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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Blu-ray Triumphant: News Round-up, and What Happens Next

So the rumors were true: Warner Bros., which dominates the home video biz, is going to exclusively release movies in the Blu-ray format as of June 1st.

My take: after trying to introduce a disc that would carry both formats last January (TotalHD, which didn't get traction), Warner Bros. realized it just had to pick a side to get high-def discs adopted. A Variety story had the most revealing WB quote in it: the studio realized that consumers were buying high-def TVs, but because of the confusion between Blu-ray and HD DVD, they weren't getting new DVD players to go with them. From the piece:

    "The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger," Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Barry Meyer seconded.

Essentially, every day matters now. Digital delivery of high-def movies is becoming a viable option. High-def is starting to show up on some Internet movie sites...and some next-generation set-top boxes like Vudu (iTunes and Apple TV in HD probably aren't far behind). Studios probably don't have a decade to squeeze nice profits out of Blu-ray disc releases, as they enjoyed with the original DVD format.

I expect by this Christmas, consumers will realize that the skirmish between Blu-ray and HD DVD is over, and start buying Blu-ray players in respectable (though probably not overwhelming) numbers. I'd love to hear your comments below...

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