This blog post is completely off topic, but I'm going to do that every once in a while just to keep things interesting.
I talk a lot about this subject with Rick, who always is raving about how great these next generation disc look on his awesome TV. I of course have stayed out of the fray because I still have my ten year old TV so it won't really matter if I pick up a next-generation player. But I follow the war with some interest only because I find these types of battles to be interesting.
As I shopped around this Black Weekend, one of the things I did look for was to see what types of deals were available for either type of player. I saw multiple places with a Toshiba HD DVD player for $199. Amazon has it for even less. I didn't see a Blu-Ray player for less than $399. There were a few of those, along with of course the PS3, which can act as a Blu Ray player itself, and at this point is the best value if you are going to go down this path.
Despite the fact that I'm a bonafide geek, I am also extremely careful with my money (wouldn't know it from what I'm doing here would you?). I am a "mainstream" consumer in the sense that I prefer to let technology come way down in price before I buy it. I generally don't see a reason to be on the cutting-edge, because the premium you pay is so much greater than the actual benefit you receive from the new technology. No doubt that these next-generation formats look great, but when I can buy a DVD player for $20, and the quality look absolutely fine, am I really going to pay 8x or 16x more money? Am I really going to repurchase an entire DVD collection I spent years building? Doubtful.
Many tout that the Blu-Ray technology is better. It might also have the better stable of movies with all the Sony and Disney pictures exclusively on Blu-Ray. But in the end, it's about price, it's always about price. I've stated my position. The first format to break the $100 mark for a widely-available player wins. At the price, people stop trying to save up for the purchase, and just go buy it. It becomes a mainstream purchase. If I have a choice between a traditional DVD player at $70 (which is what I spent on my player) or a newer technology at $100, then I would likely choose the newer one, just to future proof myself.
Anecdotally, the Circuit City I went to was sold out of their Toshiba HD DVD players, but had plenty of the Blu Ray players. Best Buy had plenty of both.
So what do you think? Have you picked sides in the war yet and why? Or are you like me, just waiting it out until someone makes it cheap enough to be worthwhile?