Industry Insiders Master Q&A thread IV: ONLY Questions to Insiders - Page 139 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #4141 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by William View Post

Format nutural question:

BD/HD DVD max data rates is are listed as 53.95Mbps/36.55Mbps and 48Mbps/30.24Mbps (audio+video). What does the overhead of 5.95Mbps/6.31Mbps represent or used for? Is it recorded on the discs and used for error correction/timing therefor taking up space or is it just to have an extra buffer so that the system is never reading at 100%?

Those are some of the reasons. As is the file system overhead.

Since these data rates have to be guaranteed, you don't want to have too little margin there.
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post #4142 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Paul View Post

Could any HD DVD insider explain why no other CE company besides Toshiba has ever made a stand alone HD DVD player for under $500? Isn't that a very good indication that even the second and third generation stand alone HD DVD players were subsidized since other CE companies can not compete with Toshiba made HD DVD players?

Or is this in fact the best way to reduce prices? Economy of scale is perhaps one reason why Toshiba is able to offer HD DVD players at much lower prices than Blu-ray CE's can offer. Moreover, wouldn't this also mean that one major CE doing the legwork for HD DVD translates into fewer compatibility and performance issues (there seems to be a lot of problems with standalone Blu-ray players). Can any insiders please comment?

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post #4143 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 01:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MidnightWatcher View Post

Or is this in fact the best way to reduce prices? Economy of scale is perhaps one reason why Toshiba is able to offer HD DVD players at much lower prices than Blu-ray CE's can offer. Moreover, wouldn't this also mean that one major CE doing the legwork for HD DVD translates into fewer compatibility and performance issues (there seems to be a lot of problems with standalone Blu-ray players). Can any insiders please comment?

First, we need to agree that building these players is difficult. It takes a lot of R&D and Toshiba is on a very fast upgrade cycles with three generations on two years.

Second, Toshiba has significant component advantages due to super high volume they do in players under their own brand, laptops, and devices they supply to us. Given how scarce blue lasers are, if you are not one their usual customers, you may have a hard time getting volume and good pricing.

So yes, it is challenging for other companies to attempt to compete on price with Toshiba. And even more so if you trying to build the player yourself.
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post #4144 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 01:14 PM
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Will Toshiba create a 4th generation HD DVD player?

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Dr. Zira (ape): All right, but you're so damned ugly.
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post #4145 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

First, we need to agree that building these players is difficult. It takes a lot of R&D and Toshiba is on a very fast upgrade cycles with three generations on two years.

Second, Toshiba has significant component advantages due to super high volume they do in players under their own brand, laptops, and devices they supply to us. Given how scarce blue lasers are, if you are not one their usual customers, you may have a hard time getting volume and good pricing.

So yes, it is challenging for other companies to attempt to compete on price with Toshiba. And even more so if you trying to build the player yourself.

Amir, While I understand that Toshiba has an advantage due to the quantities they produce, are you saying that the new MSRP of $149 for the A3 is still profitable for them? There's a lot of fans on the forums now that think we will see regular store prices in the range of $75-100. Is this really possible?

Also, how do you see the viability of a format that only has two major manufacturers of hardware (Toshiba and Microsoft)?

Lastly, and I guess this is aimed at Blu-Ray insiders as well - even if Toshiba has a relatively large scale production of HDDVD players, Sony should be producing at least as much, if not more, when considering PS3. Why aren't we seeing lower prices from BD CEM's (Especially Sony)? I understand they don't want to lose money on their players, and Sony probably can't undercut the rest by too much, in fear of losing support, but I'm guessing the BDA will feel pressured to work with CEM's to lower prices somewhat?
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post #4146 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post

The reason I would offer is that the advantages of DVD in picture, convenience, and reliability over VHS are far more apparent and desirable to the average person, than the bump up in AV resolution provided by HD Optical Media over DVD (regardless of which HD Optical format.)

As long as the price is significantly higher than that for typical DVD ownership (where "significantly" doesn't necessarily mean by a lot), I see little incentive for the general consumer to change horses. So, as long as the target is remotely niche, it's reasonable to expect broad acceptance to be pushed out indefinitely. Wouldn't that be consistent with what you said?

Like I said, just because it is aimed at the niche now, doesn't mean it will be that way forever.

I know I keep going back to the DVD model for inspiration, but Blu-ray will follow a very similar curve to DVD except probably the last part where you see $25 players in Wal-Mart, but even that I can't predict.
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post #4147 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tomes View Post

Lastly, and I guess this is aimed at Blu-Ray insiders as well - even if Toshiba has a relatively large scale production of HDDVD players, Sony should be producing at least as much, if not more, when considering PS3. Why aren't we seeing lower prices from BD CEM's (Especially Sony)? I understand they don't want to lose money on their players, and Sony probably can't undercut the rest by too much, in fear of losing support, but I'm guessing the BDA will feel pressured to work with CEM's to lower prices somewhat?

Fair question. I feel the pressure to lower prices is far too high on the internet. CEs have to price their products according to what they think the market will take. Obviously the market won't take any players over $500 so I don't think any of them would be foolish enough to intoduce players above that anymore (except of course those not using the regular consumer model like Pioneer or Denon). If they think the market will take $300 players like the S300 and the 1400 from Samsung then they will be priced up accordingly, as a matter of fact, the player pricing by the BDA member companies was bang on as they grabbed around 50% of the market last year even though HD DVD was significantly cheaper for the most part.

With Toshiba lowering their prices again so soon, there could be some action among the BDA CEs, but I wouldn't count on it, the WB news has sent the market into a pretty big spiral towards Blu-ray and this move by Toshiba will probably just about level the playing field, so unless the BDA CEs want to take on a game of subsidisation (which none of them want to do atm) they won't be too drastic in their reply to Toshiba's cuts.

As far as cost reduction, Sony can make a PS3 (the most fully featured Blu-ray player available until the Panasonic BD50 comes out later) for about $400, the cost of making a Blu-ray player is significantly less than that for all mainstream CEs last time I checked.
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post #4148 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tomes View Post

Amir, While I understand that Toshiba has an advantage due to the quantities they produce, are you saying that the new MSRP of $149 for the A3 is still profitable for them?

I don't know. There really is no answer to such questions anyway. Japanese companies have a special relationship with their suppliers and you can never guess at the pricing of the components from 6000 miles away. Time for a quick story .

When I was working for Sony, we wanted to use Magnesium Alloy for a laptop we were designing. But no one had done one before (laptops were made of plastic then) so Sony Japan arranged for a number of visits with the factories building high-tech Magnesium parts. We drove for miles into farmland and then arrived at a factory in the middle of nowhere. So imagine our shock when the factory door opened and we saw a dozen stamping machines, where the top supplier in US only had two! These were expensive machines and we couldn’t figure out how a small company like that could afford them. So I asked the president of the company what the deal was. He said they were building parts for a very large Japanese company and that company had lent them the money to buy said equipment. Something told me that when they asked for parts, they were not getting quoted list prices .

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There's a lot of fans on the forums now that think we will see regular store prices in the range of $75-100. Is this really possible?

I have always maintained that HD DVD will eventually become a “feature” of a DVD player. After all, what is an HD DVD player but a DVD player that reads new discs, kind of like MP3 CDs. So yes, the time will come to when we see such prices and maybe even lower. Whether that is now or later, I can’t comment.

Quote:


Also, how do you see the viability of a format that only has two major manufacturers of hardware (Toshiba and Microsoft)?

There is plenty of room for high-end companies to jump in. And there is ample opportunity for dual format players which clearly can do, what we and Toshiba won’t. The Panasonic BD-10 player supported DVD-A and I am sure we both agree that format is way behind HD DVD. I am not however here to pontificate on future of HD DVD. As I said before, we need to wait and see the ramifications from CES and see where that takes us.
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post #4149 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxpower1987 View Post

As far as cost reduction, Sony can make a PS3 (the most fully featured Blu-ray player available until the Panasonic BD50 comes out later) for about $400, the cost of making a Blu-ray player is significantly less than that for all mainstream CEs last time I checked.

Can you give us any indication if Sony will be able to stop writing down inventory over the next 3 months?

They had previously indicated that they had written down the finished goods and the raw materials for PS3 through the three months ended 31DEC2007.
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post #4150 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 03:00 PM
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Thanks to both Amir and MaxPower for the responses! This really has to be the most interesting HDM related thread in any forum on the web, with all you knowledgeable guys contributing.

Thanks again!
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post #4151 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxpower1987 View Post

If they think the market will take $300 players like the S300 and the 1400 from Samsung then they will be priced up accordingly, as a matter of fact, the player pricing by the BDA member companies was bang on as they grabbed around 50% of the market last year even though HD DVD was significantly cheaper for the most part.

What is the reason for there not being $300 Samsung 1400 players in the UK? Why do we have to pay double the price?

Is there a fix/going to be a fix for standard definition playback on these (eg. to prevent it from stopping multiple times on SD discs, and also an option to make 1.78:1 widescreen (but not anamorphic) SD discs fill the 1.78:1 HDTVs? Also will there be an option to stop it going into stop mode after you've paused it?

Also, for 24 fps films, with a non-24 fps capable TV is it best to set the player's output in interlaced or progressive (if you have a TV that has a 'film mode' when interlaced is detected). Which will give the most accurate picture?
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post #4152 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by MidnightWatcher View Post

Or is this in fact the best way to reduce prices? Economy of scale is perhaps one reason why Toshiba is able to offer HD DVD players at much lower prices than Blu-ray CE's can offer.

If mass production was really that simple couldn't other CE companies do the exact same thing? Yet at the moment isn't Toshiba the only CE company making stand alone HD DVD players under $500?


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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

I have always maintained that HD DVD will eventually become a feature of a DVD player. After all, what is an HD DVD player but a DVD player that reads new discs, kind of like MP3 CDs.

Couldn't that describe the possible future for any HD format though?
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post #4153 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BritInVA View Post

Insiders

Something I mentioned here was that I used a portable DVD player to transition from VHS to DVD. I used it in the van and with the kids combo TV/VHS by plugging into composite inputs.

So if a CE came out with a portable HD player that had composite outputs (not seen an in car or combo TV with component or HDMI) that could possibly help transition.

Do any insiders know if any CE's are looking at portables or is it too early?

Bump

Do any insiders know if any CE's are looking at portables ofr is it too early? If too early are they 1 or 2 years off?

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post #4154 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 03:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Richard Paul View Post

If mass production was really that simple couldn't other CE companies do the exact same thing? Yet at the moment isn't Toshiba the only CE company making stand alone HD DVD players under $500?

Couldn't that describe the possible future for any HD format though?

Richard, the only reason other CE companies did not make HD DVD players is strictly because Toshiba is the only CE equipment manufacturer supporting the format. And if you look at Toshiba's offerings you'll see a well planned good-better-best product line up that matches well with all HDTVs.

In addition, we all know RCA Thompson and Onkyo/Integra have made HD DVD players. So other CE manufacturers are interested in the format.

Look we can all agree Warner's decision is a blow to HD DVD, but the format is still an excellent solution for every HDTV owner throughout the world. And BD equipment now costs significantly more and the replication still is more difficult to produce, particularly for any dual layer product.

So we'll see how this all turns out over the next months and likely through the balance of the year.

-Robert
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post #4155 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 03:58 PM
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@MS and HD DVD insiders

What happened to the 1000 Indies and burn on demand hd dvd program that was announced some time ago?

Also is it possible to have the 720p VC1 content on XBLM made available for ownership in a burn on demand scenario? I'm imagining users to be able to order a disk copy of a movie they rented for instance and have it burned on demand and shipped to them. Is this a viable scenario and would the on demand burn fall under the same exclusivity contracts as an hd dvd rom?

The quality is not quite hd dvd / BD but it's often quite good especially for it's relative file size. The ownership model is what I'd like to see.

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post #4156 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahlsim View Post

@MS and HD DVD insiders

What happened to the 1000 Indies and burn on demand hd dvd program that was announced some time ago?

Also is it possible to have the 720p VC1 content on XBLM made available for ownership in a burn on demand scenario? I'm imagining users to be able to order a disk copy of a movie they rented for instance and have it burned on demand and shipped to them. Is this a viable scenario and would the on demand burn fall under the same exclusivity contracts as an hd dvd rom?

The quality is not quite hd dvd / BD but it's often quite good especially for it's relative file size. The ownership model is what I'd like to see.

This is a fantastic idea. I use XBL Movies all the time, I find they look great. Can any Microsoft insiders tell us the feasibility of actually purchasing these movies instead of renting? What is preventing that?

Proud to always support Blu-Ray studios through Xbox Video Marketplace.
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post #4157 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by smokey View Post

Hi Michael, thanks for the kind words!

Just as a matter of clarification, DivX is working directly with Sony on the PS3, but not with Microsoft on the Xbox360 at the present time. But of course we would be happy to work with Microsoft if the opportunity arose.

Smokey, would it be possible for the Stage6 team to modify their site so that there is a direct download link for video clips? Right now, PS3 users using the PS3 web browser have to manually craft URLs to access the .divx files, since the PS3 web browser doesn't have DIVX plugin emulation.
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post #4158 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Why is there an assumption that the cycles have to be identical? DVD players became non-profitable due to competition from Chinese. This time, there is competition from a subsidized game machine, DVD, etc. In both cases, the main prize is patent revenues.

Here is a wise statement a good executive friend of mine made about DVD. He said when the format is formed, they first attempt to make money selling players. When the bottom falls out of that, they sell chips to power other people's players and make money from that. And when that fails, then they make patent revenues and hence the reason they are so aggressive in getting their IP into formats.

Also, do you know the exact BOM cost of HD DVD players? If so, how did you come about it?

China Adopts New HD Disc Standard

The relationship between Toshiba's HD DVD and the CH-DVD is very close, since the latter is designed based on the HD DVD specifications, but also includes Chinese intellectual property. CHDA will play a leadership role in the promotion of CH-DVD, and will make a big push to launch CH-DVD player into the Chinese market in 2008.

The CH-DVD boasts with advanced copy-protection features (piracy being one of China's greatest plagues), which should effectively prevent the spreading of pirated discs.

HD-DVD and CH-DVD are compatible, which means HD-DVD players (with additional software) can read CH-DVD, and vice versa.

What do you think if any will be the impact on Blu-ray or HD DVD when china releases their low priced CD-DVD players this year?
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post #4159 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DTV TiVo Dealer View Post

Richard, the only reason other CE companies did not make HD DVD players is strictly because Toshiba is the only CE equipment manufacturer supporting the format.

So your saying that it has nothing to do with Toshiba subsidizing their HD DVD stand alone players? That is very hard to believe and if there was any profit to be made in making an under $500 stand alone HD DVD player wouldn't other CE companies have tried it?


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In addition, we all know RCA Thompson and Onkyo/Integra have made HD DVD players. So other CE manufacturers are interested in the format.

Wasn't the RCA player just a rebadged HD-A1? Also weren't both the Onkyo and Integra players rebadges of the HD-XA2?
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post #4160 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by smokey View Post

Hi Michael, thanks for the kind words!

Just as a matter of clarification, DivX is working directly with Sony on the PS3, but not with Microsoft on the Xbox360 at the present time. But of course we would be happy to work with Microsoft if the opportunity arose.

Really? Well, you might want to ask Amir if they slipped the codec into the Fall 2007 release because honest to goodness I can play DivX files on my 360. I do have to rename them to .AVI, but they do work. And I can confirm videos created with the DivX converter work as well.

Well, unofficially thank you anyway?
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post #4161 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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To Roger Dressler:

Roger - how well was Dolby's new HDTV image enhancer welcomed at CES?
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post #4162 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxpower1987 View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Quote:
Also, do you know the exact BOM cost of HD DVD players? If so, how did you come about it?

It's obviously not going to work like that Amir, and I would prefer that you don't do that again, there is no need to try and drag my credibilty through the mud, I can do that all by myself thank you.

I'm not implying anything by this, but is it true that in the UK companies can use other companies proprietary data (even if obtained through dubious measures) without fear of legal reprecussions? That's a big no-no here and I'd heard rumors about it being A-OK over there. I'm in defense contracting so we get to hear all about it and get to laugh at Boeing when they get in trouble for it.
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post #4163 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DTV TiVo Dealer View Post

...In addition, we all know RCA Thompson...

I have a RCA and mine's a rebadged OEM Toshiba 1st gen. Is there another RCA player (not made by Toshiba) that I've never heard of?
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post #4164 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Mullis View Post

Really? Well, you might want to ask Amir if they slipped the codec into the Fall 2007 release because honest to goodness I can play DivX files on my 360. I do have to rename them to .AVI, but they do work. And I can confirm videos created with the DivX converter work as well.

Well, unofficially thank you anyway?

The XBox 360, as of the last update, added support for "Mpeg 4, part 2" video, which just happens to be what DivX implements.
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post #4165 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxpower1987 View Post

DVD started out as a niche market and through natural competition between brands, studios and retailers prices got lower and average consumers bought into it. Why would Blu-ray be any different in that respect.

So yes it is aimed at the niche for the moment, but this won't always be the case.

Max, do the BDA companies have a target pricing level for the software side of the market?

Do they plan on films being priced roughly the same as today's DVDs? Slightly more or less? Considerably more or less?

Today's market is small and niche, but if BD gains consumer acceptance, where is the media cost heading. I realize I'm asking quite a bit of crystal ball activity in this question, since I'm sure that few people would have foreseen the relative cheap costs of DVDs that we are seeing today.

How soon will BD compete with that market based on pricing, or will pricing stay the same and the competition be based primarily on quality and features?

Scott

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post #4166 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxpower1987 View Post

The fastest growth will not come from lowering prices atm, it will come from ending the war so that consumers who would not buy in due to the uncertain future faced by both formats is settled one way or the other.

Lower prices will come after the war has been declared. Having seen the reasons why WB went exclusive, it was all to do with consumer uncertainty, having Blu-ray win the war ends that and adoption will increase dramatically once it happens.

Of course, that makes the assumption that the delay in adoption is associated more with format uncertainty than need for the format. No doubt it's true that greater headway will be made with the early adopters if there is only one format (if only because they cease to be divided.) However, isn't price versus benefit a bigger question for the average consumer? In the absence of a clear benefit and/or attractive price, does it really make a difference how many formats there are? (In other words, just because Warner has publicly announced a bet, does that mean it's the winning bet?)
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post #4167 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

To Roger Dressler:

Roger - how well was Dolby's new HDTV image enhancer welcomed at CES?

Warmly and enthusiastically. The only criticisms I heard were about the demo clips and fast editing. But then I was not at the booth all that much.

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post #4168 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 07:08 PM
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Better transfer techniques aren't going to add substantially more random data (like grain) to the image, which is the one thing that would force bitrates up a lot. So no, I don't think better transfer technoogies would make bandwidth differences matter more. If anything, they'd lower the needed bandwidth ceiling, by providing cleaner, more accurate transfers.

I am a little confused on this. So less compression due to higher bandwidth wouldn't translate to better PQ? Or am I looking at this and saying it wrong?

Also, isn't your response based on what we know and tech used as opposed to theorectical tech potential that hasn't been used?
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post #4169 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 08:08 PM
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Robert,

Do any of the retailers, large and small, fear a significant backlash from customers if they continue to push HD-DVD hard and it ends up being done with by the end of the year, or is the emphasis going to lean harder on the upscaling than the HD content? How will you guys walk the tightrope of trying to sell them on the product without giving the false hope of new HD content for the duration of the player?
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post #4170 of 4687 Old 01-14-2008, 08:52 PM
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To HD DVD insiders,

No CEs announced new HD DVD hardware at CES. Will we see any other CE produce a non Toshiba reference design HD DVD player in the first half of 2008?
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