Consumer confusion, format war over HD DVD


AMSTERDAM -- The hot-button topic of Blu-Ray Disc and HD DVD helped kick off the conference portion of the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) Thursday in Amsterdam.

Jim Bottoms, co-founder of media research firm Understanding & Solutions, told his audience that consumer confusion and the format war were the biggest obstacles in industry adoption of an HD format. He said, "We will not have a successful market for packaged media until this confusion is resolved--as well as the format war."

He encouraged education to consumers so that they have a better understanding of new home entertainment formats and services.

As to the format war, Bottoms suggested that the weight of the industry is leaning toward Blu-Ray and that before Paramount's recent decision to support HD DVD, he was predicting that consumer confusion on this topic would likely resolve itself in Q4 of this year. He added, "The Paramount announcement prolonged that."

Addressing those who still question if an HD packaged media format is needed, when consumers seem to be happy with today's DVD, he emphasized that an HD media is required. "The world is going HD," he said, citing broadcasting, TV sets, online services and games. "(An HD format) is a piece of the jigsaw."