This could pass for games related news we suppose. Transformers director Michael Bay has posted a rant about the HD-DVD Vs Blu-ray situation, saying “Microsoft wants both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads”.
It makes sense, and we kind of agree with him. Microsoft are indeed sneaky bastards, and their scheme to pay studios for HD-DVD exclusivity fragments the high definition disc formats and benefits no one.
Currently Blu-ray accounts for 75% of HD disc sales in Europe, and has almost the entire Asian market (with over 96% of sales in Japan, and a seemingly similar amount in Hong Kong), not to mention the fact that with its increased storage capacity it is the technically superior format, as well as having the greater studio backing.
Ultimately the situation is a mess. Blu-ray is the format that should win the market on merit, but some studios are exclusive to either HD-DVD or Blu-ray, making it impossible to just buy any film you want on either format. Microsoft’s hope for digital downloads to win over sounds reasonable in theory, except for a slight problem – outside of Asia, who has the bandwidth to quickly download a high definition film? Blu-ray discs store 50Gb of data, which is more than some British ISPs allow to be downloaded each month. HD films (of the lesser 720p variety) can be reduced to a mere 5Gb with extreme compression, but that’s still quite a lot by the standards of the typical UK and US web connection.
So basically, it’s all hopeless.