Friday, January 5, 2007

Not a review, but important news

The Hi-Def DVD scene is complicated and unsettled, with two competing and incompatible formats: Blu-ray and HD DVD. Picture quality can be great with either, but Blu-ray (with more expensive players) offers longer playing time, and has support from more movie studios, and more consumer electronics companies and PC makers.

Some movie makers and hardware makers support both formats, some just one, and some support neither.

Despite the huge success of Hi-Def TVs, many consumers have been hesitant to invest in Hi-Def DVD players because they don’t want to get stuck with obsolete equipment if they pick the losing format, in a replay of the Betamax VCR situation.

At next week’s Consumer Electronics Show, things will get simpler – and more complicated.

Warner Bros. plans to present a new dual-format disc, “Total HD,” that will hold movies that can be played on both HD DVD players and Blu-ray players
LG Electronics is expected to announce new DVD players that can play both formats.

While this new flexibility might entice hesitant consumers to make an investment now, it delays the possible victory of one format, and increases the chance that a third competitor, or downloading, will be the victor.

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