A few weeks ago, my face-to-face IS 7010 students talked about the high-definition DVD format war. Apple, Sony, Disney and Fox supported Blu-ray. Warner’s defection from the HD DVD camp last month was an indication that Blu-ray was winning the battle, according to this New York Times article.
The rival HD DVD format was supported by Universal, Paramount, Toshiba, Microsoft and Intel, according to this Wikipedia article.
Of course, Blu-ray discs won’t play in a standard HD DVD player, and vice versa. Engadget has a chart that compares the two formats here.
This format war is reminiscent of the Beta vs VHS video tape battle in the 1970s and 1980s.
It seems that this format war is over, and Blu-ray has won. Wal-Mart had been pushing HD DVD in its stores, but the company announced yesterday that they will no longer sell HD DVD movies, according to the New York Times. The shift was announced on Wal-Mart’s corporate blog in this article. Engadget has sounded the death knell, partly because Wal-Mart sells 20% of the DVD in the USA.
Toshiba made one desperate last attempt to promote their HD DVD technology with an expensive commercial during the Super Bowl earlier this month. However, Netflix and Blockbuster had previously announced they would support Blu-ray. Now Toshiba is suspending their HD DVD marketing.
Computer manufacturers have long wanted a single standard high-def DVD format. Software publishers don’t really need high-def DVDs and the moment, and game publishers have to go along with whatever format is used in the game consoles.