Gartner Predicts HD Format War Winner

HddvdripMassive technology research house Gartner says that the HD format war that has been raging for nearly two years will end in 2008. Guess who they think will take the prize?

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.

[computerworld via Engadget]



  1. Brian

    Can you imagine how much Sony is going to make Microsoft pay for the right to use Blu-ray? Seeing as doing so will only strengthen XBox360's hold over PS3 in the gaming market. Bill must be rolling his eyes at that price he will inevitably have to pay. If I was Sony I would refuse to give Microsoft a liscense to use Blu-ray. At least until PS3 surpasses XBOX 360 in the market.


  2. A Navales

    I don't think it will be in Sony's best interest to do that. Sony's Computer Division SCEA(VAIO & Playstation) needs a lot of licences from MS. One good example is Sony's Sonic Stage software for their MP3 players.. Initial versions were having problems with windows. VC1 was a problem initialy for Blu-ray when it started… and guess who was behind that..


  3. Hassan

    Waoo… Well actually I saw that coming when Warner Brothers transfered to Blu-ray. I bought HD-DVD player for my Xbox and also Toshabia HD-DVD player for my home theater system. I guess should have waited. I don't know what to do now as HD-DVD is going to be doomed.

    All I can do is cross my figures and hope some how Toshiba and Microsoft use their magic wand (i.e. money, power and name) to somehow save HD-DVD because that is going to save a huge stuid investment I have done on HD-DVD.


  4. Reagan Podelec

    I Laugh at you Blu-Ray supporters… Geese lets let Sony plays us like dolls. You guys do realize you are paying Sony's debts to other companies to develop the Blu-Ray format? Toshiba Corp just bought the manufacturing plant that puts the processors in Sony goods such as the PS3? What makes me sick is that Sony preyed on the youth to buy gaming machines, and then sell them movies. Kids are deciding on a inferior format for us grown-ups to use. The Blu-Ray markets will get a huge shock when profile 2.0 hits the market. Geeze Samsung just pulled the up5000 of the shelves of stores for its profile 1.1 blunder, that left 5000 customers helpless… Interactivity, web-enabled content, and other cool stuff found on Toshiba HD DVD format still has to be desired by Blu-Ray the Sleeping Giant. Oh well, like someelse has said many times before, We Arn't the Brightest Species in the Universe. We like expensive things that are not complete. Sorry that is unless you buy a PS3, powered by a Toshiba chip…

    HD DVD may die, but for those that it has touched on its short Journey, we owners of HD DVD knew all along what HD was supposed to be….

    Oh by the way HD DVD players are cheap and they upconvert DVD's better than Blu-Ray machines.


  5. David.S

    WooHoo!! yay Blu-Ray were No.1!!
    if you're not Blu its sucks to be you!
    HAHAHA!! I laugh at all who bought into HD-DVD I hope you enjoy your new doorstopers and paperweights. Blu is where its at, baby!! *runs around like a drunk half naked frat boy*


  6. Ron

    How soon people forget how Sony tried to gather info about people witout their consent.
    Will this be done with their BLU RAY as well and no I dont support either system as I was waiting for the war to end.


  7. McGrath Dot Ca

    Reagan Podelec: Just watch this funny video and you will see what your state of mind look like as a HD-DVD supporter:

    Btw, your statement about Sony selling to the young gamers is false. Adults(18+) are playing with the PS3. I checked many polls online.

    Not everyone are into web stuff or even extras. So the profile 1.0 can still play Blu-Ray/DVD(upconvert) movies but won't be able to go online. DVD did not have web access either but it did not stop it from being sold in millions. I got a PS3 so I'm safe.

    David.S: Don't laugh at them. They took a risk but lost. Of course, I did wrote the A2 and A3 were possible doorstop on my blog. They were very popular post.

    Ron: Collecting information could be done by Toshiba. Woooo, it has web access!!!! ;)

    Kev: We are children to someone else :D

    I still recommend that current HD-DVD supporters buy the player for backup. Hybrid players will be a costly niche market for now.


  8. Dan Brammer

    I agree with much of what Reagan Podelec said. HD DVD was the better format. Why? Okay all of the Blu Ray cheerleaders will talk about the storage capacity of the disc. Granted. But upconverting regular DVD's is not good on the Blu Ray players and if you read the customer reviews on many websites, you will see that Blu Ray players are still having issues playing even Blu Ray discs….
    And By the waym Samsung has a shiny new DUAL format player for HD DVD and Blu Ray. That should be the future.
    Microsoft will likely NOT buy Blu Ray from SOny. The HD DVD peripheral was not a huge seller anyway and why not just ignore the movie playback. Did anybody actually use their Playstations and Xboxs as a DVD player? Most people already own a DVD player anyway and in this world of downloading movies, who is going to pay SOny $32 for their movies anyway.
    I hope that everyone realizes that BluRay is not a gift for Home Theatre lovers.
    It is a gift from Sony and their partners TO Sony and their partners. They get to eliminate alot of the movie downloaders and get $32 per movie at the same time.
    BluRay may win, but Most parents and single people will opt to keep their regular DVD players. That means that although BluRay might beat out HD DVD, they won't win against regular DVD for a long time. Or at least until BluRay movies come down in price.
    I will NEVER pay $30+ for a movie.


  9. DrVex007

    The Xbox 360 is doing very well for one simple reason. The games!
    The games on the PS3 are terrible. They're churing them out as fast as they can to catch up to Microsoft, but sadly, the games are usually terrible.
    If you like to play games at home or online, the Xbox 360 is the only way to go. At least this year anyway.
    Who cares about movie playback anyway. Buy a standalone player once they drop below $200


  10. Jeff

    Everyone forgets that it was Toshiba that decided to break away from the development of Blu-ray with an inferior product in an effort to rush the player to market. Had they only waited…

    Blu-ray is clearly a better player in every way and time will see more bells and whistles and a lower price. The only thing we have to thank HD-DVD for is the competition. Without their aggressive pricing strategies, we'd be paying a lot more for our blu-ray players right now! It won't be long before we see $99 blu-ray players and $250 blu-ray disk recorders.


  11. Carl

    I find the simularity between this war and the VHS/Beta war of the past fasinating. Beta had more features and better quality than VHS but VHS could play longer tapes with poorer quality. Because of VHS's ability to run longer tapes they won the war even though most people never used the longer play tapes because of the poorer quality. We now have Blue Ray vs HDdvd and Blue Ray is winning the battle because they can play a longer disk even though they have fewer features than HDDVD. Common sense should say that people should go for the lower price more features but once again we see advertising and hype getting people to go for the lower quality product.


  12. Vic

    It's taken almost 25 years but sony has finally stuck it to the gullible consumer. They learned fromthe Beta vs Vhs war. A better product will always lose out to a better marketted product.
    congratulations to all the "WINNERS".
    You sure are!


  13. Jon

    Well if I had bought an HD-DVD player I would say that the Blu Ray sucks too but the reality is that the format is much better and Sony was brilliant in combining it with the PS3… it's what I would have done. Thank you to HD DVD for the competition and price war. It helped make High def players and movies cheaper for everyone to buy.

    I personally bought myself a PS3 so i'm safe with respect to Blu Ray, and after playing both the 360 and the PS3, I have to say I am really happy with my choice… intergrated wireless, runs silent, Blu Ray, and more games coming this year, what a machine!


  14. McGrath Dot Ca

    Dan Brammer: HD-DVD is 51GB but not used at all. But Blu-Ray has higher capacity in labs.

    Toshiba had issues at first too. Are reviews about old players or new players? Plus, Toshiba is the only major one doing players.

    PS2 was used has a DVD player by many. Now, it's cheap. Many use the PS3 to play movies.

    HD-DVD supporter are quick to say movie price is higher but don't mentioned that they pay the same. Was HD-DVD movies supposed to cost less to make?

    Who said you must pay $32 for a movie? Blu-Ray movies won't be sold under the price of a DVD for a while. I would hope to pay $1 or $2-3 more soon but not $10 more. I will wait for sales. Renting is also a good solution. I will keep my current collection of DVDs. That's the main competitor to Blu-Ray now. Downloading for now don't count for HD movies because you can't have the same quality(smaller file size than on the disk).

    DrVex007: I care about movie playback because I have one less player in my setup. Plus, I can play a few games too if I want. :D

    It's funny that many don't like Sony. Granted they made errors in the past but this time they are not alone in Blu-Ray. And they got the studios supports(5 out 7)


  15. Ron

    I am still not totally convinced that even with a single format(Blu-Ray)that the masses will go out in droves and buy the new technology and replace the old. With the HDMI direct digital connections on regular dvd players of ALL prices there just isn't that difference in the picture quality that we saw between VHS and DVD when it first hit the market. As well, you really can't see any significant difference unless your television is at least 50 inches or larger. The new surround formats that will only be available on the new discs will also require a complete update of electronics to hear them.

    Time will tell, but until we see prices drop drastically for both the players and movies along with the elimination of operational problems with these first and second generation players, in my opinion, the jury is still out as to how this will all play out.


  16. gary morris

    David S

    You also suck as your the one that would buy crap if it had a better appeal
    You are the one that would follow what ever your told
    You would buy whatever they tell you is better
    Your the type that buy every piece of crap they tell you to buy
    so laugh all you want how much crap have you got or bought because they tell you to and now it's obsolete


  17. Antoine

    If Blu-ray wins, ps3 wins the console wars. if hd-dvd wins, xbox 360 wins the console war. but one problem: the wii takes the lead in the console war, which means that neither console with the blu-ray or hd dvd is by itself.


  18. Jeff C

    I read another post quite similare to this one and someone there made a interesting point. If MS were to really step into the format war they could, all MS would have to do is drop a bunch of $$$'s and buy a movie studio or 2 and whala we are back to a long drawn out war.


  19. McGrath Dot Ca

    Ron: DVD is here to stay(digital advantage). A comedy don't need to be bought again in HD unless it has more extras and you are fan for example.

    With the price of HDTV lowering, the cost to get a 50 inch. 1080P would be decent soon for many.

    I do agree that more recent equipment will be needed to take it at it's full potential. I have old stuff(5.1, 720p) but I'm still able able to watched it all the same. The major part is the HDTV and this year more and more people will buy one. At least, they will be ready for next season of TV. ;)


  20. McGrath Dot Ca

    Jeff C: Buying a studio(majority holder) is not like buying a small company for MS. This would take time that HD-DVD don't have. If MS would had acted, they would had done so many months ago.

    A part from buying a studio, they could had made a HD-DVD Xbox 360. They could lower the price of the HD-DVD addon to $99 but it's still $180(BestBuy-US).

    They may surprise us but I would not count on that. They prefer to sell via Xbox live anyway(HD light movies). ;)


  21. Greg

    By the time any of you have built up a movie library, both technologies will be inferior. The future is file transmission, physical media is a ridiculous waste of money, almost as bad as buying cell phones right now or MP3 players. I suppose if you like to throw your money around then buy whatever makes you happy today, cause tomorrow it will all be useless.
    Cheers, Greg


  22. Emcee

    Well, Sony still sucks. I still won't buy a blu ray rip off.

    I'm satisfied with regular DVDs anyways. And so are most people. For this reason, Blu ray is doomed to fail also. HD-DVD may go first (though I think a few people have been a little premature in predicting its demise), but neither of these products is the future.

    Most people, excluding the super-geeks and other forms of so-called "early adopters" don't really care to see their favourite stars in such clarity that their pores zits stand out on their plasma screens. It really doesn't improve the viewing experience. Most people aren't going to buy a hi def player of any kind.

    The real story here is not how many more blu ray players were sold versus HD-DVD. The real story here is how few of either format have been sold. Most people just don't want it at all.


  23. RNC

    Blu-Ray winning the HD format war may improve sales of the PS3, but it will not be the deciding factor in the console war between the PS3 and Xbox360.

    People may buy more PS3s, but as long as the console lacks good games, it will fail as a game console and people will turn to the Xbox360 or the Wii for gaming entertainment. But when Blu-Ray players start to come down in prices, the appeal of the PS3 can potentially go down.

    In order for the PS3 to stand a chance in staying afloat in the console war, they need good games. But that opens up a totally different discussion.

    I sincerely doubt that the Xbox360 not having a built-in HD-DVD player is an oversight for Microsoft. Afterall, their sights are set on downloadable movie sales through Live. Once Blu-Ray is established as the definitive HD format, they can include the Blu-Ray player into Xbox360 if they want. Although the cost of the license may be huge, it's a small investment for Microsoft to ensure the viability of the game console in the long run — again, as long as the console has good games.


  24. Dave

    Dan B WHAT????? I have the PS3 and my friend burns Movies for me puts them on a memory stick and I down Load it onto my PS3 they play Just great so I haven't got that problem maybe just playing the burned disk on a regular Blu Ray Player doesn't play dunno
    As for Up converting I watched the Movie Cars on HD-DVD and On Blue Ray colours Bled sickly on the HD but very little Bleed on the Blu ray
    on the upconverting just an observation


  25. AID

    EMCEE!! How can you say sony sucks. If you think most people are happy with regualr DVD's your wrong. I bet you said the same thing about your VHS.. Blu is the future and there is no way around it. The quality of picture on a full 1080p t.v is remarkable and uncomparable. Buy your sell a PS3, game for a bit, watch a blu-ray, and enjoy it.


  26. Alex



  27. Mario Jakobi

    I have 2 Blue-Ray players for my computer from different companies. Both will not play blue-ray discs that implement that new security feature. I have 5 discs that will not play past the main menu. I have 10 other discs that play fine. I have yet to hear back from the customer support teams of either player. So in essence I have spent close to $1400.00 on computer equipment that is not doing 100 percent of it's job. I also own an HD player for my home entertainment system which I have had no problems with any disc that I have puchased for it. If the movie makers that support the faulty Blue-Ray format would also release their movies in HD format they would sell more movies and isn't that what they want. I will not purchase anymore blue-ray discs until the issue with the 5 that do not play is resolved. My vote for the best format stands for HD.


  28. Badnomad

    Maybe Dave bought the wrong player…..I have an inexpensive upconverting player running on my HD projector at 160" diagonal. The real test for my upconversion was old TV series (eg Star Trek)…..The pictures are crystal clear, and, let's face it, you don't need to be able to count Captain Kirk's nose hairs to enjoy the picture quality. Stanard DVD movies are even better, and one thing I have found with Hi-Def from my broadcast provider, is that it really has no great advantage for anything except some sporting events and concerts, (although Mick Jagger and David Crosby are kind of scary in HD!)
    As to PS3 and XBOX360, they are losing to Wii simply because they have substandard controllers.
    And please, whether you support one, or the other format, there is no excuse for childish name-calling in apublic forum……all that does is show who the real idiots are!


  29. Badnomad

    And yes solid state media/online media are the ways of the future…..the only problem is that it will be awhile before there is a 17GB/40GB chip available for the $.04 that it costs to manufacture a disk.(actually it will be awhile before a chip that size is even available, at any price.) This is okay if you don't mind paying $300+ for each movie.


  30. McGrath Dot Ca

    Alex: Blu-Ray is 50GB and HD-DVD is 51GB. It's not used yet so 30GB is the norm for now for HD-DVD.

    You are the first one to talk about Solid-state but you are wrong for movies because it's a read only media that is needed. The current war just show how bad it is. If they launched something new after Blu-Ray, it would be something that read DVD, Blu-Ray and the "Super Blu-Ray". By then, downloading will be the best way to get HD with Blu-Ray quality(50GB downloads) and troubles with bandwidth would had been work out. How many are capped right now.

    Mario: You did not add the models and what software you use. You may need a firmware update for those drives. You can answer me on my blog since you left the comment above there. ;)


  31. Waethorn

    For anybody thinking that Microsoft is going to lose out, think again. Microsoft already supports both formats – their WMV9 codec is the basis behind VC-1 (which is supported on both disc formats). Sony is already a Microsoft partner too. Microsoft only went with Toshiba because of their previous history in the Entertainment & Devices market. Toshiba was a big supporter of the Portable Media Center device specification, and also built the Zune Gen 1 devices.


  32. Justin

    I've cheated. I own both the Blu-ray and HD-DVD players, with dozen of movies on both. My concern is if we really threw our hands in the air and declared Blu-Ray the format winner, what about those movies that are exclusive to HD-DVD's? If today you ran out to buy the more costly B.R. player, you won't be able to watch The Transformers, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Politics aside, this is entertainment. Sitting back watching a good movie after work is really the objective. Let's not lose sleep over this. I've done everything the cheap way:PS3, and Toshiba's HD-DVD player, which is quite affordable now. I should know, I sell them everyday. If your unsure, just wait. Like everything electronic, prices drop. Spoil yourself, get both. There are great film titles on both formats.


  33. Ray

    Sing along with me folks!

    Money makes the world go around,the world go around, the world go around.

    Money makes the world go around, the world go around, the world go around….


  34. Perplexed

    Not sure where all this Blu-Ray mania comes from: I recently read an excellent explanation of HD resolution and it turns out a Blu-Ray movie playing on a 1080p TV versus a 1080i player playing on a 1080i TV have the EXACT SAME resolution. It's true, at least as I understood it — it's because your true 'source' in your system configuration are the movies, not the players. Movies are filmed at 24 frames-per-second, requiring the 2:3 pulldown feature in your TV…this results in the exact same resolution/output from the player to the television. Here's the link to the article to read it for yourself. Of course, it's true that Blu-Ray is CAPABLE of more, but it has no true source to play, and there will be an entirely new format to argue over by the time studios (if ever) change this. So, if you're a supporter of Blu-Ray you're paying more for the players, more for the discs in order to get the same resolution – Congrats!

    And, who really cares about storage? How many of you are going to fill disc after disc? Maybe I'm not a big enough nerd, but I probably have a total of < 20 gigs of data I'd like backed up….I couldnt care less if I have to use several HD DVD discs to back it up versus 1 Blu-Ray. If you really need a lot of storage, you can get a terabyte of external USB storage for <$200 now….


  35. darryl rawluk

    hd was bound to crash as movies are harder to copy on blu ray then hd hence sony,disney, and warners will back blu ray.untill hackers start copying blu ray.then we go to the next tecn. and the losers will be the consumers


  36. Justin

    ….almost forgot! FYI in case it wasn't mentioned anywhere in this posting of Gigs this and upconvert that, all this is futile without a HD TV. You won't experiece anything in high defintion on a 27" tv you've had kicking around for the better part of a decade!


  37. Jake1234

    The only reason MS backed HD-DVD was to draw out the format war and give them time to release an online distribution service. They couldn't give a frack about any of the physical formats and were hoping that continued consumer confussion would lead both to fail.


  38. pm

    If it had been a fair market – all studios releasing on both formats – hd dvd almost certainly would've won (if only because it's cheaper). But since Sony owns a good portion of the studios (plus influence on others), they controlled the market and basically told consumers what they were getting instead of letting them choose. I've said for a while "hd dvd -should- win, but blu-ray will."


  39. Justin

    Both to fail? Have you even seen a high defintion movie? HD is not going anywhere, as a matter of fact, the US is going strictly to HD on all there airwaves (television programs) very soon. And I don't think now consumers are confused, there's vanilla and chocolate. Which do you prefer? (Unsure which format to buy- pick your favorite movie and see which format it's on)


  40. Simon Cohen

    It's amazing to see how many comments on this (and the many other HD format pieces we've posted) are talking about winners and losers. Apparently each format has some pretty die-hard fans. What seems to be missing is an acknowledgement that as long as one format eventually emerges as the single HD format, we all – as consumers – win. Isn't an end to the war what we've all been asking for since it began?


  41. Victor Hooper

    This is huge news that most people seem to be oblivious to. In a few years, when you go to buy the latest movie-it will be on Blu-ray and everyone will be forced into buying a Blu-ray disk player. I think that as of now Blu-ray players and the whole HD experience is far too expancive then the standard DVD witch as a result will hold the market for some time. Most people would never spend $30+ on a movie, so the price clearly has to drop. In the next decade however, Sony will make billions as HD becomes afordable and Blu-ray disks become the norm. Keep in mind that by this time the 4.7 GB DVD will not hold enough info for most people so the 25 GB Blu-Ray R-W will be introduced as the standard recording format. This is clarly good news for Sony.


  42. pm

    I agree with Simon that an end to the war is generally good (especially for people like me who decided at the beginning to stick with standard dvd's until all this is sorted out…maybe longer :) ). But I think it would've been better to not have a war at all. If all the companies had agreed on one format before release (easier said than done!), we wouldn't be in this. I'm not a financial expert but if Sony had backed hd-dvd (ie. never developed blu-ray at all) wouldn't they have made more money? Lower production cost + same retail price = more profit. Maybe they were banking on blu-ray winning so consumers would feel compelled to buy more Sony movies just because (on the winning format) there would be more of them – but that's silly, right?


  43. pm

    Oops, I forgot about licensing fees, that can add to profits too. Still, one format would've been easier on consumers. :)


  44. Unbiasedgamer0_0

    the PS3 will lose. Blu ray might win. The PS3 will lose because 3 games does not a console make. (Ratchet and Clank, Drake's Fortune and Metal Gear Solid four) If Microsoft includes hd dvd players, hd dvd will win because the 360 has, among others: Halo 3,Call of Duty 4, Game Of the Year Bioshock and solid state media.


  45. Brendon Clune

    I'd be surprised if blu ray won because if u look at not only the players themselves but the tv's and gaming systems that bak these products, HD DVD has a big lead aside from setbacks (Warner Brothers…) The Xbox 360 is much more poular then the PS3 and the HD plaayer are much cheaper then the blu ray ones. You also have to look at the media on each format, as sad as it is 2 say this, the first side 2 allow porn studios to record on their format will gain a huge upper hand and sony has been known to be quite reluctant of that i think it's clear that the batle belongs to HD