By Harry McCracken | Monday, August 10, 2009 at 9:13 am
Sometimes it takes tech companies an amazingly long time to confront the inevitable. The whole war betwen Blu-Ray and HD-DVD was a rotten idea from the start (both formats were announced in 2002). But all parties involved in both camps insisted on wasting billions developing two competing HD formats. Then it took ages before HD-DVD prime mover Toshiba accepted that it had lost the conflict and discontinued the format. That was in February of last year.
And then it took another eighteen months for Toshiba to announce the inevitable conclusion to the whole saga: It’s joining the Blu-Ray Association and will be selling Blu-Ray players and laptops with Blu-Ray drives. I feel for the the company, I don’t think its stance that HD-DVD was the superior format was utterly irrational, and if and when the day comes that I buy a Blu-Ray player, it’s as likely to come from Toshiba as any other company.
But a panel of relatively well-informed consumers could have figured out the likely outcome years before Toshiba ditched HD-DVD and embraced Blu-Ray. Wouldn’t it have made sense for everyone involved to get here more quickly?
(Note: The Toshiba Blu-Ray Disc logo shown above is my quick mockup–I wonder if Toshiba still winces when it sees its name and “Blu-Ray” in close proximity, or if it’s over it?)