Friday, March 02, 2007
The trouble with this from the point of view of consumers is that they don't want to be left with the losing technology and at this point there's no way to predict which format will win out in the end. (If there was a way to predict that, the format war would be over!) It's kind of a catch twenty two for Sony and Toshiba as well as consumers. In order to become the dominant format, consumers have to start buying hardware and movie titles in one format or the other. Then whichever one seems to be the most popular will attract the most support from movie studios and software companies. Once the majority of software and movie titles a published and distributed in one format, that format will gain the confidence of consumers and there will be a clear winner. The problem is that the movie studios and software companies need the consumers to show confidence in one format over the other before they'll fully support that format as an industry, and the consumers need the software companies and movie studios to release the majority of titles in one format or the other before they'll have confidence in that format.
Both Toshiba and Sony, as well as other companies that are allied with each, are now attempting to rock the boat in favor of their formats by releasing attractive products for the holidays. Sony is hoping that its new Play Station 3 video gaming platform which can play movies off of Blu-ray discs will move the market in its favor, and Toshiba is hoping that Microsoft's Xbox 360 with its additional HD-DVD drive will do the same for the HD-DVD format. Both are also offering free movies on their own proprietary discs in order to encourage people that their formats are worth investing in. Only time will tell how any of this turns out.