News last week that practically from the beginning, mass market hi-def DVD players will offer dual compatibility with both Blu-ray and HD DVD is good for both consumers and manufacturers (see Next-gen DVD war pre-empted?).
I'm still waiting for the dust to settle on the recordable DVD format war, but there appears to be no end in sight. DVD+R and DVD-R seem to be coexisting their way to eternity. And so, I predict, it will be for Blu-ray and HD DVD.
The absurd hype that gets generated in the popular press around these supposed "format wars" always harkens back to that classic mother of all consumer video format wars, VHS vs. Beta. But there was a big difference back in the 70s when the Matsushita vs. Sony battle lines were drawn: Though both VHS and Betamax used 1/2-inch wide videotape, big mechanical differences in the cassette shells made it impractical to create a single VCR or player that could handle both.
Flash forward thirty years to 2006, and everything is on the exact same 5-inch disc that began in the 80s with audio CDs. And so long as the basic size and shape of the recording medium remains the same, any notion of a "format war" is an exaggeration. The medium is the message.