- With the fall of HD DVD, Blu-ray has assumed the throne as the next format of choice, but its reign will be short-lived.
Blu-ray won't enjoy the same decade-long dominance DVD did after it succeeded VHS. But that's not because there will be other challenger physical disc formats. Rather, instead of buying discs from Amazon, Best Buy or Wal-Mart, people will begin getting their entertainment in the form of digital downloads in larger volumes.
The studios backing Blu-ray already know this. At an HDTV confab last fall, Warner Bros.' vice president of high-definition media development likened HD packaged media to a set of training wheels for digital downloads.
"We can use HD discs to train consumers to move into digital, but it's a transition," said Warner Bros.' Dan Silverberg. "Downloaded content will come, but the consumer will get quicker tutorial into video-on-demand, etc., by owning a Blu-ray player or HD DVD."
It'll happen sooner than they think. With a growing number of alternatives to packaged media, combined with the relatively high prices of Blu-ray players and discs vs. inexpensive, so-called upconverting DVD players, Blu-ray will likely be the last major disc format you'll ever buy.
Netflix, a purveyor of rental discs, obviously saw the writing on the...