As I was thinking about what has happened in the last four months in technology, I realized that the HD DVD format has been pushed hard, heralded as the best choice for a high definition format for discs, and pronounced dead – all in that same 4 months.

www.blu-ray.com_images_players_bd-p1200_right here and gone in such a short span of time – the next time you see one of these, it may be in the Smithsonian Institute.

In my lifetime, I have never seen anything come and go so quickly. Sure, HD DVD is not totally dead, but it is on life support without much prospect of rejuvenation. All the major studios have moved or made plans to move to Blu-ray, the rental agencies, like Netflix, have all committed to Blu-ray, and brick-and-mortar purveyors, like Blockbuster have switched totally to the Blu-ray format. All of this has happened while people were still waiting for the delivery of their free discs that were one of the enticements to purchase an HD DVD player.

I must admit that for a space of 2 months, it looked as though HD DVD would crush the majority of Blu-ray sales, with  only one player on the Blu-ray side thriving, the Sony PS3, as much for the game capability as the player of movies. HD DVD sales were much more than brisk during the holiday season, and it looked as though Sony had once again backed a format that was superior (Beta), but neglected due to the largest market influence – price.

crunchgear.com_wp-content_uploads_sony_ps3_and_control a good purchase, but many will not want one, as it is perceived that if $399 can buy this, a perfectly respectable player can be had for less – it isn’t happening yet.

It remains to be seen how long the crippled patient will be kept alive, as there were enough units sold in that short life to make some smaller studios still release discs in that format. Again, the reasoning is price, as the mastering of HD DVD is also less expensive than that of Blu-ray.

Now, I wonder if the public at large will rise up and hold their purchases of the Blu-ray format, as the older players are being made useless with each iteration of the software. While this should be an indictment of digital copy protection, it is going to be, I believe, a general dissatisfaction with hardware purveyors in general. Many people I know feel ripped off by the HD DVD ‘scam’, and the news of Blu-ray incompatibilities has the more forgiving wondering why they have been so disposed.

Many will cite download services as ‘the next wave’ but a digital download has little of the ‘feel’ of a real purchase, and can be wiped out with an errant program or head crash. Not exactly what most people want to invest in. (This is exactly why computer software downloads have not been the big lift to that industry that was expected. People want to be able to touch something. It is part of the idea of ownership. Random bits on an easily damaged hard drive is hard to handle [in both senses]) The worsening economy will make many think twice about the disposition of their shrinking extra income.

While Blu-ray will continue for awhile, I remain suspect, as many will shy away from the purchase, until presented with evidence that obsolescence has been (at least partially) removed. 

[tags] Blu-ray, HD DVD, digital downloading, Sony PS3 [/tags]