People love to continue to characterize Blu-ray and HD DVD as VHS vs. BetaMax -- but it's vaguely reassuringly quite different. This time around we aren't contending with physical cartridge incompatibilities and differing analog tape types, thankfully now it's blu-laser based optical discs which do operate differently, but are at least different in the same physical form factor. Enter Warner's finally-commercialized Total HD discs, the hybrid double-sided Blu-ray HD DVD discs we originally heard about being patented are now being commercialized and introduced at CES next week. Of course, so long as some studios don't release in both formats on the same disc (say, for example, Sony Pictures Entertainment), this disc actually hinders the unwitting user who buys content that isn't double-sided, thinking that Blu-ray and HD DVD formats are no longer relevant in day to day buying decisions. We know this is indeed a great stopgap for all those crossover movies released in multiple formats, but we really think it's the hybrid players, not discs, that are going to save the day during this format war.

[Thanks, Ezra]