The biggest story in home-entertainment technology right now is the impending close to the HD DVD/Blu-ray Disc battle.

And this is despite the fact that - with our first look at Windows Home Server (a product that could well turn out to be very big news indeed in 2008) and a clutch of new graphics cards from ATI and nVidia - there's no shortage of interesting new products to look at.

For those who happen to have missed out on this intriguing tussle over the past 12 months, here's a recap. Toshiba's HD DVD and Sony's Blu-ray formats have been slugging it out to see who can be crowned the successor to DVD-ROM as we move towards the high-definition (HD) age.

It always takes time for sales to pick up in these next-generation technologies. But even by the standards of past skirmishes, this one has left most potential customers unconvinced and waiting on the sidelines until there's a winner.

Plenty in the press have been comparing this current situation to the fight between the DVD-R and DVD+R formats that was raging a few months ago. In reality though, there are few similarities.

That's because DVD-R and +R were computer data formats. If you bought a DVD-R drive and stuck your photos and audio files onto blank media, had DVD+R won and condemned DVD-R to obscurity, the worst case was likely to be that you'd have to get out your media, copy all of the files back on to your PC, and then buy a DVD+R drive and copy those same files back on to new DVD+R media.

Something of a pain obviously, but probably not a huge loss, and hence the reason why, as it's turned out, there hasn't needed to be a winner, with both formats happily playing together.

HD DVD and Blu-ray, on the other hand, are primarily intended for playing films. If you're one of the famed early adopters, you might buy your shiny new player and then add a movie or two to your collection every month. That could easily add up to £300-£500 worth of discs in a year.

Should you choose the wrong format, you'd almost certainly be left with hundreds of pounds worth of films that you wouldn't even be able to view a few years from now. That's why so few people (even those with deep pockets) have felt like gambling on one of the formats, and why those promoting dual-format HD DVD/Blu-ray drives have really missed the point.

Up to the beginning of this year, we had been left with something of a stalemate. Six of the seven big film companies (Fox, MGM, Paramount, Universal, Disney and Sony) had made temporary commitments to one or the other format, with the result that neither format appeared to have a significant lead in support.

Warner Bros, however, was hedging its bets and playing both sides – even experimenting with a dual-format drive. Then, at the beginning of the year, it suddenly announced at CES that it would be exclusively backing Blu-ray.

At one fell swoop, Blu-ray found itself with 70 percent of the major film studios backing it. And, as we know from the famed Betamax/VHS fight, it's the film studios that really decide which of these formats win out.

HD DVD has moved quickly, slashing prices on its drives and hoping that this'll sway customers. But it won't.

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