2007 Tech Trends No. 3: Blu-ray and HD DVD convergance

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Third in a series of posts highlighting Tech Digest’s pick of big technology trends for the second half of 2007…

Will the rival Blu-ray and HD DVD camps make peace this side of Christmas (or even emerge from their trenches for a festive football match emulating the British and German troops in World War I? Not likely. Their battle will continue at full pelt until someone loses – mainly all the poor punters who plumped for the wrong format.

Thankfully, some manufacturers are working around the confusion. Two combi Blu-ray and HD DVD players have already been announced, with LG’s BH100 Super Multi Blu player already on sale in the UK after being unveiled at CES in January.

Meanwhile, by Christmas Americans will be able to get their hands on Samsung’s Duo HD, which besides playing both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, will be able to handle their interactive features – something Super Multi Blue can’t do.

The Duo HD is due out this year in the US, and shortly after (we hope) in Europe. Sure, these combi players will be expensive – Super Multi Blue will set you back a cool £1,000, for which you could buy a standalone HD DVD player and a PS3 (which includes Blu-ray).

But it’s the principle that counts – if Samsung and LG can stand with a foot in both camps, then surely other manufacturers can follow suit. The next six months will show us.

Meanwhile, the people who actually make the films that are converted into high-definition loveliness are also making their own moves towards format convergance. Take Warner Bros, which announced its Total HD Disc earlier this year, being a dual-layer disc with an HD DVD layer on top of a Blu-ray layer.

It’s true that the industry (and blogs like Tech Digest and HDTV UK) will spend the rest of 2007 chewing over which format is likely to win the HD war. But if there’s anything that’ll boost consumer confidence in either Blu-ray or HD DVD, it’ll be the sensible moves towards blending the two from companies like LG, Samsung and Warner Bros that’ll be the source.

THE FULL TECH TRENDS LIST
1: Telly 2.0
2: Green Gadgets
3: Blu-ray and HD DVD convergence
4: Virtual Reality
5: Touchscreens
6: Mobile social networking
7: Lifecasting
8: Bluetooth music
9: DRM-free music
10: Wi-Fi personal media players

Stuart Dredge