Truce in the High-Definition DVD Wars
Kim Komando offers some good news for those who have been waiting for the high definition DVD wars to play themselves out.
There are two high-definition formats: HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The formats are incompatible; so many buyers have been hesitant to commit. Perhaps you remember the VHS and Betamax format war of the 1980s?
To get around this issue, some studios release movies on both formats. But many stick to one. More movies have been released on Blu-ray.
A solution is on the horizon. LG recently released a player that handles both HD DVD and Blu-ray. At $1,200, it is pricey; however, it won’t soon become obsolete. Samsung will also release a dual-format player this year.
Total Hi Def (THD) discs are also coming this year. These discs will contain both HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of a movie. Warner Bros. developed THD, but other studios may adopt it. The discs won’t be much more expensive than other high-definition discs. High-definition movies currently cost $30 to $40.
If, like me, you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can simply specify that you want HD discs instead of standard DVDs, so the cost of the movies themselves isn’t much of an issue. The problem has been that it’s too risky to bet on a format yet and the resulting lack of economies of scale necessary to bring prices down to a reasonable level.
Dual-former discs and/or players would, obviously, render the format issue moot and should kick demand for players up several notches.