Readers new to the home theater universe might not be aware that the Blu-ray video disc format wasn’t always the only game in town. Back in the late aughts it was engaged in a brief but hard fought format war with a similar competitor for the consumer’s high definition dollars: HD DVD.
DVDs had been around for roughly a decade when Sony formally introduced the first Blu-ray player to the Japanese market in late June 2006. But Toshiba had launched its first HD DVD player three months earlier. The war was on. Conventional DVD had been wildly successful, but as high definition sets became mainstream, broadcast HD still spotty, and streaming was barely a mote in Google’s eye, the market was ready for a disc format with higher resolution.