Many thought that HD DVD was dead when Blu-Ray won. As some have pointed out though, Blu-Ray still needs to kill DVD, and that’s a much tougher nut to crack.
Hindsight being 20/20, we all know that had HD DVD mandated that all HD DVD discs contain a DVD-formatted side (the Combo DVD + HD DVD discs that came late in the game) that Blu-Ray would have died long ago. This poorly-promoted concept is one of the great things about HD DVD for me… not only did I grab over $500 in HD DVD rentals, playere, and movies on clearance for under $100, but most of them play in my DVD players too.
Unfortunately, consumers weren’t made aware of this option, and movie studios didn’t back it universally. Now, the DVD Forum is left with a choice: Do we spend another billion adding HD back into DVD, or do we run the cash cow out of speed?
Toshiba, Panasonic, Microsoft, and the rest of the DVD forum could simply add interactive functionality. HDi, and other player-rich media that wouldn’t hurt the disc format.
Or, the companies could go the opposite direction, and start embedding “DVD 2.0” content on the outter rim of the disc. The problem, of course, will be in wooing movie companies back to doing dual-distribution. But, I think this isn’t the hardest thing to do… remember, companies would then be still putting out two formats: A DVD, and a Blu-Ray. HD DVD content can already be burned to standard DVD discs… a “DVD 2.0” disc would have less storage, but be truly universal.
Accomplishing this transition would require a bit of content redistribution… on the disc itself. Downsampling the DVD layer to fit on a SL DVD would leave just enough room for a H.264-compressed version of the movie in HD. If you’ve got a long movie… just break it up, DVD on one side, “DVD 2.0” on the other. And, by shifting bonus content to the “DVD 2.0” track, consumers will want to upgrade to “DVD 2.0” players.
Keep in mind, I love competition. I want Microsoft to be 1% better than Apple, so that Apple can come back and be 5% better than Microsoft. I see the room for the DVD Forum to fight back in, and I want them to take advantage of that… so that Blu-Ray will get cheaper, DVD will get better, and the consumer will win.