Since the formats appeared in the market space (which the did almost simultaneously), both have been a though sell to consumers because so far it hasn't been clear which one will come out on top on the format war. Naturally both the Sony Company and that of Toshiba promotes their own standard heavily through both advertising and through partnerships.
Repeating the Beta-max vs. VHS war
However it is generally agreed that there can be only one format that will come out on top, and with memories of the format war between the VHS and Beta-max video tapes no more than a few decades ago, most consumers are waiting to see which standard will win the battle. They are afraid of getting burned by investing in technology that will soon be obsolete.
The funny part is that it is the customers that will determine the outcome but many await the outcome before investing. Luckily there are some people that will always invest and the major companies are spending millions and millions to add trust to their particular brand or technology.
How to evoke confidence
A central dilemma to both Sony and Toshiba is how to evoke enough confidence in their own formats in order to convince consumers that their format will be around in the long run and not end up like the Beta-max video did two decades ago. The format question is really only a matter of perception by the consumers on which technology that will win the war.
If consumers perceive one format to be more likely to be around five years from now, they will buy software titles and movie in that format and the machines to play that particular format. When the movie studios and software companies see that consumers like that format, be it Blu-ray or HD-DVD, they will publish more titles in that format. When consumers see more a lot more titles in one format than the other, they will gain even more confidence in that format and the "good spiral" has begun which will eventually determine who will win the format war.
Blu-ray backed by Twentieth Century Fox
Recently the major company Twentieth Century Fox has announced that it will release numerous movie titles in the Blu-ray format and that it thereby backs the format of Sony. Releasing between five to ten titles per month, this is a major show of confidence in Blu-ray's potential to be the winning format.
The steady stream of new titles should provide anyone who is thinking of buying a Blu-ray player or who already owns one with plenty of new movies to look forward to over the next year.
The direction towards the Blu-ray technology is good news for TV and computer technology in general because of the technical advantages that Blu-ray has over the HD-DVD format.
Superior quality doesn't always win
One of the main benefits comes from the fact that even though they rely on similar types of laser technology and are both about the same physical size, a HD-DVD discs can only store fifteen gigabytes on each side for a total of only thirty gigabytes while a Blu-ray disc can store up to twenty five gigabytes of data on each side for a total of fifty gigabytes. Unfortunately, the consumer's decisions aren't always in favor of the superior technology.