The start of the year always brings bold predictions from companies wanting to push their new products and/or technologies. It almost seems that press releases just have a template that have to include at least one line containing [insert year here] is the year of [insert product or technology here]. That said (with the risk of acquiring foot-in-mouth disease if the prediction doesn’t happen), 2006 does look to be the year of high definition. Or another way to put it would be the year the new format wars became full-blown.
If you haven’t heard of Blu-ray or HD DVD until now, chances are that’s all going to change very soon.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, both the Blu-Ray and HD DVD camps released the initial list of titles to be available in their respective formats. HD DVD may seem to have taken an early lead with a promised 85 titles before the end of the year, while Blu-ray titles from major studios have also been announced. HD DVD seems to have more titles announced, but Blu-ray does have the initial backing of more studios, so it’s tough to tell.
With titles about to be released, the obvious question would be where to play them. Toshiba, HD DVD’s creator and main proponent, has already announced the first commercial release of HD DVD players, starting at US$ 499. I’m sure Blu-ray players from Sony or other manufacturers aren’t far behind.
What does this all mean for Filipinos who can afford the new technology? Being able to utilize those expensive HDTVs for starters. There really hasn’t been any straightforward use for the higher resolutions the newer LCD, Plasma or DLP tv’s in the market offer, mainly because there is no local HDTV programming (and this won’t come anytime soon). With the availability of high-definition players and titles, local viewers can now finally see what high-def viewing really is all about.
For sure, it will start slow, just like when DVD was introduced in ’96/’97. But no question about it, the new formats are coming, and if there’s no major change in direction, it looks like Betamax and VHS all over again.