HD-DVD confirmed dead

In the light of the recent events it seems like the bitter fight for the domination in the HD market has finally found its winner.

With six majors movie studios on its side, Blu-Ray won in the past weeks the wide support of various retailers such as Wal-Mart, BestBuy or movie distribution companies such as NetFlix.

According to the reports from the Japanese media and the major news agencies, Toshiba is expected any day now to announce its official withdrawal from the long-standing battle.

However, no official announcement has been made so far, but Toshiba issued a statement as the rumors are running rampant.

“The media reported that Toshiba will discontinue its HD-DVD business. Toshiba has not made any announcement concerning this. Although Toshiba is currently assessing its business strategies, no decision has been made at this moment,” said the Japanese company according to Next-Gen.

With or without an official announcement, Blu-Ray is already praised as the winning format.

The reasons behind Blu-Ray’s success are various and, besides a constant support form the movie studios, there are also some factors that have played in favor of Sony’s format.

While both formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, offer a similar quality of the image (though with a slightly advantage for Blu-Ray which can deliver 48 Mbps, compared to 8 Mbps for DVD, 10 Mbps for HDTV broadcast and 36.55Mbps for HD-DVD), Blu-Ray provides full 1080p and has a storage capacity of 50 GB instead of the 30 GB promised by HD DVD.

The Blu-Ray format provides as many as 7.1 channels of native, uncompressed surround sound and it has won the support of the major movie studios by unveiling a better security in order to protect the movies, with technologies like AACS, ICT, BD+ and BD-ROM Mark.

Blu-Ray discs have the same physical size as the DVD, with a diameter of 120 mm, but the main difference resides in the disc structure.

By using a disc structure with a 0.1mm optical transmittance protection layer, the Blu-Ray disc diminishes aberration caused by disc tilt. This also allows for disc better readout and an increased recording density. The Blu-Ray disc’s tracking pitch is reduced to 0.32um, almost half of that of a regular DVD.

However, besides the technical details, another key factor in the success of the Blu-Ray standard was the PS3’s integrated unit.

While for the PS3 itself the Blu-Ray units was rather a disadvantage because of the repeated delays and the expensive initial price tag, thanks to its gaming console, Sony soon surpassed HD-DVD in terms of movies sold both in the US and in Europe.

What can we expect from now on? While for Toshiba and the early adopters of HD DVD, the Blu-Ray victory is definitely bad news, for the majority of consumers it could be a relief and it will speed up the migration to the high-definition entertainment.

As the battle was dragging on for years, no one rushed to fully adopt one format or another, but with a single format on the market, the dilemma has disappeared.

Also, it is very clear that by being the major winner, Sony will try to speed up the adoption of the Blu Ray format amongst consumers and we can expect price cuts for both players and discs.

But winning the battle with HD DVD does not mark the end of Blu Ray’s pains and aches. Sony must find an adequate strategy to cope with the growing competition from online movie services like iTunes, Movies Store or Amazon Unbox, whose success could transform the newly triumphant format in a secondary storage medium, with no impact on the enormous business that is the movie industry.

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