Format War Hurts Sales

Few things irritate us more than stupid format wars. We thought they’d learned their lesson when they avoided a war with DVD, but, alas, no. This time, though, the electronics manufacturers may be paying the price. From the Denver Post:
“The fight between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, reminiscent of the 1980s battle between Betamax and VHS tape formats [is] shaping up as a business disaster for movie studios, electronics companies and retailers that had counted on a robust holiday selling season for the fancy new players – which cost $500 to $1,000 – and movies to play in them.

Technology companies have divided into two warring camps, each backing one of the formats. Attempts to come up with a single format collapsed last year, so the two sides decided to duke it out in the marketplace. As they do, consumers are mostly staying on the sidelines, causing sales to fall far short of initial projections.

A winner could still emerge, but experts say it’s just as likely that consumers, fearful of buying an expensive player that will turn out to be worthless, will just say no to high-definition discs. In the best case, analysts predict, the format war will go on for another year or so before a clear winner emerges, delaying an industry switchover to the improved discs.

Any thoughts on which format will win? Or have they all shot themselves in the foot? —MEGHANN MARCO

New-age DVD players’ battle paused [Denver Post]