Hi-Def DVD Format War–Over!

hddvd.pngbluraygood.gifThe format wars fought over high definition DVD’s reminded many folks of the VHS-Beta videotape format wars decades ago. Many buyers sat out the war, not wanting to buy a format that would soon be obsolete. Stop the presses–you can start buying now. Blu-Ray has won. HD DVD was the competition. Content, of course, is more important than format when formats are roughly equal (hear that, Apple?), which means that the media studios were going to pick the winner. Paramount and Universal backed HD DVD, while Disney, FOX, Sony, and Lionsgate, went with Blu-Ray. Warner Brothers just broke the tie by going with Blu-Ray, so “expect HD DVD to die a quick death” said Pali Research in the LA Times today (Jan. 5, 2008). No coincidence that this is the first year in history that DVD sales went down instead of up. The studios would now like you to re-buy all those old DVD titles in the new hi-def formats (and, yes, “Lord of the Rings” will come first for me). Those of you with PS3 game machines already have Blu-Ray built in, and if you have other game boxes, check those manuals! Sorry times for we Wii players. Of course, any more time wasted might have caused manufacturers to miss the boat entirely, as hi-def movies become available online in the near future over those nice fat pipes (nice pipes for online educational media, too!). There are new formats always creeping around., There is 500 gig DVD format demoing at CES this week and we will able to go large from iPods, cellphones, etc., within a year or two, using technology like DisplayTech’s. But the satisfying ownership of media will be mean Blu-Rays will make their mark. If in doubt, drop into a store selling HD TV’s. They invariable show Blu-Rays and they look fantastic. The reason why The Eagles Greatest Hits remained the #1 selling album title was not because more people bought it on vinyl. They bought it on vinyl, then 8-track, then cassettes, then CD’s. Nice timing, Eagles. And, bad timing Warner Brothers–because I would have wanted Blu-Ray Casablanca under my tree had you weighed in a few months ago. More on media technology will follow here throughout 2008. It looks to be a fun year.

By the numbers: DVD sales and rentals by studio (Blu-Ray in bold)

Warner: 18.4%, Fox: 16.8%, Sony: 15.1%, Disney: 12.3%, Lionsgate: 5.8 Paramount: 12.5%, Universal: 10.3% (other: 10.1%)
source: LA TIMES, 1/5/2008

What Next?: Flat screens replacing projectors in classrooms? Check with Eagle County schools in Colorado, when John Kuglin is moving that way. Now there’s a shoot-out! I love both projectors and flat-screens. How would they compare connected to a Blu-Ray…..:)


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  1. Allison McMath said:

    Does thismean the HD TV I bought last month is obsolete already or does it mean that I can just buy blu-ray videos rather than HD and they will work fine?

  2. Hall Davidson said:

    No, the “HD” in the title of the defeated format just happens to use the same term. Your HD TV, which no doubt looks great, would play both formats and anything else that comes along, including the new “Apple TV” Hi-Def video player that Steve Jobs announced this week at MacWorld. More new HD TV’s also “line double” regular old DVDs, and they look better, too. And, PS, if you want eye-candy, check out the HD Discovery Channel, called HD Theater in some places. They have a sunrise shot in different places around the globe every morning. Really spectacular for those who get up that early. And this isn’t just product placement. They use this channel in a lot of stores trying to sell the new TV’s.

  3. Joe Brennan said:

    Looks like Wal-Mart and Best Buy have been reading Hall’s blog:
    NEW YORK — Wal-Mart has decided to exclusively sell high-definition DVDs in Sony’s Blu-Ray format, dealing what could be a crippling blow to the rival HD DVD technology backed by Toshiba. The move by the world’s largest retailer, announced Friday, caps a disappointing week for HD DVD supporters, who also saw consumer electronics chain Best Buy and online video rental company Netflix defect to the Blu-ray camp. Wal-Mart said by June it will sell only products in Blu-ray format.

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