Photo by BlueAlgae
Well, I sort of got my answer from this post about the state of consumer technology 10 years ago. An article in the New York Times, in 1996, was proclaiming the DVD already dead, a non-starter, and the laserdisc was coming out with some great titles. As I’ve said before, I always love to see what the past tells us about the present.
HD-DVD and Blu-ray have already succeeded. They’ve gotten their product out the door and people are buying them. However now the success will be measured by many people and in different ways. It’s early in the format war between the two camps. HD-DVD got a head start (by a couple months), is cheaper than Blu-ray (by almost $500), and currently has more titles available (as of July 10 it’s 44 HD-DVD to 16 Blu-ray – I said it was early). So why are they so stubborn as to continue this format war? Well it’s based on this prediction which says there is a lot of money in this market.
You may not know this, but there was a format war after VHS vs. Beta and before DVDs arrived, albeit a small war. More like a police action. Laserdisc was on one side and CED was on the other (ever heard of Selectavision?). Well we all know what format won and was subsequently killed off (for the most part) by DVD.
My opinion is DVD was revolutionary, as the CD was revolutionary in the music industry. Both of these technologies are a great success. HD-DVD/Blu-ray in and of itself is evolutionary, but it’s also tied to a revolutionary technology, that of HDTV. Now are both of these formats going to succeed? My prediction is that HD-DVD will win out and here is an article that agrees with me. I will add that it seems logical to bet against Sony (who is backing Blu-ray). Three words: Beta; MiniDisc; UMD. Sony hasn’t given up on the Memory Stick though, but I digress. Sony’s Betamax was arguably the better format technically, but VHS won out. Some are saying that Blu-ray is the better technology, but having HD-DVD out of the gate sooner and being cheaper seems to bode well. Don’t forget also that Microsoft’s XBox 360 will have a HD-DVD external drive real soon.