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HD DVD Camp Touts Advanced Features, Low Cost

Berlin — Not to be outdone by the Blu-ray Disc Association, the HD DVD Promotions Group held its own press conference at IFA, today, to laud the HD DVD format.

HD DVD is strong in Europe, representing 75 percent of all studio HD releases, said Ken Graffeo, HD DVD Promotions Group co-chair and Universal Studios strategic marketing executive VP. In addition, in stand-alone players, the format has a 70 percent share and a 4-to-1 attach rate of movies to hardware sales, seven times that of Blu-ray, Graffeo said.

“The HD format is about stand-alone players, not game systems. We don’t think gamers will buy movies,” Graffeo said.

HD DVD will eventually triumph over its rival, Graffeo said, because there was no risk of obsolescence for consumers when purchasing HD DVD players and because the interactive capabilities inherent in HD DVDs are mandatory for all players. “Many Blu-ray owners only get advanced features if they upgrade their players.”

New titles, like the original “Star Trek” series, will also bolster the format, Graffeo said. “Shatner never looked so good.”

The lower cost of HD DVD duplication has made it easer for independent film producers to offer their titles in the high-definition format, Gaffeo said. “It’s price, not the format battle, that is keeping HD back,” he asserted.

The technology behind the format’s interactive features, and the fact that all HD DVD players on the market must support all of the format’s advanced features, are a key value proposition, said Dr. Jordi Ribas, HD DVD general manager, Microsoft. “There is a big difference between BD Java and HDI, especially as the features get more complicated,” he said.

Toshiba, which held its press conference in conjunction with the HD DVD Promotions Group, said that it would broaden the use of HD DVD drives and incorporate them into lower-cost notebooks to ensure the format goes mainstream.