Interview: Samsung Says There's Life After Hollywood for HD DVD

Illustration for article titled Interview: Samsung Says There's Life After Hollywood for HD DVD

Click to viewWe scored a sitdown with DongSoo Jun, Executive VP and General Manager of Samsung's Digital AV Division. Translation: He's Samsung's main man on Blu-ray and HD DVD. We asked him the big question: "Is HD DVD dead ?" His answer might surprise you.


On the Hollywood front, he believes that the Warner announcement was a tipping point. In short, Blu-ray will win. But! HD DVD doesn't have to slink into a grave next to Betamax yet. It will become the chosen format for "private" (that is, personal) content because the format—ahem, Toshiba and Microsoft—has a stronghold in the PC drive market. He expects Toshiba to really concentrate on the PC HD DVD market since it's deader than disco if it loses there.

The format war ends. The "divide" begins. And it'll be even bigger, in a sense.

Upswing: Samsung's going to be keep pumping out dual-format players, so that people can easily watch the personal stuff and the Hollywood stuff on the same deck. "Most people...don't care about what format is most popular," says Jun.

He also thinks:

&bull: $299 is the magic price for Blu-ray players—watch around June/July

• 1,000 titles is the magic content number (Blu-ray is around 500 now)

• Digital distribution will kill standard-def physical media, not HD—people delete recorded SD content; they want to keep "high quality" content through Blu-ray





That's the point. If the consumer could buy a movie he wants, take it back home, pop it in his player, and it plays without a hitch, the consumer doesn't give a crap if that disc was Blu-ray or HD-DVD.

So, if Combo/hybrid players become the norm, this "war" becomes moot, just as the recent "war" between DVD-R/+R/-RAM became moot when your average $29 burner from Newegg became able to handle all of them.

Personally, I'm happy that Samsung will continue to pump out hybrid players, and although my ass is covered for a while (have an HD-DVD player, buying a PS3 any day now), I won't be losing any sleep over this "loss" of the HD-DVD so long as I know I could buy a hybrid player 3 years from now for $150 that will play my 10+ HD-DVD discs.