Confusion Surrounds Paramount's Blu-ray Decision

Now PlayStation 3 really can start pimpimg BD Live

Posted by Staff
Confusion Surrounds Paramount's Blu-ray Decision
The high-def DVD format war - which pits Sony against Microsoft / PlayStation against Xbox - has taken another turn. All eyes are looking (with great, high-def, clarity) at the remaining film studios in the HD-DVD camp; effectively Universal Studios and Paramount. Will they stay? Or will they defect to Blu-ray, joining Warner Brothers?

According to normally reliable sources - including The Financial Times - Paramount may well be the next the 'go Blu' . The FT says, "Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, is understood to have a clause in its contract with the HD DVD camp that would allow it to switch sides in the event of Warner Bros backing Blu-ray, according to people familiar with the situation."

Well, as we said yesterday, Warners switched.

Today, according to Bloomberg, Brenda Ciccone, a spokeswoman for Paramount declared, "Paramount's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format".

A weak enough statement to say the least using, as it does, the phrase "current plan". So weak in fact that Keisuke Ohmori, a spokesman for Toshiba had to come into the public eye casting doubt on the reports of the Paramount get-out clause. Fascinating, then, that Paramount itself didn't do the same.

So, before you start screaming, "What does this have to do with video games!?", the implications should be quite clear. In the event that Blu-ray becomes dominant, the 40Gb PlayStation 3 becomes an attractive, low-cost (299) player with online capability and plenty of brand recognition.

Why would online matter to people buying a movie-player? Blu-ray Disc Live (BD Live) is why. This is the next 'interactive' step in Blu-ray's evolution. Sony has already demonstrated a BD Live-enabled PS3 transferring movies to PSP - with David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, promising greater interactivity 'coming in the new year'. We figured we're in the new year, but there you go.

Whatever the case, retail PS3s will require a firmware upgrade.

It's not Sony claiming the first real BD-Live player though - Panasonic is already showing off its DMP-BD50 player as the first officially accepted BD-Live capable player. According to Blu-ray News, "the new profile 2.0 BD Live DMP-BD50 from Panasonic. The player is expected to ship this spring and a price is not being announced at CES. Panasonic assures us that the player will be positioned at a price point slightly above the DMP-BD30."

The DMP-BD30 retails in the US at $499.99 (255) - so we'd expect the BD50 at around the $550 mark. With WalMart selling PS3s at $499.95 - the PlayStation 3 already looks like an attractive proposition.

Obviously, from a gamer's point of view, the relevance of all this format warfare is to make the PS3 an attractive proposition for games developers and publishers. The fact is that you can find awful games on the latest high-def media or great games spooling from the ancient C-60 cassette tape. Aside from pushing the platform, the physical medium is secondary to the games.

Now that it appears that the format battle is over, the war now has to revert to who can create the most compelling content.

Finally, who on earth will be using physical media for gaming in five years time anyway? Answers to the Forum please.

Sources: FT
Bloomberg
Blu-ray News

Comments

Showing the 20 most recent comments. Read all 28.
SteveHerdz 8 Jan 2008 14:25
9/28
I can't see myself ever going to download only movies. As soon as the hard drive messes up there goes all of your movies, music and downloaded content. That is not very attractive to me. I like having a hard copy.
Spinface 8 Jan 2008 15:19
10/28
SteveHerdz wrote:
I can't see myself ever going to download only movies. As soon as the hard drive messes up there goes all of your movies, music and downloaded content. That is not very attractive to me. I like having a hard copy.


I take your point about hard drive failure, but there's always the option to back up. Personally, I can't wait to let go of my attachment to having music, films and games delivered on things. I've left all my CDs at my parents' house in favour of an iPod and some speakers and my home is a much better place for it.

I think games may well be the last on the list to switch to pure downloads, though. The damn things just keep getting bigger...
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deleted 8 Jan 2008 16:21
11/28
Tim Smith wrote:
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
Is that 'we' as in Spong to concetrate on the games? Or the games industry which is different to movie industry?


Eh? That's 'we' as in SPOnG and as gamers. Since falling out with Tom Hanks over The Lady Killers, I no longer have anything to do with the movie industry and no one can force me back.

SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
I dont see what makes blu-ray special, hd-dvd can hold upto 51gb on a single sided triple layer but even though its not out yet hd-dvd still supports a lot more features.


I refer you to VHS versus Betamax in terms of whether quality or ubiquity wins format fights.

Cheers

Tim



never owning a Betamax and being at school and no interest to remember, was betamax better quality? (off to wiki it)
SuperSaiyan4 8 Jan 2008 16:24
12/28
From what I recall betamax was said to be superior somewhat but it was the porn industry that made the deciding factor for VHS to be victorious.
Tim Smith 8 Jan 2008 16:25
13/28
haritori wrote:
never owning a Betamax and being at school and no interest to remember, was betamax better quality? (off to wiki it)


My bad - very rude. Yes, Betamax was generally accepted as being of higher quality.

I am now expecting ageing VHS and Betamax fanboys to crawl across the carpet, bleeding from the gums and murmuring, "My format better your format... ".

Cheers

Tim
SuperSaiyan4 8 Jan 2008 16:36
14/28
tyrion wrote:
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
I dont see what makes blu-ray special, hd-dvd can hold upto 51gb on a single sided triple layer but even though its not out yet hd-dvd still supports a lot more features.

And Blu-ray will be able to support a 100GB disc soon, but that will only require a firmware update to existing players. The 51GB HD-DVD disc would require new drives in order to be read, so all the existing players would become obsolete.


Well 2 triple sides is 102gb...

Oh and nope you DONT need a new HD-DVD player I just rang Toshiba technical support and the fella was straight up and said there will be a firmware update, you will NOT need a new player to read triple layer discs.

Oh but from what I remember reading it was those with blu-ray players that needed to purchase new players to read the 100gb discs...
OptimusP 8 Jan 2008 16:46
15/28
This format war needs the porn-factor to kick in yet...or is porn just staying with DVD's? Then its clear, both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD lost, DVD won! yeah!
Tim Smith 8 Jan 2008 16:52
16/28
OptimusP wrote:
This format war needs the porn-factor to kick in yet...or is porn just staying with DVD's? Then its clear, both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD lost, DVD won! yeah!


Haven't we come and gone all over this one? Hasn't it disappeared down a dark hole? The hard-copy market for porn has gone tits-up after the retailer made a boob by not buying hole-sale into digital delivery. Their money shot away from them...

Okay... enough of that sort of thing. What with the Internet, porn prolly isn't the player it once was in a format war... but then again, I could be talking out of my ass.

Ooooooer!

Tim

SuperSaiyan4 8 Jan 2008 16:55
17/28
What happened to debbied does dallas: again? lol i thought that was supposed to be on blu-ray or hd-dvd or both cant remember.

Well i think japan seems to be favour blu-ray especially since anime seems to be looking at blu-ray, someone said that dragonball z is coming to blu-ray if thats the case then oh well :-(

I know AppleSeed: ExMachina is coming to hd-dvd woot! cant wait!
deleted 8 Jan 2008 16:56
18/28
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
tyrion wrote:
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
I dont see what makes blu-ray special, hd-dvd can hold upto 51gb on a single sided triple layer but even though its not out yet hd-dvd still supports a lot more features.

And Blu-ray will be able to support a 100GB disc soon, but that will only require a firmware update to existing players. The 51GB HD-DVD disc would require new drives in order to be read, so all the existing players would become obsolete.


Well 2 triple sides is 102gb...

Oh and nope you DONT need a new HD-DVD player I just rang Toshiba technical support and the fella was straight up and said there will be a firmware update, you will NOT need a new player to read triple layer discs.

Oh but from what I remember reading it was those with blu-ray players that needed to purchase new players to read the 100gb discs...


you wont get double sided triple layer HD DVD, its one or the other, the DVD/HD DVD Combi discs are one layer per side, DVD 5 and HD whatever, but no way will you see what you state, also a believe that Tosh are not giving you correct info as the laser requires to focus correctly to pick up a 3rd layer, and a firmware update wont do this if the lens isnt correct at the time of production. possibly your player was made with this in mind, but the early models wont work, and for bluray the 100GB discs wont ever be used for commercial movie based media, that will become a business storage solution.
schnide 8 Jan 2008 17:36
19/28
Tim Smith wrote:
Haven't we come and gone all over this one? Hasn't it disappeared down a dark hole? The hard-copy market for porn has gone tits-up after the retailer made a boob by not buying hole-sale into digital delivery. Their money shot away from them...

Okay... enough of that sort of thing. What with the Internet, porn prolly isn't the player it once was in a format war... but then again, I could be talking out of my ass.


(Snigger)

Sorry anyway yes Tim, you're right - just like I said months ago. Just like I said that Blu-Ray would win out. And just like I said the Wii (then Revolution) would fall flat on it's arse. Hurrah!

Right guys? Guys? Hello?

(Although quite what will happen to Wii sales once the mass market get bored with Wii Sports might make that a different matter. But I digress)
deleted 8 Jan 2008 17:48
20/28
schnide wrote:
Tim Smith wrote:
Haven't we come and gone all over this one? Hasn't it disappeared down a dark hole? The hard-copy market for porn has gone tits-up after the retailer made a boob by not buying hole-sale into digital delivery. Their money shot away from them...

Okay... enough of that sort of thing. What with the Internet, porn prolly isn't the player it once was in a format war... but then again, I could be talking out of my ass.


(Snigger)

Sorry anyway yes Tim, you're right - just like I said months ago. Just like I said that Blu-Ray would win out. And just like I said the Wii (then Revolution) would fall flat on it's arse. Hurrah!

Right guys? Guys? Hello?

(Although quite what will happen to Wii sales once the mass market get bored with Wii Sports might make that a different matter. But I digress)


lol at that point nintendo will prob have sold 200,000,000 of the suckers, not care and be readying the Wii 2 launch and demo units of how flapping both arm and new to the Wii 2 legs makes you not only look a t**t but makes your gran look like one too and wants to, after all no ones yet bored with using a stylus to warp Marios tash!, and i remember many saying that would fail once the hype calmed down!
schnide 8 Jan 2008 18:45
21/28
haritori wrote:
After all no ones yet bored with using a stylus to warp Marios tash!, and i remember many saying that would fail once the hype calmed down!



Well that one wasn't me - I.. I.. (how do you do a heart on this thing? Oh f**k it) love my DS. Mmm-mmm, polar white goodness.
tyrion 8 Jan 2008 19:26
22/28
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
Oh and nope you DONT need a new HD-DVD player I just rang Toshiba technical support and the fella was straight up and said there will be a firmware update, you will NOT need a new player to read triple layer discs.

Not that I'm calling you a liar, but nobody else seems to know this. I've done a quick google search and can't find a definitive answer anywhere.

Wikipedia page on HD-DVD
Toshiba has declined to say whether the 51GB, triple-layer disc is compatible with existing drives and players.

Maybe you should get a Wikipedia account and update the page?

Also from the top of that page.
A 51 GB triple-layer spec has been approved, however no movies are currently scheduled for this disc type.


SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
Oh but from what I remember reading it was those with blu-ray players that needed to purchase new players to read the 100gb discs...

One version of the 100GB disc did require this (TDK) one version didn't (Hitachi).

Wikipedia page on Blu-ray
Quad-layer (100 GB) discs have been demonstrated on a drive with modified optics (TDK version) and standard unaltered optics ("Hitachi used a standard drive.").

Also, TDK have an experimental 200GB Blu-ray disc in development;
Furthermore TDK announced in August 2006 that they have created a working experimental Blu-ray Disc capable of holding 200 GB of data on a single side, using six 33 GB data layers.[103]

Also, as far as backwards compatibility goes;
JVC has developed a three layer technology that allows putting both standard-definition DVD data and HD data on a BD/DVD combo.

In the cause of fairness I must point out that Toshiba have a similar DVD/HD-DVD system in the works.

Of course, how many of these systems will reach the consumer market is dubious. :-)
realvictory 8 Jan 2008 20:02
23/28
In fairness, I don't think Wikipedia is supposed to count as a source, on its own. I'm also 100% sure that it's not totally complete or correct.

Between HD-DVD and Blu-ray, on the other hand, I have a PS3, so it would be handy if Blu-ray became the standard - whereas I'd have to buy a standalone HD-DVD player otherwise, if HD-DVD became the standard. The only thing that totally lets Blu-ray down is region-locking. We should be beyond this crap by now - and the publishers also need to learn that if people can't buy what they want, they're even more likely to "steal" it, or find a way around it somehow.

But basically, if you own an HD-DVD player and a Blu-ray player, criticising one format is foolish, because you have nothing left to lose, and you've already bought the other player that you're criticising - so criticise yourself.

All that there is left after that gets sorted out is the price ;)
headcasephil 9 Jan 2008 00:22
24/28
the hd dvd vs blu ray war is starting to get good but with all you going on about the old vhs vs betamax and this company and that and 50gb 100gb and even 200gb disks there is one ponit that has not been pointed disk burning now this is a very in portent
one as we are in the time were illegal copy's are easy to get hold of and it is what will win the war not a good thing but its going to happen if you do a google for blu ray rw and you do the same for hd dvd rw theres a big diffrents on what you can get if you go in to pc wold all you are going to find is blu ray drives no hd dvd drives bar the 360 add on.
Tim Smith 9 Jan 2008 09:39
25/28
realvictory wrote:
In fairness, I don't think Wikipedia is supposed to count as a source, on its own. I'm also 100% sure that it's not totally complete or correct.


Nowt to do with fairness... Wikipedia is a tertiary source at best on any subject... ever.

Cheers

Tim
SuperSaiyan4 9 Jan 2008 10:50
26/28
Well instead of checking Wikipedia why dont you ring Toshiba technical support for a comment on what I said they told me? They say a firmware update then thats what its gonna be although getting it in writing would be better.

But I clearly remember standalone blu-ray players would not be able to read the new discs but hd-dvd players would.
tyrion 9 Jan 2008 14:00
27/28
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
Well instead of checking Wikipedia why dont you ring Toshiba technical support for a comment on what I said they told me? They say a firmware update then thats what its gonna be although getting it in writing would be better.

To be honest, I'm not that bothered either way, I just wanted to point out that I could find no definitive statement on the web at all. I used Wikipedia as an example of that. If you have a definite answer, that's great. More information for the rest of us. Thanks for taking the time to find out.

SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
But I clearly remember standalone blu-ray players would not be able to read the new discs but hd-dvd players would.

Like I said, there appear to be two 100GB Blu-ray systems, one of which would require an entirely new player one would only require a firmware update.
mummydaddy 4 Feb 2008 12:35
28/28
HD DVD has a better sounding name??? Are you crazy man?
just count the syllables, Blu Ray flows more easily off the tongue, and as for the formats themselves.
Blu Ray has the support not just of its movie watching followers but its gamers too.. Yes Microsoft is out ripping more people off with its X360 HD add on (still can't get over 60 ($120) for wifi add on) but the short lifespan of the 360 is killing itsgaming community as well as extortionate xbox live (yes I know its the best, but after paying 40-50 quid for a game, do you want to pay xx amount more for the privelage to play online with it (Wii and Ps3 are free).
Blu ray also has more capacity per disc with the very possible ability to be 10 layered... simply mind-boggling ( a 250GB blu ray disc).

sorry no contest and Paramount et-all are clearly cutting their own arm off if they don't realize this.
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