The high definition DVD format war has been raging for quite some time now, but it looks as though there may finally be a victor. The HD DVD camp, started by Toshiba and including heavyweight backing from Microsoft, has been gradually losing ground over the last year. Recent events, which we discuss below, make it almost certain that the HD DVD format will be joining Betamax in format heaven soon.
Even though Toshiba was able to keep the prices on their devices far lower than comparable Sony Blu-ray players, the lack of big studio backers - and hence a relatively small collection of titles - meant lower sales for its HD DVD players.
The first major blow to the HD DVD format was when Warner Bros decided to release all of its high definition titles exclusively in the Blu-ray format. According to Barry Meyer, the Chairman & CEO, the move was a "strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want." They will continue to release HD DVD titles only until May 2008.
The second major blow to Toshiba and the HD DVD camp was when we heard the news that first Blockbuster, and then a few days later Netflix, jumped ship and went exclusively Blu-ray for all of their hi definition content. Considering that Blockbuster and Netflix are the two largest DVD rental businesses in the US, it's easy to see that this will result in a major market share reduction for HD DVD.
Recently two more blows for HD DVD came. Firstly, Wal-Mart - the largest retailer in the entire world with massive reach - picked Blu-ray. By June of this year, you will see Blu-ray players, Blu-ray movies, Blu-ray converts, and lots more at your local Wal-Mart.
Secondly, news has come out that Toshiba itself has realized that Blu-ray is going to be the gold standard for high definition DVDs; and is planning to slowly kill off the HD DVD format in the months ahead. The Blue-ray onslaught was simply too much for Toshiba and its major supporter, Microsoft, to handle.
Even with huge price slashes recently - HD DVD players as low as $119 - Blu-ray has been unstoppable with an almost 70% share of all HD movies sales. Of course, it doesn't help HD DVD that the Sony PS3, which is also selling well, is a Blu-ray only disc player.
As we see it, the battle was fought well by both sides - but it's now time for the HD DVD camp to admit that it has lost. Let consumers enjoy one HD technology without any confusion.
What are your thoughts on the high definition format battle?
Written by Aseem Kishore, a technology enthusiast and lead blogger for Online-Tech-Tips.