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Thread: Why Microsoft supported HDDVD in the first place....

  1. #1
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    Why Microsoft supported HDDVD in the first place....

    And All That Could Have Been

    Posted April 5, 2008 03:45 PM by Josh

    Blu-ray Disc When Microsoft first announced their intentions to back the underdog HD DVD format as the high definition format of the future, many insiders and press alike questioned the motives of the large software company. Microsoft doesn't own any film content to distribute and the one product which could have benefited from a larger capacity disc - the Xbox 360 - had already shipped with only DVD support. Most soon realized that Microsoft never wanted HD DVD to succeed, only to stall adoption of Blu-ray long enough for digital downloads to become a reality.

    This, of course, was all speculation based on analysis of the situation, but it made perfect sense and was being reinforced by Microsoft's strong push for adding content to their Xbox Live digital distribution service. Recently, the UK newspaper The Guardian sat down with the Senior Regional Director, Northern Europe, Entertainment & Devices Division for Microsoft, Neil Thompson, and briefly discussed how he felt about Microsoft's decision to support HD DVD now that the format has died.

    Oddly enough, he laughs off the question. "The horse that we're fundamentally backing is the one that says the future of entertainment content is online digital distribution. I would argue that we backed the right horse." He continued, "If we're sitting here in 12 or 18 months time, we'll be saying 'why were people even thinking about a disc format when it's really about digital distribution?' Our strategy's been developed for the last six or seven years, and ever since we launched the platform it [online content] has been our big, big, big bet."

    Considering that Microsoft has only been backing HD DVD since September of 2005, their decision to push digital distribution supersedes their intention to back HD DVD, and more importantly, reinforces the notion that Microsoft was only backing the now defunct format in order to stale adoption of Blu-ray, and thus, increase the likelihood of digital distribution as a viable format. Unfortunately for them, HD DVD is now dead, and digital distribution of films is still not considered viable by the vast majority of consumers.

    Now that Blu-ray has been declared the victor, it is shocking to think of what could have been if Microsoft had succeeded in getting HD DVD established as a high definition format, only to pull the rug out from the format and switch to digital distribution. For as much as the mandatory Ethernet connection was praised by HD DVD supports, its a scary thought of how that could have easily become a way to easily switch to a digital download - and much lower quality - distribution format.

    Blu-ray provides consumers with the ultimate in high definition picture and sound that is not compromised by the necessity to stream it over the Internet. HD DVD's use of lower quality video and lossy audio reveal a potential future that no home theater enthusiast would ever want to see realized. Thankfully, as more and more consumers continue to adopt Blu-ray as the successor to DVD, we may never have to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mean Bro Green View Post

    Blu-ray provides consumers with the ultimate in high definition picture and sound that is not compromised by the necessity to stream it over the Internet. HD DVD's use of lower quality video and lossy audio reveal a potential future that no home theater enthusiast would ever want to see realized. Thankfully, as more and more consumers continue to adopt Blu-ray as the successor to DVD, we may never have to.
    Much as I'm a fan of superior picture quality, the thought of sacrificing 10% of the clarity for something that's 90% more convenient and 85% less expensive is too appealing to cast aside. An HD rental download of a new title on Apple TV for $3.99 looks damned good at 720p, and you'll find that you only watch maybe 1 title a year that is so "wow" that you need to own it to watch again and again anyway.

    Digital delivery is here right now and it's very good. In the future they'll get it to be the 1080p equal of Blu-ray and it'll be a very close race to the finish.

    SAR I

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    That is hilarious, and genius by the way. Bravo Microsoft.

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    Great read and definitely hit right on with where this technology is going. Sar is correct in his statements but just to add on, in the near future, you'll have a service (like netflix) where you will pay a monthly fee and be able to watch as many movies as you want.. U want new movies, you either subscribe to the premium package or pay for a small fee to watch new content.

    Compression rates are getting better but also broadband is becoming cheaper and faster here in the states.. The technology is probably on about 5 years away..

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    NO! All those movie downloads are gonna clog the tubes on the internets! What are you people doing? We need to save room for the email trucks to make their deliveries...Gosh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SAR I View Post
    Much as I'm a fan of superior picture quality, the thought of sacrificing 10% of the clarity for something that's 90% more convenient and 85% less expensive is too appealing to cast aside. An HD rental download of a new title on Apple TV for $3.99 looks damned good at 720p, and you'll find that you only watch maybe 1 title a year that is so "wow" that you need to own it to watch again and again anyway.

    Digital delivery is here right now and it's very good. In the future they'll get it to be the 1080p equal of Blu-ray and it'll be a very close race to the finish.

    SAR I
    Good post. But isn't this philisophically different from your approach to LCD vs. Plasma? Sacrificing quality for price? Plasma and LCD deliver virtually the same quality of display but with large price differences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetstream23 View Post
    Good post. But isn't this philisophically different from your approach to LCD vs. Plasma? Sacrificing quality for price? Plasma and LCD deliver virtually the same quality of display but with large price differences.
    Like a majority of people I believe that whatever SAR owns is what he deems the best.

    If he drove an AMG Benz you would never hear of BMW. If he owned a Zune the IPOD would not be part of his daily postings. If he owned a Patek you would never hear of Rolex... It is what most people do.


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    And yet again, Microsoft wins. Streaming media will be the norm, not Bu-Ray.

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