Will HD DVD be dead-on-arrival? At first, you may think that this is a pessimistic question especially since Microsoft and Intel have announced publicly that they are both backing Toshiba's HD DVD format as the next-generation high-definition DVD format of choice. But does it really help this fledging format? I think not. It's all posturing. All of this is on the heels of Toshiba delaying HD DVD till next Spring 2006. Originally, HD DVD was supposed to be available for the Holiday selling season. On top of that, the unification talks between HD DVD and Blu-ray seem to have been suspended indefinitely since Toshiba's Chairman walked out of the talks. It certainly looks like HD DVD is looking at an 800-pound gorilla in Blu-ray.
Also, during the same week, Paramount announced that it would be also be offering high def DVDs formatted for Blu-ray instead of solely in HD DVD. Paramount was originally a strong backer of HD DVD format. Now, it is hedging its bets. And, apparently, Paramount may not be the only studio to have second thoughts about HD DVD. Surprisingly, there is a rumor that Time-Warner, the parent company of Warner Bros., may be considering releasing movies on Blu-ray also. As we all know, Warner Bros. is a staunch supporter and backer of HD DVD since it extends on all its DVD patients. However, Warner Bros. may be forced by its corporate parent to offer Blu-ray movies. Talk about identity crisis for Warner Bros, if true.
With the events of the recent weeks swirling around the next-generation of high definition DVD, the unraveling of this tale has much intrigue surrounding corporate giants like Sony and Microsoft. Microsoft, while never really caring for high definition products, seems to be only backing HD DVD as a move against Sony. It's all about gaming for Microsoft. Sony's next-generation PS3 will reportedly playback HD movies in the Blu-ray format. So, Microsoft could never support something that Sony is doing because they have their new Xbox360, which will initially be released without real HD capability. It will come later in 2006 with a Media Center Extender. Of course, there could a new Xbox360 next year that plays back movies in HD DVD -- or, not.
What's also surprising here is Intel's support of HD DVD. This goes directly against of two of Intel's biggest customers -- HP and Dell, who are supporting Blu-ray. Is Microsoft strong-arming them or what? It begs the question, how will this affect Intel's chip business with these computer giants. It also begs the question as to where both HP and Dell will acquire the chips for their Blu-ray drives. Clearly, they will have to OEM them someone else -- like Sony -- maybe. More questions and more swirling.
So, that's why it makes me ask the question, "Will HD DVD be DOA?" because of the recent political posturing by corporate giants, and the now waving loyalties by original HD DVD backers.