Originally Posted by gerrytwo
If HDD DVD recorder buyers are a niche market, guys who use computers and software to record video are a super small niche group.
Yes, one would think so: this has puzzled me for years. For every post from satisfied, tech-savvy users who extoll the virtues of PC capture I still see a dozen from people who wish they hadn't bothered. And thats just for TV capture: forget VHS capture, where the horror stories run 20:1 against PC in preference to a standalone. So its a real head-scratcher why these accessory boards and HTPCs thrive while everything else has died off. Even with the latest PC capture solutions, the same cable-tv issues that killed off standalones still apply. Its nice to know CableCard is now making inroads to HTPCs, but you still have to fight tooth and nail with most regional cable companies to get it working right, and even then it isn't a 100% breeze (as many TiVo owners can testify).
I would assume its just a sheer numbers game. Making and selling a raw video board or USB breakout box that can be plugged into hundreds of millions of generic PCs, to an amazingly huge market of receptive gearheads (who would network their toilet given half a chance) must be much easier than pitching a standalone device to the bizarrely disinterested consumer market. Although its probably best not to overthink this: while the HTPC solutions seem to be from a different planet, they rise and fall based on the same issues that drove the standalone market.
Average Joe and Jane timeshifter aren't making permanent recordings of anything anymore, and that trend accelerates the younger you go on the demographic scale. So right off the bat, there goes 70% of your standalone or HTPC market. These casual timeshifters also want full HDTV quality, which can't be achieved at the giveaway price they're willing to pay. The subscription cable/sat PVRs fill that void quite nicely for them, those who want a little more go with TiVo. The remaining "elite" market wants to screw around with media farms, AVCHD-on-DVD or various BD format options: no standalone will ever satisfy them, and they're tech-proficient, so they jump on the PC.
I'm still amazed that 30 million off-air-only consumers can't support something like the Magnavox for at least a few more years. But perhaps the limitation of SD video recording is no longer acceptable in this era of $599 55" flat screens. Even for OTA users, HD is a requirement now. With sales of expensive BD/HDD recorders dead at launch, it appears they aren't too interested in disc burning either. My guess is the OTA crowd will soon be offered the "convenient" BluRay Player + HDD HiDef Recorder single-box combo units now popping up in overseas markets. Not exactly ideal, but if Americans turn their nose up at that
option, they can kiss non-subscription recorders goodbye forever. Mfrs have had just about enough of our capriciousness.
why Funai just halted production of Magnavoxes for the USA market.
In keeping with the initial point of this thread, try to put this event in context with the larger global recorder market. While this is a "crisis" we're taking very personally, give credit where its due: Funai actually continued making DVD/HDD for America two years after dropping them everywhere else except for Japan (and even Japan was limited to the much more expensive BD/HDD versions, which were themselves discontinued more than a year ago). If anything, Funai bent over backwards to try and accommodate the ever-shrinking pool of buyers here.
Originally Posted by Kelson
Recordable DVD-R is not dead. Not by a long shot. What is dead are MPEG-2-only DVD-players
. BluRay players not only play standard MPEG-2 encoded DVD-Video, they also play H.264 encoded AVCHD formatted DVD-R. H.264 is where it's at. You can store a heck of a lot more on disk with equal quality.
Yes, but thats just further proof that the two extremes of the spectrum have closed in to crush the middle ground. H.264 may be "where its at" and 10 hours of high-quality SD squeezed onto a BluRay data-format for archiving is an astounding achievement. But neither these nor the many other geek options are widely compatible: they just fracture the market further into techies vs "brain-dead don't ask me to think" Best Buy customers. Average consumer gave up on discs, isn't interested in using any software on a PC, yet feels entitled to full idiot-proof HDTV-quality cable timeshifting for just pennies a day: once they tasted the subscription PVR, there was no turning back. Meanwhile, they hypocritically become Einsteins when it suits them: if they want to snag a movie or TV show or porn out of the "cloud," suddenly they're capable working a suite of half-dozen conversion tools. We in the middle who don't mind putting in a bit of effort, and do want the occasional disc copy without having to tie up our PC, are forced to geek out or give up and join the PVR herd. Neither is ideal.
And some "progress" results in retrograde steps to some degree: affordable BluRay players may have finally buried DVD players, but most BD players make lousy
DVD players. This renders millions of otherwise perfectly-good near-HD-quality DVDs people have in their libraries more obsolete than they need to be. Plus BD players are much harder to region-hack for playback of rare or OOP discs. DVD still had a lot of utility left, but is being hustled out the door prematurely. Considering BD doesn't have a prayer of a chance of an ice cube in hell to amass the accumulated quantity of existing DVDs still in use, you would think electronics mfrs would offer some optimizations for DVD playback in their BD players (at least in more-expensive models). But no.