9/7/2005 11:14:52 AM, by [Ken "Caesar" Fisher](http://arstechnica.com/wankerdesk/bios/caesar.html) As I've hinted at previously, the forthcoming format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD won't be a replay of the days of VHS and Betamax. Because of the physical similarities between Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, consumer electronics companies are likely to bring players to market capable of playing both formats, and Samsung is the first company to openly confirm those plans. In an interview with the [i]Financial Times Deutschland[/i], the company's consumer electronics honcho said that Samsung would bring dual-format players to market in order to prevent rampant confusion among consumers. "We would welcome a unified standard but if this doesn't come, which looks likely, we'll bring a unified solution to market," [said](http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-09/07/content_3454461.htm) Choi Gee-sung. "It wonâ€™t be simple but youâ€™ll see our solution in the coming year... Consumers will be too confused otherwise."
Could this be a poetic end of the format wars? I wouldn’t count on it. There’s two things going on here. First, Samsung’s plans may seem like a “threat” to Toshiba and Sony, but those two aren’t going to run together in slow motion on a beach to affirm their commitment to a unified format. It’s too late for that. The only way I see unification now would be if Toshiba literally tucked its tail between its legs and fully capitulated to Sony. In such a scenario, Toshiba won’t be seeing much in the way of royalties.
The second, more likely scenario, is one in which HD DVD pushes on, and Toshiba tries to make as much as they can while Blue-ray slowly but surely takes the market. Dual-format players like those planned by Samsung are great for HD DVD, because it gets HD DVD support into the home. Without the dual-format players, I fear that HD DVD doesn’t have much of a chance. August saw Blu-ray pick up more studios and more technologies aimed at attracting the studios, and HD DVD looks to be sitting there like a bump on a log. Indeed, just last week Toshiba announced that they were delaying the HD DVD launch into 2006, eliminating whatever minor advantage they might have seen with an early holiday launch.
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personally, i’m waiting until late 2006 if not 2007 before buying into either of these formats…