Blu-ray Wins Round 2 in the Video Format Battle

by : RC Moore



Today's news from Toshiba, that it was throwing in the towel in the high definition format battle and will no longer manufacture HD DVDs, transformed the speculation and rumors into fact. Now we have to figure what the effect will be for consumers and retailers.

Toshiba's stock soared 5.7% Monday as investors cheered the likely decision to lessen the losses from a protracted battle with Blu-Ray. Microsoft is still mum about the effect of losing the HD DVD format offered as an add on player for the XBox 360. Retailers are applauding the move hoping that consumers wary of buying an obsolete HD DVD player will buy into the new Blu-Ray technology. Consumers that have already bought the HD DVD players will assuredly be able to buy HD DVDs really cheap as retailers will have to dump their existing titles. Many of these titles will be offered on the internet for some time. I can see where E-bay will get a boost from selling these titles.

If everybody remembers Sony lost the last format war when Sony's Betamax went head to head with VHS and lost. The reason it lost that format was the same reason it won this round - storage capacity. The new Blu-Ray Disc has twice the storage capacity of the HD-DVD. Current storage capacity is 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc, and a 200GB is being developed. The other reason VHS was better than Betamax was the speed of rewind and fast forward. In today's digital world picture quality depends on bit rates. HDTV broadcast can reach up to 10 Megabits per second while Blu-Ray can reach up to 48 Mbps. This can make a really big difference in action movies. Sony also had a better marketing strategy this time when it coupled it with the PlayStation 3, providing a relatively cheap player combined with a very popular video game console.

The next generation video game console battle between Microsoft's XBox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 just wrote a new chapter. PlayStation 3 has become the big winner because they Xbox 360 used the HD DVD player. Even though Microsoft has some big catching up to do, they were smart enough to offer the HD DVD player as an add on to the XBox 360. Where Microsoft will go from here is unclear. Will the next Xbox incorporate Blu-Ray technology or will they abandon a player in favor of a 250GB hard drive?

Will the next technology incorporate a solid state drive? SSDs currently have a 64GB storage capacity with no moving parts. They have a much faster data access with more reliability and use less power. Right now SSDs are not cheap. The MacBook Air uses the 64GB SSD with a price tag of $1,300 higher than the same unit with a 80GB hard drive. But remember that it was not that long ago that a 256MB USB flash drive cost more than today's 16GB USB flash drive. The next video format very well could include a solid state memory device. For the latest news in consumer electronics visit