Guess poor Scarlett wasn’t at CES because the drums (and bugles) of high definition video storage were playing loud and clear in all of the eight football fields of expensive show and tell real estate. Ironically they were also dressed in blue and gray.
Both camps were shooting news release after news release. Scouts went out to tell the folks they were making the preemptive strike. For that matter they had already won the war.
Of course the news releases and volleys were refreshed and resharpened from CES 2004 and 2005. But they were fired and duly covered. The officers strode around their campfires and proudly showed off their armies. But if you looked closely you saw many of the same soldiers (software suppliers, content owners and media producers) sitting in both of the camps.
Only ones you didn’t see with both uniforms were the generals.
The marketplace and press were hungry for news as to which the winner was going to be so they attended the battle briefings (press events) of both camps. They were much like the individual company eventsâ€¦”we are the world leader, we are number one and we have the strategy/products to win.”
Some day someone will stand up and sayâ€¦”we make pretty good products that work most of the time so give us a break.”
Despite the long, generally boring Toshiba, Panasonic, Pioneer, Canon, LG and other press events; everyone waited for baited breath for the HD DVD and BD press conferences.
The HD DVD army led the attack with bad jokes and a fumbled video playback attemptâ€¦but they tried. They touted their studio partners, specific release dates and HP their most recent convert.
BD was more cautious with more talk than play.
Everyone jumped on the fact that Microsoft used an â€œoff the production line” player that didn’t quite work. No big dealâ€¦the gun misfired. What we couldn’t figure out was who in his/her right mind wanted all of the extra stuff on the great next generation disc. If we’re watching a movie why do we want to also have the director telling us what he/she wanted to achieve with a scene, why we were interested in the actor’s bio and other movies, why we wanted to switch languages, go online for something or other great things the new hidef discs from Tellywood would deliver.
We came for the movie!
A really smart industry analyst made it crystal clear. All the new content approach wasn’t for our generation. It’s for the kids who are used to multitasking.
Ever watch one of today’s young people in action? He or she has five or more IM windows open, is moving music to their iPod for tomorrow, watching a TV show in another window and doing homework.
He was right. No wonder kids can watch the same movie 3-4 times. No wonder they can listen to their iPod, watch a video and talk on their cellphone for hours. They are wired differently than boomers!
To meet this demand for digital content anywhere, everywhere we’re seeing folks pitching everything phones, music/video players, wireless notebook computer usage, home entertainment solutions and do more game systems.
If our analyst’s observation on multitasking kids was right and we believe he was maybe we should pay attention to the game system arena because media center PCs and Mac Minis are painfully slow in penetrating the family and living rooms of households.
Sony PS and Microsoft Xbox systems are being sold faster than they can be produced. More than 120 million of these consoles will be installed this year (figure 1). Kids put unbelievable pressure on parents and grandparents. The parents and grandparents in turn fight with the kids for the controls. The systems are moved from the bedroom to the major TV location so that everyone can play along. And they have all of that home entertainment networking capability just sitting there waiting to be used.
Both platforms have blue laser â€œsponsors” behind them. So if you look at the numbers it is obvious that BD will win. Right?
Wait a minute!
There may not be a storage winner (at least at home) but rather multiple platforms. After all, Nintendo still sells a lot of systems because of the content written for their system. Some game developers only offer their games for the PS or Xbox system. Most though offer games in both flavors.
So do we really care about which blue laser technology wins?
Now we heard both camps say that all of the game developers are behind their format. Funny thing is we don’t hear that from the developers. They are having enough trouble filling today’s DVDs with sweaty-palms, teeth-gnashing games. And they if those kids want more which they do the game software people want the players to be interactive with their game sites.
Sell the $300+ game system, $50 individual/multiplayer game and rent them game timeâ€¦forever!
Gamers buy the systems for content, not the media deliver mechanism.
Even though both Sony and Microsoft have vowed to deliver their respective BD and HD DVD add-ons, so what? The two want to be kissed badly and maybe that’s the way the gamers will kiss themâ€¦badly.
If Scarlett wants spring fun instead of war discussions she will probably get another red laser DVD burner, DVD recorder and a few assorted DVD players for the house.
After all there are already more than 200MM players in use already. About 30MM will be shipped this year and next. They are cheap and getting cheaper.
The media for copying personal and other photo/video content is also readily available and inexpensive. About seven billion DVDR discs will be produced this year compared to ??? thousand blue laser discs.
Those numbers are going to continue through 2009 and by 2010 the blue marketshare may be 10 percent of the total sales volume.
Sure blue will come — eventually so does war.
Tellywood will probably do what game developers do — put their stuff on one or the other or both. But what should the hardware/software folks and consumer do? Especially since people around the globe are capturing over 400 billion images with their digital cameras and camphones, are building libraries of four times that volume of video content and capturing who knows how much IP/regular TV programming.
Glad you asked because we had this lightbulb idea during one of the several industry update sessions we attended.
Broadcom offers a chip that supports both formats and if we were one of the player producers we’d be designing that sucka in right now!
Bet a few brilliant ISVs (independent software vendors) have thought of the same thing. Offer folks â€œtranslation” software that lets people play HD DVD or BD content on the systems. First team to put that out there should make a bundle!!!
But as we are seeing, people (ok kids) don’t want their content just at home. They want it with them on their PSP, on their Archos or on their other audio/video player.
Walking the miles and miles of CES floor we had a second great product idea.
Today’s DVD burners are dirt cheap right?
We saw MiniDVDR discs single and double layer in Verbatim’s booth. Single layer 1.4GB discs hold about 30 minutes of high quality video (figure 5). Double layer 2.6+GB discs hold about an hour.
So why not make a small USB player for these sexy little, economic discs?
Kids can carry 4-5 in their backpacks. Boomers can carry them in their purse or lunchpail.
Plug the player into the portable game system/video player and watch the latest segment of OC, 24, Ghost Whisperer, your old Buffy or other defunct show. Great way to take your wedding, vacation, birthing, divorce videos with you to show friends and enemies. Hey you can even justify the expense to your boss because you can take company video presentations with you to customer sites and play them immediately. Then on the flight back home you can play video games!
Think what a real videographer could do with this? You could show your entire reel. You could show your dailies immediately to folks. You could have dozens of discs full of archive video and a stack of postproduction versions.
Even while the piddling war rages around you, you can make money, entertain yourself and others and have a storage/playback solution that doesn’t cost $1,000+ dollars.
Yes Scarlett you can say fiddle-dee-dee to the war because you never have to be hungry again.