Forget the HD format war, says expert

PC drives will all be HD DVD and Blu-ray by 2012

A leading analyst has told consumers to forget about the format war - at least as far as PC drives are concerned.

Sony and Toshiba might be hoping to push out their respective HD disc formats by including them in their laptops, but ABI Research principal analyst Steve Wilson reckons it won't make a bit of difference. He thinks the HD drive market will be worth $2 billion by 2012 - and universal format drives will play a big part.

"About two-thirds will be accounted for by universal drives," says Wilson. Few universal drives are sold today, partly because of their higher price. But those prices will fall to about the same as Blu-ray players by 2009, and we forecast universal player sales to exceed Blu-ray the following year."

Poor old Sony. Just when it thought it might gain a little traction in the HD disc market, along comes someone to lampoon its big ideas. Wilson interestingly suggests that HD formats won't be of too much interest for consumers looking to store data - despite consumers proving that no amount of storage is too much time and time again.

Wilson says that about 30 per cent of consumers use DVDs for data storage. "However the adequate 4GB disc capacity of conventional DVD-Rs and the steep cost per gigabyte of high-definition disks will limit consumer demand for HD as a storage medium."

We're not so sure about that one. After all, if HD content is being encouraged on the PC, it needs to be stored and shared somehow.