One of the biggest objections that I, and many other have with these new High Definition formats (Blu-Ray and HD-DVD) is that fact that we don’t want to get caught in the middle of yet another format war. With many studios already announcing that their movies will only be released in either one format or the other, why would I want to invest $800 in a player that some of my favorite movie won’t even be available in? Or even worse… what if I end up investing $3000 in a new Blu-Ray player and a bunch of Blu-Ray movies… only to find that a year later HD-DVD wins the format war and Blu-Ray goes under (remember Beta anyone?)
One of the obvious possible solutions (if you can call it that) are universal machines that would play BOTH formats. Sounds good right? Well, both Samsung and LG have both announced that they’re are developing such machines… machines that will play both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Let the world celebrate! But wait a second, before you plan that parade there are 2 really important things to keep in mind:
#1) The price. When the first machines came out that had the abilities to play both VHS and DVDs, the price was MORE than what it would have cost you to just buy both of them. Eventually they started to come down… but even today it would be cheaper for you to buy a VHS and a DVD player than it would to buy one of those cross platform machine. So you want a machine that will play both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray? Get ready for a price tag around the $1300+ mark. No thanks.
#2) Now this is the biggest thing. Not too long ago on TWIT (the biggest technology podcast out there) they were talking about the fact that LG had announced they were developing a universal machine to play both formats… but they also had one of the top top dogs from Blu-Ray on who said that they have no intentions of licensing any manufacturer to make a duo machine. Basically he said that they would not allow their player format to be in a machine that played both formats. Period.
So where does that leave things? Samsung and LG are still moving ahead with developing these new machines… but I haven’t heard or read anything about the licensing issue being cleared up yet. One of the following must be going on:
a) LG and Samsung have been told the issues will be resolved by the time their new machines are ready near the end of the year, so they can go ahead and develop them.
b) LG and Samsung are just HOPING the issues will be resolved by the time the machines are ready.
c) LG and Samsung could care less about the licensing and plan to develop the machines and fight it in court when the machines are ready
d) LG and Samsung are hoping that by the time their machines are ready, that both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD won’t want to bother fighting it
Personally, I say to hell with all of them! These big rich companies are all acting like stupid little children. They should have had all these issues figured out a LONG TIME AGO before it came to this. There should have been 1 single universal format. But instead they decided to fight it out… and the only people who will pay the price… is us… the consumers. Screw them and their new HD formats. I’m not giving them any of my money until they figure this crap out.