January 09, 2008

Ten predictions for 2008

A little late, but here are some quick predictions for what we can expect on the HD front from Virgin Media this year:
  1. Channel 4 HD finally makes an appearance on cable Probably in the spring. Forums instantly flooded by the same people who had complained about it not turning up at launch in December, now complaining about the lack of genuine HD on the channel
  2. ITV HD not on Virgin Media at launch I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect that it will be a late show on cable, especially if Sky retains its stake in ITV. Again, forums flooded with complaints about the lack of HD content on the new HD channel, many realising that ITV actually broadcasts mainly rubbish these days
  3. VOD HD grows in fits and spurts 4OD HD content sneaks out but at 99p a pop for the US imports. As the Hollywood writers' strike hits hard, there's very little new available
  4. BBC HD expands, but "events" take precedent over regular programming Kicks off as a genuine channel only with the launch of FreeSat.Throughout the summer the channel is dominated by Wimbledon, Glastonbury, the Proms, the Olympics, leaving little time for other programming. Things pick up in the autumn, but it's a long wait
  5. HD remains a niche product I think this will be true for both VM and Sky customers. The V+'s upscaling of SD is so good that for those without a TV 40" or bigger there'll be no great demand. Sky's pricing will drop but it will still prove prohibitive to the average viewer. HD versions of FX and a few more movie channels appear on the platform
  6. Sky HD will be impacted by FreeSat I don't think it will hit Virgin as hard as it will Sky. People who want HD, have a dish but don't fancy the Sky charges will opt for the Beeb-promoted "free" alternative for the main channels in HD (check out the Sky HD forums - lots of posts from people unhappy with the reliability of the Sky boxes and HD programming)
  7. Sky One and the basics return Wishful thinking? Not really, but it matters to many and the impasse will end because ...
  8. OFCOM report hits Sky...and Virgin Neither side happy with the findings from OFCOM into the pay TV market. Nothing of any real substance comes out but it does broker the return of the Sky basics to cable...but not in HD
  9. Tiscali TV and BT Vision struggle IP TV fails to make the grade; the former will be sold at a knock down price, the latter will remain a minor player
  10. Blu-Ray will become the new DVD HD standard But will still remain a niche product for the home consumer. Players will start to sell in larger numbers, but Recorders will be prohibitively priced. HD-DVD will die a fairly quick death without the support of the film studios

3 comments:

Carol Steele said...

I don't agree that HD-DVD will die out this year. Too many giant corporations (Microsoft et al) have too much invested in it to allow this to happen - plus there are still quite a few of the major studios still committed to supplying in the HD-DVD format.

Personally I would not be surprised to see Warner's do a U-turn at the back end of this year or early on in 2009. The reason I think this might happen is that I don't expect many folk who have bought into HD-DVD rushing out to buy Bluray players - they are much more expensive and they have not finalised on a standard yet. I can see that the price of HD-DVD players dropping to the £100 mark and thus become more affordable to ordinary (i.e. non geeks) people. Having just purchased an HD Ready TV, they are not likely to splash out another £300-£400 on a Bluray player, but might well consider a £100 HD-DVD player ...... and Warner's will not want to forsake a growing userbase of HD-DVD users.

Nialli said...

Hi Carol
Happy New Year! I actually work for TimeWarner and the internal stuff I've seen on this has been pretty definite. Supporting both formats was proving hugely expensive, they tried the dual format discs but that never worked, and with DVD HD still a niche they decided that Blu-Ray was the way. I honestly thought HD-DVD was going to win, but as has frequently been the case, I think I was wrong. As I may well be again..!

demented said...

LOL@ number 4. Sounds like BBC2 about ten years ago! Please, no bowls in HD! So true. As for some of the others like point number 1 I'd dearly love C4 HD in March and for people to moan about it. I'd have thought point 6 will be the point of the year.

As for HD-DVD vs Blu-ray I can't see HD-DVD dying absolutely or Blu-ray taking off absolutely. It's not just the players, it is the content. You go into shops (all right so they don't stock anywhere near all titles) and think hmmm there are about 4 HD-DVDs I want and there's a bit more on Blu-ray and you get a list of about 6 titles. Shall I buy a blu-ray player for just 6 titles. No way. Look out for future titles, mostly new ones released on DVD and BD/HD-DVD. Until some killer films like LOTR and Star Wars come out I can't see blu-ray selling vast numbers apart from one offs.