Is this whole high-def format war pointless?

The end is looking nigh for the HD-DVD format. It’s been a hectic ride for the consumer in what’s really a lose-lose format war. If you’re one of the early adopters, you probably cracked onto the whole issue that this one was going to take a while.

Now that Warner have jumped ship and joined almost everyone else over at the Blu-Ray side, HD-DVD really only have Toshiba, Microsoft, Universal & Paramount to lose before the entire HD-DVD thing crumbles… and the rumours are already running rampant suggesting just that. Paramount have already come out denying that they’ll jump saying the “current plan is to support the HD DVD format” but because the word “current” is used, that could very well mean tomorrow or next week they’ve changed their mind.

That’s the problem with this game… nothing is certain.

One thing is for certain: one of the biggest reasons why people buy a PlayStation 3 is because it has one of the best Blu-Ray drives in it especially for a low price. Unlike many of the set-top Blu-Ray players out there, it’s actually got a degree of upgradability and firmware control.

Now, if Microsoft had released the Xbox 360 with HD-DVD built in and not just made it a DVD drive, HD-DVD could well be winning this thing.

But to really mess with your heads, something interesting was said by the head of Seagate yesterday.

Bill Watkins yesterday said “People are saying Blu-ray won the war but who cares? The war is over physical distribution versus electrical distribution, and Blu-ray and HD lost that.” He went on to say “In this, flash memory and hard drives are on the same side. The war is over and the physical guys lost.”

So what’s the result of all of this?

How many people do you know who actually have and use a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player?

I’ve got a couple of HD-DVD’s at home and I’ve maybe used one once. The only other person I know who watches movies on a Blu-Ray is Charlie.

With many of us acquiring our media through a digital connection, storage companies like Seagate, Samsung, and Western Digital are emerging more as winners here as more of us turn to a medium that adapts to us. We can connect with downloadable media. We can work with it and it changes as we progress. We’re not stuck with a format that needs changing every ten seconds or is involved in a format war leaving some of us with less cash and an ego that’s been drop kicked by the suits of Hollywood.

I wonder if Bill from Seagate is onto something. Even if Blu-Ray does win, does it also technically lose?

Sources: CNet, Financial Times

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