The aim of the Fiasco Awards is rewarding the best projects in the ICT field that have ended up as a FIASCO. We want to promote a critical spirit, a positive attitude towards the obstacles in the road to success, and why not? let's admit it: to have fun. More »
Don't be afraid (D'on ve el fred? - ¿Dónde vive Alfredo?)
Finalist Fiascos


HD-DVD (High Density-Digital Versatile Disc) is an optical system for data and video storage developed as a format for high definition DVD. It was conceived as the successor to standard DVD format. The first players who arrived to the market were Toshiba in 2006.

The war between different formats for high definition came down to home users' choice between HD-DVD and Blue-Ray Disc (which had the support of Sony, Panasonic and Apple). However, in 2008 Toshiba announced the discontinuity of the products based on HD-DVD, due to "recent significant changes in the market".

The fiasco

The HD-DVD project was born in 2002, developed over 4 years and came out in 2006. Two years later, it dies. Why was it a Fiasco? Because of the technology, the business model or the strategy? First, the HD-DVD technical specifications were inferior to its major competitor, the Blu-Ray (lower capacity per layer, lower transfer rate, more vulnerable to anti-copy system, etc..).

However, the Internet community believes that the problem has been the support of the sector and, specifically, of the production companies. Do not forget that HD-DVD and BDR make absolutely no sense without the distribution of films. For many, the Warner Bros. decision marked the end of HD-DVD when it announced in January 2008 that it would not produce more content in HD-DVD and would distribute high-definition movie format only in BDR.

Equally important is the strategic vision of Sony: in a format war, usually the one that creates more economic benefit wins. And in this case, it was logical to think that the producers would decide by the format depending on the highest number of players in the market. And Sony incorporated the BDR player serial into its console, PlayStation 3.

Microsoft, however, despite supporting the HD-DVD, never incorporated it to its XBOX360 console. If it had had a HD-DVD player, the number of potential consumers in 2008 would have been more than 20 million, when Toshiba barely reached 1 million units sold.

What have we learned?

Technology is important in a project of this kind, but strategy and business models are important as well. For several years, two formats were developed over the protests of the industry and users. The producers were not sure that there was enough market for two formats, and users did not want certain products released exclusively to a format, forcing them to choose the player depending on the available catalog. But that did happen.

HD-DVD lost a short battle because of the support of the sector, which was slowly turning to the BDR, Sony's format that had millions of high definition movies playable on the PlayStation 3.

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