Jerry, Andy, and the other editors: I politely disagree there is ANY future for physical media hi-rez DVD's. Why?
The problem lies in what I have written here before: There is no hi-rez DVD interest by Joe and Susie Sixpack, who buy over 90% of all DVD's. Period, end of discussion.
The people who hang out and post here in your forums are all "TAFFY's," - A TAFFY is SRI's (Stanford Research Institutes's acronym for "Technically Affluent Families" and this does NOT mean financial affluence, it means they are the early adapter geeks and nerds who are very comfortable with and in some cases even help develop some of the toys we like. These are the ones people turn to when they need help hooking up their system or fixing their computer. And major marketing companies could give a rat's tutu about them because they are an infinitesimally small customer base that no one makes any money from.
And SRI is used by all the "real" marketing companies and marketing pros out there to segment and ID their customers. Their research is expensive (likely one reason the CE industry, except Sony, does not use them), and my experience has been that the marketing folks working at most consumer electronics companies are what we consultants call 2nd tier or 3rd tier marketers who would not last a month working with real marketing professionals in the competitive environments of companies like Proctor & Gamble or Pepsico.
I consult for a very few electronics companies (AND I DO NOT NEED ANY MORE CLIENTS) and I am astounded at the lack of vision and lack of what I consider basic marketing smarts when I encounter some of the "C" level execs I meet at some of my clients. :yikes:
As an example of what I do: For those of you who import from China, be prepared to have all your orders delayed by at least 2 to 3 weeks, possibly as long as 6 weeks. Why? Well, China is having the coldest winter they have ever experienced in over 100 years, and electricity is in short supply as about 99% of their electric plants are coal fired and the humongous snowstorms they have experienced in the last several weeks have shut down the rail transport of coal from the mines to the power plants. When the power plants start their rotating power cut-offs, plants that produce military goods will be highest on the list, then clothing manufacturers who have big contracts with companies like Wal-Mart will be next. Poor little CE companies manufacturing your products will be at the bottom of the list. And I can assure you none of your Chinese vendors have informed you of this, yet. This is why I only consult for a few, select companies who actually understand what this means and have the expertise and wherewithal to develop contingency plans. For those of you low on the totem pole, what are YOUR contingency plans? And if you have a major product rollout based on getting a new Chinese-manufactured product in your inventory chain in then next few weeks, I would advise you to bend way over and kiss your little (or big) butt goodbye.
And if you are looking for someone to blame, blame an American named Edward Deming, who introduced the Japanese to what we now trendily call "JITM:" Just-In-Time-Manufacturing. The Japanese jumped on this like a Bull-Frog on a June Bug and this keeps everyone's costs down, AS LONG AS THE PARTS YOU NEED FOR ASSEMBLY KEEPING COMING IN, ON TIME. BTW, Mr. Demming introduced this to the Japanese way back in 1947, and he was LAUGHED AT by virtually all US companies he tried to get to think this way.
It is my observation there are very few marketing visionaries in the CE industry. And when they come along, they are viciously attacked for their business acumen and the financial rewards their company reaps. Case in point: Dr. Amar Bose. I am no fan of his speakers, but NO ONE has done a better job of growing their company into the number one audio company in the world, making their brand a house-hold name, and achieving the highest brand-name recognition among the mass market of consumers who control over 90% of the buying power of the CE products you people here either manufacture, rep or sell. And with the European equivalent of the Fed NOT dropping interest rates today, the dollar is going to drop even more. Translation for you non-financial types: Amar's overseas business is going to grow, exponentially, and he is going to be a very happy man as his privately-held company achieves even greater earnings as more of his speakers get shipped overseas. And the stuff you bring in from your overseas suppliers is going to grow even more expensive and you are going to probably have to raise prices or accept a lower margin.
And if you want to argue with me, well, go into any Wal-Mart or any other big box store and you will always see something from his company sold in these stores. Distribution none of you here will ever achieve, unless you work for Apple or Bose.
And yet, rather than celebrate and try and emulate his success, most in the CE industry 'diss his product line (particularly his speakers) and recite the corporate mantra that Bose is over-priced crappy product that no person with reasonable hearing would buy.
Well, to those of you who really believe this, keep believing it while Bose keeps kicking your ass back to the Stone Age.
End of rant.
As I keep saying, like a broken record, the issue is NOT HD-DVD vs. Blue-Ray formats - The issue is how soon 720p VOD and iTV downloads will make these physical media obsolete.
As always, YMMV, of course, but for you hardware junkies, your ship has hit that paradigm shift iceberg and is headed down. If you do NOT recognize the paradigm shift that is happening and adapt to it, in your next job, you will be saying quite often, "Would you like fries with that?"