Wired has a blog post called DVD Doomed? The question mark at the end of the title signals the author’s skepticism.
The key sentence, in my opinion, is:
Unlike going from videotape to disc or vinyl to CD, the DVD to hi-def migration isn’t compelling enough to get consumers to re-buy movies they already own.
I have blogged the same thing before. Going from 576 lines of resolution to 1080 lines of resolution is not going to let me see much more acne on an acter’s face in the middle of a gunfight, and the sound on a DVD was already capable of reproducing what was played in the cinema.
The biggest benefit to Blu-ray and HD-DVD, more so with Blu-ray than HD-DVD, is the increase in storage capacity for those using the things to backup software and share video. You can do so much more with 25GB per layer than 4.7. And I think that players are going to be used increasingly for burning and reading burned media, while playing store-bought videos will decrease as a percentage of use.
The format wars are less of a big deal with hybrid drives. With DVD+R and DVD-R (the previous format war), people don’t even have to care which type they buy anymore because any player can burn or read both. With Blu-ray and HD-DVD the technical details are a little different, but nonetheless hybrid drives are coming out which could make the choice of which format to buy more flexible.
I am skeptical about the extent to which this war will be fought over releases from movie studios – I think the burn-your-own market is going to prove more important in the future.
I also don’t think that any slowing in sales of store-bought DVD videos can be attributed to the ‘success’ of Blu-ray or HD-DVD. If anything, it is partly due to confusion over formats. People don’t want to commit to any technology until they know they have backed the right horse. And it is probably partially just an overall decline in people buying videos, as more and more people watch or purchase videos online or share them on burned discs.