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Blu-ray Is The Winner - So What?

by Sachin Balagopalan on February 18, 2008 · Comments

In the last couple of days we have witnessed the final dagger thrust into the side of HD DVD when WalMart decided it was going to stock only Blu-ray format high definition DVD’s and players. This announcement followed similar announcements from BestBuy and Netflix last week to support and carry only the Blu-ray format. The “after effects” of the WalMart decision have already begun as the so called high definition DVD “format wars” have thankfully come to an end. AP is reporting today that Toshiba plans to dump HD DVD and just a few hours ago SmartHouse reported that Microsoft will be killing the HD DVD Xbox 360 and will be coming out soon with a Blu-ray version instead.

I just don’t understand what the big deal is? I would hold off popping the Cristal right now. It’s only a matter of time before Blu-ray is put out to pasture as well. Downloadable movies and video is the future and everyone knows that. Just as WalMart was quick to embrace Blu-ray it’ll be the first to dump it when the numbers start dropping. Also I would not be surprised if WalMart takes another crack at movie downloads and cuts a deal with the studios to offer movies for download just like they do for music (94c a .mp3 song).

Apple has already proved that you don’t need a computer anymore to download/share multimedia with Take Two - albeit their content selection and “true” HD is still an issue. It’s not out of the realm of possibility however that WalMart customers for example could be shopping for AppleTV like devices instead of Blue-ray players in the not so distant future that can connect directly to the internet and download/play movies and shows instantaneously.

I can understand Microsoft’s decision to come out with a Blue-ray Xbox 360 - they could probably make some quick near term revenues and they also offer downloadable movies via their Xbox Live Marketplace (I’ve heard it’s awfully slow but that’s besides the point). Toshiba perhaps dumping HD DVD altogether is also understandable if it is indeed true - they probably want to refocus the company back to consumer electronics. But the future is definitely the internet as far as renting and buying movies IMO. I hate to get into the whole demographic thing but I’m sure you could probably find some stats somewhere that points to a certain “not so tech savvy and low income” demographic that predominantly shops at WalMart stores and therefore the concept of downloading is going to take awhile to penetrate the masses. Yet these “not so tech savvy and low income” folks are the largest consumers of multimedia so I don’t buy that notion for a second. Once people figure out the simplicity and the price it should not be an issue at all.

UPDATE: Microsoft is now apparently holding off on the HD DVD reaction.

UPDATE (2/19/08): It’s official - Toshiba is discontinuing HD DVD

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