Wednesday, February 27, 2008

DVD HD is dead, long live BluRay!

Well, they finally gave in. Paramount, the last major film studio to hold out for the HD DVD format, has given in by throwing their support behind BluRay. So what does that mean for the rest of us? Right now, Amazon has most of it's collection of HD DVDs on sale for a substantial discount. Are they worth the price? No, even if you already purchased a HD player. And if you haven't, you can congratulate yourself. But wait, does that mean we need to rush out and buy a BluRay player? No again. Not right now, and maybe not for a while. I mean come on, the players start at about $225 and go up from there, and a regular DVD player can be had for half of that. The movies, I was shocked to learn, where about 50% more expensive as well. And while more people are buying widescreen format LCD or plasma HD TVs, not everyone has one, so no need for a high-def player if you don't have a high-def TV.

So what's the benefit? Now that the BluRay format has won out, we should be seeing prices drop on players and media over the next year or so. What does that mean for the standard DVD? Will it go the way of the dodo? Probably. It's just a matter of time. Most likely the standard format will continue to be supported for a number of years, until the media changes so much that it won't be feasible to maintain. Look to Apple for an example of that with the transition from OS 9 to OS X dual-boot to OS X and Rosetta, to now only OS X.

But for now, standard DVD is the cheapest, best way to get high-quality video from the majority of your devices.