Blu-Ray May Have This Thing Wrapped Up

Recently Warner Brothers Entertainment made the decision to (later this year) go Blu-Ray exclusive. For those of you at home keeping score this means that now HD-DVD only has Paramount Pictures, Universal, Focus Features, and Weinstein Co. Things aren’t looking too good for the format.


The only real thing that I can see that HD-DVD has going for it is price. The players seem to be about $100 cheaper than their Blu-Ray counterparts.  Blu-Ray has significantly more studio support than HD-DVD does and currently there are only two manufacturers making standalone HD-DVD players while Blu-Ray has ten manufacturers making standalone players.

Let’s face it, Blu-Ray just has way more support than HD-DVD does and what makes a format widely adopted is support.

The one company that everyone is looking to for a reaction to this is Microsoft. Microsoft has been supporting HD-DVD for seemingly the entire time but will this make them change their tune.

I did read somewhere (can’t remember where or I would link for credit) that someone was speculating that Microsoft is supporting HD-DVD thinking that HD-DVD is clearly the worse format. This way neither HD-DVD or Blu-Ray would win the war and both of them would die. This way Microsoft could swoop in with a movie download solution which would trump both of the formats.

I’m not sure if I believe that theory but I do think that Microsoft will have to react in some way. Whether that means Microsoft deciding to switch sides and come out with a Blu-Ray add on drive for the Xbox 360 or Microsoft becoming format neutral, I do think that they will have to do something.

$199 Blu-Ray Drive Announced

The format wars have really been heating up in the pricing side of things. The $99 sale of the HD-A2 was just the beginning. But, now you will be able to get yourself a $199 Blu-Ray drive for your PC, it is still far from a stand-alone player but is a step in the right direction for the Blu-Ray side of things.

The name of the drive is the PLDS DH-4O1S, it just goes to show you that the naming conventions in most places are just terrible.

The drive ships with Cyberlink PowerDVD.

If I was building a HTPC this drive would be on my parts list. I have always like the idea of using a single computer to do all of the work that in most houses is done by many different set top boxes.

Read more about the drive, including detailed specs at Gearlog.

SlySoft AnyDVD HD Capable of Backing Up Blu-Ray and HD-DVD Discs

The copy protection that is used on Blu-Ray discs, BD+, has officially been cracked. The guys at SlySoft have just released a beta of their AnyDVD HD software that will backup HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.

Back in February SlySoft released the first version of AnyDVD HD that was capable of backing up HD-DVD discs. It’s only been 9 months and now the software is capable of backing up Blu-Ray discs.

This just goes to show that there isn’t a single DRM scheme that can’t be cracked sooner or later.

Another Feather in the Cap for HD-DVD

The next generation format war is still raging on with no end in site. My opinion on the matter, when asked by others what I thought, was always to just buy one or the other, in other words, PICK YOUR SIDE. The problem with everyone waiting is that no one is buying either, which means it will just take longer for it to end. If you pick your side and help promote that side by telling your friends and family to do the same it is more likely for it to end (not much but enough to say so).

But now we find out some statistics about HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray from Netflix. According to the stats Netflix users browse Blu-Ray movies 1.8 times more than HD-DVD, but those browsing HD-DVD are 4.4 times more likely to make that their default. Now, keep in mind that only 0.3 percent of Netflix users check out HD titles but it is still another feather in the cap for HD-DVD.

I have always been a little partial towards Blu-Ray because of the studios backing the format, but I have to say that now that you can buy an HD-DVD player for a measly $299 I think that HD-DVD is the format to go with.


$400 40GB Playstation 3 By Christmas?

Arstechnica is claiming that a “mole” has tipped them off of a possible $400 version of the Playstation 3 to be released by Christmas. This is quite a surprise since the 20GB and 60GB versions of the Playstation 3 have been phased out, why would they want to bring another to the table.

I am taking this with a grain of salt however the mole also tipped them off on the HDMI in the Xbox 360 so the track record seems to be fairly clean.

The mole also notes a couple other things, the Playstation 2 will have a price drop to $99 and Spiderman 3 on blu-ray may be bundled with one or both of the Playstation 3 versions.

I wouldn’t be surprised about the price drop to $99 for the Playstation 2 and I also wouldn’t be surprised if Spiderman 3 was bundled with the Playstation 3, especially since it should look great in HD and is pretty much one of the biggest movies that will be out on Blu-ray for this Christmas. I’m still a bit skeptical on the 40GB PS3 but I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility.


Blockbuster Favors Blu-Ray

According to, Blockbuster will lay its trust in the hands of Blu-ray over the hi-def war. 1,450 stores will begin stocking Blu-ray discs, not HD-DVD discs.

“This could be the end for HD-DVD” is what many in the blogosphere are saying. Let’s look at it this way, Blockbuster is a huge company but I’m not sure if they have the weight that many people think that they do. Most stores selling movies are selling both, Netflix has both, and most people just want to buy the cheaper player. I am usually on the side of Blu-ray in most of these discussions because I love to play the devils advocate. But, HD-DVD isn’t exactly going to see too many hits from this, there have been many companies who have publicly sided with either HD-DVD or Blu-ray and later on decided to either change their mind or become neutral signing deals with both formats.

People love to have headlines like “Blockbuster sides with Blu-ray, the end for HD-DVD?” but the problem is it is just way too soon to tell which format will end up winning, the thing is, both formats could still “win.” There are plenty of consumers out there to go around and it seems like just as many movies. A dual-format player for $500 or the ability for the consumers to buy and HD-DVD player for $250 and a Blu-ray player for $250 could make this format war mean nothing anymore.

Let’s just all take a deep breath look at what movies you want and the price of the players/discs and just buy something already. I’m tired of everyone getting upset over this. Just buy a player and some movies, without customers neither one will win, do your part by purchasing something and making your “vote” count in this format war.

HP to Offer Dual HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Drive in Desktops

HP will soon be offering a single drive option for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray needs in upcoming desktops. Giving customers the ability to burn and read CD’s, DVD’s, and Blu-Ray discs. Strangely the drive will only read HD-DVDs and not write to them.

May 9th is the date (according to CNet) when they will begin selling this option. This will make them the first company to sell a single drive solution for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. The Pavilion Media Center m8010y and the Pavilion d4890y will be the models with this option and are both Intel powered.

HP started out on the HD-DVD side and because of this seems to have changed their mind about that decision and now is going to be neutral in this war. Not very good for the HD-DVD side but great for the Blu-Ray side.

$299 HD-DVD Players Unlikely to Happen this Year

DigiTimes is claiming that because of Blue-laser diodes yields being so low. They said that any HD-DVD player being sold at that price would be being sold at less than production cost.

The thing is the makers of the diodes including Sony and Matsushita (Panasonic) have assigned their production capacities for own use first. If this is true then if Sony could just get things together they could be the first to have a low cost next-gen DVD player.

This also means that for some time the cheapest way to get High definition content into your home theater is the XBox360 HD-DVD drive or the Playstation 3.


PS3 Production Costs Could be $100 Cheaper

According to DigiTimes The Blue-laser pick-up heads that are being used in the Playstation 3 are going to increase in supply and decrease in price. Possibly lower the cost of them about $100.

This could help Sony bring down the price of the Playstation 3 and may also explain how Pioneer is planning on making a $299 Blu-Ray player by June.

I think that for Sony to live in this console war they need to lower the price of the Playstation 3 and get some exclusive games. That is all they need to do and they will be a bigger part of the console war. I want to see them have success because if they don’t then there will be no direct competition for high-def gaming with the XBox 360 which means that Microsoft will be able to do anything they want, if they want to not fix bugs in software they can do that because the Xbox would be the only way to get high-def gaming into your home theater. We need competition and unless Nintendo decides to turn the Wii high-def or another company comes along, Playstation is the only competition.

$299 Blu-Ray Player in June

Pioneer will be the first to sell consumers a cheap next generation DVD drive, that is if no one beats them to the market. They are set to release there Blu-Ray player in the United States come June. The BDC-2202 can read BD-R discs at up to 5x and dual-layer discs at up to 2x. The greatest thing, is its price. It will be $299.

This will be the cheapest next generation DVD Drive but even if Toshiba or another company comes out with a HD-DVD drive that will be at the same price point. That means that the next gen dvd wars will be about what it has always needed to be about, not price, content.

Press Release [via CrunchGear]

FastMac Offers Blu-Ray Drives for Macs

FastMac is now selling Blu-ray drives for the following Mac computers:
iBook G4
PowerBook G3
PowerBook G4 Titanium
PowerBook G4 Aluminum
MacBook Pro 17″
iMac G5
iMac Intel
Mac Mini

The drive is backward compatible with every CD and DVD format but currently it isn’t possible to playback Blu-ray movies so this will only be a blu-ray reader and burner currently. It can burn up to 50GB on a Blu-Ray disc.

Product Page

Weekly Picks

This week with announcements like Playstation 3 Home, I’ve been looking at the PS3 with a much better feeling about it. The thing is expensive and it doesn’t have too many games that are really worth buying but the next 6 months or so look pretty promising for this console. I really have liked many of the things that they have done with it and plan to do in the future. I do like the Xbox 360 but there is one problem with the device for me, I don’t like the controller, I’ve owned the PSOne the PS2 and hope to purchase the PS3 and like the controller and absolutly love the fact that it hasn’t really changed over the course of the 3 consoles except for the addition of the analog sticks.

Playstation 3


Along with Ice Age: The Meltdown and Component cables for the PS3, I decided not to put too many pictures in this post.

Lets face it the PS3 is starting to look good again and I think its starting to become a competitor in the console wars.