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Is Blu-ray Victory Too Late?

Blu-ray’s victory in getting Warner Brothers to drop the HD-DVD may not be enough to fend off obsolescence.  As Dawn C. Chmielewski reports in the Los Angeles Times, downloads, cable, and satellite delivery of HD movies might make the whole HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray battle moot anyway.

But sales of these next-generation discs fell short of expectations, given the huge summer box office from popcorn movies, said Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. Nor, he added, did the high-definition DVD players keep pace with the sale of high-definition TVs.

"There’s a window of opportunity here," Tsujihara said. "There are a number of high-definition television sets being purchased. The best time to sell one of these high-definition DVD players is when the consumer walks out the door with that television set. That window was beginning to close on us."

If a consumer doesn’t get an HD-DVD or Blu-ray player when they get an HD television, it may make it more likely they will simply rely on their Internet, cable, or satellite company to deliver movies in HD.

And it’s clear that the format war — though benefiting consumers by driving down the price of high-definition DVD players — has been confusing them too and keeping them from replacing their DVD players and their movie collection.

"Unfortunately, the loser here with the format war has been the consumer," Gownder said. "We found that 28% of people said the fact that there was a format war meant they weren’t going to buy a high-definition DVD player. They weren’t going to try to figure it out."

It is possible that other people are like me, in that they keep their DVDs in good condition and thus they last without losing quality, as opposed to VHS tapes.  People had lots of reasons to buy a DVD of a movie they already had on VHS.  HD-DVD and Blu-ray are both better than regular DVD, but some people may not care enough, and as long at the studios are still releasing new movies on DVD, they don’t feel like making yet another format jump.  I’m sure die-hard animation fans are not happy Disney, Fox, and DreamWorks Animation aren’t all in agreement yet.