DVD War Not Over... Just Beginning

Any hope that the DVD format war may be over due to the arrival of players and discs that support both formats has been swiftly dismissed by proponents of Blu-Ray who cite a variety of reasons why the two formats cannot successfully co-exist.

It appears that Blu-Ray, the format that enjoys the biggest backing from movie studios, has the most to lose from hybrid products and its supporters have used CES to voice their views.

Pure Blu-ray proponents don't like it at all because it lends more credibility to HD DVD. It definitely extends the debate, said analyst Richard Doherty of Envisioneering, on the arrival of hybrid products. The frustration seems to be confusing everyone as some claim that the existence of two formats will make things cheaper for the average consumer, we don't believe that this will unify this industry, said Lucas Covers, chief marketing officer at Philips. It will only create confusion, add complexity and cost, he added.

You know that LG may get an earful from its Blu-Ray support buddies when HD DVD spokesman Mark Knox called the existence of hybrid products, positive. It's not a bad thing. It means there are that many more pieces of HD DVD-compatible hardware out there, which means that many more potential customers for HD DVD movies.

One legitimate concern, raised by Disney, a Blu-Ray supporter, mentions that the hybrid disc proposed by Warner Bros. will be too expensive to make any practical sense to consumers although we have no final information on pricing for such, dual format, discs.

The importance of the PlayStation 3 in this whole mess was stressed even further when Mike Dunn, president worldwide of News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, said: By the end of the first quarter, the format war is over, I'm selling 70,000 discs a week. Sales are doubling every week. ... Average PS3 owners buy 6 discs. This statement should deliver further concern to the Blu-Ray camp as it indicates that many of its supporters are relying on the PS3 for the success of the format. Sony's console may have tonnes of potential but it is currently in no shape to decide the console wars, let alone the DVD format wars.

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