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Blu-ray Gets Another Voice

10 Jul, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In the nascent world of high-definition packaged media, a smattering of Web sites (www.digitalbits.com and www.allthingshidef.com) and numerous online bloggers attempt to educate and sway a largely indifferent consumer.

Enter Hollywood in Hi-Def (www.hollywoodinhidef.com), which launches today, catering to the premise the format war is a foregone conclusion and the winner is Blu-ray Disc.

Backed by ardent Blu-ray studio supporters Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, among others, the consumer site's editorial gatekeeper is industry veteran Scott Hettrick, former editor in chief at Video Business.

Despite the bravado, Hettrick acknowledged it would take time for consumers to warm to high-def packaged media. He admitted that among 10 people on the street, eight or nine of them have probably never heard of Blu-ray or HD DVD.

“There can't be too many voices [talking about hi-def],” Hettrick said. “This is not something you can overkill.”

He said the biggest obstacle to widespread consumer adoption of next-generation optical media is education.

“To a large degree, people are not dissatisfied with their DVDs,” he said. “So you have to get the message out there why they need this next generation format. That's a process.”

To help build Blu minds, the site would feature third-party reviews of Blu-ray software and hardware underscoring the format's advances in picture, sound clarity and interactivity, according to Hettrick. It will also act as aggregator of news, interviews and information relating to the format.

“I will be giving my take and analysis on various issues as they come up,” he said. “And I'll be raising issues.”

Asked whether the format war was helping or hurting consumer adoption of hi-def packaged media, Hettrick said he doubted the format war was undermining consumers due to their relative lack of awareness about either format.

“If we still have a format war two years from now, it will be definitely hurting everyone,” Hettrick said. “Now, it is creating more talk and buzz because there is this battle, which makes for good media, panel discussions and conferences. In that way it does raise the profile of the overall market.”

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