While the two rival formats duke it out for the next 5-10 years, downloadable media will take over sales and render the format war insignificant. Microsoft, while supporting HD DVD, seems more interested in pursuing non-packaged media.
What’s more, the DVD is an inferior storage device when compared to the hard drive. Drop the disk and it may crack on the side. Mail it and it may arrive in a million pieces. God forbid you give a DVD to your kids, they may think it’s a Frisbee. One scratch and the thing is useless. The disc was never as impenetrable as it was originally sold to consumers to be.
In comparison, a hard disc is a much safer option, has quicker access, and allows storage of a library of movies on one drive. And, with legal licensing, if your movie file goes corrupt there may be a way to download a new one free of charge.
And what about the USB stick. It won’t be long before one of those will be able to hold a high definition movie. Pop the USB stick in your HDTV and you’ve got an alternative to the hard-to-handle, overly sensitive coasters we’ve been buying for way to long.
There won’t be a winner in the high def format war, just a co-existence. And while the two formats throw shots at each other, the confusion for the consumer will remain.