While the two high definition (HD) DVD formats HD-DVD and Blu Ray battle for market dominance there is a fear that consumers do not fully understand the benefits of HD technology and are further put off by these two different types.
Consumer electronics consulting company Understanding & Solutions (U&A) are predicting that this format battle will be at its most crucial in the run up to Christmas.
Looking back at the year in HD it is hard to see who could be victorious considering that both Paramount and Dreamworks last month chose to put future releases exclusively on HD-DVD while earlier this year the Blu Ray Disc Association (BDA) signed an exclusive deal with Hollywood heavyweights Sony Pictures, Disney, MGM and Twentieth Century Fox.
This consumer confusion can also be seen in the disappointing sales of Sony’s HD games console, PlayStation 3, which was exacerbated by both the high price of the console as well as the surprise success of the Nintendo Wii.
U&A has also noted that while HD DVD players have fallen in price over the last year, they are not yet at a price point which is attractive to a mass market.
The analyst company also says that on an observational basis it has been noted that many consumers with HD capable television sets are under the impression that they are watching high definition content by default when in fact they are viewing standard cable or satellite television channels.
The lack of a unified format coupled with misinterpretation means that although this is the second Christmas that high definition has been around, the next six months will be crucial for the future of this disc format.
In the meantime electronics companies like Samsung are bringing out dual format players while some European studios and distributors such as Studio Canal are considering releasing their content on both formats.
By Marie Boran