Electronic Design

iSuppli: Hi-Def DVD Battle Far From Settled

2008 INTERNATIONAL CES—Much of the buzz at CES this year centered on the war bewteen Blu-ray and HD DVD over the next generation of high-definition video. While the Blu-ray camp came out slightly ahead, thanks to Warner Brothers' backing, CES didn’t come close to determining which format will win, according to research firm iSuppli. "No side won this week. In reality, both camps lost," Krishna Chander, senior analyst of storage devices for iSuppli, said in a statement. "Every day the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps spend prosecuting this standards war represents a day lost in their race to remain relevant. Amid the rise of exciting new digital media offerings like YouTube, iTunes and On-Demand services, the window of lucrative opportunity is closing for both standards." While consumers may buy more Blu-ray players due to the availability of the Warner content, the company’s decision hinged on short-term pricing declines for the Blu-ray players, according to Chander. "Warner’s cost-based decision doesn’t take into account two important factors: technical merits and long-term benefits for consumers," Chander said. Blu-ray players have recently declined in pricing, but they remain more expensive than HD DVD players. HD DVD players also boast superior programmable features, enabled by Microsoft Corp.’s Hdi technology, proponents say. With all the advantages, disadvantages, wins and losses for each technology, the jury is still out on which will prevail, iSuppli says. "Consumers ... can wait out the war for another year while enjoying HD movies on their cable and satellite providers’ On Demand services," Chander said.

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