Bang! Bang! The DVD Format Wars

DVD movies and the home theater - Consumer technologies that we all know and love. Of course with the advent of Hi Definition televisions, the next logical step for the DVD was a Hi-def format for movies released on disc.

Well, as the consumer electronics industry likes to do, instead of coming out with a single Hi Definition format that everyone could agree on, there had to be two competing groups: Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. (Remember Beta versus VHS?)

This format battle has been going on for quite some time now with various tech companies and movie studios choosing sides and the bewildered consumer sitting in the wings wondering which way to go.

Fortunately there is a solution to the problem! Some electronics companies, LG being the first and now followed by Samsung, are releasing what is called a universal Hi Definition DVD player. In other words, these players will play both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs. The Connoisseur recommends purchasing one of these universal players, instead of gambling on one format or the other.

At the moment the players are a bit expensive (around $800) and may be a bit slow or buggy, but in the coming months look for updates that will improve them, not to mention players from other companies that will drive down the prices. Check back in a few days for our recommendation on which player to buy now, if you just can’t wait.

As a further note – at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the prevailing thought is that Blu-Ray may now have the momentum over HD-DVD due to some movie studios switching sides. Of course this will take several months or even years to play out in full…


Do you think that this "war" is pointless, since downloads of movies are catching on?

Great question..! There are a few things to consider here - I think the majority of people are used to handling the "disc" format and have a comfort level with it, so I don't think it will go away anytime soon. However, companies such as Vudu and MusicGiants are showing great promise. I definitely believe this is the future, but it will have to sort itself out over time. Quite a bit of what we are hearing about is still in the vaporware category...