Blu-ray Vs. HD DVD Battle Turns Into Your Email "War"

Seems I struck a nerve with yesterday's post on the format warinvolving next generation DVD's. I came into the office today, welcomed by a flood of nasty e-mails challenging the blog, the premise, the spelling (sheeesh, "their" vs. "there" -- it's been corrected!)

Not since negative comments about Apple have I been inundated by such a response. But there's such a "bite" to the tone that some of these e-mails need a response.

But let's get to the meat of this discussion because you brought up some good points; but others, umm, not so much. First things first: yes, I should've included that Time Warner is not exclusively an HD DVD partner; that the company swings both ways. That was unfortunate. I give you that one. Concession noted.

As for the rest, here we go: "Konbei" writes that I'm mistaken that Kmart will exclusively sell HD DVDs, saying they "came out today and said they are not exclusive." I spoke with the company this morning for clarification: The company has decided to push HD DVD players this holiday shopping season, but will continue to sell Sony's PS3 with a Blu-ray player inside. As far as offering a standalone Blu-ray player on Kmart store shelves? Nope. At least not yet. If/when prices for Blu-ray come down Kmart may offer a standalone unit. But Kmart, the company tells me, is looking for value for its customers and right now, that means HD DVD.

"Glenn" takes issue with the "Transformers" sales figures that come courtesy of Paramount. Home Media Magazine disputes the numbers as does Deadline Hollywood. Paramount stands by the numbers, though the pro-Blu-ray blogs are all over this "controversy."

David Hixon wrote a very long note, going point by point, echoing what others wrote, with this suggestion: "The fact is, if you really did your homework, you'd see that the format war is far from over, but all the professionals agree that Blu-ray is in the lead with a lot of momentum and that Toshiba is getting desperate to keep up." "All" the professionals? I think not. Jury's still out.

John Gersic writes with confusion over my statement that HD DVD is outselling Blu-ray formatted media. I didn't write that. I wrote that that HD DVD is outselling Blu-ray on laptops. And the figures I've seen show that by a 7 to 1 margin.

Martin Liebman wrote in, TWICE, asking how I got my job, referring to "HD-DVD" instead of a hyphen-less HD DVD. Come on! Is that the best you got?

Steven Burke wrote an entire essay, complete with tables and graphics. He points out that Warner is re-evaluating its "neutral stance" toward both formats, leaning toward Blu-ray now. And that Samsung is leaning that way, too. Good info. We'll see.

Shawn Fitzgerald from Melrose, Massachusetts, accuses me of being a mouthpiece for NBC/Universal, our parent, by posting "the most blatant pieces of propaganda this side of a Fox News report on the Bush administration." Ugh. There are facts on both sides of this issue. I think it's an intriguing format war, with great arguments from both camps. I focused on HD DVD momentum because that seems to be where the news is.

Kody Belshe chastised me for being "biased" and "inaccurate," with the most "uniformed articles...I've read in the past 12 months."

James Oliphant, who refers to HD-DVD with the hyphen, calls the Wal-Martprice cut a sign of just how "desperate" Toshiba is dump stock of their older, lower-quality HD-DVD players that "will do nothing to decide the format war."

Brian Bell calls the Wal-Mart news a "fire sale!" Dragan Petrovic says, "This article is a disgrace."

But keep these last responses in mind. We offered a poll on the blog asking which format you'd buy. Hardly scientific, but it's pretty even right now with 7,500 responses. Pete Sullivan, Robert Barbier, "Mark" and "Jhomen" alerted me to the forum thread on the Blu-ray site showing how Blu-ray fans can cheat the poll results and skew the news toward Blu-ray.

And this, from Joel Wannebo: "I was hoping Sony had learned something from Beta vs. VHS days. As we've heard before: Learn from history, or you're doomed to repeat it. Blu-ray may be technically better, but so was Beta."

Thanks all for your feedback, nasty though some of it was. This was only a taste of the nearly 100 emails I received. I'll try to touch on more of it in upcoming posts since I don't think this discourse is going away any time soon. But that's what makes a market! And it's a reason why this is not called a "Format Debate," or "Format Discussion." This is indeed a Format War.

Questions? Comments?