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Web Enthusiasts Abuzz After Warner's Blu Move

17 Jan, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

The high-def format war is over. Well, at least according to a lot of people online.

With the Consumer Electronic Show and Warner Bros.' Blu-ray decision in the rear window, the rhetoric on technology and high-def Web sites has been surprisingly tame on some message boards and extremely hostile on others, according to the people running the sites.

Blu-ray Disc fans are still crowing over their victory, while HD DVD fans are holding out hope that things will swing back their way.

“HD DVD fans seem pretty split, with one side being very angry at Warner for giving up on the better format and succumbing to the [Blu-ray Disc Association's] cartel. Their word, not mine,” said Ben Drawbaugh, an Engadget.com HD reporter. “The other smaller fraction of the HD DVD camp, while disappointed with the news, is hopeful that everyone can finally get behind a single format and move on.”

In a Jan. 17 informal survey the Web site posted, 66% agreed HD DVD should throw in the towel. The poll had more than 6,000 votes within a couple hours of launching.

“Some are saying they'll never buy another Warner product, and they can't understand why Warner would ignore all the success HD DVD has had,” Drawbaugh said. “Of course they are completely ignoring the fact that Blu-ray has had more success, but that's what makes them fanboys.”

Fanboys have always been the extreme voice among the format war's observers, and recent events have given them plenty to talk about.

“As for fanboyism, it's at an all time high I think,” said Xiao Fang, webmaster of Digital-Digest.com. “Mainly from gloating Blu-ray supporters, who have all suddenly come out of the woodwork.

“Not so much on my Web site, since we regulate things pretty strictly, but on other forums that I participate [on] regularly, it's been pretty bad. Lots of post closures, members leaving, and Blu-ray fans excitedly post the same old stories [and] rumors all over the place.”

Those rumors — Paramount and Universal ending it all by going Blu — may or may not be true, hence the rumor tag. But the Warner Blu-ray exclusive announcement was a rumor at one point too.

“I think most of them see that the writing is on the wall,” said Bill Hunt, editor of TheDigitalBits.com. “Even a lot of the most enthusiastic HD DVD supporters online seem to have come to that conclusion. I've been surprised how quickly the news seems to have been absorbed.

“There's been a little bit of hostility, but again I've been surprised at how quickly it's dissipated … The prospect of finally being able to put the format war, and all the bitterness it's inspired, in the rear view mirror is cause for no small amount of relief online.”

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