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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing Manager at HealthTrust. Social media junkie, strategist, and app idea guy. Hockey fan, photographer, and father to 2 awesome boys.

(Opinions expressed here are not those of my employer. Heck, they might not even be mine.)
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

What's Your Number?

People seem a bit confused about new Predator Brandon Bochenski…or at least what number he will wear while on the Preds roster.

The Predators website says he will wear #12 (the number he wore in Anaheim), however it also still lists Scott Nichol as continuing to wear #12, and Bochenski has been in the league a shorter time than Nichol, so I don’t see him bumping Scooter of his number. Yahoo sports page lists him as wearing #13, which seems logical given his previous wearing #12…but I seriously doubt a hockey player would wear #13. (by the way, Sports Illustrated's site still says he's on the Duck's roster)

The most authoritative evidence we have is probably from the pictures my wife took at the open practice this afternoon. Practice jersey's don't have numbers on them...but helmets do. Zoom in close and you can see that he's got #24 on the back of his helmet (picture at right). Yup, Scott Walker's old number. I bet there will be more than a few fans not thrilled at that prospect, though he did get a warm welcome at practice today. Christy said he seemed genuinely surprised when several fans asked for his autograph as he was headed to the locker room after practice. Guess they don't do that to non-superstars in Anaheim.

Let's just hope he can help out the team that needs...something.

We'll find out Sat night as the Preds take on Dallas (will be in HD on Fox Sports South).

(For the record: the other new Pred, Jan Hlavich, is wearing Scott Hartnell's old #17. While Scott was well liked while here, i think it is safe to say that he was not as universally loved and appreciated the same way Scott Walker was/is.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

headset for the truly cool

This is awesome.

A Bluetooth headset for your phone...that also functions as a USB MicroSD card reader. Just pop in any MicroSD card and unsnap the ear-piece off the headset...and plug it in to a USB port. Wow.

And it's just $80, which isn't much more than your standard higher-end Motorola headsets these days. And it looks really cool. Video here.

I wish i didn't have a laundry list of other stuff on my gimme list, and a shortage of cash for it already.

ya think?

Headline on CNN.com says "Fed chief's new fear: Inflation".

Ya think? Really? I wonder why inflation would be a concern? Would it maybe be because you lowered interest rates 1.25% in 8 days?

What blows me away too is how many people think this means their mortgage rates are dropping automatically, and proportionally. Guess what - they ain't. Not for a good long while at least. Mortgage rates are usually based on the bond market, which is completely separate from the fed rate (the fed rate is just the rate that the government and banks charge each other for overnight loans, etc). Now since the bond market usually goes up when the stock market goes down...yes, home mortgage rates will probably dip a bit. But there isn't a direct tie between them.

What blows me away about Bernanke though... He wants to lower interest rates AGAIN to try to stimulate the economy, but he's a little concerned about inflation if he does. Does this guy think he's working in a high school economics class project? It takes time for fed rate adjustments to turn into more cash in the economy. Even when you drop the floor out of the rate. And yes, dropping the interest rate that much in that short a time will give likely give us the wonderful combination of rapid onset inflation before we even see the economy actually get to recover.

I miss Alan Greenspan. :-(

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Preds (fairly) quiet on trade deadline day

Well, the Predators have be laying low (so far) on trade deadline day.

UPDATE: We just traded for Jan Hlavac (pronounced hull-A-vich)(formerly of the Lightning, Rangers, Hurricanes, Canucks, and Flyers). Only had to give up a 7th round pick to do it too. Not too bad. He comes on the super-cheap (he was on a one-year $700k deal and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Don't know much about him...but he is certainly not a star player. Will probably be able to spell Gelinas well enough. He's 31 years old and has obviously been around the block, though it doesn't look like he's ever been a great producer and only has 5 games of playoff experience with Vancouver. His best year was his second in the league in 2000-2001 when he racked up 28 goals and 36 assist in 79 games with the Rangers. It was quickly down hill after that though as his performance has been a consistent 20-something points per year in and average of 60-70 games annually. More concerning is his plus/minus (-9, -8, -10 for the last three years). So...we'll see...

UPDATE 2: and now we've picked up Brandon Bochenski from the Ducks. Barely worth commenting on here. He's played in a whopping 32 games this year, and just 113 games in his 3 year career. High point for this guy was last year's 13 goals, 11 assists in 41 games. Meh. Good news is that we only gave up "future considerations" which i'm hoping is the proverbial "bag of pucks and a 12th round pick in 2010" :-) Interestingly, he is a restricted free agent (as opposed to the typical un-restricted free agent "rental players") at the end his whopping one-year $600k contract this year, so we could conceivably re-sign him if he turns out to be some sort of wonder.

Now back to my previous comments.


I have to say i'm pretty disappointed that we missed out on Prospal, especially given how cheap he went for...but i'm not at all regretting Poile not going for the high-priced guys like Hossa, Richards, Campbell, or even Federov, Ruutu, Simon and others.

We "need" to pickup another forward (update: see above), but given what teams are giving up, and given how insanely beefed up Dallas, San Jose, Colorado, and even Anaheim and Pittsburgh are looking...i'm content to just see what we can do with what we have, draft well next year, and grab a few free agents in the off season (update: which we basically did).

The Preds are still a team on a budget (though thankfully not Leipold's) and Poile knows he's going to be able to put a better team together with 'value' veterans, prospects, and role-players. As has been discussed before, Trotz does better with those types than the superstars anyway.

So... for all you Predator fans looking for something entertaining on Trade Deadline Day...i leave you with Jordin Tootoo, doing his thing for Jack FM (yet more marketing efforts from new ownership that we never saw from Leipold)

GrandCentral

I just signed up for the latest cool tech to come into an open "Beta" from Google: GrandCentral. Really cool concept, pretty solid execution. Can't wait to see what it turns into eventually (or how they monetize it in the future).

The basic concept is this: Signup. Get a new phone number. Setup all your real phone numbers to tie to your account. Now, when someone calls your GrandCentral number, it actually rings any of your numbers.

For instance... if you were to call 615-823-1734, it would ring my work number, cell number, and home number simultaneously. I would then have the choice of answering, forcing the call to voicemail, or screening it...you'd start leaving a voicemail and i could "pick up" if i wanted to. I would be able to access your voicemails from any phone, or from the web. I can also set rules to direct different callers to different numbers at different times of day, and even have custom voicemail greetings and rings for different people.

The fabulous thing about this, is the people calling my number will never see my real phone number. I can even call into my GrandCentral number and then dial out to someone - the GrandCentral number would show up on caller ID, not my real number.

And it's all free...for now anyway. I could easily see a time when in between my witty custom ring sounds callers would have to hear ads, or something similar.

But for now, this is pretty sweet.
It is a semi-open beta, and i have 7 more invites i can send to people (leave a comment if you want one), or you can just hit their site and try to sign-up yourself.

And gimme a ring if you want: 615-823-1734 :-)

Friday, February 22, 2008

milestones

Wow. That went fast. 400 posts in 499 days.

It took me just over 3 months to get to 100 posts (from 10/11/2006 - 1/16/2007). I tried really hard to at least average a post a day for a long while there, and got pretty darn close. It tapered off after a while though, and it took 6 months to get to post #200, thought i didn't even realize it at the time. Still not a bad post rate i guess. Now i just realized a few days ago i was coming up on 400. We're here...yay!

What's kinda funny, is that i also just crossed my 5,000th picture on Flickr, which happened to be of Dan Ellis making a save against the Coyotes.

So, in celebration of both milestones, instead of repeating the strongbad-esque repetition of the word "blog", or better yet, a Stargate-style parody of myself, i'm going to make this a good-old fashioned best-of blog. That's right. Like bad sit-coms of the 80's and 90's, you're getting a clip show!

I think i'll make this more of a superlative to start with. For Flickr that's easy - this whole photo set is nothing but my "most interesting" pictures (a formula Flickr uses based on views, comments, favorites, and other factors). My most "interesting" picture according to the Flickr masses is by far my miniature version of the Preds playoff game against the Sharks last year (at right). Although my single most viewed photo is, for some bazaar reason, a picture of a jack-o-lantern i did with my co-workers two halloweens ago. It's cool, but i have no idea what drives the views on this thing. I don't even thing that's the best picture of it. The most favorited picture is one that i personally love - a miniature of the commuter rail train in downtown Nashville, and the most commented is of a funny church sign in our neighborhood.

As for my most "interesting posts", that's a little harder to nail down. The most comments i've ever had on a single post is 8, and that's happened several times (Bad news for Preds, name change, and bad movies. As for traffic driving posts... The first major traffic driving post i had was, well, post #100, oddly enough. I went from having 10-15 unique visitors a day to 123 that day. The next post is where i really hit it big - the predators what?!?! was one of the first post on the entire interwebs to break the story that the Predators were being sold to Jim Balsillie. It was posted late on the 23rd and drove 523 unique visitors within 48 hours. Other posts have driven good traffic too, including other updates on the Preds sale and a post about the new "megatron" screen in the Sommet Center.

The posts that by far has the best continual traffic draw are this one because of the images of vintage hockey masks shows up in Google Image Search a lot, and this one because AOL's Fanhouse linked to it (and used my picture).

I also just have to point out some of my personal favorite posts... like the one where i predicted (using evidence that only i had) that Peter Forsberg would be staying in Nashville for the 07-08 season (which of course, didn't happen - i don't mind), and my post about couldn't/could care less.

And the torture will last no longer... i'll wrap up with some of my favorite Flickr pictures...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

LAN Party!!!!

It's that time of year again: My good friend Matt and I are celebrating another trip around the sun (my birthday is March 7th, his is March 1st). So, we're going shoot each other. :-)

Yes, we are throwing another LAN party!

dark picture from last year's party

This year we're going to try to make things a little more coordinated. For the sake of simplicity, we're going to base the day's gaming around the Valve Orange Box and games distributed through Steam. Specifically, mods for Half-Life 2, but we'll probably throw some Team Fortress 2 in there, and may break out Quake 3 Team Arena, Battlestations: Midway, or any of the other free demo games on Steam.

Depending on who is there, we may end up playing some Tribes 2 (now free online), or some RTS or other (Battle for Middle Earth?) and we may even devolve into playing some console games (like 8-player NHL 08 on my shiny new PS3). But we'll mostly stick to stuff on Steam.

The party will be March 8th at my place in East Nashville, from 1:00pm to... late (probably around 10:00pm or 11:00pm...)

Here's the fun part - you're all invited!

What you have to bring:
* Your own PC (with monitor, keyboard, mouse, and headphones!)
* A running copy of Steam and Half-Life 2 installed - before you arrive if possible
(the full Orange Box package is a plus, but not needed)
* $5 for pizza
We'll provide snacks and drinks, as well as seating, tables, power, and network connections.

If you are interested in attending, then let me know by either commenting on this post or direct message me on twitter (just post to Twitter "d pwnicholson: i want to come to your cool LAN party") and i will get you directions. If you are some really random person i've never heard of before, i may want to at least...ya know...talk to you first. But all my rad blogger buddies are certainly invited, male and female alike (of course, be warned: to have fun at this party there is something of a requirement to be a gaming geek at some level).

If you can only come to part of the party, that's certainly fine. Several people are already planning on being there for "only" 4-5 hours. It's cool.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's over

UPDATE: Toshiba did not make the surrender announcement as expected. However, one of the manufacturers of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies has switched to Blu-Ray only production given the shrinking demand for HD-DVD media. Toshiba is holding on, but the end is inevitable. Just a matter of when.

-----------------------------

Wow. That didn't take long.

The official truce documents haven't been signed yet, but it looks like the Blu-Ray doesn't just have momentum - the battle is over. HD-DVD will be no more very shortly.

After all the major studios switched to (save Universal and Paramount) and Netflix, Blockbuster, Best Buy, and Walmart all went Blu-Ray exclusive...it only took a day or so for Toshiba, the main manufacturer of all things HD-DVD to pull the plug. That pretty much seals the deal. If they stop making HD-DVDs, that just leaves one manufacturer (Hitachi - who made only about a third of the HD-DVD hardware to begin with).

Those wanting to track the state of the battle near the end, check this "state of the division" that lists the basic tech differences, which studios support which format, manufacturers, and other pertinent information that led to the downfall of HD-DVD.

So, everyone go grab your PS3's and stand-alone players. The war is over!

Friday, February 15, 2008

more bad news for HD-DVD

When Wal-Mart drops you, you are pretty much done.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bad news for the Predators' future

Unfortunately, things aren't looking great for the Preds attendance numbers.

I can honestly say i'm surprised at the turnout. I know the economy has been on a bit of a slow-down, but i really thought that we would average better attendance, especially after the rally this summer.

Through 28 games, the Preds have averaged 12,756 in paid attendance. The Detroit game last Tues isn't included in that, and it was close to a sell-out, but didn't quite hit from what i heard. The last sell-out we did have, was in fact the Phoenix game which had 15,160 in paid attendance (meaning 1,953 tickets were comped).

If my numbers are right (and this is something better suited to Forechecker), the Preds need to average 13,830 for the remaining games in order to hit the league minimum 13,125 needed to receive the desperately needed revenue sharing. That is slightly more than what we've averaged over the four games between Jan 31st-Feb 7th (13,467) that included the Phoenix sell-out, but it is possible.

In order to reach the 14,000 required to keep the force the Predators to stay in town under the current (old) lease with the city, the team would have to average 16,820 in paid attendance, which let's face it, at this point is not going to happen.

Maybe my math is wrong.
Maybe some miracle will happen.

This is particularly disappointing for me because the new ownership is really doing a great job starting to do the things that i think it will take to get the public really interested in games again. They are getting celebrities to the games and showing them on the megatron (including Jeff Fisher - the first time i have ever seen a Titans player or coach at a Preds game in years).

Earlier this year, the previous owner i keep hearing so much love for (Leipold) stripped the team of salary, but also completely cut all marketing and advertising budget. The team also lost all sponsorships with the Johnson family products (Fantastik, Scrubbing Bubbles, Windex, etc) that were mainstays in the arena, as well as the Taco Bell and several other headline sponsors. It has taken months for the new ownership to turn that around, finally getting Taco Bell back in the fold, and bringing on a number of other major sponsors for in-arena spots. All of that makes the team more profitable, which of course is needed for long-term stability.

So where does this leave us...

Early this year, i was hating on the new lease deal with the city. I suspected that it was a sneaky way for the new owners to make a good show, then move the team out after just 5 years. I was convinced that the old deal, which would keep the team here for 15 years if attendance numbers were hit was the better offer. I was convinced that the attendance numbers would be hit this year. I hate to say it looks like i was wrong. The attendance numbers haven't been there, for whatever reason. I just hope that i was also wrong about the new owners intentions. I hope that they really do want to make things work here, not just let the team gracefully fade, then move them. Because in about 2-3 months, it looks like they will be able move the team if they want to.

Of course, one thing could save all of this... a long playoff run with sold-out games. :-)
Go Preds!

Summer Movie goodness (and the new Indiana Jones Trailer)

Ok, first things first: If you haven't seen the new trailer for the fourth Indiana Jones movie, watch it now. Here. Immediately.

(if the embed isn't working - try here)

Ok, now that we have that out of the way...

My thoughts: I don't like that they open with a re-hashing of the original movies. For those of us who have seen the first movies, i think we know who Indiana Jones is. If they had just shown the clip of the fedora on the ground and the silhouette...that would have been more than enough and a great intro. For those that haven't seen the previous movies (all two of you) you just had them all spoiled for you.

Anyway...once the trailer gets going, it looks good. It looks like they'll use a bit of a comedy (i just hope not too much) to address the fact that he's old.

One thing that i am very disappointed by though: from numerous shots in the trailer, Spielberg and Lucas have obviously recanted their promise to keep computer generated effects to a minimum. I know this is a very short trailer, and those shots could be the extent of the CG in the whole movie - that would certainly be minimal - but i don't have my hopes up. I guess i'd rather be disappointed now than while watching the movie though.

I am definitely pumped about the movie though. The trailer had a good feel and in terms of cinematography, it looked very similar to Last Crusade. Good stuff.

In other movie news...
It is time for an updated list of movies i'm interested in seeing:

Planning on seeing:
Feb 14th - Jumper (scratch...heard it sucked)
April 18 - The Forbidden Kingdom
May 2 - Iron Man
May 9 - Speed Racer
May 16 - Chronicles of Narnia: Price Caspian
May 22 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
June 20 - Get Smart
June 27 - WALL-E
July 2 - Hancock
July 11 - Hellboy II: The Golden Army
July 18 - The Dark Knight
Aug 1 - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Nov 21 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Dec 25 May 8, 2009 - Star Trek XI - just got bumped :-(

Might checking out (or wait for video):
March 14 - Horton Hears a Who!
June 6 - Kung Fu Panda
June 13 - The Incredible Hulk
June 13 - The Happening
July 11 - Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
Oct 3 - Valkyrie
Dec 10 - X-Files 2

So...looks like i'll be dropping somewhere in the area of $300 in movie tickets this year. Could be worse i guess. Maybe i'll hit some matinées.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More Blu-Ray goodness

If all of this wasn't reason enough to consider the HD-format war over, Netflix just announced that "Netflix, Citing a Clear Signal From the Industry, Will Carry High-Def DVDs Only in Blu-ray Format". As for its current HD DVD inventory, they said the company "would continue to rent until the discs' natural life cycle takes them out of circulation in the coming months". So it sounds like HD-DVD will be going sooner rather than later. (This makes me wonder though - do Netflix discs get abused that badly? Each disc only lasts a few months? Ouch.)

Between Netflix and Blockbuster going Blu-Ray only, Engadget is right - it is going to be darn hard to find HD-DVD to rent, even if they don't truly go away.

In related HD-format war news:
Here's the list of movies being released in each format this week. Still have any questions?

Blu-Ray: The Amateurs, Becoming Jane, Gone Baby Gone, No Reservations, Over America In High Definition, Over California In High Definition, We Own the Night

HD DVD: The Amateurs, (and a 'mature audiences' movie that will remain nameless)
Total count is now HD-DVD: 333, Blu-Ray: 476

In related Netflix news:
Someone just posted a new plug-in for Windows Media Center that allows you to integrate the Netflix online streaming "Watch Instantly" content. Sweet. This will go perfect with my new MCE setup upstairs :-)

And in other related Netflix news:
Netflix has apparently started a contest (no idea how long ago) for someone to develop a better way to predict what type of movies people will like. The "Recommended For You" section of their site, along with Amazon and other sites is based on algorithms that factor your past viewing habits and ratings. $1mil to a great idea. Anyone have any thoughts?



UPDATE:
More bad news for HD-DVD. Best Buy just announced that they will switch from a neutral stance to recommending Blu-Ray. They will promote Blu-Ray hardware and titles on their website and in their store. They will still carry HD-DVD, but will give preference to Blu-Ray.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

meme: me, me, me

Christy just tagged me (and i guess Matt would have if i hadn't been already) so...

Rules: Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Post 7 random or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Tag 7 people and link to them. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

1) I took 7 years to get through college and only took 2 semesters off the whole time (including summer sessions). I attended 3 Universities, changed my major 5 times and minors 7 times. My eventual degree required 120 hours, but I attempted 177 and attained 152 (only actually failed a few, but dropped many). But i did finish, dang it! My degree is a B.S. in Recording Industry Management (Music Business emphasis) with a Marketing minor. I sell printers for Dell as a living right now and don't use any of it (for my day job anyway). [slaps forehead]

2) Unlike my wife, i have seen Titanic (hated it). What is interesting is that i saw it with a bunch of college buddies (4 of us if i remember correctly). No girls in sight. We went to a midnight show that didn't get out until after 3:00am. I still don't know how they talked me into it, but we all regretted it later.

3) I am, technically speaking, a member of the Bar Association. I was part of a special debate-team-kinda thing in Middle School back in Texas and was made a junior member of the Bar Association. I still have the membership card in a box somewhere. Unfortunately this does not afford me better pay at work.

4) I learned to love hockey in Huntsville, AL. I attended the Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville for one semester only (worst 4-5 months of my life). There was absolutely nothing to do for out of town college students in that town if you didn't like drinking (i could only go to the NASA exhibits so many times). But UAH did have a hockey team, and Huntsville had a minor league team. Attendance was so bad they used to let UAH students in free to both games (frequently back-to-back). I spent many nights watching 4-5 straight hours of hockey (which i had never seen live before) that was mostly filled with lots of scoring and fights. The games frequently finished with 6-8 scores. It wasn't great hockey, but it was good enough to win me over.

5) My wife Christy and i have been married for about 5.5 years, but we started dating Sept 23rd...i think it was 1994 (maybe 1995). Homecoming was our first date (everyone say "awwwww"). I only really dated two other girls my entire life (though i 'went out' with 2 more in middle school). We waited until one of us graduated (as you can guess from #1 above, that was her) to get married (no, we never lived together before that). So we dated for about 8 years, were engaged for a year and half, then got married. If i have my math right, we've been a couple for nearly 15 years.

6) I don't consider myself a fearful person, but i do have one issue that borders on a phobia: bugs. Especially if they surprise me by being where they shouldn't be. I can handle water, crowds, snakes, small woodland creatures, and can survive heights (though i don't love them)... but if a bug suddenly shows up on our bedroom wall: Christy gets to handle it.

7) Rote memorization has never been a strong point for me. Always had trouble studying for tests and memorizing Bible versus. But two things i can remember: movies and song lyrics. I can pretty much recite every line in three Star Wars movies, any Pixar movie, most of the Indiana Jones trilogy, and the movie version of Much Ado About Nothing...and tons of other movies - if i am watching them. I can lip-sync (or speak) right along with them. Exact timing of the lines and everything. Same with most songs: if i listen to it more than a few times and like it, i'll pick up lyrics very easily (usually) and can sing along with it later. But, if you asked me to just write out the script of lyrics on a sheet of paper from memory i'd be hurting for all but a few movies and songs.
Ok. That's it.

I guess i'll go try to tag a couple of people.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Preds Party Tonight!!

I forgot to post about this earlier but Beyond the Edge is hosting
another Predators viewing party tonight. Game is on the west coast so
it starts at 9:00pm. They will be giving away tickets for the game on
Feb 14th (valentines day) along with the usual assortment of swag.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

ghia featured in The Rage

Christy and her business, ghia, had a great writeup in All The Rage here in Nashville today.

Local Spotlight: Christy Nicholson (ghia)

Everyone go check it out!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

not-so-secret ballot

I vote at Stratford High School in East Nashville. A politically active area, and one with a polling place that is very efficient. I have rarely had to wait more than 3-4 minutes to vote, but the area usually has a pretty good turnout.

However, the last three times i've voted, i have also had the pleasure of watching those before me cast their votes. It gives you that tight community feeling you understand...

You see, they setup the voting booths in the front lobby of the school, in front of the mirror-backed trophy cases. That's right - they setup the secret ballot voting booths right in front of a WALL OF MIRRORS! They have a blue tape line marking where you can't walk any closer to give people privacy while they vote. Problem is that i can actually see what they are doing better by standing back than if i was standing closer!

I've diagrammed (pardon the quick/sloppy artwork) the setup below:
I could see clearly what the guy was doing in the far left booth (as face the booths waiting in line). The fact that the booths were at an angle just made it that much easier to see.

When i mentioned it to the officials, they went over to the one person who i couldn't see (in the far right booth) and interrupted him in the middle of voting and asked him to stand a little closer - like he was doing something wrong!

All it would take is draping some butcher paper, posters, or sheets over the trophy cases. I've mentioned it every time i voted in the last three elections and nothing has been done.

I finally just looked up the contact info for the election commission - they don't have EMAIL!?! So, i just spend 15 minutes on hold on their general call in number (the pre-recorded message at the beginning wanted to make sure i knew they would be closed on Jan 21st for the MLK holiday). Finally i spoke with a general worker who was very polite and transferred me to Ms. Joan A Nixon's voice mail. I was assured that she would return my call. Her email is listed on the commission's website, so if i don't hear back from her soon i'll probably drop her an email.

I will update this space if they do ever contact me back or anything comes of this.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

is the format war over?

Personally, i think it is fairly safe to call it. At 'worst' we might end up with a truce and both formats will survive in some capacity, but i don't think it'll even come to that. Sony finally beat the Betamax (and mini-disc, ATRAC, memory sticks, Super Audio, and UMD among many others...) curse and won a format war.

Blu-Ray is here to stay.

Blu-Ray had a huge boost in market share after Christmas, and still routinely controls 60%-plus of the high-def movie market week after week. Since the inception of both formats, Blu-Ray controls 64% of the market, and has controlled all 10 spots on the Nielsen VideoScan list of top titles every week since Christmas. It is also worth noting that many HD-DVD movies come bundled with the standard DVD as well, so the HD-DVD numbers may be given a boost by customers buying those copies for the standard DVD's, not the high-def format.

I even did a little research for ya. Here are a few interesting fact nuggets that lead me to believe in HD-DVD demise:

Getting a handle on which studios are lined up fully in which camp would be tough, especially given the distribution rights for different territories, etc. However, I think one of the more important aspects of a format war is the ever-important Killer App.

Killer Apps for a movie format would of course, be movies. So, let's make a short list of movies or series with a major cult following that might compel someone to purchase a player for either format (in no particular order):

HD-DVD:
Bourne Trilogy
Serentiy
Dune
The Mummy
Shrek
Star Trek (movies and TV shows)
Battlestar Gallactica (TV show)
Heros (TV show)
Braveheart
Blu-Ray:
Pixar Movies (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, etc)
Stargate (movie and TV shows)
Pirates of the Caribbean
X-Men
Lost (TV show)
James Bond (many not yet released)
Disney Animated Features (many not yet released)
Lord of the Rings (not yet released)
Both:
Monty Python
The Matrix Trilogy
Harry Potter
Bladerunner
Terminator
Superman Returns
Still undecided:
Star Wars
Indiana Jones
Firefly
So...spot anything you can't live without?

One of the other early deciding factors has been who is buying these players. It would be all well and good if all ABC sitcoms from the 1990's were released on one format or another, but if those people don't drive early adopter sales, then it won't matter.

Which brings us to another point: HD-DVD has been pushing massive price cuts for players and media. However, mass-consumer demand is still for normal DVDs. The only customers buying high-def format movies are early adopters and videophiles. Not the types that generally react well to red-tag sales and feature stripped players for low prices.

As of Jan 28th, there were 381 HD-DVD titles compared to 459 Blu-Ray titles available. Blu-Ray also adds more each week on average, and they tend to be more popular and "a-list" titles. Here's the "new release" list for the month of January as an example:

Blu-Ray:
  • Shoot 'Em Up (New Line)
  • War (Lionsgate)
  • Resident Evil (Sony)
  • Resident Evil Trilogy (Sony)
  • Resident Evil: Extinction (Sony)
  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007) (Lionsgate)
  • Con Air (Buena Vista)
  • Dragon Wars (Sony)
  • Killing Machine/Shogun's Ninja (BCI)
  • Man on Fire (Fox)
  • Night of the Werewolf/Vengeance of the Zombies (BCI)
  • The Rock (Buena Vista)
  • Sister Street Fighter/Sister Street Fighter 2 (BCI)
  • Sunshine (Fox)
  • Breaker Morant (Image)
  • Good Luck Chuck (Lionsgate)
  • Mr. Woodcock (New Line)
  • Suburban Girl (Image)
  • Went To Coney Island On A Mission From God...(Starz)
  • The Game Plan (Walt Disney)
  • Saw IV (Lionsgate)
  • Daddy Day Camp (Sony)
  • Damages: The Complete First Season (Sony)
  • The Invasion (Warner)
  • Justin Timberlake: Live at Madison Square Garden (Sony BMG)
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian (Sony)

HD-DVD:
  • Mobsters (Universal)
  • The Pianist (Universal)
  • White Noise (Universal)
  • White Noise 2: The Light (Universal)
  • Zodiac: Director's Cut (Paramount)
  • The Ten (City Lights)
  • Channels (Vanguard Cinema)
  • Method Man: Live from the Sunset Strip (Music Distribution)
  • Strauss: Die Fledermaus (Opus Arte)
Both:
  • Dispatch: Zimbabwe - Live at Madison Square Garden (WMG)
  • King of California (First Look)
So. I've got my PS3 and am firmly in the Blu-Ray camp now. Pixar was my killer app, but Stargate, the 5th Element, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter sure didn't hurt. Cars alone is worth the investment for me. If you haven't seen it in HD yet, let me know and i'll arrange a time for you to come over and watch it. It will blow. your. mind. Just make sure you put in a fresh set of contacts or clean your glasses well before you come over.