It’s been a long and bitter war (though we all assumed it would be going on for a lot, lot longer). Film companies kept changes sides, money kept changing hands at strategic intervals, and early adopters were sleeping restlessly at night, hoping their format would triumph over the other.
Finally, the HD DVD has gone to meet the disk-shredder in the sky. Toshiba, the company actually making HD DVDs, has chosen to no longer continue with it’s format. The first clues were in Vegas, where their stand was particularly small and they remained fairly quiet. HD DVD had plenty going for it – it upscaled DVDs, HD DVDs and HD DVD drive were considerably cheaper than Blu-Ray alternatives and Toshiba had two well established and dominant film companies backing it.
What went wrong? Firstly, Blu-Ray was being distributed to all and sundry in the PS3 console – despite poor sales of the PS3 console, HD DVD didn’t really compete – the final nail in the coffin was Microsoft’s choice not to build HD DVD into the XBOX 360 – it instead offered it as an optional extra at £99 (depending on where you get it). Sony has it’s own film company, and manage to exert some more of it’s influence – eventually to the point where only one film maker was using HD DVD exclusively – HD DVD players may have been cheaper, but there were plenty more PS3s (and hence, Blu-Ray players). This was where Toshiba finally allowed HD DVD to give up the ghost – bring on Blu-Ray!
Sony, to be fair, is probably owed a victory. It’s lost plenty of format wars in the past – more notably the VHS versus Betamax war, and the Minidisc format never took off at all thanks to the USB memory stick. It was much better placed that with Betamax to win this war. I’m just waiting for a Blu-ray drive I can add to my XBOX 360…!!!