No Really, Let's Do the Time Warp, Again.
When it comes to hard news about consumer electronics, I get it pretty much the same way you do. I read it on the internet. Sure, I could take time out of my day to call a certain Korean hardware manufacturer and ask them if the on-again-off-again combo HD drive is on again or off again, but it would be so much easier just to read someone else's report on the internet which, depending on which temporal continuum you're surfing could be accurate or fallacious or, if you're hanging out with Tim Rice decked out as a transvestite, both.
My first reaction to the current conundrum of a format war and the fact that, in spite of the technology being available, corporate politics will out weigh what portends to be the greater good and each side will, more predictably, stick to their guns, or lasers in this case. After all, once the price of these new toys drops sufficiently, you can buy one player of each variety. Not convenient, agreed, but as someone who just socked three players with various combinations of DVD, SACD and DVD-Audio playback capability in the closet at least temporarily (along with their life-support cabling), multiple players have always been the province of the afflicted.
But lower priced players may still not guarantee the success of both or either format. If Rodman Edward Serling was here, he'd submit to you the availability of sub-$200 combination DVD-Audio / SACD players has only seemed to have hastened their demise. Dual disc was buried last week. SACD is being covered up with dirt but doesn't have the brains to lie still.
So if HD-DVD players drop to, say, $200 in a year, and we can all agree that every high end media room requires a Play Station 3 (a.k.a. Blu-Ray player, depending on who you're trying to bamboozle with your relentless rationalization for why you need two players), it's conceivable that – wait – add in the fact that the HDMI fairy sprinkles pixie dust on all the HDMI switches in the world so they will actually work with anyone's display device, all of which still pretty much just come with one lousy digital video input, and – where was I?
Building castles in the sky is a full time job for some marketing departments. They can proclaim whatever they want, but if we don't go out and buy their "stuff," they'll have to find other stuff to sell. The summer doldrums seem to have brought out the pessimist in me, but then again, as a pessimist, I've never been disappointed. I'm still going back to what I said months ago. What America wants when they go shopping is a single SKU at an affordable price. Introducing shoppers to two versions of a new format, neither of which will play when inserted in their existing players, isn't going to turn them into videophiles, it's merely going teach them to avoid red or blue packaged discs.
Come on, manufacturers. It's just a jump to the left.