When VHS finally emerged as the market leader over Sony’s Beta format, we gave our immediately-obsolete player to my grandmother.
I’ve been following the high definition format wars with moderate interest, since I was a “late early adopter.” Last fall, I picked up an HD DVD player and during the holidays I received a Blu-ray player. In my opinion, HD DVD was the better deal — more interesting technology, players that were ready to enter the market, and better price points on the hardware. Blu-ray had the benefit of larger capacity and the bandwidth to allow higher quality encoding. Blu-ray also uses region encoding, like standard DVDs. Blu-ray discs purchased in one country will therefore not work in all countries. HD DVDs were “region-free.”
I thought that HD DVD would be the format that caught on, but I underestimated Sony’s ability to get the studios on their side. In the last few months, movie studios and distributors, one after another, announced they would be publishing future releases exclusively on Blu-ray, most likely due to the region restriction (and probably some financial incentive).
Toshiba, the major company behind HD DVD, has finally surrendered. The company announced they are discontinuing their entire HD DVD business. Thankfully, I haven’t invested too much in this technology, but with few movies being released on HD DVD in the future, I won’t need a device used for less than 10 movies (5 of which were free) taking up space in my entertainment center.