'The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers,' Warner Bros Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer said in a statement.
I think the fact that Sony et.al. managed to get Blu-Ray players down to $250.00 this last Christmas season saved the Blu-Ray format. Previously, the cost difference was $500.00 (HD-DVD) and Blu-Ray ($1000.00). Last Christmas there was a pile of Blu-Ray players for $250.00 and a pile of HD-DVD players for $200.00; and that's not a big enough cost differential to make HD-DVD a winner.
Of course, you can talk to anyone with a PS3 hooked up to a 1080p display and they will tell you that Blu-Ray looks only marginally better than standard DVD. The PS3 is a great standard DVD player. That's the real reason people aren't buying Hi-Def content - it's only recently they were able to see all of the bits on their standard DVDs, and those standard DVDs look pretty good!
My argument in favor of HD-DVD was always about cost and Sony somehow pulled it off, in spite of selling players with incomplete features, 3 minute boot times, and huge initial costs. I think Howard Stringer also saved the day for Sony by "speaking the language" of the studios when he talked to them about how importance it is to have a single format (and duh, that would be Sony's).
This would be the first format that Sony has ever successfully (i.e., mass market) introduced into the United States!
Now the fight switches to download vs. Blu-Ray. Personally I think the markets and usage are enough different that we'll continue to get "near-DVD" or "DVD" quality downloads for a few years until the bandwidth catches up enough to overtake Blu-Ray resolution for downloads.
*Sigh*. HD-DVD RIP.
© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.