It’s taken long enough but it finally looks like next gen HD disk format has been chosen – Blu-Ray has won. Ever since Warner went Blu-Ray only the writing has been on the wall. Most people seemed to give HD-DVD until the end of the year. That looks to have been optimistic.

Reuters are now reporting that Toshiba are giving up on the format. RIP HD-DVD. This comes in the same week that many large retailers moved to either Blu-Ray exclusive or to promoting Blu-Ray as the first choice format. I couldn’t give a toss about what format was the best from a technology standpoint. I just wanted one to succeed and for the HD market to grow with a sole format like CD’s and DVD’s. Hopefully thats what will happen now even if the HD-DVD fanboys think that Blu-Ray is a bad choice or that downloads will now take over.

The downloading options are starting to get interesting though. Apple TV Take 2 launched last week offering HD video rentals. I’d dismissed these as although they are HD in terms of resolution there bitrate is usually low to reduce bandwidth, so making them not much better than DVD, especially a good upscaled DVD. However the reviews have so far shown the rentals to be very good, in between Blu-Ray and US cable broadcasts. With start times rumoured to be under a minute it’s starting to look good for HD, especially with Apple TV. However why spend £200 on Apple TV when a PS3 costs £280, can play Blu-Ray disks, is a very capable media playback device (for Mac users try MediaLink) and when Play TV is released will be a Freeview player including HD and also act as a PVR. Even more impressively, the PS3 allows you to browse the internet and again with Play TV can do a slingbox and broadcast TV to the PSP. All very impressive. Almost forgot – it plays games too.

If someone asked me today to recommend one media player it would easily be the PS3. That’s something I didn’t expect to say even a year ago.