Truth is, this battle is already much farther along than past conflicts. That consumer-baffling video cassette fight of the 1970s and early '80s wasn't just among two formats, but seven (including alternate tape systems from Quasar/Panasonic, Sanyo, Akai, Avco and Philips). Adding insult to injury were two other prerecorded video disc systems, besides LaserDisc, vying for attention and sales (from JVC and RCA). So, the dust could settle and a winner become obvious—a lot faster this time around.
If it doesn't, and a stalemate occurs, what then? At least one movie studio believes two HD disc formats can co-exist in today's climate, pointing to the multiple video game platforms on which titles can now be acquired. Expensive (initially) players that can handle both formats are already on the drawing boards.
This battle royale also will encourage other rival technologies to push ahead faster—HD satellite, fiber optic cable TV, HD downloads and maybe even a next generation, multi-terabyte capacity storage media (Fujifilm's holographic-etching project)—in the quest to win our eyeballs.