Friday, August 31, 2007

Blu-ray v. HD DVD

Recently, it looked like Blu-ray was winning the format war in high-def DVDs. Sales were 2-to-1 in Blu-ray's favor, several studios were Blu-ray only (HD DVD had only one exclusive studio partner), and retailers were beginning to line up in that direction as well.

Last week, though, Blu-ray suffered a major reverse: Paramount, and sister studio Dreamworks, announced that they were dropping Blu-ray and going HD DVD only. Suddenly, the high def war is back in high gear. And today, reports Video Business, Canada’s Venturer Electronics announced a $199 Chinese-manufactured HD DVD player for Q4.

But while the industry fiddles, consumers do a slow burn. A very slow burn: most consumers aren't interested in any of this, and smart ones will stay away until the battle ends and one format prevails.

Don't hold your breath though: there's so much money in licensing fees at stake that we may not see a resolution for another year or two, at best. At that rate, standard def DVD will live on for a long time to come, at least until download to TV becomes a reality. Maybe the upcoming Vudu box will make that happen (I've seen it and it's pretty sweet).

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