Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Charleston, SC
Re: HD Disc Format War Not Over By a Long Shot
Perception often tends to become reality.
From PC World:
Meanwhile, recent sales numbers discussed at the event illustrate some of the reasons why Warner made the decision that it did. Blu-ray Disc movie titles outsold HD DVD in the United States by a nearly 2-to1 margin last year, according to sales figures from Home Media Research. Moreover, Blu-ray titles outsold HD DVD in the United States every single week of 2007, and the Blu-ray editions of titles released on both formats consistently outsold their HD DVD counterparts, often by "significant" margins. Total domestic sales of Blu-ray movie titles topped six million in December 2007. It took 10 months for Blu-ray sales to reach the first one million; from there, every three months the format racked up another million titles sold. The last two million worth of discs sold occurred in the past month alone. By contrast, according to Home Media Research's numbers, HD DVD didn't reach the 2.5 million mark until mid-November.
The first HD DVD titles were released in April 2006. Blu-ray Disc titles began to be released in June 2006.
On September 12, 2006, Apple's iTunes Store began selling movies online by offering over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films.
On Tuesday, January 15, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple had sold 7 million movies to date online via iTunes Store.
Therefore, we know:
• HD DVD has sold 2.5 million movies since April 2006 (20 months)
• Blu-ray has sold 6 million movies since June 2006, (18 months)
• Apple has sold 7 million movies since September 2006 (15 months)
The REAL KICKER is that Apple's iTunes Store has sold nearly three times more movies — in "near-DVD quality" 640x480 resolution solely in the U.S., no less — than HD DVD titles in 5 fewer months and more movies than Blu-ray titles in 2 fewer months - all without the support of many major Hollywood studios (all of whom are, of course, now onboard with Apple's new iTunes Movies Rentals which will soon begin offering titles in High Definition (720p) with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound - only via Apple TV, for now).
More than a few people are going to keel over dead when they find out the results of Apple's movie rentals and Apple TV unit sales. If on Tuesday at the MacExpo, Steve Jobs had unveiled Apple TV for the first time, starting at $229, along with iTunes Movie Rentals, people today would be shouting from the rooftops about how Jobs has just revolutionized yet another industry. As it is, they seem to have completely missed what's about to happen simply because they've known about Apple TV for a year. They just haven't been aware of the impact that Apple has made. In this case, familiarity breeds stupidity. Stay tuned for many shocked expressions from the currently oblivious.
Don't get me wrong--I am not one of the Apple movie downloaders. I like HDTV and shows, sports, and movies that can take advantage of 720p and 1080p. Obviously I'm older than most teckies, but just like iPod music downloads at inferior quality took the US by storm, it is obvious that Apple Video downloads have done the same. They have just done it under the radar while the HD Blu & Ray folks keep arguing.
I would bet that Microsoft is far more worried about the internet prowess of Apple then they are about who wins in HD or Blu Ray. Microsoft wants their own codecs to be used in downloads and have millions of video Zunes sold. Microsoft could just as easily put an outboard Blu Ray attached to its XBOX by an umbilical cord as it can an HD. There is nothing that Mr. Softy hates as much as being "Job'd" by Apple. They know the billions Apple made in music downloads and they are way behind in the paying video download biz. Watch if Apple makes a deal with Verizon FIOS to be their paying music and video downloading partners for speedy HD music and HD video downloads.
As expected, Apple announced they will begin offering high-definition movie rentals via the iTunes Store. Content will be provided by the likes of Miramax, Touchstone, MGM Lionsgate, New Line Cinema, Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, Sony, and Universal. In short, Apple has all of the major studios on board. All first-run titles will be available on the iTunes Store 30 days after the DVD release. There will be over a thousand titles available when the rental section launches "by the end of February."
Viewers will be able to watch movies within 30 seconds of starting a download and will have 24 hours to finish watching a rental once they start a movie. Once downloaded, users will have 30 days to begin watching a movie. Pricing is $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases in standard definition. High-definition titles are $1.00 more. An update for iTunes will be made available to support the feature.
Apple TV 2.0
In a rare admission of an Apple product that hasn't lived up to expectations, Jobs noted that people "didn't want" the Apple TV. Apple is going to address that with the NEW $229 Apple TV 2.0, which sports an all-new user interface. The new TV box supports buying content directly from the iTunes Store as well as the new rental service. Movies will be available in Hi-Def with full Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Downloaded content will automatically sync with computers on the network.
Users will also be able to purchase TV shows and download HD video podcasts directly from the new Apple TV. There's also some integration with .Mac, with owners able to pull down .Mac galleries and set them up as screen savers. The original Apple TV will get a software upgrade to support the new features, and the new Apple TV should be available in two weeks.
There are so many wars going on, both overt and covert, it will eventually make most peoples heads spin.