The HD DVD format has been on suicide watch for the last few months and this morning Toshiba finally killed it off. But what does this really mean for the industry? Is it full-steam ahead for Blu-ray? Or will DVD and digital downloads hold it back?

Steve May at Home Cinema Choice magazine says that the withdrawal of the HD DVD format will definitely give Blu-ray a big boost.

“There’s no doubt this simplifies the hi-def proposition for the average consumer,” he told TechRadar. “The only question is does the average consumer actually care enough about HD or Blu-ray to buy? At the moment I think the industry is quietly optimistic.”

May said that with only one format on the shelves, consumers will no longer be so confused. Consequently, he says, sales of Blu-ray Disc players are bound to go up.

“One thing’s for sure, Blu-ray will become a lot more visible in the high-street. Stores will have the confidence to promote the format and this is sure to drive interest. The cost of discs is still very high compared to the average selling price of DVD, though.

"What we need now are some eye-popping feature-packed blockbuster releases. The onus is on the studios to actually deliver products that people will recognise as being clearly superior to DVD. Blu-ray won the war, now Blu-ray needs to win the wow,” he said.

Blu-ray vs downloads vs DVD

May also thinks that while the format war, fought mostly in the media, kept people from actually buying products, it did actually keep people interested in it. Now that the war is over, perhaps the media footprint of Blu-ray will recede.

“Conversely, the war actually kept interest in HD high. Without it, tech-heads will find something else to fixate on, like downloads and stuff.

“As the format is no longer in competition with HD DVD, player prices will stabilise. The PS3 will set the guide price. I doubt Sony would want any other BD players to undercut the PS3.”

TechRadar spoke to Olivier Van Wynendaele, deputy general manager of HD DVD at Toshiba, this morning. He also agreed that Blu-ray might not necessarily be as successful as some would hope.

“Digital distribution methods are improving fast, so downloads will definitely take a piece of the market,” he said.

“No one can deny that downloads will take a share. Blu-ray won’t be so successful as a replacement for DVD, compared with how successful DVD was in replacing VHS. There’s more competition these days, so some people might bypass Blu-ray altogether.”

However, Van Wynendaele did wish the Blu-ray camp well for the future.

"We wish them good luck," he said.