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Old 10-04-2007   #1
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Default Expect Two Winners in the HD Disc Format War

I have heard it so many times from readers. They say, “I am waiting to see which format wins before I buy an HD disc player.” Notable online review sites, AV print magazines and chatrooms alike have fostered the "Beta versus VHS" fears in consumers over two HD disc formats. Meanwhile beaming, beautiful HDTV sets complete with 1080p resolution sit by the millions in living rooms simply starved for content. Say what you want, but you need HD DVD or Blu-ray to get the 1080p video on your screen that you paid so dearly for.

The fact is: HD DVD and Blu-ray are not going anywhere. In the coming months, those waiting for one format to shrivel up and die are going to have a long wait on their hands. What is going to happen is prices on both format’s players will drop starting this holiday season. HDMI connectivity and load times will improve. There will even be “universal” players that can legitimately play both formats in one player, but HD DVD and Blu-ray are here to stay for a few years, at least. The video gaming community has set solid precedent for their success. Currently, the video game world is booming with success for three, count 'em three, formats: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii. A few weeks back, the sales numbers for EA Sports’ Madden Football 2008 were released showing 1,800,000 copies sold in a week, a remarkable feat and one that will likely be repeated year in and year out with the same basic software title. EA’s success reminds me of another successful little software company from the Seattle area that can sell their many titles over and over again to both their PC users as well as to practically every one of those hippie Mac users.

It's time for consumers across the country to man up and get into the HD game. Yes, the early players on both sides were heavily flawed, overpriced, slow to load and had “handshake” issues. Today’s Blu-ray and HD DVD players for $300 to $500 per unit are significantly better than first generation units, plus some of the game machines, such as Playstation's Blu-ray capability and Xbox's add-on HD DVD drive that priced at the same level, are possibly even better on some levels. Waiting for an end to the format war isn’t going to help fill the HD void in your life. It isn’t going to inspire studios to invest in repackaging movies for high-resolution 1080p discs. All it does is inspire companies to look at the broken business model of downloads from the music business, where labels sell low-resolution downloads without high-resolution video. Without an abundance of high-definition players in the market, content providers will sell their titles as downloads, without high-resolution video and 7.1 surround mixes. At this point, consumers looking for high-resolution content will have little to no options for viewing their material.

by: Jerry Del Colliano
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