I was a huge supporter of HD DVD from the beginning but quickly sensed that business would win over what’s good for consumers. I have a feeling both platforms participated in a little “payola” when it comes to getting studios on board, ultimately Blu-ray throwing the most cash. There is no way studios would pick one format over another if there wasn’t — we’re not seeing them support only iTunes.
When it came to technological disadvantages, HD DVD lost on space — some might even argue the discs also scratched easier than Blu-ray. I felt that the space thing really was a non-issue, but apparently we do look at size vs. features. HD DVD was built around extensibility, it supported XML as the interactive layer which, I feel is better than clunky JAVA. It also seems like HD DVD was better thought out, I liked the constancy of the menus and how easy and seamless the interactive content worked. HD DVD also supported managed copies and was more affordable than Blu-ray. HD DVD also had network connectivity from the beginning. I don’t see how Blu-ray’s “player profile” are consumer friendly… now buyers need to know what player profiles their player is so they know what kind of interactivity and features they can or cannot view. The only Blu-ray player that has the hardware to support future profiles is the PS3. HD DVD never had this issue, it was all planned and designed at the beginning… how does this make Blu-ray more consumer friendly?
My feeling was that HD DVD was closer to getting us away from polycarbonate discs and to a download or IP distribution model given Microsoft’s involvment. The interactive model supported it and it was a more evolved WMV HD discs Microsoft released years ago where you could distribute on disc or online depending on the licensing model that was chosen. Blu-ray is designed to keep stamping discs for years to come — maybe that’s why studios supported this format — gives them more security and is not disruptive. I really hope we’re not still using discs in five years.
Towards the end of the format war, I supported both with my LG dual format PC drive. I am interested to see how Blu-ray support will be incorporated into Media Center/XBOX 360 and if Microsoft will decide to just support an IP distribution model. Until then, I will keep buying and watching any HD format the movies I want to see are on. R.I.P HD DVD.