As I predicted well over a year ago, Blu-ray has emerged as the one-and-only HD successor to DVDs. Toshba, one of the original founders of the competitor HD-DVD format, has announced today that they will no longer produce or market HD-DVD players, admitting they “simply had no chance to win.” This decision from Toshiba was expected and comes on the heals of an avalanche of movie studios, retailers, and renters moving to Blu-ray exclusivity.
I’m actually surprised anyone thought HD-DVD could succeed. Sony was clearly not going to give up on Blu-ray, so the only sensible outcome would be a fractured market, split between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Consumers are sick of split formats and many had been sitting out until one is crowned. So the only way for HD-DVD to succeed is if the market stays split, which means it stays small — bad for everyone.
The fight was content owners (Sony = Blu-ray) against player manufactures (Toshiba = HD-DVD). Consumers don’t care what the name on the player says, they care what content they can watch/buy. Trying to force a format by building cheap players without having access to all content is a recipe for failure. Very few movies had been HD-DVD only, while a huge percent of both new and old movies were Blu-ray only.
Now that Blu-ray is the lone format left standing, can someone call Lucas and tell him to hurry up and release Indiana Jones as well as Star Wars!