Re: HD DVD about to fight back...
Downloading content keeps getting brought out as the killer of both formats. I think this is a long way off (both formats may still die but I don't think it is downloading that will kill them). There are a few reasons for this. The first relates to internet infrastructure. Many people simply don't have nearly the bandwidth required to access HD downloads in anything approaching reasonable download times. In many areas in rural Canada (where I live) dial up is still the only reasonably priced option for internet. The faster options (I currently have a variation of HughesNet satellite internet) are prohibitively expensive for most users (it costs $1000 up front in hardware and $60 per month). The next bottle neck is getting the content from your home PC to the TV. Many people have no idea how such a connection would occur and really aren't interested in setting up the network required for such a thing. It is not realistic for a group of techno geeks like ourselves to expect that the general public will put up with the terrible ergonomics of most HTPC's in order to get something they don't even know that they nead (HD online). While more user friendly solutions like Apple TV will eventually impact on this problem, the mass penetration of that technology is likely years off. While downloads may be a big issue for the techno geeks that populate this forum (my self included so don't get angry at the term, where it with pride), I simply don't think that it will impact the general public for years.
I think one of the biggest issues with the HD battle is price. The HD DVD camp has managed to get the price down to something the market will allow (remember it has to appeal to the masses, simply appealing to high enders like those on this forum cannot sustain a format) but then it's studio support diappears. Blu Ray can't seem to get anywhere close to a price that the market will allow but gets all the studio support. To me this seems like a recipe for both formats to fall.
I still haven't taken the plunge because my wife has a HUGE thing against format wars but I think the HD DVD players may be cheap enough that I can bring one in the house without her noticing. I will probably get a Blu_ray as well but may wait a bit longer on that purchase until there prices come down a bit further or someone finally introduces a truly high end Blu Ray player. Before you say I am just a cheapskate that isn't willing to step up to the plate to support his hobby, I have almost $50 000 invested in my HT electronic and have a room being built with custom acoustics from ASC to house it in. I simply don't like spending money on things that don't make sense. All the players introduced so far (with perhaps the exception of the Pioneer Elite BD players and the new Sony ES player) seem to belong in the $100-200 range and at least the HD DVD camp has had the good sense to sell price there product accordingly.