Update: Bay blames Microsoft on HD war
Michael Bay already let slip he preferred the Blu-ray format when he heard that his Transformers film was heading to HD-DVD, but he retracted that after seeing the final version from the studio, after all it was their choice as they are an HD-DVD studio.
Now he's reiterating his personal liking for Blu-ray and revealing the politics behind the scenes that are trying to destroy one of the formats, and for all the wrong reasons.
Remember the VHS - Betamax battle? VHS won that in the home market but Betamax remained in television and video studios because it was the higher quality format, however VHS won because of the studios backing it and the money behind it, not because it was the better option for the home market.
So is the same thing happening now? Well Michael Bay thinks so, and he's revealed on his own site that behind the fight is a move by Microsoft to kill off the Blu-ray format, a format he still believes is the superior format, and then HD-DVD, all in favour of digital downloads.
"What you don't understand is corporate politics. Microsoft wants both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads. That is the dirty secret no one is talking about. That is why Microsoft is handing out $100 million dollar checks to studios just embrace the HD DVD and not the leading, and superior Blu Ray. They want confusion in the market until they perfect the digital downloads. Time will tell and you will see the truth."
I knew that there were hushed payments being made to studios to turn to HD-DVD, but these figures are pretty huge and I had no idea they were coming directly from Microsoft. Could it be that they want to kill off HD-DVD as well and concentrate solely on digital downloads?
Well it certainly would make sense as Microsoft are trying to go that way, but there's no way that digital downloads can deliver the content and quality of Blu-ray, or HD-DVD for that matter, just yet.
Actually saying just yet I can't see the average home user downloading 50GB of data and being able to play uncompressed PCM, Tru-HD or anything other than stereo for a very long time. Sure there are systems that can give you a home cinema system for your PC but how many people have them, and how many people have the bandwidth to download a whole HD DVD?
The most interesting part of that is not that Microsoft are trying to kill the better format, we already knew that Blu-ray was the better format, but that Michael Bay prefers Blu-ray. Could we see his films come to Blu-ray in the future? Not while they belong with an HD-DVD studio.
Over at the Shoot for the Edit forums the fan boy anger is rising fast, much like the typical XBox/PS battles where subjectivity is gone, the passion is rising for each format and argument. Meanwhile Michael Bay himself has returned with a few words.
"Does anyone out here want to challenge what I feel suits my films better in terms of look. I see every frame of my films over a hundred times before it is ever released. I know the lighting conditions I shot it and the result on the DI. I know the range. I know what the final product should look like - Blu Ray suits my films better. But that said - I don't a care about this format war because I have both formats in my screening room - I'm just filling you in on what people deep in the film industry feel ultimately is going on -
Transformers looks great even in DVD!!"
After that there's a heated debate of pages between HD-DVD and Blu-ray fans where the merits of the technicalities are entered into, and it's a rather interesting debate if you have the time for reading and the interest.