Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sony Wins HD DVD War - For Better Or Worse

Sony has been declared the winner in the HD DVD wars. Toshiba has announced that it would stop production of it's HD DVD players. This is the final nail in the coffin for Toshiba's HD DVD format after recently losing the support of Warner Brothers, Netflix and Wal-Mart.

This should help make Sony feel a little vindication after having lost the decade long battle against JVC in the 1980's Betamax vs VHS war. That time, the better format lost out. This time we are not so sure. Sony's Blu-Ray HD format is more costly in both the manufacturing of the discs and the set top players themselves. Eventually prices will fall as they did with standard DVD players. But probably not as fast. Most consumers are perfectly happy with their current DVD players and are in no rush to upgrade. With Blu-Ray players hovering in the $400-600 price range, it will take some serious persuasion to get consumers to plunk down their hard earned cash.

Toshiba's HD-DVD players were far less expensive and were not prone to the manufacturing problems that are prevalent with Blu-Ray. The visual quality difference between the two formats was negligible. So it seems that the public now has a format that is more expensive, more error prone, and visually identical to the losing format. Looks like we picked the wrong format once again.

Stupid is as stupid does. Nice going Sony.