It finally happened. HD-DVD has had its last few coffin nails nail-gunned into place. But what does it mean? More BluRay sales? Maybe for the next year or so, but with cable operators on the verge of delivering 100mbit+ to your door, does it matter?
The future of SD and HD content isn’t via BluRay, HD-DVD, or whatever else comes out. It’s going to be delivered via on-demand services like Netflix Watch-Now, Comcast On-Demand, and other services. Apple is heading the right way with Apple TV, but they’ve still got it wrong. Nobody wants ANOTHER box for the TV. They want to use what’s there (ie, their cable box, Tivo, Media Center PC, etc). There was a mini-debate going back and forth about this with my team via email, and I pointed out that it’s just going to take one piece of hardware for this “breakthrough.” You could almost compare it to the iPod. Apple had a good, easy to use, all-in-one (iTunes + iPod) solution for the user. They’re close with AppleTV, but not quite. HTPCs just aren’t as main stream…but, there is a box that millions of people have that does have internet access, and can have features added. The XBox 360.
After going back and forth this morning about the future of HD content, and me saying “All it will take is one consumer friendly device when the time is right,” I see this article at MSNBC come across my RSS feeds. Maybe this explains why MS didn’t fight harder for HD-DVD…they knew that it didn’t really matter in the long run.
After seeing the Netflix plug-in for Media Center by Anthony Parks (available here, I almost signed up for a Netflix account. I just hate renting DVDs. I never want to drive to the video store, shell out $5, worry about returning it on time, watching it, etc. When I’m in the mood for a movie, I usually want to watch it then. Throw some effort into it, and I’ll go play video games instead. It’s easier. If, from my Vista Media Center, I can navigate to my Netflix Watch-Now menu, pick a movie, and start watching, I’d definitely watch more movies. Hell, I’d probably have watched all of those movies that seemingly everybody on the planet has seen except for me by now (Indiana Jones for starters).
There are rumor floating around about Microsoft adding BluRay to the XBox 360 now that HD-DVD is dead. The fact that it was never integrated into the XBox is just evidence that they were never totally committed to the format. Now that it’s dead, we’ll probably see BluRay, which only makes sense because currently the best BluRay player out there is the PS3…why lose customers to another console because they just needed a BRD player? Then again, if MS would have integrated HD-DVD into the XBox in the first place (well, with the Elite), HD-DVD would have won the war…Guess we’ll never know now.