Analyst suggests Warner decision means everyone loses, not just HD DVD

iSuppli ? ‘CES didn’t decide anything in HD battle’

A senior iSuppli analyst has warned that the only result of Warner’s decision to exclusively release content on Sony’s Blu-ray format is that everyone, from manufacturers to consumers will lose.

"CES didn’t come close to determining which format will win," states iSuppli’s Krishna Chander. "No side won this week—but in reality, both camps lost."

"Every day the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps spend prosecuting this standards war represents a day lost in their race to remain relevant. Amid the rise of exciting new digital media offerings like YouTube, iTunes and On-Demand services, the window of lucrative opportunity is closing for both standards."

"Consumers likely will buy more Blu-ray players and more discs due to the availability of the Warner content," Chander observed. "However, the company’s decision to go with Blu-ray hinged on short-term pricing declines for the Blu-ray players.

"While not commenting on the relative virtues of the standards, this analyst believes Warner’s cost-based decision doesn’t take into account two important factors: technical merits and long-term benefits for consumers."

"Blu-ray players recently have declined in pricing, but they remain more expensive than the HD DVD alternatives. Beyond lower cost, the HD DVD players also boast superior programmable features, enabled by Microsoft’s Hdi technology, proponents say," the report states, suggesting that Blu-ray inferior platform is bad news for consumers.

The HD DVD group is also focusing on other features, which it claims mean its format is superior to Blu-ray, and represents a better deal for consumers.

One is that its players do not have region encoding, meaning that as soon as a HD DVD movie launches in the US, UK owners can purchase and watch it. The other feature is that it can upscale standard definition DVDs to near-HD quality.

"HD DVD is the best way to watch movies in high definition," said Jodi Sally, vice president of marketing, Toshiba’s digital audio-visual group.

"Our HD DVD players not only play back approximately 800 HD DVD titles available worldwide and deliver an entirely new level of entertainment but also enhance the picture quality to near high definition on legacy DVD titles by all studios.

"In short, we added high def to DVD which already is the de facto standard format created and approved by the DVD Forum that consists of more than two hundred companies [including many which are part of the Blu-ray consortium]."

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