Toshiba throws in the towel

blu-ray_250.gifAcknowledging the inevitable, Toshiba has withdrawn from the next-generation DVD race. Avoiding a protracted fight is probably a good thing…no sense in waging a war that they are almost certain to loose. The parallels drawn between the DVD format war and the VHS Betamax war of the late 70s are striking. This time Sony is coming out on top and their Blu-ray format appears destined to be the defacto standard for high-definition DVD recordings. While the VHS Betamax battle was largely won/lost over recording time and cost, this battle appears to be more about film studio and retail buy-in. Blu-ray was able to secure commitments from many of the leading Hollywood studios. In addition, retail and distribution outlets like Walmart and Netflix jumped on board the Blu-ray train. If you’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop before buying a DVD recorder/player…it looks like you now have one more consumer electronic gadget on which to spend your “economic stimulus” check!

Grammy Awards and the WGA Strike

grammy.jpgThe Writers Guild strike is nearly over. A vote is scheduled for Tuesday and it appears that they will be picking up their pencils later this week. Too bad for the producers of the 50th annual Grammy Awards who, although they had brokered a deal to allow the show to proceed, clearly didn’t have the full force of the creative community at their disposal. The music industry is in trouble, and this “celebration” of talent is a sad acknowledgment of that reality. The only thing that may help the ratings this year is that the awards show didn’t have to compete against a new episode of Desperate Housewives!

Ratings Update: The Grammy Awards pulled a 6.9 rating from the 18-49 demo, sharply down from last year and one of the poorest showings ever. Adding insult to injury, the audience was not much larger than that for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

High/Low-lights:

  • A Jazz album won Record of the Year once again…only 43 years since the first and only time that has happened.
  • Watching Amy Winehouse is like watching an accident…you can’t help but look.
  • Brad Paisley sang a song about ticks…and I mean the blood-sucking kind.
  • The best line of the night was unscripted…Vince Gill poking at Kanye.
  • And oh yeah, Barak Obama beat out Bill Clinton for the “Best Spoken Word Album” award!

See all the winners at the Grammy website.