‘HD DVD, the beloved (Video)format of Toshiba and three Hollywood studios, died Friday after a brief illness. The cause of death was determined to be the decision by Wal-Mart to stock only high-definition DVDs and players using the Blu-ray format.There are no funeral plans, but retailers and industry analysts are already writing the obituary for HD DVD.’
The New York Times announces the death of the HD-DVD high definition video format after a string of backers including Time Warner, Best Buy and video rental firm Netflix publicly side with Sony’s Blu-Ray format exclusively. Reuters are already reporting that Toshiba will cease production of HD-DVD players.
Format wars are rarely about the best technology winning out. We’re all familiar with the now classic video format war of the late 70’s and 80’s, namely VHS vs Betamax . Back then JVC , the inventor of VHS shrewdly openly licensed VHS hardware and bought into the film distributors thus starving Sony’s Betamax of the needed pre pre-recorded software.Toshiba was then one of the few licensed Betamax recorder makers.
Sony only officially pronounced Betamax dead in 2002 but had modified the format for Broadcast use way back in the early 80’s (Betacam) but losing that consumer war and many subsequent attempts to launch proprietary formats on the electronics world (mini disc, memory stick, Digital 8, Micro DV) have dented Sony’s image over the years so to win this current war so quickly and so decisively may show that Sony may have finally learned some expensive lessons from past mistakes.