And let's not forget about recordable DVD—probably the most returned consumer electronics product in the history of the industry. Consumer confusion of format and compatibility has led to remarkable achievements in media packaging but it's hasn't helped sales one bit.
So who gets hurt in the HD DVD/Blu-ray war? 1) The consumer who buys one player, then realizes that the title he or she really wants to watch is in the other format, or realizes too late that the $6,000 he spent on an HDTV in 2004 was wasted because the new player requires an HDMI port. 2) The retailer who will inevitably be stuck with inventory of the losing product or be blamed for selling an unsatisfactory product, whether it be the hi-def player or an older HDTV. 3) The manufacturers that will be forced to expend extra marketing dollars proving that their format is better than the other. In the end the manufacturers, dealers and content makers will continue to pass the buck while the consumer downloads low resolution video for their iPods.
Eventually we'll get to one standard. But it's sad to see that industry, even with a knowledge of its own history, has no interest in making it easy on anyone.