Next month Toshiba roll out a low cost HD DVD up scaler that many say is as good as a more expensive Blu ray payer when it comes to quality. But will this be the last of the HD players bedore internet downloads kick in?
In October Toshiba Australia will roll out a brand new DVD player that up scales a normal DVD to HD quality and when compared to a Blu ray offering there is very little difference except for the price. The Sony Blu ray player is $699 and the new Toshiba DVD device $199.
It was only 8 months ago that Toshiba quit the HD DVD Vs Blu ray battle losing millions along the way now industry analysts are raising serious questions about the future for Blu ray with Andy Griffiths, a director of consumer electronics at Samsung, the second-biggest seller of Blu-ray players, claiming that Blu will be dead in five years.
In other moves several Hollywood studios have teamed up with consumer electronics manufacturer’s to deliver Full HD movies and other video over the Internet in competition to Blu ray discs which need a player.
On Sept. 12 several Companies including Intel and Hewlett-Packard announced they would collaborate with Hollywood movie producers on open standards designed to make it easier for consumers to download and view copyrighted content on all manner of devices. “It’s all about consumer freedom and consumer choice,” says Mitch Singer, president of the consortium, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem.
In a comment piece in BusinessWeek last week Cliff Edwards wrote “Getting movies off the Net involves plenty of hassles today. Downloads can take forever, selections are limited, and piracy-protection schemes make it tough to move a movie you get on a PC to a TV”.
At the press conference for the new the consortium executives said that intends to work out these issues as quickly as possible
“The traditional content owners had an epiphany and realized they could no longer afford to dillydally in moving their businesses into the Internet Age,” says Carmi Levy, senior vice-president at consultant AR Communications.
In a report issues in the USA and Europe GFK said that Blu-ray has a bright short-term future. They predicted that sales of Blu-ray hardware and discs will quadruple this year, to US$1.5 billion and hit US $8 billion in 2010.
Sony one of the key backers of Blu ray along with Panasonic claim that Blu-ray will be the best choice for high-definition content “for the foreseeable future,” says Chris Fawcett, a Sony Electronics vice-president.
According to Mark Whittard the Managing Director of Toshiba Australia the quality difference between the new Toshiba DVD player and a Blu ray player is “negligible. Most people will not pick the difference with the current HD TV’s in the market” he said.
The Toshiba’s XD-E500’s ability to upconvert DVD to 1080p resolution and the inclusion of special image-enhancement settings will deliver significant enhancement to standard discs” Whittard added.
Those who have seen the new device say that A “sharp” setting makes edges crisper; the “colour” effect boosts blues and greens in an effort to provide an HDTV-like pop; and the contrast mode works to squeeze more detail out of dark scenes”.
He claims that the $199 price tag for the new Toshiba up scaler will appeal to a lot of people
“I believe that it will get increasingly difficult to persuade people to buy Blu-ray players once we have launched our new offering especially as there is a big price difference between devices”.