I'm beginning to wonder if the next-generation high-definition DVD systems will be ready for us to purchase by the time the next next-generation video technology gets off the ground. If you're late to the long-running battle between Toshiba's HD-DVD and Sony's
Unfortunately, delays are pushing both systems' release dates back. Blu-Ray is scheduled for late summer, while HD-DVD was shoved back a month to April -- reportedly to align it with the schedule from content producers like Time Warner
Keep in mind that HD-DVD was originally supposed to have launched already. And Sony's PlayStation 3, which will probably be the lowest-priced Blu-Ray player available for some time, had its launch date pushed back to November from an original target of this spring.
These setbacks, along with high price points, could mean problems for everyone involved. Hardware makers like Apple
Content producers may incorporate security features into their high-definition discs and players that will limit their video output to nothing more than old-school DVD resolution, unless the players are hooked up with a special HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) cable. If your HDTV doesn't have that connector -- and most HD sets sold over the past few years don't -- you won't get anything more from either the players or the discs, except a bigger balance on your credit card.
What will this mean for consumers and businesses? My guess: A mess. It was tough enough to back a horse in this race when both were galloping toward the finish line, but when both are stumbling, it's really difficult to know which pony to pick. A lot of content companies seem to be following Disney's
In terms of business sense, the only company that looks like it made the right decision in this entire mess is Microsoft
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Seth Jayson is wondering if he should hold out for the HD-DVD Xbox 360. At the time of publication, he had shares of Microsoft, but no positions in any other firm mentioned. Time Warner is a Stock Advisor recommendation, while Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. You can view Seth's stock holdings and Fool profile here . Fool rules are here .