Peace is at hand in the pointless DVD war

Paramount may choose to go with Sony's Blu-ray format, leaving HD DVD in the dust.

Published January 8, 2008 7:12PM (EST)

Whether you should buy a Blu-ray Disc player or an HD DVD player -- two competing next-generation video disc formats -- or both or neither is the question that the consumer electronics industry believes you're wrestling with at the moment.

(In truth, you're not wresting with this question; the question is unimportant to you, because next-gen disc formats aren't on your mind, because right now, if you're thinking about technology at all, you're most likely thinking about the TV you ought to buy.)

But the parenthetical clause notwithstanding, here you are, in the CE industry's view, agonizing over this decision. But this is your lucky year, because the multinational media corporations of the world have decided to save your ass from that terrible fork in the road. The multinational corporations of the world, you see, have decided. The Blu-ray format, made by Sony, wins.

Last week Warner Brothers announced that it will abandon Toshiba's HD DVD format and, in May, will release its films in Blu-ray.

The move left Paramount and Universal Studios as the only two big movie houses sticking with HD DVD -- and now, reports the Financial Times, Paramount is also jumping ship to Blu-ray (its partner Dreamworks Animation is likely to come along as well).

Because Paramount is set to release a slate of big films this year -- including the new "Indiana Jones" -- its defection from HD DVD would be a big blow.

So now HD DVD just has Universal, but how long can that last? To all you folks who bought an HD DVD player -- whether a stand-alone version or one with your XBox 360 -- you may now prepare for imminent obsolescence.

But isn't it nice to declare the end to at least one war?

By Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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