HD DVDs Fall Like Dominoes
The HD war is over? It looks like as more has turned from HD DVD to Blu-ray. Is this the end of the competition between HD DVD an Blu-ray. Probably not, as a lot of hardware is already out to play HD DVDs even in laptops.
Nothing has been announced, but Variety is reporting that the last two major studios backing HD DVD — NBC Universal and Paramount — are opening the door for a switch to Blu-ray. These studios have commitments to release some discs this year in HD DVD, but both have ended their exclusive commitment to that format, which is backed by a group led by Toshiba.
This comes after Warner Brothers, which had been issuing movies in both formats, decided to go exclusively with Sony’s Blu-ray format. Variety also reports that retailers may also put pressure on Universal and Paramount to back Blu-ray. Last summer, Blockbuster decided to go with Blu-ray only.
So what appeared to be a stalemate may, with one relatively small move by Warner, now turn out to be a quick victory for Sony. The fight between the systems has hurt studios, electronics makers and consumers. And I suspect a winner — any winner — will be welcomed by all sides (except Toshiba and Microsoft, a key partner).
Executives in the adult-film industry spoke Wednesday during the opening day of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo 2008, which briefly overlaps with the more mainstream Consumer Electronics Show ending Thursday.
"It could be a real sign that things will shift," Jeff Thill, director of video operations for the Hustler Video Group, said about the Warner decision. Thill said he sees no advantage of one format over the other, but is "leaning Blu-Ray" after Warner's announcement.
The Blu-ray camp, led by Sony, has been fighting Toshiba and its HD DVD format for years in a battle reminiscent of the VHS versus Betamax battle. In that fight, Betamax maker Sony's refusal to work with the porn industry helped usher in a VHS victory when the adult industry capitalized on the burgeoning popularity of VCRs and video rentals.