The battle between the next-generation, high-definition optical disc formats was an exciting, if exasperating, contest to follow. But now that the smoke is clearing, and Blu-ray has officially kicked HD DVD's proverbial butt, why am I still waiting to buy a Blu-ray player?

More to the point, why are so many of you waiting to buy a Blu-ray drive? (see: Blu-ray: PC Advisor readers hit back)

My colleague forked out his hard earned cash over a year ago so he could be the first on his street to own one, and yet today, Blu-ray players are less than half the price.

Why doesn't my local Blockbuster carry Blu-ray Disc movies? In fact, why are my trips to Blockbuster so infrequent these days?

I'm thinking that Blu-ray, and high-definition optical disc ownership in general, just isn't that appealing. I've watched Blu-ray movies on the best televisions money can buy in various high street stores, and while the picture looks terrific, it just doesn't have me reaching for my wallet the way DVDs did when they were first introduced.

Maybe it's because it's an evolutionary improvement in video quality and not the revolutionary jump that occurred when DVDs overtook VHS tapes.

So I've come up with these four reasons why I, and probably most of the UK, won't be heading down to the high street to buy a Blu-ray player anytime soon.

NEXT PAGE: price, and the quality of high-end DVD players > >

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The battle between the next-generation, high-definition optical disc formats was an exciting, if exasperating, contest to follow. But now that the smoke is clearing, and Blu-ray has officially kicked HD DVD's proverbial butt, why am I still waiting to buy a Blu-ray player?

Price

Blu-ray players are more than four times the cost of standard DVD players. In fact, Sony has recently announced its next-generation player, which will sell for around £250 this summer. Still too much.

Experts say the magic number that will spur real consumer adoption of optical disc technology is £100. Some analysts predict we may see Blu-ray players for £100 by Christmas, but I'm not holding my breath.

I've had a certain disdain for Blu-ray Disc from the beginning (even though I figured it would win the format war) because of the high price of the players. I know this is partly due to the fact that, unlike HD DVD, manufacturers had to change their DVD platter-pressing equipment for the new format. But I can't help but consider that Sony and others may be keeping the prices artificially high because they knew from the beginning they had a leg up on HD DVD when it came to studio support.

Get the latest Sony news, click here.

New DVD players are just as good

Upgraded DVD players offer near-HD quality for a fraction of the price. Have you been in your local Currys or Argos lately? That's right, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p output are all offered on these inexpensive players, and you can purchase upgraded DVD burners as well for about half the cost of a Blu-ray player.

According to industry analysts, the sweet spot for high-definition televisions is from 32in to 46in. screens. If you're sitting eight or more feet away from one of those televisions, I don't believe you're going to notice enough of a difference to convince you to spend a hundred quid more on a Blu-ray player.

NEXT PAGE: How renting and even downloading movies from digital TV providers may increase Blu-ray’s chances of failure > >

For the latest games and home entertainment news and reviews visit Digital World.

So Blu-ray has officially kicked HD DVD's proverbial butt in the HD-DVD war but will we all be running out to grab a Blu-ray player? I don't think so. Here's four reasons Blu-ray will sink without a trace.

Why buy when you can rent?

There was a time when I loved being able to grab a VHS tape or DVD out of my collection to watch a movie over and over again, because going out to the video store was a pain and got expensive over time.

But that was before video-on-demand. Now, all I have to do if I want to watch my favourite movie once or twice a year is pay £4, and I don't have to store to stupid thing. Sure, I still have a few dozen of my very favorite DVDs ('The Treasure of the Sierra Madre', 'Blade Runner', 'Crouching Tiger', 'Hidden Dragon', 'The Lord of the Rings'), but it's not like I've built up a library akin to the 200 plus VHS tapes I once owned. It's just not as appealing anymore. Even my colleague with the Blu-ray player says he doesn't buy movies. In a year, he's bought just six.

These days, I prefer the video-on-demand services I get from my digital TV provider. It’s cheap and easy to use and in the future, we expect to be able to buy movies from them and either store them on a set-top box/PVR or with the provider just like any online storage service offers free capacity.

They'll also offer a strong contender to internet video downloads as they will be just as easy and can be watched on your TV.

Get the latest Sony news, click here.

Downloads

While currently not up to speed, hardware like the Xbox allows you to download movies in the background while playing games, so you won't pull your hair out as they trickle in overnight. But over time, bandwidth will increase and so will internet downloads.

Obviously, I prefer my big television screen to an Apple iPod or PC monitor, but I think the ability to transfer those downloads to a PVR, Apple TV or some other hard drive will advance quickly. And, don't think Blu-ray champion Sony doesn't know that. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Sony CEO Howard Stringer is getting ready to challenge Apple in video-downloading services.

Movie studios may even be working at artificially slowing the advancement of movie downloads in order to maintain control of content. They learned a lesson from the music download industry after watching Apple dominate that market. Also, there's more of a profit margin in retail sales of Blu-ray Disc players and movies. For that reason alone, I'm more partial to supporting downloads once they're a viable option.

For the latest games and home entertainment news and reviews visit Digital World.