CES Trend #2: Blu-ray Wins over HD-DVD (and Both Lose...)

This is second of my posts on trends that were illustrated by announcements at CES 2008:

1. Blu-ray Wins over HD-DVD - Blu-ray takes a substantial lead over HD-DVD, but it becomes clear that both will lose eventually to streaming media.

The day before CES began, Warner studies made the unexpected announcement that they will be moving exclusively to Sony's Blu-ray format over HD-DVD. With Warner moving, most of the movie studies will be selling their movies either exclusively or jointly on Blu-ray, and Blu-ray has over 70% of the content expected to hit market (irregardless of Blu-ray player market share). This is enough that most experts believe HD-DVD will disappear, as few people will buy players that have no content.

The big news, however, wasn't the Blu-ray over HD-DVD announcement, but rather the tech announcements that hinted to how quickly the physical disc movie market may become obsolete. Within a few short weeks, several big moves into on-demand movie downloads were made by major companies:

1. Netflix is now offering unlimited movie downloads on the PC
2. Apple is now offering HD movie download rentals directly to the TV via AppleTV
3. Sony announced they will offer downloads of movies via Divx to PS3 or PC
4. Tivo announced additional deals beyond Amazon unbox to download movies to the TV

All of these announcements lead to it being easier and easier for home movie watchers to get a movie on-demand without even a cable service. The Apple announcement in particular is important a) because it's as mainstream and media download companies get right now and b) it's HD quality capable, which means as far as most people can tell the quality will nearly match their DVD potential. All in all, in-and-around CES the theme was Blu-ray may be Sony's first format win after they lost betamax and minidisc, but it may all be for naught in the near future.