Upcoming Industry Conferences
Streaming Media West [19-20 November 2019]
Live Streaming Summit [19 November 2019]
Past Conferences
Streaming Media East 2019 [7-8 May 2019]
Live Streaming Summit [7-8 May 2019]
Content Delivery Summit [6 May 2019]
Streaming Forum [26 February 2019]

And Then There Were Three: RIP HD DVD
Toshiba’s decision to end HD-DVD production—leaving Blu-ray the clear leader and only the scarcely used EVD and VMD as the other HD alternatives—widens the window of opportunity for streaming media entertainment delivery, if only just a bit.
Mon., Feb. 18, by Tim Siglin

EVD, according to one report from China, is "part of state-backed efforts to create standards for mobile phones and other products and reduce dependence on foreign know-how and possibly reap licensing fees if they are adopted abroad." The report went on to say that Chinese companies produce almost 80% of the world's DVD players but manufacturers complain that fees paid to foreign owners of technology cut into profits in a highly competitive industry.

The other format, shown for the first time at CeBit 2006 in Hannover two years ago, is the Indian-backed Versatile Media Disc (VMD) that can play back CD and DVD (DVD 5 & DVD 9); Blu-ray cannot play back existing DVDs and CDs that require a red laser. The VMD devices, priced at a respectable $199, are expected to sell at a rate of about 500,000 this year but only with non-major-studio content, hence the VMD focus on Bollywood and other non-U.S. film studios.

Second, and this is only for a brief window in time, all of the high-definition DVD players are painfully slow on start up. At a recent dinner with a few VCs who were comparing notes on Blu-ray and HD DVD players, both agreed that hitting the power-on button and booting up the high-definition DVD players left them increasingly frustrated. When I pointed out that this had been the case with early standard-definition DVD players, they all countered with the fact that they’d grown accustomed to not having to wait for a minute to begin to see the menus, and then several more minutes of going through menus until they reached the movie.

Opportunities for Streaming
Netflix, Apple’s "2.0" version of Apple TV, and several others are already offering streaming and progressive downloads of high-definition movies in the exact same video formats as HD DVD and Blu-ray (EVD dropped On2 support and went with MPEG-2 exclusively).

Besting the start-up time of a high-definition DVD player, and getting to the "point of play" in an on-demand HD movie in 30 seconds or less may be a selling point with consumers who want to keep their standard-definition players to play SD DVDs but may find the cost of an Apple TV or other box as a much less expensive and less frustrating alternative to purchasing a high-definition DVD player.

In the end, VC-1 and H.264 are now firmly established in the consumer market as the video formats of choice to be delivered on shiny silver discs. And, with the advent of the Flash Server 3 line, among other online delivery mechanisms, H.264 continues to make inroads into HD delivery via the web. The window of opportunity for streaming media entertainment delivery has widened, just a bit, and we’ll watch to see how CDNs, content owners and device manufacturers take advantage of today’s news.