The Future is here and its name be Blu-Ray!

For all the noises Toshiba is making about its HD DVD format, Sony is poised to take Blu-Ray the way of the VHS cassette and leave HD DVD to go the way of the Dodo. In a development near and dear to my own heart, Apple Computer was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Blu-Ray Disc Association, joining a majority of the heavyweights in the electronics industry like Panasonic, Sony, Hitachi, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Now, as we all know, Apple is scarcely in a position to make an arbitrary decision as to which horse to back, so the choosing of sides by Apple is a telling move towards the future success of Blu-Ray. It already supports the H.264 HD video codec in QuickTime 7, smoothing the adoption of Blu-Ray into the software side of things.

However, of even greater moment than the venerated Apple decision is Sony�s move to support Blu-Ray in the upcoming PlayStation 3. With a good majority of the console market, this alone should be able to coax quite a few fence-sitters.

Although Toshiba and Sony have been engaged in talks recently regarding the consolidation of the two formats into one, analysts have speculated that they are both using the talks as a forum to attempt to get the other to capitulate.

In terms of branding, Toshiba can leverage the world-wide recognition of the �DVD� moniker in its HD DVD label, a mark familiar to millions already, leaving Blu-Ray the uphill battle to market the relatively-unknown brand. However, if everyone is using the Blu-Ray format anyway, branding will be less of a problem due to a cornered market to begin with. The public will get used to nearly any brand, but it has to work right and be competitive, or else it doesn�t matter whether you call it Blu-Ray or VHS. [Britt Godwin