Analysts say the next-gen DVD war isn't over yet. Analysts Mike Goodman from Yankee Group claims Blu-ray still faces a tough battle against online distribution:
Sony "better not be drinking any champagne yet," warned Yankee Group analyst Mike Goodman. He said they now face a possibly more formidable competitor -- online or over-the-air digital distribution.
In fact, his research firm projects that in five years video on demand will account for 30 to 50 percent of movie rentals and sales via cable, satellite, telco or the Internet. "The majority of that marketplace will be high-definition fare," he said.
Other observers have noted that, for Internet distribution, there is the problem of displaying movie fare on a TV screen, rather than on a PC. Goodman countered that downloading to TVs has already started. He noted that Microsoft's Xbox 360 has accounted for as many as 380 million "pieces of content" downloaded -- including games and other material -- and virtually all of it has been played on a TV.
Goodman said he "wouldn't be shocked" if Microsoft, which had backed HD DVD and offered a HD DVD player for the Xbox, now releases a Blu-ray add-on. His perspective is that Microsoft's support of HD DVD "was intended to delay the success of Blu-ray, because they fundamentally believe that the future is digital distribution" on demand. A delay in Blu-ray meant on-demand distribution would have more time to develop, he said. Most of Microsoft's effort toward distribution, he pointed out, has been for the online service Xbox Live.