CES One Year Later: The State of the Hi-Def Disc War

One of the big stories at last year's CES was the Blu-Ray HD-DVD format war, and more specifically, the death-knell of said war that many predicted after LG rolled out the first dual-format HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player. Well, here we are one year later, and sadly, this endlessly ridiculous format war continues.

On the eve of this year's show, Warner Bros.—one of HD-DVD's largest supporters and one of only a few studios to be releasing content on both formats, announced that they would be abandoning HD-DVD entirely in 2008 and focusing only on Blu-Ray. Again, many are using this news to officially signal the end of the war (due to HD-DVD's difficult times ahead), but if similar proclamations here last year in the wake of the LG player have taught us anything, we're going to wait until the proverbial fat lady sings.

Aside from being confusing as all get out to even savvy consumers, the format war will ultimately cost those involved (read: all of the major consumer electronics firms, and all of the major television and movie studios) a crap-ton of money. All over something where, unless your setup is sufficiently high-end (and configured properly), you might even have a hard time distinguishing between the hi-def formats and good 'ol standard DVD.

Here in Vegas, nothing world-changing in the world of hi-def players has been announced yet, save for this little tidbit from the HD-DVD Promo Group:

Based on the timing of the Warner Home Video announcement today, we have decided to postpone our CES 2008 press conference scheduled for Sunday, January 6th at 8:30 p.m. in the Wynn Hotel. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We are currently discussing the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluating next steps.

Funeral bells chiming? We shall see.—John Mahoney

Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.