CES Dispatch--Blu-ray's Victory?

A very gracious Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of consumer giant Sony Corp., today didn’t want to dwell too much on Blu-ray’s apparent victory over rival high-definition DVD format HD DVD. In a reference to President’s Bush’s early declaration of victory in the Iraq War, Stringer noted one shouldn’t unfurl the mission accomplished banner just yet. And he pointed out that the majority of consumers still do not understand the benefits of high-definition DVDs at all. But one question that continues to nag Blu-ray backers is whether they ponied up a lot of money to gain the crucial Warner Brothers exclusive backing they received last week. Stringer in a press conference with a couple dozen journalists evaded the question when I asked him directly whether Warner received cash or incentives. His comment: “You just are going to have to take it at face value. They (Warner) thought the format was the superior format and they did it for the best interests of the consumer.” Still, one wonders why Warner suddenly decided after more than a year of waffling that Blu-ray was superior. Was their switch also in the best interest of Warner? I’m betting we’ll be hearing more about this over the next few months as Toshiba gears to try to keep HD DVD from fading into oblivion.

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