Why The HD-DVD / Blu-Ray Wars Are Not Over

documentary_dvd_mission_accomplished.jpg After no doubt unfurling a huge banner in its offices that said “Mission Accomplished,” the Blu-ray Disc Association has declared that major combat operations in the Hi Def DVD Wars are over, and Blu-ray is the victor.

Oh yeah? Sorry, Blu-ray Disc Association, but I think that you are obviously suffering from an extreme case of “premature evictoration:” the declaration of a victory long before your opponent has actually been vanquished. As if just saying you won makes it so.

Sure, some of your backers might buy your load of B.S. — because you’re saying what they desperately need to hear — but it’s entirely possible that three-four years from now, you’ll still be bogged down in the trenches, begging for a surge in advertising dollars that will hopefully spur sales.

In any event, back here in the reality-based world, it hardly seems like these wars are over. The fact that you were able to backdoor Blu-ray players into PS3 is a smart move, but hardly a killer blow, and the additional fact that for one month, Blu-ray sales eclipsed HD-DVD sales is nice, but hardly indicative of your eventual victory. Especially since you didn’t even win the year.

Here’s the deal: the winner will be declared when the other format becomes a punchline, like 8-Track or Beta or Laserdisc. After the market has spoken, consistenly, and for a long period of time. When the natural consumers of your product — people like me, who have hundreds of DVDs as well as an HDTV, but who been burnt by format wars in the past — are ready to make a decision, knowing that our choice won’t just disappear in a couple of years.

And right now, the market hasn’t spoken on this issue, except to say, “go away and leave me alone.”

Until it does, all claims of victory in the Hi Def DVD Format Wars will be subject to massive amounts of ridicule and flagged as cases of premature evictoration, and treated as such.

4 Responses to “Why The HD-DVD / Blu-Ray Wars Are Not Over”

  1. Tyson says:

    Yes, Blu-ray’s pronouncement sounded a bit like “Dewey defeats Truman!” to me. The funny thing is the battle has not even begun! Consumers are simply not willing to plunk down high triple-digits on a product that only incrementally betters their current viewing experience. When these get to the sub-$200 mark and purchasing this product is no longer a major household line item, then let’s talk.

  2. Scott Hettrick says:

    While you’re right that the consumer will be the ultimate “decider” of which format wins, and it’s too early to call at this point, Blu-ray can certainly reasonably claim victory in cornering almost the entire CE industry and in the battle of the number of players on the market right now with PS3, and the number of studios supporting and titles on the market. That gap will only get bigger in the coming months, which is where Blu-ray can legitimately claim victory.

  3. Jim says:

    Scott,

    See, I wonder if the backdoor market penetration (dirty!) via the PS3 is all that significant. I would think that it depends on whether the Blu-ray was the major factor in the PS3 purchase, or whether it was just a bell & whistle to a primarily gamer-oriented audience.

    The question is whether or not those PS3s translate into a sustained ass-kicking in terms of Blu-ray discs sold vs. HD-DVD discs sold, and whether the gap you describe translates into Blu-ray becoming the defacto standard.

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