C'mon Hollywood #142

... end the format war!
by Sturdy

Here’s a question for all the Schmoes out there; how many of you have stopped completely or drastically reduced the number of DVD’s you buy due to the high definition format war? Me? Well I used to buy a couple of DVD’s every Tuesday and now I’ve completely stopped. If I see them previously viewed at Blockbuster, I may pick one up, but until the HD format war is over, Hollywood has lost my business. The funny thing is, I want to spend more of my money on high definition discs, but Hollywood has been so infuriating with the format war, that they’ve actually lost money.

When Paramount and DreamWorks switched their formally neutral stance and decided to back HD-DVD exclusively, it basically cemented the format war was going to be around for a while. Hollywood studios have made a lot of frustrating decisions in my lifetime, but this one might just take the cake. They reportedly received $150 million to switch their loyalties like that. I know that seems like a lot of money, but I’d still like to see the ROI analysis on that decision. DVD sales are down over 12% from last year and most analysts are predicting further declining sales next year. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a single next generation format to support that could make up for the lagging DVD sales?

Does anyone really want to see Debbie do all of Dallas in high definition?

I’ve been trying to remain format neutral, but doesn’t it seem like HD-DVD is fighting a losing battle? In Europe, Blu-Ray owns a commanding 72% of the high definition market and even higher in other foreign markets. Also, there are about 2.7 million Blu-Ray players out there compared to only 750,000 HD-DVD players. Those numbers include Playstation 3’s (which is what I use to watch Blu-Rays) and the HD-DVD X-Box 360 add-on. Only one company is making HD-DVD players (Toshiba) and the porn industry isn’t going to be the ace in the hole (no pun intended) everyone thought they would (for starters, there are some things you don’t want to see in high definition). I think the “win” for Blu-Ray came when they got Disney on their side. Face it folks, Disney owns the home video market. HD-DVD has some good things going for it and I strongly encourage Sony and Toshiba to try and work something out. At this point, I would imagine Toshiba could drop their format and work something out with Sony and cut their losses.

Maybe Bay was upset at the lack of lossless audio on the HD-DVD of TRANSFORMERS?

The people that seem to get lost in the mix in all of this are the filmmakers. It’s about time they step up and make their voices heard. They have a responsibility to their films to want them presented on the best format possible. Not only that, but most filmmakers get a cut of the home video sales, so it behooves them to see a single format market. I was ecstatic when Michael Bay made his pro Blu-Ray comments on the war. Not because he chose Blu-Ray, but because he actually had the balls to comment one way or the other. Spielberg has come close, but hasn’t officially taken a stance. We need the big name directors like Spielberg, Scorsesse, Coppola, and others to voice their support to their production companies for a single format war.

C’mon guys, take a stance!

So c’mon Hollywood, this has got to stop! Whatever the decision, companies buying studio loyalty is bad news for the fans. I seriously hope that Paramount and DreamWorks will realize the bonehead financial decision they made and reverse their stance when their contract is up. I really don’t care who wins, because I already feel like I’ve lost. I’d gladly chunk my five Blu-Rays if HD-DVD was the only game in town. I just want one single format so I can start shelling out more of my money on movies. Is that too much to ask?

Tags: Hollywood



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