Since the inception of the home consumer electronics industry, nearly every major update or new iteration of an existing technology has been accompanied by at least some type of format war, to some degree of severity or another. When Sony’s Betamax ruled the home video market after its release in 1975, it was soon after challenged – and later usurped – by the VHS format introduced by JVC. Years later, in order to avoid another costly format war, Phillips and Sony both abandoned their initial plans for a video disk format – CDi – and instead collaborated on what would eventually become DVD.
Later, DVD’s position on the video rental market was challenged by Circuit City’s ill-fated attempt at replacing them with DIVX – disks that, in spite of one’s ownership, still required a small fee paid via an internet phone line connection to activate for viewing. By the late 90s, a large number of various file formats for video data struggled for domination, but given the sheer number of formats and selective compatibility of many popular media programs, incompatibility issues plagued each format with equal severity. And for the past ten years or so, satellite cable has been at odds against increasingly popular digital cable packages. This trend is a natural consequence of the free market and has persisted in any industry as long as there have been multiple variations of a similar technology or product offered by more than one source.
After a long period of cooperation between companies in developing next-gen formats to avoid costly and destructive format wars – most notably the universal standards developed for DVD, HDTV, and Wi-Fi – the ceasefire had ended. This applies for the blue ray media as well since they play a huge role in the world of blank media these days. Recently has been one of the most drawn out and enduring format wars of attrition since the contention between Betamax and VHS, between the next generation of high definition optical disk formats – Blu Ray disk, and HD DVD – from which Blu Ray disks have emerged victorious.
Both formats emerged between 2000 and 2002, each offering high definition video and audio and storage capacity that far surpassed their mutual predecessor, DVD, while still maintaining the exact physical definitions and ease of use that consumers had gotten used to. Though each format maintained the same physical dimensions that consumers were familiar with – 12cm diameter discs almost identical in appearance to DVDs and CDs – the exact manner in which data was stored on the discs and read by hardware differed drastically, making them entirely incompatible.
Each format was soon supported by an alliance of software and hardware developers, as well as production studios. Most notable perhaps was HD DVD’s adoption by Microsoft and Blu Ray’s sponsorship by Sony, firmly integrating the format war into the high-profile competition in the home videogame console market, with Microsoft’s X-box 360 arming itself with HD DVD and Sony’s Playstation 3 with Blu Ray. The decisive factors between Blu Ray’s eventual victory was the shift of support by major production studios, and Sony’s decision to directly incorporate Blu Ray technology as the standard for their PS3 – as opposed to the X-box 360’s requirement of an addition peripheral to play HD DVDs. Because Blu Ray was now used as Sony’s format for games as well as movies, PS3s alone outsold HD DVD players almost 10 to 1 – including both the X-box 360 peripheral and standalone units. Shortly thereafter, HD DVD’s primary supporter, Toshiba, announced its abandonment of the format in 2008, cementing the victory of the Blu Ray disk.
Article by William Gold. When it comes to blue ray media, William suggests Tapes.com for detailed information about blank media technology.