Toshiba, developer of the HD-DVD, has discontinued the high-resolution video disc format. They made the official announcement yesterday, though the rumours have been flying for a week. I first wrote about the looming format war in June of 2003. The damage done to the public acceptance of a high-definition disc format by this format war may just be fatal to Blu-ray as well given that many people are confused and most of the rest simply do not seem to care. This feels a lot like a replay of the high-definition audio battle between SACD and DVD-Audio. Where are they now? SACD has called it quits and no one really cared who won.
Had they managed to avoid the war four years ago, I suspect I would have had a high-def player for a long time now. As it stands, I don’t really care. DVD is good enough for me as my television is small enough that it wouldn’t make much difference, and I’m happy to keep the money, thanks. The two battling companies were greedy enough that they risked the market to gain the upper hand, so it pleases me not to be part of the winner’s spoils.
Looking at the two formats themselves, I was torn. Blu-ray was attractive because each single layer disc holds 25GB versus the 15GB capacity of HD-DVD. The down side to Blu-ray is it’s a Sony product. Not only has Sony made some epic blunders recently, but they haven’t had the products to justify their prices or attitude for at least a decade.
The only interest I have in Blu-ray is as a computer peripheral for data storage, and even that’s fading given the plunging prices of ever-larger hard drives.
Congratulations Sony. Enjoy your victory as best you can considering the war has done serious damage to the prize you were fighting for.