HD DVD gets early lead over Blu-ray in online discussions

Watertown (MA) - In a report that took a look at consumer feelings about the next-generation DVD formats, including blogs and online discussion boards, research company Cymphony says that HD DVD is the preferred choice at this time.

According to the report, which considered at approximately 18,000 online discussions in October and November, there are 46% more discussions about HD DVD that are "positive" than there are for Blu-ray.

The study, which is not exactly scientific and undoubtedly includes posts from biased sources and people unfamiliar with the advantages of both formats, does underline one point that most critics are rightfully questioning: It harks on Sony's past.

Sony has a history of starting media format wars that ultimately end in failure for the electronics giant. Betamax failed to capture significant market share in the period between VHS and DVD, MiniDisc and the Super Audio CD (SACD) got very little support from companies other than Sony. And UMD for PSP, with a defined limited audience, proved to be a less-than-worthwhile venture for movie studios. The fear among consumers is that history might repeat itself and they are concerned that Blu-ray will die off like previous ventures from Sony, according to the Cymphony report.

"While the media and manufacturers duke it out over their format choice, our research shows that consumers are turning away from Blu-ray because of Sony's reputation and heavy-handed launch strategy," said Cymphony in its report.

Other studies have indicated that it's too soon to call a winner in the next-gen DVD war, with most consumers not interested enough to choose a preference. With its introduction first, HD DVD has gained more support from movie studios than Blu-ray. Most titles available on the latter format now are from Sony Pictures and its various subsidiaries. However, with the inclusion of the PS3, a growing number of titles is being released on both formats.

Sony includes a Blu-ray Disc player in the PS3, which is the company's main strategy for achieving adoption of the format, but Cymphony's report showed several discussions from gamers who were disinclined to buy Blu-ray movies, even if they owned a PS3, because they were spiteful at the additional cost of the console because of the inclusion of the player.

Clearly, though, there is a lot more of the mentality of hating the corporate mega-giant towards Sony than there is for any one company for HD DVD. Because of this, any discussion about the HD DVD format immediately has a greater chance of being positive. Only outspoken critics of HD DVD would take the time to incite negative discussion about it, while people who have disliked Sony for years, which includes gamers, music enthusiasts, movie critics, and electronics fanatics, use Blu-ray as yet another avenue to bash the global company, so these data collected from online discussions should be taken with a grain of salt.

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