TechCrunch reported today that the HD DVD format has gone the way of the BetaMax in favor of the Sony supported Bluray. PS3 sales soared to 1.3 million this holiday season, securing it’s position as an entertainment center (for those under a rock, PS3 has a built in Bluray player). Other big news leading to the death of HD DVD, more and more studios are switching over to the Sony format, most recently Warner Brothers. HD was supported by Toshiba and Microsoft, where the Xbox 360 had a HD DVD external player available for purchase. I will mark this as the second biggest blunder of the Xbox 360, the first being going to market with inferior parts.
So what does this mean for the industry and consumer? Not much financial loss really since the fight has only been 2 years long and is just starting to get purchasing power behind it. However, now that Sony will control what will most likely be the last hard copy of movies, they will have a monopoly on how the product will grow which, in my opinion, is always bad news. Not too long ago, Sony was the mastermind behind the CD copying DRM fiasco, which added spyware and other crippling software to your computer unknowingly to the user. Maybe Sony has learned from that, but I highly doubt it. Bluray also is more expensive, and I don’t expect Sony to have any relief in this area now that they competition is gone.
A few months ago, before I unfortunately created the 2.0 version of this blog, I posted about deciding between the two formats. Torn between my soft loyalty to the company that pays my salary, a higher priced format, and a studio war wagering good movies vs. good movie, I decided not to make a purchase. I was even tempted to buy a HD DVD player this past holiday season which I’m glad I didn’t.
Of course, all of this won’t matter in 6-8 years, when there won’t be a need for DVDs as consumers will get all their multimedia online. This of course brings up another story of cable vs. satellite vs. phone company vs. others as to who will control media. I wrote a paper in school about this back in 2000, and it’s shocking to see how much of it is coming true. Very Big Brother like. Scary.