EngadgetHD called my attention to this Blu-ray player feature matrix. I wouldn’t count on it being 100% accurate, since they have to compile the matrix from publicly available information, and vendors do release updates periodically. If you’re certain there is something incorrect in the matrix, contact them to let them know. And keep in mind these are current capabilities for existing players, or announced capabilities for players that have been announced but not yet released. For example, the PS3 is listed as a Profile 1.1 player, which it is today, while Sony has confirmed it will get a Profile 2.0/BD-Live update in the future.
EngadgetHD also made me aware of an article in Video Business about the shift in the retail world toward Blu-ray since Warner’s announcement. Trans World Entertainment, Newbury Comics, Video Buyers Group and Hastings Entertainment are beginning to emphasize Blu-ray over HD DVD.
Trans World operates over 800 F.Y.E. retail locations, and they will be giving more room to BD titles than HD DVD titles. Going forward they will be ordering ‘key’ new releases on HD DVD, while continuing to stock most of the released BD titles. Customers will be able to special order HD DVD titles that are not stocked.
Hastings Entertainment is continuing to stock HD DVD, but sees a shift to an emphasis on Blu-ray in their stores.
Newbury Comics plans to cut back on the ‘copy depth’ of HD DVD titles compared to BD. Before the Warner announcement they were ordering about half the copy depth on HD DVD as BD, and that will shift to 1/3 to as little as 1/4. And going forward they may only stock HD DVD at specific retail locations have have show strong HD media sales.
The Video Buyers Group supplies a large number of retail outlets. Due to the market confusion stemming from the format war roughly half of their members, 600-800 stores, have avoided offering either format. With Warner’s announcement and the perceived shift in the market to Blu-ray, VBG is preparing a new BD introduction package to help stores launch a new Blu-ray high-def section.
Major retailers, like Best Buy, are still selling both formats for the time being. But there is likely to be a natural shift toward Blu-ray simply due to more titles being available on the format as Warner, and other studios, stop releasing HD DVD. There will naturally be more titles on BD, which translates to more shelf space.
The last outlets to see a shift will likely be online, like Amazon.com. Since they don’t have the same shelf-space limitations as physical stores, and their unit costs for stocking the formats is much lower, they can continue to offer both formats the longest.
But there is a positive feedback loop forming now. With Warner, New Line, HBO, and other studios dropping HD DVD in the coming months, there will be a shift in available titles to BD. This will naturally create a further shift in media sales toward BD. As retailers shift shelf space to BD this will reinforce that shift in sales. And as the sales shift there is more incentive for retailers to increase their focus on BD, further reinforcing the sales shift. And as the shift increases and HD DVD sales suffer, there will be growing pressure on the studios to release their titles on BD.
As far as I’m concerned, it can’t happen soon enough. I want to see the industry backing one format, moving the technology forward.