Despite the HD-DVD camp’s recent protestations to the contrary, Gartner believes that the war between Toshiba’s preferred HD format and Sony’s competitive Blu-ray technology will be won by Blu-ray and that it will happen this year.
Even though there have been massive price cuts on HD-DVD hardware – especially stand-alone players produced by Toshiba – Gartner feels that these measures will simply draw out the inevitable conclusion of a battle to decide what may be the last physical format on which people will buy their movies or TV shows.
The primary reason for HD-DVD’s predicted demise that Gartner cites in their report is a lack of support (and therefore movie titles) from the major studios.
It has been speculated that this would be a nearly insurmountable hurdle to overcome since Warner Brothers announced their exclusive support of the Blu-ray format immediately before the opening of the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. The announcement spurred wild speculation as to Paramount’s commitment to the format.
Indeed, consumers seem to already smell the blood and have recently given far more of their dollars to the Blu-ray format.
Apart from consumers who have already purchased an HD-DVD player and/or movies, the biggest group to be potentially impacted by a Blu-ray victory is Microsoft, who have backed the HD-DVD format since its inception and continue to sell HD-DVD player add-on hardware for their popular XBox 360 video game console system. Should the HD-DVD format fail, Microsoft would have to license the Blu-ray technology from competitor Sony in order to maintain viable HD movie playback on their console.