Following Toshiba’s announcement yesterday, there’s been much talk about HD DVD “losing”. I’d just like to point out the fact that this does not necessarily mean that Blu-ray (BD) has “won”.
Studios can pour out as many BD titles as they want, but the format is not going to be a success in the classic sense until mass market adoption. Remember DVD-A and SACD? No one really rose from that debacle because the mass market took no notice of either one. The dissolution of HD DVD simply means that Sony will have only itself to blame if it does not get in gear and reach the level of operability and accessibility the mass market demands.
Case in point: by now this should be old news to most, but in the event you had your head buried in the sand this past week, the Blu-Ray compatibility and playability issues have apparently escalated to the point of a class action suit being filed against poor Samsung: http://blog.wired.com/business/2008/02/samsung-sued-ov.html
Many would like to sweep this under the rug, citing how DVD overcame its early technical problems. Notwithstanding the fact that, in my opinion, BD’s grace period for this sort of thing has long expired, with the exception of one very overpriced boutique brand DVD player, DVD’s early issues were nothing like the roulette game BD buyers/renters are going through. No one back then rented a new release and held their breath when they put it in their player waiting to see if it would have a hissy fit. Ok, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but you have to admit “Firmware Update” was not a household phrase for DVD like it has become for BD player owners (our Editor-in-Chief prefers using his media server to play BD movies because of all the hassles he’s gone through with stand-alone players).
I love expanding my movie collection in a 1080 line format, and as of right now BD is the only game in town. As such I sincerely hope we are on the cusp of DVD’s replacement and not another fringe enthusiast-only format (LaserDisc anyone?).