Why 2008 will matter in the HD format war, but 2009 will lead to a clear winner
Why 2008 will actually matter:
- HDTV adoption will be at an all time high
- Blu-ray gets feature complete
- Disney begins to put out titles with real mainstream appeal
- Proper dual-format players from Samsung and LG should be readily available
**New breaking new on Paramount's exclusivity to HD DVD, and it also forcing Fox's hand into announcing it is finally releasing more Blu-ray titles.
**Also talk about how some of the most sought after content from Spielberg and Lucas won't see the light of day yet, both are waiting for a format war resolution.
On October 31, 2007 Blu-ray hardware profile 1.1 becomes mandatory, which is how it should have been all along. Profile 1.1 adds mandatory support for a secondary audio/video decoder for interactive picture-in-picture features, effectively putting Blu-ray into parity with what HD DVD has had all along.
BD Live (Profile 2.0) adds the last piece of what HD DVD already has: network support. However BD Live is optional, essentially it is Profile 1.1 plus networking.
The only standalone player that has the clear potential to be Profile 1.1 and BD Live ready is the Playstation 3, it has more then enough processing power to handle the dual-streams of audio/video for PiP and of course it is network enabled already, all that is needed is a firmware update to add the new profile support, and Sony Entertainment's track record with providing features via firmware has been very good so far. And of course a PC is certainly more then able to handle the new Profile 1.1 and BD Live requirements.
Dolby TrueHD is fast becoming a defacto standard in Blu-ray, Sony is embracing it in their newest titles, and TrueHD decoding is standard with the PS3, and in nearly all upcoming players. Again this tends to make HD DVD's superior spec of standard support for TrueHD decoding moot, just months too late and still technically optional.
So what this means is Blu-ray still won't really be feature complete until this spring. So the hardware will finally get there to enable the advanced PiP interactive features that companies like Warner have been skipping on their BD versions of releases such as 300, or not even releasing a BD version yet such as The Matrix Trilogy.
Woah! that's a lot of little pieces of catch up Blu-ray had to do. Those changing profiles makes a PC based solution pretty attractive, it should a matter of a simple upgrade to software such as Cyberlink's PowerDVD Ultra and you'll be BonusView and BD Live enabled.
So this year we'll have the players sorted out. The software of course is what really makes or breaks a platform, and in 2008 Blu-ray will have some very compelling mainstream titles that should draw more consumers into the HD format war...
More than 30 million US households now have at least one HDTV and judging by recent sales figures, it is estimated that 52 million homes will have an HDTV by the end of 2008. With all these new TV sets will come the fact that SD looks like crap and we all need more HD content. And the best of best way to get HD content is from one or both of the HD optical disc formats where the image is pristine and doesn't suffer from dropouts, macroblocking, and other side effects of cramming lots of HDTV channels over cable or satelite.
Disney will finally release a title from their catalogue of classics with thr release of Sleeping Beauty in Spring of 2008. This is a huge deal, Disney has been very cautious when it comes to their classics. Also the critically acclaimed Pixar film Finding Nemo comes out in 2008 too, it will join Cars and Ratatouille which got released late last year. Both Nemo and Sleeping Beauty were announced to have BonusView and/or BD Live features on it.