There appears to be no end in sight for the HD DVD versus
Blu-ray format war. Although there were previous rumblings
that Samsung would help ease the tension a little by releasing a hybrid HD
DVD/Blu-ray player before the year is out, the company has issued
a public statement contrary to those reports, "Samsung Electronics is
fully committed to the Blu-ray format and currently only has plans to introduce
a Blu-ray player to the market."
While having a hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray set-top player may seem
like a quick and dirty fix to ease consumers into the next generation of high-definition
content, it’s not a very efficient or cost-effective solution to the clashing
formats. Toshiba, one of the biggest proponents of the HD DVD format, is still pushing
to unify both standards in the near future. Doing so would dispense with
the format clash that is looking remarkably similar to the VHS/Betamax showdown
that we saw over 20 years ago. "We have not given up on a unified format.
We would like to seek ways for unifying the standards if opportunities
arise," remarked Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida.
Although a unified standard taking the best of HD DVD and
Blu-ray sounds like an excellent proposition for consumers, it’s not likely
that Sony is willing to reach a compromise anytime soon. The company has too
much invested in its next generation DVD format and its PlayStation 3 will
be the poster-child for Blu-ray technology. Blu-ray also has backing from a
number of major movie studios including 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate Home
Entertainment, MGM, Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers. On
the other hand, HD DVD has support from Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures
and Warner Brothers.
All in all, it would seem as though Toshiba is the only company pushing for a unified standard, even if the other companies will adopt hybrid players.