"Winners" of the HD Format War


Jan 16, 2006
First off, I'm not a fanboy. I own a combo HD player. But I think Toshiba's exit does signal we can assess who the winners and losers are.

Obvious loser:
Honestly, with prices coming down and some of the impending changes in the HD format, their exit doesn't make much sense. They could have just sold DVD players with blue lasers and kept compatibility. By quiting they, have no voice at all now.

Obvious Winners:
Sony, Pioneer and the BDA partners.
They can now feel vindicated that they have pushed their rival out of the marketplace. They will no longer have to complete with cheap HD DVD player prices. Thus, the drive to cut prices is not going to accelerate. Now Sony can start making some money back on its early hardware investment.

More Losers:
Intel and MS.
I really doubt the companies care which optical format won in the long run. I know MS really cares more about the winning format includes its codecs (VC-1) and I can't immediately see where Intel cares at all. But, it does indicate that for all of the financial power of Intel and MS, neither could put together an effective plan to promote HD DVD over BluRay. MS really blu-it with the Xbox 360 HDDVD drive. Since the HD DVD drives are overall cheaper, they could have included the drive in an Elite XBox at a competitive price to the PS3, or even cheaper than PS3. Instead of 300,000 Xbox players it could have been several million HDDVD players in the market. (BTW, yes, digital media downloads are the future, but I don't think its a MS conspiracy. People have be talking about digital media downloads for a decade. When the bandwidth becomes cheap it will happen.)

More Losers:
American Consumers.
I really do believe that fair competition benefits consumers. I am a fanboy of the free-market and I trust that if properly informed, consumers will make the correct choice. Without fair competition, consumers are going to lose out. The reason we can buy cheap DVD's is because the HD versions now exist, so there is tiering in the price structure. If there were no HD format, I think we would still be paying $15-$30 per DVD. HD formats now fill that price tier so SD DVD is even cheaper. The SD / HD competition is good for consumers.
Studio exclusivity deals really hurt consumers. Think of it this way, if consumers could buy Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, and Casino Royal all on Blu-Ray and HD DVD, I think the consumers would have had a real choice. The studios and electronics manufactures were just using the early adopters as pawns. And based upon the information regarding the Time Warner deal, it could have easily gone against Blu-Ray. Yeah, everyone knew the risks, but none of the risks were necessities if BDA and HDDVD would have worked together.

My ultimate winners of the HD Format War:
LG, China and Taiwan
First, LG. They win the HD war. Why? LG wins because it was the only company to sell a player and drive that plays both Blu-Ray and HDDVD. By working a little harder and not excluding anyone, they are the only viable HDDVD player left in the American marketplace. LG is left with a market of HDDVD consumers, (though relatively small) that they really did not even have to spend their own money to cultivate and build, since Toshiba did that. Its too bad that the other big companies would not do (though they could have done) what LG has done.

Second, China and Taiwan.
This might sound odd, but its not. Even without Toshiba making HDDVD players, I doubt it will be the end. I think that CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD) will be a popular format in China. I'm not sure how patriotic the Chinese are, but if someone names a media format after your country, I think your are going to be biased toward buying it. These players will also play HDDVD's. China is a huge potential HD market and booming growth economy. The major studios will have to release on CHDVD, or be shut out of this market. Even if just the Chinese use the format, its a big enough country to keep HDDVD format around for a long time. Thus, China will have a virtual lock on the CHDVD and the remaining HDDVD market. The format is due to debut at the Beijing Olympics this Summer. Maybe, this is the real reason Toshiba is getting out of the HDDVD hardware business. I doubt they would be able to compete with players made in China anyway.

Congratulations Sony, Pioneer, BDA group, LG and China.


Mar 17, 2006
I believe that BD came out the winner becuase of the game console. At the time HD Player were very expensive and Game Console is more promising.

Also Microsoft put their 360 product too soon, and by not bundling with HD Player. The add-on player also cost a little high even as an extra, that is due to the cost of extra console box and extra packaging/packing.

LG were so lucky because both of its partners were supporter of Blu-ray and HD-DVD. that is why they can make Multi Format.

Consumers and not just American Consumers but mostly the early adopters were disapointed that used as pawns by the studios and electronics manufactures. but I'm not sure if it was intended.

If only consumers refuses to buy early production format without standardization, then HD-DVD and Blue-ray may have come to a better term to give as standard product. but it's the price we pay for having the latest technology or being stupid not to wait for standard approval.

Europe and America is two major contributor to Chinas and Thaiwans growth, Cheap Labor as they call it.

But when it comes to spending why do we have to spend alot more percentage when something can be had for alot less with less quality. As they got better on manufacturing the products we buy the quality gets better too. We know that compitition is a good thing but we are going to pay for it in the end. Our quality of life will change.

Don't get me wrong, I too want to save extra for a purchase but in the end who am I saving it for. and what?. It's just, It's hard to justify spending more for something less.

If only some big Companys are not so gulping...

You're right. Congratulations Sony, Pioneer, BDA group, LG, Japan, Thaiwan and China. and all its partners.