CES 2007: HD DVD slams Blu-ray, talks innovation

Posted by Mark Raby

Las Vegas (NV) - Strategically scheduled right after the Sony press conference, which for all intents and purposes was the main Blu-ray event at CES 2007, the HD DVD conference wrapped up a long day of major press events. Talk about the next-generation HD DVD software and hardware, along with carefully worded attacks against Blu-ray, comprised the hour-long event.

The party starred everyone's favorite distant presidential relative turned C-list celebrity, Billy Bush, as the official moderator of the conference. When the Access Hollywood correspondent wasn't doing the talking, executives from HD DVD and its partners were mentioning the success that the format has had so far. We were told that approximately two out of every three Americans now have heard of HD DVD. And for those who own a player, sales are averaging 28 movies per player per year, which is in the same ballpark as when DVD was just getting off the ground.

Billy Bush

HD DVD expects to sell at least 1.8 million players this year, add over 300 titles to its library, and have a recorded profit of over $600 million in 2007, because of increased name recognition and consumer awareness about the features offered on the format. This is where the Blu-ray bashing began.

HD DVD criticized Blu-ray for not being standard enough. While Blu-ray puts the layout and delivery of special features completely up to the content provider, HD DVD has tools and functionality that spreads over every movie and every player.

For this year, HD DVD plans to introduce the next generation of software titles and additional features. For example, they demoed a next-gen HD DVD prototype which opens up online networking possibilities, including allowing users to go online with their player and download movie trailers, or even to send and download clips extracted from an HD DVD to any other person with an HD DVD player.

With more than 300 titles projected for this year alone, there are a lot of movies coming soon for the format, including Happy Feet, most of the Harry Potter movies, the Matrix trilogy, and a digitally remastered set of the original Star Trek series. It's all part of HD DVD's hope to survive, to live long and prosper.