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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Let These Format Wars Begin

ZDNet has a brief coverage of the high definition DVD format war which is about to make landfall:

This is a high-stakes game, and not just for the movie studios, electronics manufacturers or software companies with a piece of the $24 billion home video market. Consumers could lose big by betting on the wrong technology.
As the VHS-Betamax battle showed three decades ago, such confrontations are usually a winner-take-all affair. In that instance, VHS triumphed and studios quickly abandoned the Betamax format. Betamax owners were left with no films to watch and thousands of dollars invested in worthless video equipment.
At this early stage, some analysts believe that casual movie fans should wait for a winner to emerge. Technologies are always fraught with glitches and setbacks and typically are more expensive when they're launched than after they've been on the market for a while. At a time when a low-end DVD player costs $50, the price for an HD DVD machine starts at $500. A top-end Blu-ray player may run as much as $1,800.
-- HD DVD debut ups ante in high-stakes game

It's still anyone's game. Sony's ace is clearly the PS3 ... but they are a long way out from being able to play it. The libraries haven't hit any kind of mass to attract serious consumers yet ... three titles for HD-DVD and none of them exactly compelling. Since the studios are mixed, you'll have to factor in if anyone will get their "Matrix", that movie that just makes people want to see it in a better format.

Lots of factors. I'll be watching on my aging Toshiba Cinema Series DVD player and 36" RCA for some time, I think. They may be aging, but they both still run quite well and the price is right.

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