Has Blu-ray won the HD format war?


Formatwar_70 A surprise announcement from Warner Bros. and NewLine Cinema has the HD-DVD camp reeling as the market ponders a possible end to the long-standing format war.

Not a long post here, as I’m mainly looking for your reactions fellow gadget lovers. If you haven’t already heard, both Warner Bros. and NewLine have thrown their support 100% behind Sony’s Blu-ray HD format.

This is a very significant announcement that some are saying will mean an end to the format war that has been raging for the better part of the last 2 years as Sony and rival Toshiba have traded barbs, each claiming their technology was superior to the other’s.

Enough time has elapsed that many consumers have already made their choice. Especially in the U.S. where HD-DVD stand-alone players have been spotted for as little as $99 in some stores.

So the question is, do you believe the format war is over? Has Blu-ray scored a definitive knock-out? If you already own an HD-DVD player, how do you feel about this latest piece of news?

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50 comments

  1. Dave D

    No the Format War is not over and I'll continue buying solely HD DVD unless/until both of the top Studios still supporting it abandon releasing in HD DVD which I sincerely hope they do not do.
    HD DVD can still rally back if they drop the price of their movies to under $20 each, keep their entry level HD DVD player under $100, release all the biggest blockbusters solely in either HD DVD combos or the new Twin format Triple layer that is coming soon thereby forcing all stores to carry HD DVD. Other moves would be to get XBox 360 to have only HD DVD drives from now onwards and putting forward huge financial incentives to bring Disney, Lionsgate on board and to encourage the Weinstein company to resume releasing in HD DVD.

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  2. Brady

    I have an HD playing xbox 360, and my opinion is the xbox ultimate, which has built in hd playback for hd dvds, will start to win mare people over, as it becomes the cheapesthd dvd player. This also directly relates to the console "wars" where the xbox and wii are the front-runners

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  3. Abdul Khan

    HD dvd player is not going anywhere!! With so much interaction you can do with HD dvd movies; blu-ray can't even come close to it!! HD DVD also has the ethernet port on the back which allows for firmware upgrades. I have a blu-ray player and a HD player. HD is much faster in terms of loading time. BIG DEAL if warner switched exclusively to blu-ray. Paramount is still huge!! Plus you get 2 free HD movies inside the box and 5 free mail in offer with the HD DVD player. That it self is a over 150 dollar value. What more incentives do you expect Toshiba to give?? I am also veryy satisfied with Toshiba's technical support service and will continue to support HD DVD players for as long as they exist. Last but not the least, the up coversion my HD DVD player does, is awesome!! It's the best upconverting dvd player in the market. I am glad i bought my HD DVD player!

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  4. Mark

    Yes, the Beta/VHS… I mean Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war is pretty much over. Like the Beta/VHS war, it is only a matter of time now before HD-DVD totally folds. As the Highlander says "There can be only one".

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  5. Phil

    It all depends on what format the porn industry goes with. They went with VHS instead of Beta and look who won. From what I heard they're leaning towards HD-DVD!

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  6. Ray

    Hi Simon, Seems to me that this so called war is about to be won by money leverage and not common sense by any means.

    The consumers choice should be an easy one as far as I'm concerned but now that Warner and newline have joined ranks with Shifty corp. oh no I mean Sony corp. things are as they would hope, just going to get more expensive for the consumer.

    Why would anyone want to pay more for a product that is the same quality, loads slower, has an unstable playback and less options.

    Just because Warner slid over beside shifty does not mean we should or have to give them our money. As we saw that same answer in the markets when the announcement was made Warner's stocks fell rather than rise. Sony still has some work to do to make me forget the shifty stuff they pulled not so long ago and in this case the choice is made easier by common sense.

    The reasons people went with VHS were not that hard to comprehend and why would this be any different. If people let this happen and they have less to show for it then might as well just send shifty your spousal debit cards and let them help themselves because that would make just as much sense.

    The consumer should be making the choice here and not some corporate buddies who just want to get there hands in your pockets. Stand firm and I'm sure there shareholders will let themselves be heard.

    Two products, same picture quality, one has more options and is more stable and is affordable by all. Gee, hard choice to make. Oh Ya, almost forgot, Toshiba hasn't played Shifty lately neither. sure, they want to make money like anyone but sounds to me like their offering there product with more for less and are not just lining up what seems to be a control and grab (money) scheme.

    Sorry Sony, though I do drool over some of the products you market, your going to have to work a heap harder to get my respect and money.

    No offence meant to you, which is more than I could say about you when you invited yourself in.

    See Ya, Ray.

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  7. neilrieck

    Lawyers take note:

    Quote: "HD better start giving out those $120 million dollars checks to stay alive. Maybe they can give me some so I can give it to my Make-A-Wish charity, just to shut me up."

    With this quote, Michael Bay seems to be inferring that equipment manufacturing consortiums are bribing studio executives with payola. This is illegal and could result in an Enron-sized scandal. If Sony is involved, this could trigger anti-competition investigations by the government since Sony owns a large amount of artistic content (much of it music) as well as being a technology manufacturer (this is known as vertical integration).

    Many citizens were encouraged to purchase HD-DVD players over the Christmas season. If any execs received payola but delayed the announcement to drop HD-DVD in order to not hurt sales of their own media, this action could be likened to something as sinister as “insider trading”. If anyone received payola, they might be as deeply involved as the companies who paid it and could be dragged into a compensation scheme.

    After the Rootkit fiasco, Sony proactively offered consumer compensation in order to avoid a public scandal. How could a Blu-ray payola scandal be put to rest? Supposedly there are 2 million Blu-ray players out there compared to 1 million HD-DVD machines. On average, Blu-ray players were sold for $100 more than HD-DVD machines even though they contain identical blue-laser diodes (405 nm) although the fixed-lens apertures are different. If this additional money was used to bribe studio execs, then all that money should be seized by the government then transferred to consumers in the form of vouchers so they can swap their HD-DVD players for Blu-ray players. Think it can’t be done? One million times $300 equals $300 million which is in the neighborhood of the inferred bribes.

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  8. jamie

    Ding Ding, ring the bell this one is over. Hd- dvd is down for the count. watch for Universal and Paramount to fold within the calandar year.

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  9. Paul Newstead

    I didnt even know this so called war was going on, but I am glad I listened to the kid at best buy that warned me this might happen which played a big part in my buying a PS3 instead of a X-box 360. Its too bad this has happened. I just feel sorry for all the people that spent their hard earned money on HD players..

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  10. Vella

    I think these whole wars are stupid. And as usual someone with more clout like Sony can shift ppl to buying their product over one that is actually superior. I have no axe to grind with Sony. Either way, i guess i will just hope that they keep coming out with comverters so i can just copy them on my computer and put them into whatever format i want.

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  11. Jamie

    Well let me see…. I still have my Sony Super Beta Hi Fi that I payed 800$ for only to see the less superior VHS format prevail. Logic tells me that because I opted for the Toshiba HD DVD format….Blueray and Sony will win this time. Maybe I'll go get the PS3 and be done with worrying this time

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  12. Steve

    Michael is absolutely right:
    "garbage just another way to steal your money. suckers to all who buy this."
    Until the majority of people stand up to the corporations, the corporations will continue to "swindle" us all!!!
    But; alas, as history has consistently proven: Ignorance is bliss…and obviously the "majority" are quite happy in their slavery.

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  13. Waterwolf

    All I can say is "Remember The Beta". Blu-Ray translated into consumers best buy lingo means "SUCKER".

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  14. OxBaker

    Yeah, as much as I was hoping HD-DVD would win, it looks like it's pretty obvious that Blu-Ray has won the war. May HD-DVD RIP.

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  15. Richard

    Wow what a bout, even with the heavy hitter MICROSOFT tag teaming against SONY, the outcome has been decisive TKO . HD-DVD is out for the count. But let it be known they will still fight until the march deadline , thats the time you will realy see HD-DVD BLEED………

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  16. EdGuila

    To all those(Ray 'shifty') saying: "Let the consumer decide"

    In Japan the sales are %85 for Bluray
    In Europe %80 for Bluray
    In North America %67

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  17. Trevor

    Personally I could care less which format ends up winning the "war" but the blu-ray people need to take a look at the prices most people can't afford the rediculous price of a basic blu-ray player let alone buying a blu-ray burner for your computer. Is blu-ray really worth it? I have seen movies in both formats and honestly the hd format seems to have more vibrance than blu-ray. But it could just be me.

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  18. Honky Tonk Keyboard Jockey

    I don't get it. People need to understand once a "standard" is adopted the technology will quickly devlop and within a year we wlll see a <$200 Bluray player. It will be just in time to see a migration to a better technology again. This might be a flash drive style of movie, able to hold 40 GB of data, accessible at 1000MB/s. Or possibly a streaming video system that offers instant interactive HD movies Either way, people are putting a lot of emotion into a flavour of the week. If you have a hard time with this, please remember how cool you thought it was that you could select the next track instantly on your ol' 8 track, and how annoying that "High speed rewind" was on that POS tape deck you had.

    Cheers,

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  19. Lucky Consumer

    I see a lot of uneducated opinions in these responses. Format superiority is debatable at best in this case, as both formats offer an amazing picture with the nod to Blu-ray for audio. Updatability is simple enough for either format (firmware updates are readily available for both). It really boils down to content, and this is where it gets really amusing as the HD-DVD camp starts crying out about "bribery". I seem to recall a certain company offering Paramount a substantial sum of money for their exclusive support, but I guess that doesn't count because they aren't Sony.

    The backlash against this company is odd, I mean without competition we would have very little advancement, as evidenced by Microsofts domination of PC operating systems (Can you really tell me that you've seen significant advancement here?). We need these companies to push each other for not only innovation, but price reduction. So Sony is more expensive at first, I like a quality product. But once it's developed feel free to reap the benefits of the price reduced third tier models.

    I apologize for the rant, but I guess I just want people to say "Finally, I can buy my next gen movie player with confidence. Thank you Sony for inventing it and thank you BRAND NAME X for the cheap price." Mock us early adopters all you want, but if it weren't for us making purchases and deciding the fate of these formats, you wouldn't get one. You're very welcome!

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  20. RJ

    Blu-Ray has won this war, as it should have. Higher initial storage (I realize 3 layer HD's are specified and would be an equal), made it technically superior at the beginning, this swayed everyone early. Also the falsehood that HD-DVD couldn't handle 1080p. The PS3 also came out before the HD add-ons for the 360 which pushed it farther since the PS3 is the technically superior gaming system. (I don't claim it's the better one..frankly the games are weak at best.) The biggest reason Blu-Ray should win is so that Microsoft's HDi doesn't win. We don't need Microsoft holding any more monopoly power.

    Really though, this war was over a long time ago when Blockbuster opted to go Blu-Ray only in all but the initial 250 test stores.

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  21. Pat

    The major TV producers all back Blu-Ray, whereas Toshiba and Microsoft back HD-DVD.
    While many people buy the cheapest thing they can get their hands on, an educated consumer can recognize both quality and ease-of-use.
    Yes, an HD-DVD player hooked up to XBox Live can download cheap HD movies, but a lot of people don't want to risk all the bugs, the updates, the worms, the viruses that have become synonimous with Microsoft.
    Why did VHS win out over a better product in Beta? Marketing and Lisencing. Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp, and just recently Pioneer… these are the biggest sellers of HD tv's on the planet and they all back BluRay. There's gotta be a reason.

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  22. Tony

    Simple: BluRay has region coding…HD DVD does not (yet). Since films are released at different times in different parts of the world, this is an important feature to the new technology. Example: while a DVD is being released in the USA that film may still be in theatres in Europe or Asia. Without region coding it would difficult to police this. The film companies lose millions on theatre shows because no matter how hard they try, they will not be able to keep pirate copies out of the hands of consumers. While consumers tout that the lack of region coding is a good thing (so that they can mail order their movies from say, Amazon.uk prior to release in their own region), you can certainly understand how the movie companies would prefer to stand behind the product that will help them keep the money in their pockets. My point? This war is NOT about you or me or our preferences…it is about which of the two formats will eventually net the movie companies the most money between now and the next big thing (10-15 years). For now at least, it seems that Blu-ray is the more profitable choice.

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  23. Janice Veldman

    i didn't see a significant difference and this is just another money grab i'll cotinue to buy hd/dvd's

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  24. Claude

    Imagine what could be created if both parties (HD and Blu-ray) got together and combined their formats. Oh wait a minute…..forgot…we're not in Alice in Wonderland anymore….reality is we've become so caught up in outperforming one another we're no longer interested in colaborating and coming out with the best product there can be were all could profit…consumer and manufacturer alike.

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  25. Brian

    I think the best option for us as consumers is to make sure we have both covered. LG makes an optical drive that will read both formats for less than $300, so you can use your PC as a combo player.

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  26. Sean

    Yeah this is the end for HD-DVD. It was really the PS3 that won it for Sony. Even if you think it's crappy for games, it still put millions of Blu-ray drives into homes and that pushed disc sales high.
    Rumour is Paramount and Dreamworks have an out in their contract which would allow them to drop HD-DVD if studios shifted to Bluray. I think we'll find out if that's true in a day or two.

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  27. Andrew

    Personally i dont think this war is over. and its not going to be over until Microsoft says its over. They have enough money to make anything chance, thats what people arnt understanding. Also its still significatly cheaper to make hd dvd, as it can be made in the same factories as regular dvd's, blu ray dvds require new factorys to produce them.
    hd dvd will be making a comeback… soon

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  28. Jon A.

    HD DVD still has a slight chance… if they play their cards right. BUT, no matter what anyone says, the Blu Ray disc IS the superior product here and there is no denying it. Customers are seeing it, and the Entertainment industry is also starting to see it. The only people sticking up for the HD DVD are the ones who bought a player (and who blames them, I would defend a product I purchased as well), and the Sony haters.
    Someone previously posted that the porn industry will be the one to decide who wins the war which is completely not the case this time around. Porn has gone internet now, with DVD sales not even coming close to brining in the revenue that VHS once did. So that point is not even valid.
    I personally bought myself a PS3 for the gaming but also find myself watching Blu Ray movies as it also acts like a great Blu Ray and upconverting DVD player. It's a sweet machine well worth the dollar value!

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  29. Mike

    My question is, why spend $1,000 + on a TV then complain about buying a $300 Blu Ray Player, like buying a Ferrari with Cloth seats. If you want the latest and greatest tech then you will have to cough up the price. Now for the war part, regardless there had to be an HD winner and in my mind Sony just pushed their product harder, forcing consumers who bought ps3 to go to blu ray, advertising and a better sales pitch to the movie companies won the war. Great job Sony!!!

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  30. Andre Huard

    In todays technonology, why can't both formats be read by eachothers systems? Why can't the sudios all support both fomats? PC's can read multi formats and for example, PS3 and XBox360 are in their own right computers. Just like when people buy one system over another… why does everyone have to suffer because of the exclusive gaming rights that is going on? Game sales suffer due to committing to only one side of the coin, instead of enjoying sales from both system owners. Why not make both systems, all video games, movies and their HD formats available to all for the same price? How much richer does Bill Gaets really need to be? If his products are superior, we'll buy them, but I wish he would stop forcing our decisions due to his greedy take over the world like business practices. He's the Hitler of technology. He does not promote fair competition and it forces me to avoid making him stronger and stronger, by supporting the competition. I hear a lot of flack against Sony for doing what it sees Microsoft do with much more aggression. I've ownded both an Xbox and a PS3 and it bugs me how Microsoft nickle and dimes you to death if you want to enjoy all of the features that his sytem provies. (You need to buy a remote control to do what you can do with the provided game controler of the PS3. You have to pay extra and on top of your internet fees to enjoy online gaming where with Sony, you simply use your current internet connection to enjoy online gaming with the PS3) Microsoft (Bill Gates) tried to kill IBM instead of simply offering an alternative by competing with IBM and I hope that what goes around will come back around on him for once. Make a stand and get a Blue-Ray. In that case, why not kill 2 birds with one stone and buy a Sony PS3?

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  31. Seoulman

    After sinking thousands of dollars into my original DVD collection (and after working music/movie retail, I had a LOT of VHS to replace), I've been delaying/debating this for a while. Here's the issue. XBOX 360 is doing better than PS3 (for many valid and not so valid reasons), however, I, for one, have a PS, PS2, and still love some of the older games. Everything is BWcompatible to the PS3 (except for the entry level 40GB). So a Bluray player, new games, and still able to support my older PS software/hardware? For me, and the millions of former and current Sony customers (not necessarily blindly loyal or anti-MS, but still former customers with lots of product), the PS3, by choice, chance, or conspiracy, must be our choice to avoid further techno-clutter in our lives. I think everyone just wants a final resolution, so whether it's better or not, I hope the next-gen war ends quickly and completely. Besides, I've only got 3-5 years until the "next" technology arrives, right?

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  32. Mark

    HD DVD should have won, but $ONY has thrown so much cash at marketing Blu Ray that I don't see how HD DVD can catch up now. $ONY has such a crappy track record with their proprietary media formats – and for good reason… Let's run through the list…
    Beta (lost to VHS)
    Minidisc (stupid format anyways)
    Memory Stick (inferior to SD cards)
    Blu Ray

    So why does Blu-Ray seem to be winning? I believe the more important question is why is HD DVD falling behind? Sony has a terrible track record with proprietary technologies failing – mainly because they are too expensive. The simple fact is that the profits are in software, not hardware. This is why we've been able to enjoy relatively cheap media since the early '80s. Non-proprietary formats means lower prices and that's good for you and me. But wait, why then is Blu Ray taking the lead? Well… think about it… Sony is very aware of their track record with proprietary technologies and are trying hard not to let this one fail too. This is why they are losing money on every PS3 that they sell just to try to pound HD DVD into the earth. If you think about it you might start to wonder why Sony wants HD DVD to fail so badly… Well hold on to your hats folks because if HD DVD does go down in flames, watch for a sudden spike in Blu Ray prices. And don't expect Blu Ray player prices to fall below the $250 – $300 range. What motivation would Sony have to make them more affordable when they've got the market cornered? Don't fool yourselves folks… this is Sony's greatest wet dream coming true – finally a proprietary media format that appears to be winning. Think about it.

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  33. Norm

    XB360 pro's som much quicker to get a game started.
    Con's Sounds like a lawn mower in your living room.

    p3 pro's so quite I had to double check it was on.

    only con slow start up time!

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  34. McGrath Dot Ca

    Price won't go up when Blu-Ray officially wins because they still have 2 competitor:
    1- DVD: People a used to cheap players/movies
    2- Downloads: People will start to download more content some day. But that's another can of worms by itself.

    The PS3 is sold at a lost like the Xbox 360 or any game console because the money is on the software. But Panasonic won't do that with it's player nor Sony with it's standalone player. Toshiba did it but they don't have another major manufacturer because of that.

    Blu-Ray is a group with Sony behind like HD-DVD has Toshiba. Sony learn from past format war but not being alone.

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  35. John

    I still have a regular dvd player and an old tv. I can't afford anything fancier or newer, so this whole issue does not effect me, yet. In a few years, perhaps neither of these formats will be around, and all this worry will be for naught. With todays rapid technological expansion and innovations, you cannot expect whichever format that wins to be around for long. It won't survive as long as VHS did.

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  36. Arindana

    Quite frankly I find the whole thing annoying. I have a normal DVD player and play neither HD nor Blu-Ray and at this point in time I have no plans to purchase another player. It's not in my budget and there is nothing wrong with my DVD player and I have a normal TV and HD or Blu-ray probably wouldn't look any better on said television.

    And to now be told I am not going to be able to purchase certain movies because of this… Just another bunch of junk I suppose for the landfills now. I feel bad for those people who just bought their machines and are now have to fork out more and they haven't got the funds.

    So whoever wins… at this point I really don't care. But I just hope that when the decision is final that the better and more compatible format wins.

    I just wish they wouldn't leave us "dinosaurs" out to dry so fast or so soon.

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  37. DP

    There are not going to be any new formats.

    What has happned is the optical disk has replaced magnetic tape as the standard consumer medium. It is not going away, the only other medium to challenge this will be dowloading/on demand technology. The disks may get smaller, but disks they will be.

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  38. mike

    Blu-ray and sony are superior and have won the HD format war. Blu-ray players are better in every way except for the cost (which will go down) and the start up time (who cares). The people who are supporting HD-DVD are only supporting HD-DVD because they like the X-box 360 better not because HD-DVD is better. And to the people who said sony in cheating, Toshiba did the same thing with paramount which is the only reason there hanging on.

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  39. Peter

    I'm surprised so many people are hating on Sony. First of all, Sony used to be THE leader in electronics and has in recent years fallen behind due to strong competition (mainly South Korean companies.) So I wouldn't fault them for pushing Blu-Ray as hard as they can, they need something to succeed. Secondly, they were recently named the most environmentally friendly electronics company (probably explains some of their higher prices) but who cares right, I just want to pay less, screw the planet and all that… and thirdly, they have had some trouble with formats in the past, but people only remember the failures, not the successes. Remember the CD.. plays music and stuff was really popular before internet downloads. That was Sony (well and Philips but Sony was really the company that brought it to the average consumer), I'd say that format worked out pretty well, and you can't fault them for things like Beta. Damn you for making a superior product Sony! Also keep in mind that while the consumer Beta is dead, I work in television and all we use is Beta, there's still a huge market for it in business land. Am I a Sony lover? Not really, don't really have a lot of Sony stuff but the argument seemed very lopsided so I figured I'd try to balance it. Looks like Blu-ray might be the winner here, and this time, maybe Sony deserves it.

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  40. chuck

    Whoever mentioned the porn thing…right on the money. If they go with HD DVD they save them….people love porn.

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  41. Matty

    You know, a PS3 is cheaper than a Blu-Ray player. Buy a $399 PS3 and you get to play games AND watch DVDs AND watch Blu-Ray movies.
    Blu-ray discs have a protective coating that prevents scratches very well. So it would be very hard to scratch. I for one think its good for the family person since Dinsy is with Blu-Ray then all your childrens fav. Dinsy movies won't get scrached as easily, by this, you can (or will) save money on buying the same movie over and over.
    Also, you won't have to second guess buying used movies (or games) because of that extra 'coating'.

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  42. Kelly

    Gimmic Gimmic Gimmic – lies lies lies.
    Half of you probably don't even remember Beta. Silly Sony…I think the LAST thing the motion picture industry should be doing is limiting and controlling what devices are required to watch certain movies.

    Espceially in today's age, where more people watch movies that are pirated than ever before, and the number of people is growing.

    I saw a HD-DVD/Blu-ray movie selling for 39.95 for a single disc. Ridiculous.

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