Originally Posted by Nox
DVD vs. DivX was a totally different war. Yes, there was two competing formats, but DivX was a pay-per-view media. It was overwhelming that the general public didn't want to continue to "rent it" after they already bought it.
HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray is much more like the +R/-R war, in this case. When dual format burners came out, buying +R/-R became only a matter of preference and not what you were restricted to.
If more dual format HD players come out, the same will be for this media. The only thing that will matter is what movie you want to buy. At that point, who cares if there's two formats.
The thing is Beta was actually the superior format and survived for many years (in some cases still is surviving) in the broadcast industry due to its superior video quality vs. VHS. Funny when you consider VHS is now dead. Had there been combo players for that format war, I'm not sure what would have happened. But I think the Beta would have been the comeback kid, much like it appears BD will be.
Beta had a shortcoming in that the tapes were shorter. A two hour movie required two cassettes. Eventually, they were able to make them longer, but by then VHS had cleaned up and we were stuck with a format that was technically inferior. If there had been combo players, perhaps Beta would have survived long enough to mature and be accepted as the superior format. Once people could have their movies looking better on Beta would they keep buying VHS?
With BD vs. HD-DVD it isn't picture quality, but overall capacity and functionality (ability for more lossless language tracks, less disc switching, etc.). How many discs do people want to accomodate in their homes? Believe me I wish we'd had slim cases at the launch of the DVD format. And most of my TV series volumes don't match since no one knew WTF they were doing with packaging. Less discs = less racks = better. I only have so many walls.
And again, biggest of all, it's the movie studios and retailers who will ultimately decide the fate of the format war. More back Blu-ray. As Blu-ray pulls ahead, the temptation for neutral studios will likely be to drop HD-DVD. If retailers start pulling it (so they get some HD disc sales instead of none (customer sees two different color boxes to choose from, scratches head, walks away) this adds pressure to do that. It's cheaper to release on just one format.
If neutral studios see their BDs significantly outselling their HD-DVDs (and BDs outselling HD-DVDs generally), they will eventually realize they can drop the format selling less and eventually gain them back on BD. Remember, they LOVE reselling movies to you. When you give up on your HD-DVD player, guess what the exact same Matrix release you bought is now available for you to spin on that spiffy new BD player. (To me, this is actually the market that will be buying combo players -- early adopters who want to save space and hookups, and possibly resell their old players.) Other studios will also want to be on the winning side -- the side that is actually making money.
And while there seems any number of reasons for studios to increase their support of Blu-ray, there seems very little pressure for the Blu-ray exclusive studios to start supporting HD-DVD (except maybe in Europe, but they drive on the wrong side of the road too
). The combo units slow this process, but I don't think they'll undo it. If combo units became the norm neutral studios would be stupid to keep producing on both formats. They could just take their pick. And they'll pick whatever is more successful. Maybe Universal wants to be the big name that drives the sale of universal players (eerie coincidence, no?) but it's asking a lot of consumers (the mainstream J6P consumers) to pay any kind of premium to be able to play their discs on the same machine they play their BDs.