Wednesday, 20 February 2008

RIP HD-DVD: we hardly knew ye

We've reached the end of the line for hd dvd then, bringing to a close 2 years of silliness, confusion and flogging of dead horses. This can only be a good thing for all of us, as confusion was the watchword for the whole situation. To walk into HMV and be greeted with two competing HD formats with no ostensible difference must have quite literally blown the minds of those who weren't in the know, leaving them shambling home like dazed zombie extras. What was the point of all that confusion? Nothing. Nada. We all knew in our hearts Blu-ray would best Hd-dvd in the end. How? The name of course. Anything with "ray" and a snappy spelling of Blue was bound to win. Besides, blue is a better colour than mauve.

So we can all rejoice now and rush out to buy a bluray player now right? I think not, for there are as I see it, two problems. Firstly, this whole format shift has come about 5 years too early for me and simply does not represent the quantum leap in quality, as say VHS to dvd did, that I deem necessary to warrant the repurchase of my film collection. Again. Decent dvd players will upscale my existing collection fine, and they'll be dirt cheap by the time I can afford a decent TV (thats the other problem). No I will most likely pick up a PS3 in about 2 or 3 years (assuming some games have come out for it by then - zing) as no doubt that will also be reasonably cheap by then, and I will of course have become generally more affluent and wealthy, natch.

But even without its warring opposite number, will bluray really dominate? Will we all make the leap? Everyone I know who owns one normally buys one bluray disc to "try it out" the retreats back to the shelves of cheap dvds, which "look great" anyway. They may get the players into people's homes, but will the format itself gain momentum? Presumably their extortionate prices will become more pallatable now the war is over, and I'll be forced to eat my doubts. Unless of course, the download model gets popular, as I personally suspect, it will - not with me though, I like to own things.

Anyway, rest ye well HD-DVD, like Artax before you; you gave it your best, but unlike him you probably won't be back. And for all you early adopters, fret not, ebay has gone berserk already, might as well get 'em in. And you can always take comfort in the fact that you own a bona fide piece of technological memorabilia. There, that feels better doesn't it?

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