I spoke with some representatives at Toshiba about the current status of HD-DVD. I expressed my discontent with the format war and then asked them what their plans were for the format. They basically stated that they are going to continue supporting and marketing the HD-DVD product. Paramount and Universal have no plans on switching to Blu-Ray at this time.
It’s still a funky situation. I won’t buy any HD discs until all studios pick one format. The bullshit about giving the consumers a choice doesn’t make sense. When you buy a PS3, the choice is made for you. If you really want a certain film then the choice of which format to choose is made for you. If you were an early adopter of HD-DVD before Blu-Ray was released, the choice was made for you.
Both Sony and Toshiba had strong showings at the CES. I think it was foolish for the HD-DVD forum to cancel their conference. They are only admitting defeat by doing so. They should have continued the conference to show that they aren’t backing down to Blu-Ray.
I’m for the consumer and if you ask me which format to purchase, I’ll tell you to wait and continue enjoying your existing DVD library. Consumers won’t be moved by this decision solely on the fact that Warner leaving HD-DVD in the dust means certain doom. Did you anyone anywhere dismiss Blu-Ray when Paramount switched exclusively to the HD-DVD camp? Of course not. So if one studio leaving Blu-Ray didn’t kill Blu-Ray, then one studio leaving HD-DVD isn’t going to kill HD-DVD. HD-DVD still has many things going for it:
- It’s cheaper than Blu-Ray
- There is no apparent quality difference between the two formats.
- Consumer awareness is still prevalent in HD-DVD
On the Blu-Ray side of things, it looks like a bright new day. They have tons of support from both studios and hardware manufacturers. Blu-Ray will start appearing in many laptop and desktop configurations. It’s getting cheaper and also has the cheapest Blu-Ray player on its side; The Playstation 3. Here are some other things to take into consideration:
- If the PS3 sells to gamers, it’s also selling BD drives to those same gamers.
- Blu-Ray is becoming a household name
- Blu-Ray has more titles and studios backing it
So the question is, will Toshiba lose the format war to Sony this year or will we see another stalemate? Regardless of which camp you are in, keep buying those titles. That’s the only way you can help your format win. The more consumers that get involed in the format war, the faster a decision will be made. While Toshiba is still moving forward with HD-DVD, I can’t help but think that it’s days are numbered in a shorter timeline that what’s expected. Even if Toshiba goes dual format with their players, the market would still remain split. Also, in a last ditch effort to spread the HD-DVD logo all over the world, Toshiba is finally allowing 3rd party manufacturers to produce HD-DVD compatible drives.
It all sucks royally but let’s hope it ends soon so we can all start purchasing more discs. The true winner of this war can only be determined by a 100% pledge of support from all movie studios.