Monday, November 19, 2007
As the high definition DVD format war drags on, Toshiba and Sony are continuing to tweak their marketing campaigns in an effort to gain the upper hand for their respective formats. Toshiba is claiming that its HD-DVD format is gaining widespread favor in the overall market.
The high level of competition between these two companies has led to a sort of desperation that can be seen in their marketing campaigns in the form of posturing and making claims of success while taking actions that are indicative of acceptance of a certain level of failure. Toshiba is the party that's guilty of most of this behavior. Toshiba has been claiming that its HD-DVD format has the lead in the High Def DVD market even though it doesn't have the number of movie titles that Blu-ray does and hasn't done anywhere near the sales volume in terms of number of discs that Blu-ray has done. In addition, Toshiba has been bragging about how it has sold more HD-DVD players than Sony has sold Blu-ray players, but those statistics clearly ignore the fact that Sony's Play Station 3 video game system is also a Blu-ray disc player. The Play Station 3 boosts the number of Blu-ray players in American homes way above the number of HD-DVD players in American homes.
Amid all of these antics of claiming a lead that doesn't really exist, Toshiba has also announced that it's now planning to ship fewer HD-DVD players this year than it had originally planned. This is a tacit admission that the demand for HD-DVD players isn't really there, which is preposterous considering that Toshiba is claiming to be winning the format war because HD-DVD is the preferred high def DVD format.
At the same time that Toshiba is claiming victory and acting as if the opposite is actually the case, Sony is gearing up to ship more Blu-ray players. This only makes sense as there are a lot more movie titles available on Blu-ray disc than there are on HD-DVD.
In some ways the preference for the Blu-ray high def DVD format is surprising considering the fact that a stand alone Blu-ray player costs about twice what an HD-DVD player costs. At the same time the most cost effective Blu-ray player- in the form of Sony's Play Station 3- has been in short supply for people wanting a lower cost alternative to the stand alone Blu-ray players. These supply problems have frustrated consumers, but the fact that Blu-ray offers more movie titles apparently goes a long way when it comes to getting forgiveness from consumers.
Of course, Blu-ray also has a technological edge over HD-DVD in many ways. The most important advantage that Blu-ray has over HD-DVD technology is the amount of data it can store. HD-DVD can store fifteen gigabytes of data on each side of the disc, which is a lot more than a standard DVD can store, but a lot less than a Blu-ray disc can store. Blu-ray discs can store up to twenty five gigabytes per disc side for a total of fifty gigabytes for the entire disc, versus a mere thirty total gigabytes for HD-DVD.
Considering the apparent advantages that Blu-ray has over HD-DVD, it's surprising in many ways that there still is a format war.