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HTSA: Format War Victory Paves the Way for Disc-less Blu-ray

Blu-ray manufacturers can focus on innovation and the ultimate goal of eliminating discs all together, says HTSA's David Berman.

On Tuesday, Toshiba announced it will stop shipping HD DVD products by the end of March, essentially ending a high-definition DVD format war with Sony-backed Blu-ray.

As the dust clears, the Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA), a 60-member specialty electronics retailers buying group, offers its reaction.

The best format won, according to director of training and public relations David Berman. He says the Blu-ray triumph will benefit consumers and dealers while catalyzing technology innovation.

HTSA's position is noteworthy, according to Berman, because it's made up of resellers that "sell trusted expertise, not products and brands."

Berman adds, "We have a unique ability to sift through all of the thousands of products and brands and provide customers with what we believe are the best values."

The best value is Blu-ray, HTSA stated in September 2007, with Berman highlighting the technology differences in a white paper. The statement also came as a result of HTSA companies' sales trends.

"We saw that 93 percent of sales in our businesses were Blu-ray," Berman says. "The entire [remaining] 7 percent came from a combo player. It seemed that the only people buying the combo were worried about who was going to win."

Another group that appears to endorse HD DVD, Berman acknowledges, is gamers. "I think the only people who were nervous about [the format war] from the get-go were the gamers who had invested in Xbox," he says.

"That was the catalyst for HD DVD -- the gaming industry, not home entertainment."

According to Berman, home entertainment stands to benefit from Blu-ray's victory in the following ways:

Blu-ray is simply better. Berman says Blu-ray has a thinner surface coating and lower aperture of the laser system, allowing deeper use of the disc for better storage capacity and speed.

"Overall, we thought as soon as it caught up on the audio codec side of things it would surpass HD DVD in every aspect. That proved to be true."

The thinner surface coating is also the only downside to Blu-ray that Berman sees, because that makes it more susceptible to scratches.

Innovation can now flourish. The short-term goal for manufacturers is to eliminate media and having a format war between two types of media discs blurred that goal, Berman says.

Even though Blu-ray is a disc, its victory will help bring consumers closer to a disc-less world, he predicts. "Now there is a coalition of 150 some odd manufacturers that bought into a format transition" and can focus on advancing that format toward eliminating discs, he says.

"Now that that muddiness has been removed we have an unimpeded path to the next level of technology."

Consumers purchase with confidence; Dealers sell to confident consumers. Not only HTSA dealers, but all resellers of high-definition disc players can be completely certain that they are selling clients the best available format.

According to Berman, that confidence will spur growth.

The war wasn't helping HDTVs. The immensely popular flat-panel HDTVs that are the hallmark of the specialty electronics industry need a logical companion, Berman says.

With the format war over, high definition TVs and a logical high-definition disc player can become logical companion products.

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Article Topics

News · Buying Groups · Blu-ray · Buying Group · All topics

About the Author

Tom LeBlanc, Senior Writer/Technology Editor, CE Pro
Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.

5 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by MrSatyre  on  02/22  at  12:59 PM

While it’s almost certain that some day we will be forced to discard physical media for downloadable content (and that day is far off until we have completely rebuilt the Internet structure in this country), I personally would much rather have a physical disc to hold and watch whenever I want to, without fear of server or personal storage crashes. Additionally, if studios go completely disc-less, that will shut out many countries which do not and will not have the bandwidth available in every home, and will kill a lot of profit potential.

Posted by OhMyGod  on  02/22  at  02:46 PM

Agreed.  Anyone who thinks the day when all content is online only is naive.  It’s human nature to collect things.  Whether it be cars, houses, shot glasses, thimbles, music, or movies.  Even if content providers move in that direction, there will be other resources that pop up which provide individuals with that content so they can own it, share it, and bring it with them wherever they want.

Posted by Carlos  on  03/15  at  11:21 PM

How much better was blue ray than HD-DVD maybe marginally in audio but HD-DVD had finished standards, less DRM, and better extra feature. Early adopters of Blue ray will have no BD-Live. Region coding that is very pro consumer.

Posted by todd  on  03/17  at  02:24 PM

Sounds to me like Carlos bought an HD-DVD player.

Posted by Carlos  on  03/17  at  05:37 PM

No but what evidence is there to say one that one format is better than another. Blue ray one not because is a better fomat but because more studios supported the format. The article sounds like people chose DVD over vhs

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