This era is an age of format wars such as AC vs DC or VHS vs Beta and so on. Usually stakes are high worth a million sometimes even a billion dollars and the battle lines are fierce. However, none was as fierce as the latest Blu-Ray vs HD DVD wars. The sides were divided by some of the most powerful tech giants and it was truly a clash of the titans. Sony and Toshiba had PS3 and Xbox 360 ready to serve as Trojan horses fighting Blu-Ray vs HD DVD respectively. As if the stakes weren’t high already, the specter of an oncoming internet streaming winter loomed like Game of Thrones’ White Walkers. So what happened really? Who won? And more importantly what did it mean?
Lets go back in time a bit. Consider the year 2005. HDTVs were finally available everywhere. However, considering an average man it was still a luxury and not affordable. A study by Leichtman Research group shows an adoption rate of just 12% by the end of that year. Nintendo even declined to make a HDTV compatible version of it’s latest console Wii. It was nearly impossible to buy HD movies with cable or satellite broadcasts left as the only easy options. DVD layer-based up scaling promised to make movies looked better on HDTVs but couldn’t compare withe the resolution of the real thing. Now, Sony and Xbox were ready to place calculated bets on HD Era of gaming and the PS3 would even arrive with a Blu-Ray player built-in. While Microsoft promised plain DVDs with HD DVD add-on in future.
The consoles were welcomed too. The initial players were crudely designed made from leftover laptop parts with slow glitchy performance and costed over $500 (HD DVD) and $1000 (Blu-Ray). Of course with time players became better and cheaper. It was somewhat relieving to see HD formats were eventually released with there DVD counterparts as well as Blu-Ray. Eventually Blu-Ray prevailed but for Sony was it worth it?
BLU-RAY VS HD DVD FIGHT FOR SONY AND TOSHIBAOn one side, Sony promised it’s Blu-Ray vs HD DVD could handle 50 GB data which was 20 GB more. Toshiba however said, in Blu-Ray vs HD DVD, HD DVD was cheaper to manufacture using similar technology as that of a conventional DVD. As for the world, majority stood up for Blu-Ray vs HD DVD had only Universal. Considering the majority, in this clash Blu-Ray vs HD DVD, Blu-Ray won. One possible alternative was having some sort of hybrid players supporting both Blu-Ray and HD DVD. Samsung and LG tried to create some hybrid players but failed. Warner Bros. tried to create expensive dual-sided discs but the never made anything out of it.
With Warner Bros. pulling out it’s support for HD DVD, it was over. Sony had won the Blu-Ray vs HD DVD war with PS3 Trojan horse. This was despite having high Xbox and Wii sales.Price of Blu-Ray vs HD DVD WarThe Blu-Ray vs HD DVD war victory never turned out to be a cash cow to Sony as expected. Blu-Ray never unseated DVD as the primary physical movie delivery format and it is being squeezed out of relevance on the other end by the rise of video on-demand and streaming. This year Sony took a $240 million dollar hit because of the demand of physical media declining faster than expected. It was not helpful in it is ongoing attempts to dig out of it’s massive financial hole. However, Toshiba met with a worse fate.. indignity of selling Blu-Ray players of it’s own and facing the same declining PC and TV sales that has crippled Sony.
BLU-RAY VS HD DVD WAR ENDED.. SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR US
Unfortunately, the Blu-Ray vs HD DVD war separated content for exclusives and caused studios to stagger movie rollouts. Partially as result some old classics are not available in HD even now or just hitting the shelves. Also copy protection is tight as ever. And even the PS4 requires a workaround just to enable video capture for games including DRM and other headaches. While schemes like digital copies and Ultra-violets have increased some portability moving content is more complicated than ever.
On the other hand we’re given a movie experience at home that is rivaled at theaters. The streaming push is bringing set-up boxes that support more than one service. This doesn’t mean Blu-Ray vs HD DVD was the last video format war. The battlegrounds have changed from Blu-Ray vs HD DVD.