There's Still No Next-Gen DVD Winner Yet

Despite what fans of either format may be telling you, don't expect a winner in the next-generation DVD battle for at least a year if not more, say analysts.

The battle itself seems to be doing the most damage, with a majority of customers opting to wait it out for a clear leader. Price of the players is also a major deterrent, research firm Forrester said in a report last week.

Forrester believes that Blu-ray would eventually win out, however it warned at the same time that prices of the format's players need to drop. Blu-ray's content advantage is beginning to vanish, and HD DVD players are much closer to what consumers are willing to pay.

HD DVD representatives told BetaNews at the Digital Life conference last week that a $199 standalone player will be available in time for the holidays. The firm said in the report that $200 seems to be the magic price point for many HDTV owners to consider a next-gen player.

It also said those looking for Blu-ray exclusives could purchase many of the movies from European retailers, where they are being sold in HD DVD. The format has no regional encoding, meaning discs will play anywhere in the world without problems.

Analyst J.P. Gownder, the author of the report, said that it was imperative that a $250 Blu-ray player be out by Christmas, and it must act aggressively to prevent more studios from supporting HD DVD. If Blu-ray fails to act, HD DVD very well could still win the format war in the end.

Either way, it could be up to 18 months until a winner can be crowned, he concluded.

Further data from Netflix seems to indicate similar momentum towards HD DVD. While views of the Blu-ray genre between July and Augst where on the average nearly twice as many as that of HD DVD, those who actually set a preference chose HD DVD by a margin of 2.4 to 1.

The data also showed flat adoption for Blu-ray while rates rose for HD DVD, and a higher likelihood by almost 4.5 times that a HD DVD browser would set the format as his or her preferred one.

"In what is increasingly shaping up as another 'VHS vs. Beta' all-around confusing situation for the consumer, neither next-generation video format appears to be gaining any real traction whatsoever," Mike Bailey said, of site analytics company Compete.

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