Life is hectic and full of wars. So who needs another.
tvpredictions.com's Robert Smith thinks this may be another stalemate war resulting in a loss all around. The cliche comparison is agains aDVD and SACD, which he doesn't mention, but it is just too appropriate.
The author suggests that consumers that don't fall into the niche category are merely hanging out...waiting for a decided winner. The fact that HD titles are plentiful on cable and satellite is one reason he mentions. I'd even say DVD does the job well enough for most, leaving the desire to drop bucks on a non-unified format small.
Of course, Mr. Smith finishes off the article by talking about digital distribution. Personally...for movies...I don't think this is viable quite yet. Download speeds aren't fast enough, and DRM is too annoying. But he does have a point about HD-DVD/Blu-ray seeming like failed experiments with extending the lifespan of the packaged media concept.
I just keep thinking that the biggest problem with HD-DVD and Blu-ray is there isn't enough change from DVD to justify the hassle of re-buying a movie library. On one hand...how many times do we really watch the movies we purchase? HD-DVD and Blu-ray present problems that videophiles don't think of:
Most consumers aren't really clamoring for HD. A clear picture is nice...but was anyone really complaining about SD? DVD had improvements anyone could understand: no rewinding, smaller size, better A/V. Any VHS user could easily understand how DVD was more convenient. Tell a DVD users that HD-DVD/Blu-ray "has a better picture, but requires a new HDTV, supports such and such resolution, and has more special features." The first response is, "But what is wrong with DVD's picture?" I know many people who don't know what HD-DVD/Blu-ray is, and are perfectly content with their DVD and Cable/Satellite. I'm betting that's your average consumer of today.
Physical size is another big issue. The packaging is smaller, but the media is the same size. This one problem alone hardly makes it seem newer and higher tech. The product itself doesn't seem like much of an improvement visually. Storing movie collections takes up a ridiculous amount of physical space after a while. The limited supply and the similar media size doesn't visually confirm "more convenience" at all, but rather "more price with little return". Sure...the content may offer more, but explaining that in a simply was isn't passer-by friendly.
Blu-ray may seem in high spirits with their Blockbuster deal and outselling HD-DVD for the time being, but overall both format's sales combined is sales still a joke.