DVD War Draws First Blood Heading into CES


With the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas once again upon us, the fight (well, more like a bad game of Twister, to be honest) over a high definition DVD standard began early with Warner Bros.' announcement that the company would dump HD DVD and only support Sony's Blu-ray format going forward. (For more on the differences, or rather lack thereof between the two, see HD Disc War Continues.)

The movie company had been one of the big backers of HD DVD early on, but the studio always hedged its bets with Blu-ray software as well. Now, they've jumped ship–just as I warned before the holidays on the Fox Business channel, and I quote, "Everyone knows you can't trust Hollywood movie studios."

Still, you can only get Shrek the Third in HD DVD format. And there's plenty of confusion among consumers who aren't likely to notice Warner's change of heart. Furthermore, some companies that insisted they would only support one format, such as Target claiming it would only sell Blu-ray players, then have turned around and supported the competing format as well (in Target's case, the retailer sold HD DVD players from Toshiba on their Web sites).

Of course, the whole high-def DVD battle is moot until the studios stop charging outrageously inflated prices for the new discs. And until less expensive players appear. That is about to happen, however. One major computer maker will introduce PCs for less than $700 soon that come with players that handle not only HD DVD and Blu-ray titles but will also record Blu-ray discs. Translation: the disc drives are going to be really cheap, which augurs the introduction of players costing around $200 that will play any darn disc you like this spring.


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About jquain

Technology reporter, writer, and television correspondent, JQ has been covering the computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries for more than 25 years.A contributor to The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, PC Magazine, U.S. News & World Report and many other publications, JQ appears on CBS News television program Up to the Minute and on Fox Business.
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