When assessing the relative strength of HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray for high definition disc format war handicapping, I have always been quick to point out that DVD is the likely successor to DVD, as it is "good enough" for most consumers and addresses a larger installed base of non-HDTVs in addition to HDTV sets with decent anamorphic ("enhanced for widescreen TV") performance. But the other thing I have noted time and time again is that Sony's Playstation 3 (PS3) was a potential trojan horse, bringing Blu-Ray playback to the masses. At E3 today, Sony announced the pricing and availability for the PS3, and it's... well, it's late and it's exhorbitant. In the U.S., the PS3 will start shipping November 17 for at least $500. $600 buys the version with HDMI, which you'll need to get all that Blu-Ray goodness over to your HDTV. Will Sony sell more $500 and $600 PS3's than Toshiba sells of its $500 HD-DVD deck? Probably, but this is hardly a price point that will resonate beyond hard core gamers, and the Blu-Ray capabilities are not a "freebie" when you have to pay $600 for it.
The PS3 pricing will come down over time, and so will pricing on standalone HD-DVD and Blu-Ray decks. And the PS3 may yet be the tipping point that puts Blu-Ray over the edge. But even if that does end up being the case, this trojan horse is going to take an awfully long time to mosey over the finish line. In the meantime, it's looking like both formats will have a long, tough fight ahead of them, and may never amount to much more than the laserdisc of this era, to be replaced by on-demand downloads, holographic media, better codecs for red-laser media(DVD-something) or ...something else.