Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Has Sony really won the high definition war?

During the last couple of weeks almost every news outlet has given a space to the news that Toshiba bowed out of the high-definition DVD format’s war and that Sony is the winner…but is that perception real? In principle the answer seems to be a definitive and rotund yes, but if we look at the bigger picture we may start to differ. As it has been said everywhere, most film studios have signed to Sony’s blue-ray format and one of the reasons is that it has more capacity than Toshiba’s HD-DVD, which would allow them to include more features, but the one that probably explains the studios’ “love” for blue-ray is that gives far more control over the content than any previous format. So, the industry probably hopes that once we all move to blue-ray they would be able to finally control exactly how we use the films that we purchased. But, will we buy them in blue-ray?
Few days ago I wrote about the news of the launch of the Kizuna satellite that would provide wideband Internet to some parts of Asia. If the experiment is successful we can expect that we will soon have 1.2Gb Internet via satellite all over the world (at least for those who can afford it, what are the same who can afford blue-ray machines and discs). Combining that with the fact that more and more high definition films are available to download (iTunes already has 100 of them), one should wonder why we need to pay the not very cheap blue-ray players to watch the same movie that we could download directly to our TV or mobile device, which soon we will be able to do at super-fast speed…So, was it worth the cost? Are we witnessing a real triumph, a Pyrrhic victory or not even a winner at all?

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