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I suppose I should be jubilant with Toshiba's announcement saying the end of the high def DVD format war has come. If you have not yet heard, Toshiba has tossed in the towel on their HD DVD format.

Oddly enough, I am not all that thrilled. It's not that I miss the fist pounding, name calling, and back biting from the combatants, for I don't. My sadness, if it is that, is because both contenders were so well suited for the job they were vying for. It is just unfortunate to me that one had to fail in the public eye. It is, after all, a bit of a public humiliation. Neither candidate deserved that fate, but, then again, the consumers didn't deserve an industry knock down, drag out street fight either! Both formats had elegant-enough technology to support their candidacy. In the end, only the belief that one of them must triumph drew us to a single conclusion.

I will not gloat over being right in choosing Blu-ray. It was just a lucky call. Nor will I find much respect for those who do gloat about being on that now-winning side. There was no genius that could have accurately predicted the outcome; not the developers, not the software companies, and certainly not the consumers. At best we could take a side which we believed had an edge and then lobby for its general acceptance. The finest educated heads in the business tried to handicap the race. Half were wrong, the other half right. Those who were for Blu-ray will no doubt take credit for making a wise choice. But don't take them too seriously. None of us knew how it would go or there would not have been hundreds of millions spent on supporting both sides.

But it's all over now, at least this war. I believe we are all the victors in the long run. We now have a clear choice. We all know it's more than good enough. In fact, it's a spectacular entry (and so was HD DVD) into our homes. We should be jubilant that we live in a world and times when such exquisite options can be provided to us. And, for those who just can't sweeten the bitterness over loosing the battle, take comfort that new converging technologies are on the immediate horizon to once again leap over tall buildings and change everything from acquisition, storage, and the viewing of your video future. Everyone wins in time.

Posted by Dale Cripps, March 4, 2008 9:15 AM

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About Dale Cripps

Dale Cripps is a professional journalist who has focused two thirds of his career on the subject of high-definition television. Upon completing his education in business and service in the military he formed Cripps and Associates, South Pasadena, California, in 1964, which operated as a market-development company for aerospace services. In 1983 he turned to television and began what has become a 20 year campaign to pioneer HDTV. For fifteen of those years he published the well-regarded HDTV Newsletter (an international monthly written for television professionals). During much of this same time he also served as the HDTV-Technical Editor for "Widescreen Review Magazine." On November 16, 1998 he launched the Internet distributed HDTV Magazine, which remains the only consumer publication devoted exclusively to high-definition television. In April of 2002 he co-founded with Tedson Meyers of Coudert Bros, the High-definition Television Association of America, which is presently based in Washington DC. Cripps is the president of this organization. Mr. Cripps is a charter member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and honored by that organization with the DTV Press Leadership Award of 2002. He makes his home in Oregon.