People like to complain about the format war and how it will negatively impact everyone we they search for the “next generation” video format. Well, I have two things to tell you.
One: BluRay started in the lead and was the only format with the headroom to handle current video technology let alone future video technology. BD was such a no-brainer than it was hard to believe that anyone was seriously considering HD-DVD. Even BluRay isn’t a very impressive format for what we need today but HD-DVD completely misses the mark. The public has moved passed HD-DVD without blinking. BD has very short to live.
Two: The age of physical media for content delivery is all but over. Sure with the advent of 1080p video and lossless eight channel audio suddenly downloading content is too much for the average consumer but this is just a temporary swing. When DVD first released the thought of downloading a whole DVD from the Internet was the stuff of science fiction. Sure we could hypothesis about it and we knew that someday it would happen but actually doing it seemed a lot way off. By halfway through the DVD lifespan Internet connection speeds and backbone capacity had increased so dramatically that consumers in most markets can download an entire DVD image or video files of similar quality in minutes. Minutes! My cheap, bottom of the line Internet connection in Newark will grab a DVD in about eight minutes. Imagine what people in markets with really high speed connections can do! Already there are a lot of services allowing you to download “rental” movies and some places allowing you to download movie purchases. As our speeds continue to increase and as people connect more and more devices to their televisions that can surf the Internet and play movies we will see people using physical media less and less at a fantastic rate. The idea of instant gratification is too much for most people to resist. The fact that a download is cheaper will play second fiddle to the convenience factor.
Add to this important facts like that BluRay just hit the critical 100,000 units mark two months ahead of traditional DVD which, as it was, was one of the fastest adopted new technologies ever. BluRay is set for rapid market domination. And consider that DVD was essentially unrivaled and BluRay has this stigma of HD-DVD to contend with. And now Microsoft has released their new XBOX 360 with HDMI (the killer feature of PlayStation 3 until now) but decided to forego including the HD-DVD drive as the market has shown little to no interest in it. If Microsoft isn’t going to promote their own format who will? HD-DVD is dead. BluRay won. Game over.
Now if only BluRay can hold out against the Internet for any length of time. I predict rapid proliferation of simple file formats that are carrier agnostic and transparent and almost instantaneous switch from physical media to the online media world.
In February 2008, I was finally vindicated and Toshiba’s HD-DVD format was discontinued. BluRay had won the physical media format war.
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