It's time to stop kidding ourselves about the HD format war. There isn't going to be a winner. Not today or ever. Already picked a side? Congratulations; it's going to be around forever....whichever one it is.
A surprising conclusion? Let's look at the possibilities. First, there is the chance neither HD-DVD nor Blu Ray wins; they both go the way of the dodo and UMD movies. Plausible...until one looks at the burgeoning market share of HDTVs. People want content for those shiny new sets, and and those sets continue to sell, demand will rise. There isn't a strong competitor to either format on the horizon. On-demand HD will rear its head one day, but bandwidth issues are going to delay it a decade or more.
The second possibility-- one format wins, one loses. But both have already sold over a million discs each. The odds of either dying before doubling that are zero. That's a lot of discs...discs that are going to be around forever. Their owners are going to want something to play them on. Each user base is already past "critical mass" for major releases-- the point at which a studio can pay back mastering and production costs, and still make a profit on the release. So new movies will continue to arrive.
That brings us to the final option. Both remain. Dual-format players become cheap and ubiquitous. The average consumer buys an HD movie without caring (or in some cases, knowing) its format. Just as they buy recordable DVDs today. Is there any doubt this is the eventual outcome? It won't be this year of course, and probably not in 2008. But eary 2009-- look out!
I'll close with a surprising fact. According to DVD-Empire sales figures, HD-DVD-- after being beaten badly earlier this year-- has managed to climb back this month to tie Blu-Ray. Admittedly, thats a single retailer...but their weekly sales charts have tracked closely with Nielsen figures throughout all of 2007.
quote: [Apr 25] HD-DVD's representatives from Webersh & Wick public relations wrote to IGN Gear directly with updated HD-DVD news. According to their figures, HD-DVD movie sales lag only 2,000 units behind Blu-ray with 998,059 units sold. The firm points out that pre-orders of Planet Earth and The Matrix Trilogy will propel HD-DVD over the million-mark quite shortly. Representatives also stated that hardware sales have continued with strength in April, maintaining a 4 to 1 margin over Blu-ray...
quote: They've still been outsold by Blu-ray every week since February
quote: They not only "exist", they're one of the largest PR firms in the world, with 82 offices on six different continents...
quote: On-demand HD will rear its head one day, but bandwidth issues are going to delay it a decade or more.
quote: TV stations serving all markets in the United States are airing digital television programming today, although most will continue to provide analog programming through February 17, 2009. At that point, full-power TV stations will cease broadcasting on their current analog channels, and the spectrum they use for analog broadcasting will be reclaimed and put to other uses.
quote: Physical media is obsolete!
quote: HD-DVD...has managed to climb back this month to tie Blu-Ray