Source: Yahoo News
Written By: Sue Zeidler
Blu-Ray winner in DVD war: industry group
Technology group Forrester Research on Wednesday declared Blu-Ray, a new DVD format backed by electronics makers led by Sony Corp as the winner in a heated battle over next-generation DVD technology.
“Two groups are competing for control of high-definition DVD formats to be launched in the spring of 2006. After a long and tedious run up to launch, it is now clear to Forrester that the Sony-led Blu-Ray format will win,” said Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler in a report.
For years the Sony group and a rival set of companies led by Toshiba Corp which back HD DVD technology have been locked in a heated battle over whose standards will be used to make a new generation of DVD players that promise consumers sharper pictures and manufacturers new revenues.
A key to which technology wins has been the support of Hollywood’s major film studios, which until only recently had been split evenly with three majors supporting Blu-Ray and three behind HD-DVD. Both formats deliver movies in sharp high-definition and store more data than traditional DVDs, enabling them to offer interactive features such as games.
Earlier this month, however, Paramount Home Entertainment said it would release digital movies in the Blu-Ray format, becoming the first major studio to support both rival formats.
Paramount, owned by Viacom Inc., had previously said it would release titles in HD DVD. Paramount’s support of Blu-Ray was prompted by the failure of the two factions to join forces before the new high-definition DVD players went on sale, industry sources have said.
HD DVD supporter Warner Bros. has declined to comment on reports it may soon follow Paramount’s lead by endorsing both.
FORMAT WAR, BAD IDEA
The formats are incompatible, which Hollywood fears will lead to consumer confusion. Industry watchers believe one format will ultimately win like in the case of the high-stakes home video battle between VHS and Betamax in the 1980s.
Schadler of Forrester said in his report that Sony learned from its painful Betamax loss that the format with the most industry support will win, and it set out years ago to assemble an “impregnable lineup of partners.”
He said a format battle would be risky for both sides. “Unless the HD DVD group abandons the field, it will be another two years before consumers are confident enough of the winner to think about buying a new format DVD player. In the meantime, they will expand their video on-demand, downloadable video, and Internet viewing habits,” he said.
Sony and Toshiba held high-level talks earlier this year to try to unify their formats and avoid an all-out standards war, but those discussions broke down.
Backers of HD DVD were not immediately available to comment on the Forrester report, but in an interview earlier this week, HD DVD spokesman Mark Knox said he believes two formats will ultimately reach the market but that HD DVD remains hopeful a unified format will be agreed upon.
“Our position has not changed. We’re always open to finding a way to unify the format, but we want to make sure every parameter is available for discussion, whether its on the disc structure, file format,” and other issues, he said.
“Let’s lay everything on the table and do our due diligence. Unfortunately some of the replies we have received, are that some of the parameters, particularly on the disc structure, are not up for discussion,” he said.