by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 18th 2008 1:12am
A few weeks ago, when we noted that it really looked like HD DVD might finally be done for, we were surprised to see the number of folks in the comments insisting that we were crazy, and HD DVD had a long future ahead of it. Well, it appears that future has been cut short. In the past week, Netflix, Best Buy and Wal-Mart all said they would sell exclusively Blu-ray players and discs going forward, squeezing out whatever last minute hope there was of rescuing HD DVD. Now reports are finally coming out that Toshiba has come to terms with the inevitable and will officially kill off HD DVD in the next week or so. The thing is, this is really three years too late. There were three years where a next generation DVD standard had an open market to dominate. Yet, in those three years, the ability to deliver videos online has grown tremendously, meaning that there's even less of a reason today to upgrade than in the past. No, internet delivery of movie content isn't ideal yet. It's still much easier to use a disc -- but the gap has closed quite a bit and it's only going to get narrower -- until internet delivery systems surpass any kind of disc-based system. It's a classic "innovator's dilemma" where internet delivery mechanisms are getting better at a rate much faster than next generation DVD systems. Those three years of fighting over standards is going to come back and bite everyone who spent all this time fighting over a standard only to miss the larger picture.
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