High Def with that?
It might not be the most exciting name ever but the Samsung BD-P1000 is the first shot in the high definition DVD wars that promises to be interesting for no other reason that it proves the consumer electronics industry has a very short memory.
So in one corner is Blu-ray backed primarily by Sony and in the other HD DVD lead by Toshiba, each has lots of partners including other tech brands but also film studios and other interested parties. The situation is of course utter madness and to have two competing and incompatible formats means at some point either Blu-ray or HD DVD will get a bloody nose and lose their supported parties a boat load of cash.
My twist on it is that it’s good old hubris on the part of Sony. Miffed over Betamax, Minidisc and UMD but also vexed by not picking up a cent from royalites from CD, Sony is determined to own at least one format that’s adopted by the mass market. The portents so far aren’t that convincing. Blu-ray is significantly more expensive to make than HD DVD, the discs are more fragile apparently and in a side by side comparison with HD DVD no one can tell the difference. Yes the pedantic will remark the Blu-ray has a larger capacity but then so did Betamax and look what happened, and with over the air pipes getting bigger all the time and huge hard discs will anyone be really bothered whether the shiny disc holds 15Gb or 25.
So what does the consumer do? Wait is the short answer. Most of us have just got hold of our first DVD/Hard disc recorders and the idea of betting on who will win this contest is too much for the credit card to bear. I’ll be keeping an eye on what happens as it’s always fun to see technology companies duke it out and maybe in twelve months we’ll have a clear and HD picture of who will prevail.