By Richard Menta 1/9/08
I can't say for sure if Warner's move to drop the HD-DVD format in favor of Blu-Ray is the ultimate death-knell for HD-DVD, but it looks it - and Warner's decision is understandable. It was not this past holiday season, but the one before it that both high-def formats made our 2006 losers list. Simply put, having two competing formats froze consumers, particularly those who selected Betamax over VHS two decades ago. Sales have not been much better this past year. According to British research firm Screen Digest only 14.2 million Blu-ray and HD DVD discs combined were sold versus 2.4 billion standard DVDs. Of that, Blu-ray outsold HD-DVD by 2 to 1 according to figures by Home Media Research.
Now mind you, the competition was a good thing to have as it forced retail prices lower at a quicker rate. From a business perspective it allowed Warners and Paramount to prevent Sony from holding to much power in their industry, considering that they own a large film studio too.
But consumer confusion was contributing to consumer indifference to high-def and with DVD sales flat this Christmas Warners realized that the negative returns from their strategy to support both formats was overtaking the positive ones. "Warner Bros.' move to exclusively release in the Blu-ray disc format is a strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want," said Warners CEO Barry Meyer in the official press release that announced the pullout from the HD-DVD camp. "The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger".
Now the market can move forward with a unified format. The question left is what will Toshiba do and how will it affect the consumers who recently gambled on an HD-DVD purchase? At least the price of existing HD-DVD movies will plummet, so these users can at least stock up. The video rental shops are another source as they will most likely sell off their used HD-DVD stock even cheaper.
The Archos 605 Wi-Fi portable DVR is available on Amazon
Other MP3 stories:
2007 Digital Media Winners
2007 Digital Media Losers