Hitch on Blu-Ray DVDToday we saw the first Blu-Ray discs hit store shelves. On a trip to Best Buy I saw a number of them for sale at prices that weren’t totally unreasonable. The boxes looked cool which is pretty much all anyone would be able to tell you right now. Poked around looking for the players… which were nowhere to be found. I don’t think there are any in Canada. Why are we selling unplayable discs again?

Sony and Pioneer, the major supporters of Blu-Ray technology, have decided to postpone releasing their players. Sony’s Blu-Ray player is currently slated to be sold on October 25th 2006 according to their BDP-S1 product page. I wouldn’t be surprised if that date was pushed back again by the way things are going for them. Pioneer has also delayed the release of their BDP-HD1 player until September according to this article though no date could be uncovered on Pioneer’s website by this reporter. Having the 2 major supporters delay their own players within weeks of the pending release is not the best way to support a format consumers are already apprehensive to get on board with.

Samsung’s BD-P1000 is now available and retails for a shocking 1000$ US. With Pioneer’s player currently slated to sell for an astronomical price of 1500$ US and coming out only a month before the already expensive 600$ PlayStation 3 not to mention 2 months after Samsung’s 1000$ player the logic in this move is not obvious. Sony’s player will be selling at 1000$ and will be released, assuming all products follow their current release schedule, at the same time as the 600$ Blu-Ray compatible PlayStation 3. Why would anyone with an ounce of sense invest in their bare bones player? If we are to believe that this player will be in any way superior to a game system by the same company wouldn’t that just give people another reason not to invest in what is already considered by most to be a far too expensive game system?

I guess these guys just won’t be happy unless Blu-Ray really does go the way of Beta as everyone seems to be worried about.

U571 on HD-DVDAfter all this is said and done HD-DVD players have been available for over 2 months now and are selling at half the price of the competition at a mere 500$. This can be considered cheap only in the same way that the X-Box 360 is considered cheap when it’s price is compared to the price of the PlayStation 3. Of course people aren’t buying either player. I know I for one would get on board with this kind of technology if there were only one available but I just can’t afford to take a risk at such a price point and I think most HDTV owners share this sentiment. I’m fearfull that with everyone waiting there will be no clear winner in the format wars and that both will die leaving us with sub par 480p DVDs. It already happened with laser disc and there wasn’t even any competition for them.

Is there something these guys aren’t telling us? Is this all an elaborate ploy to avoid selling players at a loss while making fat cash off disc sales? Don’t they realise this makes everyone uncertain about the future of this technology? That when they can’t even put 100% behind their product no right minded consumer is going to be able to?

Maybe they’re just not trying anymore or maybe Sony’s trying to make sure the PS3 isn’t their worst mistake of 2006. That will be a tough one to top.