Usually I'd try to offer up some witticism to the endless annoyances of the HD format war but sadly, unlike the continued vying between HD DVD and Blu-ray, the loss of Warner's Total HD disc for the immediate term has left me a bit stumped. Speaking to 'This Week In Consumer Electronics' (TWICE), Warner Home Video President, Ron Saunders, discussed how, while formerly planned for a release this half of the year before slipping to early 2008, the format is now officially on indefinite hiatus.
While in the long term I, like everybody else, would like to see a winner in the battle for HD supremacy, Total HD had great appeal as an interim measure. For a start, the discs would have had the advantage of working in every player, as opposed to a certain dual-format player, which doesn't support all the features of either HD format.
Better still, consumers not willing to invest in both formats could pick the side that suits them best now with the assurance that if eventual dominance shifted to the other camp, all that would need replacing would be the player. Even for those early adopters the benefits are there, as the cost of a dual-format disc would likely be lower than one of each format separately.
Alas to say, though, Warner's 'coming soon' sounds more like a portent of doom than a light jest. Still, Warner is still committed to supporting its HD release schedule and has gone so far as to predict half a million sales of 300 in HD by Christmas, which certainly indicates the company's faith in the high definition market place. Whether we'll ever hear of Total HD again or if it is destined to fade into obscurity I'm still not decided, but one thing we can be sure of is that the format war isn't going to be over any time soon.