ZDNet’s Robin Harris takes a look at why Blu-ray is dead-on-arrival. Robin’s analysis, while starting with an inflammatory title, makes a lot of sense.
Robing starts off by citing the first few key elements that killed the format:
- 2-year battle with HD-DVD took the steam out of HD Disks in general, making consumers a bit hesitant about the “whole HD thing” in the first place.
- No cheap players; we may finally get $99 or $150 players this Christmas, but that’s like 3 years after when we needed them.
- High licensing costs; prohibitively high for indie producers and only affordible for big studios – both on the disk-pressing front as well as the software production front.
Those items alone are, in my mind, what sealed the deal and killed the format, but ancillary issues that popped up along the way help keep the format dead, and they are:
- Low-cost, high quality upscaling DVD players; this injected new life into the old format
- Streaming HD; this can be seen to varying degrees around the web, but most notable would probably be the NetFlix HD Streaming coming to the Xbox 360 with the Xbox Live Experience update shortly.
As soon as the Blu-ray Disk Association (BDA) raised the barrier to entry for both consumers and producers, they sealed the deal on the Blu-ray disk format every getting mass adoption; you can even see this most acutely with Steve Jobs’s comments about why Blu-ray support isn’t in Mac yet, referring to the whole situation as “a bag of hurt”. It’s so bad that you have one of the most powerful people in technology and a very powerful person in Hollywood opening denouncing the format? Ouch… it’s gotta be bad then.
Most are curious why the BDA made the barriers to entry so high and all fingers seem to point towards sheer greed. Most of the BDA’s decisions were made during the boom years when everyone had too much money and not enough things to spend it on, having people pay for the priviledge of watching HD seemed like a good way to bleed them dry, and now that everyone is cutting back, the idea of an ultra-elite format seems rediculous.
For those interested in the actual production and licensing costs, Digital Content Producer gives a detailed overview of the situation, but Robin’s original article sums it up nicely in a bulletted list near the end.
So nice job on that Sony… you managed to do it, again.
Thanks to Brendon O’Laughlin for sending this one in.