HD-DVD tech demo fails at CES

Microsoft’s Kevin Collins was surprised as a HD-DVD player he was demoing failed to work at CES yesterday. Of course, this isn’t the first time a Microsoft executive has been embarrassed at a tech demo (thanks to the ever-keen-to-bash-MS users at /. for the link!).

Now, does this mean that HD-DVD will be a failure? Of course not. But it may prove to be a significant hit in their marketing, depending on how the mainstream media will report it. Of course, with the Senate recently earmarking $3 billion in ‘tv vouchers’ to convert everyone to digital, this is a topic that could garner interest in the mainstram press.

…And while I’m at it, I don’t believe there will be a big format war. samsung has already anounced that it is making a player that will support both HD DVD and blu-ray. I don’t recall much competition over DVD +/-, except for the early days of consumer DVD writers. While blu-ray is technically superior to HD-DVD, the consumer wants something that will ‘just work’; a sentiment echoed elsewhere.

The problem is, people who already own HDTV sets won’t be able to play HD movies on either blu-ray or HD DVD, because the ‘older’ HDTV sets don’t support the HDMI connector and cable, which is (essentially) used for DRM. And even though blu-ray supports something known as ‘Managed Copy’, which allows you to multicast the video from a disc around a house (say), it won’t allow you to make a backup copy of the disc. I guess if the disc gets scratched you’ll just have to buy another.

And in the end, that sentiment is what this comes down to. The media industry recently ‘agreed’ that DVD is dead, which screams to me “Hey we want you to buy more copies of stuff you already own!” – an attempt to rush, no, force a new standard/standards onto us. DVD isn’t dead, and will be mainstream for a good few years. Why spend several hundred on a blu-ray/HD DVD player and a grand or more on a HDTV set when you can buy a DVD player for 30 bucks?

Seems to me the media industry is sorry they didn’t have proper DRM on DVD in the first place… and now want us to pay for it. Again. And again. And again….