Blu-Ray the winner. It's over folks.
It's all over bar the shouting.
Hardware sales vastly in favor of Blu-Ray.
Movie sales vastly favor Blu-Ray.
There is no significant feature of either that the other does not already have (even if only as an optional feature).
Cheaper players are becoming available in both formats.
Blu-Ray has higher audio and video bit rates, as well as nearly double the disc capacity.
With an estimated 8 million PS3s sold (by the end of calendar year 2007), there is a guaranteed market of more than 8 million Blu-Ray players that are not going away. Even if HD-DVD were to 'win', there are already enough PS3s to support Blu-Ray movie releases on heir own without any further significant sales. And of course PS3s will continue to sell for games as well as Blu-Ray. Stand alone player sales will increase as costs drop, PS3 sales will continue to grow. In other words, the Blu-Ray snowball is rolling down hill and gathering momentum quickly.
It's hard to see how Toshiba and it's HD-DVD format intends to prevent that snowball from rolling any further. It's almost like the HD-DVD snowball is now running in the rut left by the Blu-Ray one, and there is precious little extra snow mass to be gathered in that rut.
With regards to downloading HD content. With 50GB to play with on a Blu-Ray disc, let's assume that 30GB is the movie audio and video data. If we were to download only the movie we'd need to get that 30GB downloaded to our local home theater system.
30GB = 30,000MB which is more or less 240,000Mbits
On a typical residential DSL circuit you will max out at a theoretical 3Mbits per second. To get that HD movie you will need 8000 seconds or more than two hours of data transfer at your theoretical maximum bandwidth. Now a whole host of factors go into your actual bandwidth, but you might be lucky enough to get approximately 75% of the theoretical maximum sustained over several hours. Assuming you don't use VOIP and no other use of the Internet connection is made you might manage to download your movie in 3 hours or so.
If you haven't paid for one of the 3Mbit DSL options, then you are pretty much screwed. A 1.5Mbit DSL connection would get you that movie in perhaps 6 hours, and on a very typical 768Kbit hookup you're looking at 12 hours or more.
Sure you could compress the content, but then you're not getting HD. If you crush that movie to a quarter of the original size you end up with something approaching DVD quality, but at least you can download it in a reasonable time under typical conditions. Not everyone has 3Mbits or better. Even if they did, ISPs would have to undertake considerable upgrades of their own networks to handle the huge data transfers inherent in all their customers suddenly downloading HD content. At the end of the day, this is not at all practical, and not something that will magically become practical tomorrow. We've been talking about fast broadband network access for decades now. Fiber to the desk, fiber to the home. Where is it? Most consumers use something that's only a little more sophisticated than POTS (aka wet string). People should stop deluding themselves that Download is going to come in and replace optical media anytime soon.