I. Will. Not. Buy. The. Movies. I. Have. Again! No. Matter. What!!!

A high-tech DVD format battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers is shaping up to be a 21st century version of the 1980s VHS/Betamax brawl.
Sometime around 2006, a new generation of DVD players made to work with High Definition television sets will land on store shelves. One group will only play a format of High Definition signals called Blu-ray, and the other something known as HD DVD.
Blu-ray is being championed by Sony (the loser in the Betamax wars) and supported by Dell, HP, Hitachi, Pioneer, Philips and Samsung. HD DVD has the backing of brands like Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo.
The new machines are expected to cost around $2,000 for a Blu-ray player and about $1,000 for a HD DVD box at first. But with the battle lines formally drawn, the war about to unfold will come despite the hard lessons learned from the Betamax/VHS conflict 20 years ago, which cost companies like Sony untold millions and left consumers fuming when the had to throw away their Betamax machines.
“The point is that consumers’ memories don’t stop each manufacturer’s desire,” says consumer electronics expert Peter King, of Strategy Analytics. “Each one has big investments in [their chosen technology], think that they’ve got a winning product, want it adopted as the industry standard, and will fight tooth-and-nail to do so.”
Both formats hold much more information than conventional DVDs, which means the movies on them will look sharper and clearer on those high-tech rectangular High Definition TVs that are already beginning to replace the conventional tube sets that most consumers now own.
The technology on both machines is basically the same. They both use blue lasers, which have shorter wavelengths than conventional red lasers and allow the discs to save more data. The difference comes in the kind of electronic language each machine uses to encode data on the discs and the amount of data that can be stored.
Blu-ray discs can hold twice the information ó at least an entire feature film and all the extras to go along with it ó while HD DVDs can only hold one feature film. But Blu-ray discs will need all new equipment to be manufactured, so they are expected to cost more, while HD DVDs can be fashioned in the same factories where conventional DVDs are made, leading to lower prices on store shelves.
Years ago, the deciding factor in the VHS/Betamax fight was which format had more movies, and it may also ultimately decide which disc becomes the new industry standard.
Last week, Disney said it would release its movies on Blu-ray discs (and continue to release them on regular DVDs) but kept the door open just in case HD DVDs eventually win the battle. Disney’s announcement came about two weeks after several studios ó including Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Paramount and Universal ó agreed to release their films on HD DVD.