If you’ve been waiting for the fat lady to sing with respect to the high definition DVD format war, it looks like she’s warming up.
Meanwhile, Universal continues to carry the HD DVD banner, Toshiba slashes the price of its HD DVD players, and thousands of people have signed a petition to “save HD DVD.” A petition (and some nuts- both kinds) worked, at least temporarily, for Jericho. I’m not so sure it will be as successful for a DVD format. Can you say Betamax?
And in the other corner, it seems 6,000 people have signed a petition to let HD DVD die.
James Berardinelli, my all-time favorite movie critic, posted his thoughts a couple of weeks ago:
Like an improperly balanced see-saw, the high def industry is tilting toward Blu-Ray. It’s happening in slow motion, but it is happening, and it’s hard to imagine that any force can stop something possessing the momentum of inevitability. Paramount and Universal, not wanting to anger a cadre of consumers, have pledged on-going support for HD-DVD (and Warner isn’t cutting off the format until May), but they have been conspicuously silent about their Blu-Ray plans (if any). The expectation is that both companies will soon announce they will produce titles for both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, at least near-term. That will end the format war. Once every major studio in on-board the Blu-Ray bandwagon, it’s all over – even if some of them are still supporting HD-DVD. It took Betamax a while to die after VHS won that war. Sony knows from experience that killing the enemy isn’t necessary.
MG Siegler notes that “the early 2008 sales numbers are looking very bad for HD-DVD. The format apparently only accounted for only 15% of high-definition disc sales in early January and failed to land a single title on the best-sellers list – all were Blu-ray discs.”
I don’t own any high definition DVD players, having decided to wait for this battle to play out. I’m not ready to buy one yet, particularly given the Profile 2.0 fiasco, but if this trend continues, it won’t be long.