The big debate is still happening about which format will win the format war: Blue-Ray, or HD-DVD. Of course, both formats are suffering, as many potential customers of either are sitting and watching from the side-lines waiting to see who will win before investing an obscene amount of money and risk being stranded with a dead format. (Laser disc anyone?)
And of course, in a semi-ironic sense, the format war will only be over when one gains a substantial consumer base advantage over the other.
But I’ll tell you what’s really keeping the general public away from this technology (aside from stupid DRM crap): An obvious flaw in design that has been there from the start:
WIDESCREEN MOVIES STILL DON’T FIT WIDESCREEN TVS
There, I said it. It was the elephant in the room. The number one thing keeping people from moving to the new format, that is, high definition, is the fact that it’s inherently widescreen.
DVD was a different animal. A clearly higher-quality alternative to VHS, without the wear factor. (My favorite cartoon VHS tape as a child is virtually useless because I watched it so much). But with DVD, to encourage early adapters, it allowed backwards compatibility. That is to say, it had full screen formats for most of it’s movies, as well as widescreen. And for a good reason, too! Most of the consumer base have regular 4:3 tvs, and the widescreen format with the letterbox viewing area made the picture incredibly small.
Now, eventually most people moved to DVD instead of VHS, and a few early adapters grabbed some widescreen DVDs, but it was mostly a pressure-free format revolution (until blockbuster did away with VHS altogether).
What’s keeping people from moving to High-Definition? The requirements are much higher.
Without a high-definition TV, there is no reason for high-definition players and discs, therefore in order to make the switch, a brand new wide-screen high-definition widescreen TV is required. (Did we mention wide-screen?)
And what’s so bad about widescreen TVs? They’re too confusing, and their aspect ratio continues to be inconsistent with ANY FORMAT AVAILABLE TODAY.