The greatest factor, imo, was one of once bitten, twice shy - Sony was still acutely, painfully aware that the best format does not always win, and was in no mood to end up with another BetaMax on their hands. So they came out with all the guns blazing, right from the off. That's why the PS3 was sold so cheaply, for instance. Toshiba just weren't prepared for the veracity of Sony's response, and never got their footing back...
That's my 0.02 on it, anyways,
Dom (does quite like his BR player though!).
The biggest determining factor, was when Sony more or less "bribed" a major studio, if my memory serves me correctly, it was Warner?... This deal between Sony and Warner prompted Warner to announce Blu-Ray exclusivity and caused the dominoes to fall, where the other studios who were either undecided or equally committed to both formats to also fall over to the Blu-Ray camp. Very early versions of Blu-Ray were inferior to HD-DVD, in that the video codec they supported was limited to (I might be incorrect regarding the specifics here) some variant of H264 compression, where HD-DVD supported VC-1 from the get go. A revision to the Blu-Ray specification subsequently added better video codecs, to include VC-1, I believe, so then leveled the playing field.
HD-DVD was cheaper for the consumer, as the media itself is cheaper and required simple modification to existing production equipment. Blu-Ray offered Sony a licensing and royalty revenue source, so it was in Sony's best interest to see the success of Blu-Ray. It is true that Blu-Ray offered greater capacity than HD-DVD, but the fact of the matter is that a full length film would fit on either disc, so Blu-Ray's increased capacity potentially only offers better supplemental material. There are already researchers who have found ways to increase the storage of HD-DVD and if allowed to continue, I'm sure we would have seen a progressive increase in the technology that would have retained backwards compatibility.
Sony is taking huge losses on its gaming revenues, consumer electronics, and I don't believe its studios or distribution divisions are doing that great either. The only thing that Sony has done is driven up the price for consumers and they can't even claim that they did so and made a profit out of it. At this point, Sony is a cancerous growth in multiple industries and major parts of it need to be removed. I'm not saying that the company is worthless, they do make some great products and are innovators, but from a corporate standpoint, its extinction for the dinosaurs time.
We recently stumbled over an issue that might as well have played a role in that format war:
The costs and issues involved when trying to release a copy protected BluRay media content!
In fact the upfront costs are so (unexpectedly) high that almost ALL small releases (indy filmers, get out of here) will be impossible on BluRay for this costs.
As an indy content producer you may end up doing single copied prints without copy protection, but then your media costs will be extraordinary and the lifetime of your media is very limited compared to a pressed BluRay.
This may sound strange to some here, but if you dig into it deeper than "I burned a BluRay and its working for me" you quickly understand: The chance to get into a profit zone for SMALL productions is more than low. At the same time these cost will not play a big role for Hollywood blockbuster releases, so once again securing their market.
IMHO I suspect that this fact played a big role behind the scenes.
While with HD-DVD everyone could easily have raised a "release business", the BluRay consortium prevents newcomers pretty much from growing up. The league of old gentlemen needs to get a bump into their face to wake up that this kind of policy isn't right in todays world. The whole licensing scheme behind Sony BluRay is monopolism IMHO.
In that context I wish Jim & Co a good hand on making the right freedom securing decisions when putting RedRay into place. If I were him, I'd ask Toshiba about some already developed but "believed to be dead" HD-DVD technology...
That story is by far not over.
There has been media.
There has been writers.
DVD copying plants can easily create HD-DVDs with their DVD production pipelines - thats what they told us a while back...
It all has been there, it may be very cheap to get it back on track, thats why I suggested this.
But on the other side, if RED Ray is really that capable to get the data down to a traditional DVD, then all is fine as it is.
The question is if there is ANY backing by the Hollywood studios when starting a 4K capable home theater replay system such as RED Ray, because 4K is the only thing that a theater has in advantage over the home cinema. They want to earn first on Film, then DVD, then BluRay, and very much later on 4K. 4K@home now makes FEW sence for Hollywood, as they want to sell each film a couple of times to us...
The Red Ray compression codec is apparently so efficient ( 4k visually near lossless resolution at 7mbps) that at least for normal length program releases the extra capacity of blue laser media is just not needed. No telling where storage formats will go in the future, but permanent low cost optical media are better for archival storage and for collectors.
And there are some people here who are just weird, sorry. I love Blu-ray and to talk about it like somehow it's not necessary, or it's not the future, is really silly to me. There is no better alternative. Blu-ray is cutting edge technology for a reason -- you can watch 1080p movies with uncompressed audio. All of this crap about how the future is downloads, what a lot of nonsense. You tell me when we're going to have 100 terabyte hard drives, then maybe I will tell you that's a realistic option.
I currently have 1,150 DVD and Blu-ray products, which is more than 3,000 total discs. There is simply no way to hold that much data on any computer short of very expensive RAID units, so yeah great maybe I could have about 5 CalDigit 16 TB RAID units and put all of my movies on them. Haha, wow, no. And not to mention the time it would take to download anything without fiber optics is no fun. SD movies, sure, not that hard. Blu-ray movies and special features, no thanks.
So when people talk about "optical media" like somehow they are going to use a cool name for it (rather than just calling it what it is -- physical media, which is preferable to downloading data if you ask me, unless it's tiny stuff like songs) and it being obsolete, I think either you're not much of a movie fan or you're really poor. Those of us with huge collections would not have any interest or use in just downloading movies. Now I agree in the distant future, like 2025 or maybe 2030, it would be fantastic to have this massive hard drive array where I could store all of my movies, with redundant backups, and then hook that into both my computer and my high definition TV, so that I could watch anything easily like playing a song. But you are talking about something that is a long, long, long ways off. I'm in downtown Los Angeles, we don't have fiber optics in my area. What does that tell you? If we don't even have fiber here, available now, then when do you think most households will have it? It will be a LONG time. And there's no way I'm going to download 30-50 gigs of data and wait for it, then find somewhere to back it up, when a 500 gig hard drive still costs $90. No. If we could buy 10 TB hard drives for $90, that's getting in range of what would be affordable to have backups.
So Blu-ray will be dominant for quite some time.
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