RIP HD DVD
It’s been a long time coming, but the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD came to an abrupt end today when Tokyo-based Toshiba abruptly announced it was exiting the HD-DVD business.
Of course, that was based on two other important events: Warner Bros. deciding last month to dump its long-standing relationship with Toshiba to side with Blu-Ray (click the link so that Ms. Finke can tell you about the $250 million promotional payoff that greased those skids) and Wal-Mart proclaiming last Friday that it too was joining Best Buy and Netflix in offering only Blu-Ray products.
There’s a long history to this battle, and CNET has a good sum-up, which also includes detailed comparisons of both formats.
While this is clearly a big loss for Toshiba, which says it will cease production of its HD DVD players and recorders immediately and exit the business by the end of March, it’s a big win for consumers who can now go ahead and invest in high-definition DVD players and recorders. One minor kvetch: HD DVD was the less expensive format, so while the market will benefit by finally having the matter settled, the pricier format ultimately won, which could slow overall adoption.
It’s also a win for studios because they now can go full steam ahead in releasing their movie and TV DVDs in the Blu-Ray format. According to CNET, less than 350 movies are currently available in either format, illustrating how stifled the HD DVD market has been.