Blu-ray won, but will it matter?
Some time ago I commented on soon-to-be relased new video disc formats. Since then, in less than two years, the war was won. Some expected a long, protracted war between the formats. But when Warner Bros. announced early last year that they would be switching to Blu-ray exclusively, a cascading wave of defection rolled through the industry quickly ending any hopes for HD DVD. That all, of course, is old news by now.
I was surprised at how quickly this occured, and I'll admit that I had expected HD DVD to win the format war. This was for a few reasons, one of which is that Microsoft backed HD DVD. Well, I guess Microsoft isn't the all-powerful monopoly some accuse it of being.
Sony, however, was very affective in this fight. Some time ago, I watched an interview of Sony CEO, Howard Stringer, by Charlie Rose. Howard discussed how there was a concerted effort to prevent a repeat of what happened in the video tape format war -- a war Sony lost. It helped that, this time around, Sony owned a movie studio. But getting the various divisions of Sony to cooperate in a matter like this was a challenge even for the CEO of the company. They pulled it off.
I'm not so sure, however, that winning this war is as significant as it seems. Digital downloads of movies is really the next significant thing in video. I love that I can buy or rent movies that download striaght to my TiVo. I'm not sure how much disc renting and buying I'll actually do in the future. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
Blu-ray is a great technology that may be just a bit late to the game.