I understand that some of you may think we’ve been sounding like broken records over the past weeks, as we lamented the way the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray high definition video formats were launched. While there has been some noticeable improvement on the side of HD-DVD, Blu-Ray is still hopelessly struggling and lost in the market it seems with nothing to show for and little incentive for people to shell out the steep $1000 ticket price.
We have not been the only ones complaining, though, as during this week’s DisplaySearch HDTV conference a number of representatives of noted retailers took the stage to voice their dissatisfaction with the launch of the high definition formats. Univocally they feel that both formats were rushed to market without forethought or respect for the customer. As a result retailers now have to pick up the ball trying to carefully navigate customers around the technical issues and problems of these formats to make sure they will not immediately lose interest.
Some retailers say the can’t even use Blu-Ray as an in-store promotion because the titles that were released don’t look significantly better than DVD while others indicate that the title selection is simply too poor to attract customers.
Of course, many of these issues are temporary and will go away. The Toshiba HD-DVD player for example has shed most of its initial flaws in a series of rapid firmware upgrades and can now be considered as stable and reliable a player as most DVD players in the market. Other issues, such as the low quality of Blu-Ray titles will also go away once studios switch to using the proper encoding technologies for their video and audio encoding. Nonetheless, it is hard to argue away that all of these flaws were unnecessary and could have been avoided with better planning and a bit of common sense forethought. It may have made quite a difference in the first wave of adoption of both, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray format. But then again, there was no hardware on shelves that could have been sold anyway, which is of course, another one of the many problems infesting the new high definition formats.