Tuesday, June 12, 2007
While the Blu-ray format has the technical advantage of being able to store significantly more data on a single disc, HD-DVD has the advantage of being a cheaper technology overall. The cost factor, along with a series of promotional blunders made by Sony over the past few months, have caused the HD-DVD format to have more popularity, though HD-DVD's lead has reportedly diminished over the past few weeks.
Of course the obvious way to break the stalemate has been to release a device that could play both HD-DVD's and Blu-ray discs. Such a device would be a safe buy for anyone who fears investing in the wrong technology and would be hugely profitable to any manufacturer that could produce a competently functioning model. The trouble is that there are a number of engineering problems with creating such a device. These problems are largely a function of the fact that the information of each format is encoded in different layers of the discs. Such problems aren't insurmountable, but made it so that early efforts at players that could conquer them were rather expensive. These players, which were released last year were so expensive that they weren't worth buying- consumers could have bought both a Blu-ray player and an HD-DVD player and still saved money as compared to buying the combo player.
Now there are devices on the market that will play both formats that don't cost that much more than a normal Blu-ray player. While these devices can be two or three times as expensive as an HD-DVD player, they represent a much more reasonable alternative than the dual format players that were available just a few months ago.
While an affordable dual format high definition DVD player might end the format war as far as consumers are concerned; Toshiba, Sony, and there respective backers will probably be vying for the leading part of the market for some time to come. That's because there's still a lot of money at stake in the form of the royalties and licensing fees that are to be made off of all of the software and video titles that will be published in the winning format.