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The HD-DVD/Blu-ray Battle Rages On

The format war battles on between HD-DVD and Blu-ray while each postures that they are the format of choice.  On one hand, Blu-ray seems to have the upper hand in content and availability whereas HD-DVD still holds the advantage in price.

Recently two major retail giants have announced that they will only carry the Blu-ray Disc players in their stores in the lead up to the Christmas rush.  The major retail conglomerates Target in the USA and Woolworths in the UK have agreed to carry only the BD players while not publicly siding with either format.  In fact Target will continue to offer the HD-DVD add-on for the Microsoft X-Box console and continue offering HD-DVD players on their online stores.  In addition, they plan to still offer HD-DVD software and content in their retail stores.  While Woolworths admitted the sales for either format is still slow, the release and sales of the Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) has given the Blu-ray format an edge.  In both cases, this gives the Blu-ray format a considerable edge in visibility and perceived superiority through greater presence.

However, the HD-DVD camp remains un-phased and still touts their lower price as an advantage over BD players.  At an average price of $200 ~ $400 lower than the BD players, the HD-DVD camp is banking that the consumer will be swayed by price over visibility.  With advances and greater confidence in online shopping, consumers are savvier bargain hunters for the products they want.

Another major force in the format war is the adult video (Porn) industry.  The porn industry is widely credited with helping the VHS format defeat the Sony Beta format in the early 80’s and they look to be a major player once again.  However, both sides are quietly garnering support in the industry as the topic of porn is still a social stigmatism in the general public consciousness.  However, within North America, HD-DVD appears to be the format of choice for the porn industry while Blu-ray has gained favor with the producers of porn in Japan.

So just as in tennis, HD-DVD and Blu-ray are hitting the ball in their opponents court waiting to see who will falter and who will eventually come out on top.  This holiday season should provide a lot of answers, but the consumer seems to be a bit timid to make the wrong decision and be stuck with the loosing format in the end.  Just as the consumer will ultimately decide the winner of the format war, the more they hesitate, the more likely a third choice will evolve leaving both HD-DVD and Blu-ray on the sidelines.

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