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High Def Anxiety

It’s war! A format war! At least that’s what seems to be coming down the pike, now that talks have broken down between Sony and Toshiba in their attempts to merge their two competing high definition DVD formats.

Just to sum up: Both have invented the next generation in DVD entertainment — systems that will make watching movies even more like a cinema experience. Sony’s offering up its “Blu-Ray” technology, which has a much higher storage capacity than current discs; Toshiba’s “HD-DVD” has less space, better compression. As for which format Hollywood studios are rooting for, they’re pretty much split down the middle (the ones pushing for HD-DVD like the fact that the factory conversion will be cheaper than with Blu-Ray).

So what now? If the companies don’t go back to the table, both formats will come out, consumers will be confused and hesitant to buy either until a clear winner is declared (see VHS vs Betamax). Everybody loses. On the other hand, both companies have put lots of time and money into this. Can they just throw in the towel?

What do you do when you’ve reached a stalemate with your competitor and there’s only room for one winner? Is there a solution these guys haven’t thought of? Enlighten us!

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