As the format war continues one thing is clear... things are moving in a high definition direction.

In a story from Home Media Magazine, the biggest debate at the annual Digital Hollywood conference in Santa Monica, Calif., seemed to be will the format war winner be HD-DVD or Blu-ray disc?

According to Microsoft it doesn't really matter.

"I don't know that [HD] will be delivered on an optical disc in five to 10 years," said Richard Doherty, Microsoft's program manager for Media Entertainment Convergence. "At Microsoft, we'd rather it wasn't [on a disc]."

That said he stated the company was "very firmly planted in HD-DVD" and that "Blu-Ray hasn't delivered that interactive content [like HD DVD] has."

Doherty also admitted that Microsoft's Xbox 360, which plays HD-DVDs, had something to do with his bias.

He also predicts that HD-DVD "will be the last optical [home entertainment] generation. If this one survives."

Brett Gaines, VP of strategic business development for Silicon Image Inc., "pointed out that studios count on a majority of their revenue from DVD and its HD brothers. "

"Over time it's inevitable: delivery of content will be by the Internet and broadband. It's just the cheapest way to get content into the home," Gaines went on to say. "[But] before you move off optical media, you'll need to tell the studios where [they'll make up the money]."

"The economics here are not simple," offered Jack Buser, Dolby's "WorldWide Technology Evangelist."

"Dolby's extremely neutral in the format war," Buser stated. "But we also really, really don't like the format war. A lot of consumers right now are turned off by the format war. They've been burned before and they don't want to be burned again."

In the end, Gaines believes that the winner between HD-DVD and Blu-ray will come down to who offers the better titles.

"The video and audio experience is a given, [but] right now it's a little bit tough to get what you want [on HD]," Gaines offered. "It's not all on HD-DVD and Blu-ray. We need more sources of HD programming.

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs