Advantages Did the best format win?
Disadvantages Or did the best marketing swing it!
At the time of writing Blue-ray has won the battle to become the next generation media of choice in our living rooms. Following a number of high profile defections to the Blue-ray camp by studios and retailers alike, Toshiba conceded defeat to the Sony Corp led Blue-ray format. In truth, HD-DVD received body blow after body blow, most notably when Warner Studios decided to release the films and shows it owned on Blue-ray only.This, coupled with major retailers In the US such as Wal Mart passing over HD-DVD in favour of Blue-ray meant that the Toshiba backed format was doomed to fail, so the announcement in February that HD-DVD would be discontinued was not altogether unexpected. But did the better format win? That is a matter of opinion, both formats offer similar read speeds, while the Blue-ray disk eases ahead with regard to storage space 25GB on a single layer disk compared to HD-DVD's 20GB.
In my opinion, Microsoft - who had a foot squarely in the HD-DVD camp - must shoulder a large proportion of the blame for the formats failure. The decision not to equip the Xbox 360 with a built in HD drive was seen by many as fool hardy, not least because the competition (the PS3) has a built in Blue-ray drive as standard. Had Microsoft adopted the HD-DVD format in their machines there would be nearly twelve million more HD-DVD players around the world today, and the format war may well have swung the other way. A few Console game developers have already bemoaned the lack of space on standard DVD's for Xbox 360 games, HD-DVD's would have afforded more than twice the storage space of a standard DVD, and just 20% less than a Blue-ray disk.Rumour has it that Microsoft were not overly upset at the failure of HD-DVD as they envisage downloading to become the preferred means of watching high definition films in the future, they have invested heavily on Xbox Live to that end. But one thing they must be aware of now is the Sony PS3 became a whole load more attractive the moment Blue-ray won the battle. Now buyers can get a Blue-ray player incorporated into a games machine for less than three hundred pounds, that's as cheap as a Blue-ray player on its own!
I myself currently own an Xbox 360, but if I were purchasing a game console today I would have to think long and hard before buying one, and if I did I'd always have the nagging feeling that I'd of got far better value for money and a far more complete media experience with the PS3. Microsoft's apparent complacency during this very public format war could just end up costing them far more than they envisioned.As for me, well I'm going to stick with good old DVD's for now, but I'll be watching the prices of Blue-ray drives and the sale numbers of the Sony PS3 with interest.
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