Before you think this is going to be an article hailing the downfall of Sony, let us assure you that it's not. We're going to shake our heads and furrow our brows at the head of Universal Studios, Craig Kornblau and his early decision to backhand Blu-ray in the face. Kornblau bases his decision on a couple of head-to-head comparisons that have floated around the net for a while. One of which had early editions of Blu-ray DVDs running the videos on a MPEG-2 format (which isn't quite as good as the VC-1 the HD-DVDs had employed at the time of comparison). We've previously discussed how Blu-ray is now incorporating MPEG-4 into many movies, at least from 20th Century Fox. MPEG-4 is the best of the best and can be used by both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, so says the great Wikipedia.
As far as pricing and availability go, Kornblau is fairly right -- HD-DVD is ahead for now. But hey, didn't the PS2 help ease the DVD format into millions of households? It wasn't the sole cause, but it sure helped. Perhaps Blu-ray needs that final push to get it out of the shadows and into some kind of spotlight. Universal was never a supporter of Blu-ray, so we'll take this with a grain of salt, sit back, wait, and watch as the battle ensues (as soon as HDTV's become the standard entertainment medium). For your homework, if anyone can find a head-to-head comparison of Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD where both are using the same playback medium, TV, and MPEG4 encoding, let us know and we'll write up a nice report on it.
[see also Joystiq's take on the news]
[Thanks to Wes for this article!]