February 18, 2008
HD-DVD on Death's Door
The last official act to end the high definition DVD format war is expected when Toshiba announces that they are pulling the plug on HD-DVD. The writing's been on the wall with Warner Brothers moving to Blu-Ray exclusively, and the cascading decisions such as Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, Netflix, and Best Buy, among others, going exclusively Blu-Ray. Toshiba stock was actually up on the news. Cutting losses, significant as they are, means Toshiba would be spending fewer resources on a losing cause.
The only point that leaves one uneasy about Blu-Ray being the ultimate winner is that Sony has a questionable track record when it comes to DRM. Reports exist how some Blu-Ray discs won't play on some players without a firmware upgrade, and some companies (including Sony) have been slow to come up with those upgrades. Sony is, as are most content owners, paranoid about broken DRM to the point where the consumer experience is less than seamless. Sony is also the same company that builds exceptionally proprietary formats and inflexible
crippled equipment that tend to be consumer unfriendly. Lest we forget, Sony also brought us the root kit fiasco in the name of protecting CD content from moving off a computer. These kinds of marketing decisions may have more to do with the acceptance of Blu-Ray compared to other choices (upconverting anyone?) than Toshiba moving out of the market. Otherwise, the war is over.
February 18, 2008 | Permalink
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