February 2008

Toshiba announced today that it will pull out of producing the HD-DVD format, which leaves the way pretty much clear for Sony’s Blu-Ray to become the standard high definition physical distribution medium. This is a much quicker solution than the earlier format war (VHS v Betamax).

Some claim that physical distribution is now dead, citing declining CD sales (particularly among the young). However, even peer to peer systems struggle to compete with the simplicity and reliability of DVDs for most. So far, at least, easy playback of downloaded TV/movie content on HD home display screens mean that Blu-Ray will probably be quite successful. Only when both bandwidth and ease of display catch up to distributing the 1Gb needed for your average TV episode in HD format, and then showing it in good quality on your home LCD or plasma TV, will physical shipping of TV and Movies become truly obsolete. Video on demand has been “coming but not yet here” for so long now I’m not holding my breath for DVDs following CDs in decline any time soon.

Just had a phone call from a BT (British Telecom for my furrin readers) which was cut off about ten seconds into the call. Rather ironic that the UK’s biggest telecoms company can’t run their own outgoing call centres properly.