CEA 2006 Industry Forum Hears Praise for DVD Wars

At this week's CEA 2006 Industry Forum in San Francisco, no one seemed ready to go out on a limb and predict which side (if any) might prevail in the Blu-ray Disc vs. HD DVD wars, but at least one exec seemed to think the current battle is a good thing.

At the session on "Next-Generation DVD: Overcoming the Obstacles," Chris Crotty, senior analyst at iSuppli Corp., and other panelists discussed the role that game consoles like Xbox 360 and PS3, as well as computers, will play in the acceptance of next-gen discs. Xbox is compatible only with HD DVD; PS3 will only accept Blu-ray Disc.

According to the CEA, "Crotty highlighted the need for both sides to work together to promote the new format[s] and to be cautious that other high-def channels into the home, like on-demand and Internet downloads, could prevail during the [DVD] debates."

Another panelist, Andy Parsons, senior vice president at Pioneer who also chairs the U.S. Promotion Committee of the Blu-ray Disc Association, answered an audience question by saying this is not the first format war to be held, and we are lucky to be part of a free market system where various ideas can all play in the market. "The market will decide who prevails," Parsons said.

Sean Wargo, CEA director of Industry Analysis, said consumer electronics "gifts" will account for $21 billion in 2006 holiday spending, starting late next month--up from $17 billion last year. HD-centric equipment, however, appears to take a back seat in the gifts category, where Wargo listed the less expensive MP3 music player as the most desired gift "to receive," while a digital camera is the top item most likely "to be given" this year, which was also the case last season.