticle_ID=10557
Not to mention the fact that Samsung, a Blu-ray ally that released the first commercial BD player back in July of '06, has announced it will sell a neutral HD-DVD/Blu-ray player that spins both discs: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=837860
Sorry if this is slightly off-topic, but Sony and Blu-ray are trying to make it seem like this war of the high-def optical formats is already lost for HD-DVD. They've been doing this all along since CES 2007 when in fact, behind-the-scenes, the dominos are stacking up in favor of HD-DVD. Key players in the Blu-ray camp are either defecting or going neutral. And America's #1 retail store chain ordering 2 million HD-DVD players at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars for below-$299 (most expect $199) HD-DVD decks in time for Black Friday is too huge a development to ignore. Good for Blu-ray that it had a killer first quarter of 2007, when sales of movies are at their lowest after the holiday season and HD-DVD went for almost an entire month without releasing any titles.
And shame on the Hollywood Reporter for not finding one freaking HD-DVD advocate to make their Blu-ray loving piece come out as even remotely fair and balanced. Say, did Newscorp buy the Hollywood Reporter overnight and I wasn't told about it?