No One Wins The HD DVD Versus Blu-Ray Battle

The fight for supremacy between the two high-definition formats for entertainment has been fought to a stalemate, at least according to Sony's CEO Howard Stringer. Sony backs the Blu-ray standard, while Toshiba touts the HD DVD format. When the numbers are in for Christmas, we'll likely see that one or the other format has a wide lead over the other, but not nearly enough to make the loser drop out. Who loses? Well, producers of movies, for one. They have to choose a format knowing that a goodly portion of their target audience can't view it.

While Warner Brothers has demonstrated success in supplying content to both sides, the format war seems to be a lose-lose situation for many of the studios. Ultimately, studios run the risk of alienating a significant portion of their high-definition-watching customers, and movie fans either need two players (which is an unlikely scenario) or must forego content in the noncompatible format.

In the beginning, Sony and its Blu-ray format had the advantage with more movie studios on their side. But recently, Sony CEO Stringer said, the HD DVD coalition persuaded Paramount to issue content exclusively on the HD DVD format. Now, the major movie studios are roughly divided between the two formats, with only Warner Brothers successfully working both sides.

Sooner or later, everyone's going to have a hi-def television. And they're going to want to watch things on it. If HD DVD and Blu-ray haven't sorted it out by then, perhaps broadband delivery of movies will sort it out for them. As in: Take your DRM-encrusted partially-compatible-with-existing-hardware disks and... recycle them.
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