Failure alert! The effort to supplant the dictatorship over the Home Video Republic has been set back by a breakdown in negotiations. The monolithic corporations Sony
Or so would go the opening scroll if the upcoming home-video format wars were filmed as a George Lucas-esque cinematic extravaganza.
Here's some background: Sony and Toshiba are interested in taking out the existing DVD paradigm and replacing it with an updated technology. Sony's version is called Blu-ray, while Toshiba is pushing a platform dubbed HD DVD. Both of these formats hold much more information than current video discs and will definitely give viewers a better home-theater experience than they are currently receiving.
Hollywood was hoping that the two companies would agree on a single standard so that two competing technologies wouldn't be out in the marketplace. Several formats would yield fragmented consumer support, making it difficult for media companies like Sony, Disney
Unfortunately, a recent report suggests that, for now, a unified format does not seem feasible, though negotiations could resume at any time. The report also shows how the big boys have taken sides, supporting one or the other format (e.g., Disney's behind Blu-ray, Time Warner favors HD DVD). The upshot is that no matter what, the entertainment industry is getting close to a major shift in the home-video landscape. The aforementioned conglomerates will obviously be pleased when this happens (as a shareholder in Disney, I can't wait to see all of their classic cartoons colonize the new discs), but there are other, smaller companies that might benefit in a more direct fashion.
Some of these might include Lions Gate Entertainment
I'm not suggesting you buy these companies just because of Blu-ray or whatever is coming along. (You should look at other aspects as well, such as cash flow and the like.) I'm merely pointing out that the eventual replacement of the DVD as we know it will become part of a long-term thesis on some of these companies -- the ones who hold the title to engaging content will prosper. It will be interesting to see which of the two formats comes out on top, but I'm confident some sort of unification will occur eventually.
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