Richi Jennings

Tarjay and Blu-ray: ixnay on the ormatfay arway (and erroray)

July 27, 2007 6:33 AM EDT
Fiddling while Rome burns, it's Friday's IT Blogwatch: in which Target decides to only stock Blu-ray players, format war be darned. Not to mention embarrassing, outdoorsy error messages...

Franklin Paul reports, frankly:
Target plans to carry only Blu-ray high definition DVD players through the holiday shopping season, a move that boosts the Sony-backed technology and may deal a blow to rival HD-DVD ... It was the second major retailer in as many months to throw its weight behind Blu-ray in the industry wide standards war reminiscent of VHS and Betamax. Blockbuster, the largest U.S. provider of home movie entertainment, in June set plans to line its shelves with Blu-ray DVDs.
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Earlier this month, the HD DVD camp said its stand-alone video players have outsold rival Blu-ray players by a three-to-one margin in Europe's main markets so far this year. [more]
Jacqui Cheng is measured: [5'4? Oh, I'm fired -Ed.]
This will be the first standalone HD player sold at Target retail stores, although Target currently sells a Toshiba HD DVD player through its web site ... the company's decision could help Blu-ray pull ahead when it comes to standalone players. Dedicated HD DVD players currently outsell dedicated Blu-ray players by a fairly wide margin. But when consoles are taken into account, Blu-ray has a definite lead: roughly 61 percent of all players in the wild are Blu-ray compatible.

Target is being politically noncommittal as to why it chose to go with Blu-ray players in its retail stores ... [and] the HD DVD camp seems unconcerned about Target's plans ... But even the slightest tip of the scales toward one side or another could still significantly affect who is currently taking the lead, as next-gen DVD sales are so small in comparison to the overall DVD market.

As retailers continue to prepare for the holiday shopping season, both HD DVD and Blu-ray camps will need to pull out all the stops with product placement and promotions in order to try to pull ahead.. [more]
Even Nilay Patel is even-handed:
Everyone's favorite wasteful format war took another strange twist today ... Target will only stock  ... Sony's $499 BDP-S300.
The decision ... doesn't include Target's website, Xbox 360 HD DVD drive, or HD DVD movies, so it's not a particularly huge win for Blu-ray ... Still, coupled with Blockbuster's decision to only stock Blu-ray discs, it looks like the format war might be fought and won at the retailer level, not by consumers.. [more]
Dvorak-dot-org-slash-blog gets no spam:
Things are not looking up for HD-DVD. Not long ago there was some speculation that if Wal-Mart got behind the HD-DVD format, things could turn bad for Blu-ray. However, this has not been the case. Currently the HD-DVD guys are trying to make the European Union go after Blu-ray, accusing them of Antitrust. Another thing to consider is that Blockbuster has gotten behind Blu-ray. Now we have this.
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Is there something fishy going on here? Is the arrival of players that play both formats making both camps nervous? [more]
David Carnoy guesses:
I guess this is sort a big deal, but at the same time, I'm not sure why anyone would bother buying the player ... that Target will allegedly be selling for $499 in October when the PS3 costs the same price.
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Now, if that price were to come down by a couple hundred bucks, that might be a real blow to HD DVD. While I don't see that happening, I would expect this model to be $100 cheaper by October. [more]
Lucas Mearian has another angle on the format war:
Thieves who broke into a video store in Seattle walked off with more than $7,000 worth of Blu-ray DVD movies, according to a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. In all, the crooks got away with Silver Platters' entire Blu-ray movie section -- about 200 discs.
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Perhaps the most curious thing of all is that the thieves seemed to ignore the HD DVDs in the store. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's story didn't say whether or not the store carries HD DVD, but the store's website does. So, what does it say when even crooks know which format is winning the war? ... I don't think it's a stretch to speculate that when crooks choose Blu-ray over HD DVD, we should all take notice.
 
Of course, whether or not this latest news item is actual proof that Blu-ray is beating HD DVD is a matter of opinion ... Maybe the theives were in a hurry and didn't know which format they'd chosen. [more]
Buffer overflow:
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And finally... Error'd Outside
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk. Confused? It's Pig Latin.