Fox Jumps on Blu-ray Bandwagon 
Home Theater News Blu-ray Software News
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Thursday, 04 August 2005

It appears as if the line in the sand for the high definition disc format war is being drawn more clearly as 20th Century Fox will reportedly adopt the Blu-ray format for HDTV releases of their home video products. This choice comes as both Sony and Toshiba try to get to market quickly with the first HDTV capable playback disc.

With over 1,000,000 HDTV sets being sold into the market monthly and a Hollywood box office slump festering in 2005, the need for an HDTV-ready disc format is strong. Consumers love the HDTV demo at local AV retailers but when they get home, the reality that most programming is not in HD leaves them (still in love) but wanting more. Satellite providers like DirecTV are launching more birds to be able to offer more HD programming on their system. Dish Network picked up the VOOM programming for its HD subscribers but neither move satisfies the mainstream consumer’s need for HD. Only Hollywood can do that however format wars are incredibly risky. For an equipment manufacturer and a content provider like a record label or a movie studio to inject the idea that a consumer should wait to see what format takes off in the marketplace is a flawed idea. Millions just stay out of the market.

A deal to merge the two formats was rumored a few months ago. I believe the idea of merging the two formats is a bit late at this point considering Sony has built their next generation Playstation devices around Blu-ray. The computer industry seems to prefer Blu-ray as well. What is possible is the idea of cutting Toshiba in on the royalty stream in some meaningful way that makes them say, in the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can’t We All Get Along?’ That is without question what consumers want. And if Sony and its other partners want Blu-ray to be as successful as the Compact Disc was over 20 years ago, it is time to make friends and influence people – and fast.


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