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The HD Revolution Is Coming

13 Sep, 2005 By: Stephanie Prange

While the high-def disc backers quibble over whether Blu-ray or HD DVD or some combination of both will be the next packaged media to replace the DVD, the HD revolution is already underway.

Recently, WomensWallStreet.com released the results of its first annual “Gadgets & Gizmos” survey. While a quarter of women responding to the survey said the Apple iPod was the hottest new thing on the market this summer, nearly that many (21 percent) voted high-definition/flat screen televisions as next in line as the hottest gadget. When the women are on board with a new consumer electronics technology, its time has definitely come. Many are looking forward to incorporating the sleek new HDTV flat screens into their dens and living rooms. I, for one, have given my husband a price cap for buying a flat screen TV. When he hits it, we'll be able to join the high-tech TV revolution.

This should add fire to the feet of high-definition disc backers trying to come up with a next-generation format. While many of these women in the survey (like me) will encourage (or allow) their husbands to buy HDTV, the set won't have a uniform standard high-def disc to go along with it. Penny-pinching moms won't likely let their gadget-happy husbands purchase hardware or software supporting a format that may not be viable a year hence.

With the wives pulling their husbands to the sidelines of the HD format wars, many may purchase the new Toshiba devices that will allow them to play the DVDs they already own at near-HD-quality playback. It's a temporary patch that could become permanent if the high-def camps don't get together on a format.

“If we see competing formats coming to market and encourage consumers to delay adoption and look elsewhere, packaged media will suffer irreparable harm,” noted Understanding & Solutions analyst Jim Bottoms during the recent Entertainment Media Expo in Los Angeles. Toshiba's new system allows consumers to “delay adoption” of high-def discs, looking to souped-up DVD playback instead. That should worry both HD disc camps.

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