The first generation of HD DVD and Blu-ray players may expand the envelope when it comes to sound and vision performance and interactive functionality, but they are far from adventurous when it comes to design.
Just compare them to the wildly imaginative prototypes first used to whet our appetites only a year or so ago. Back then we were promised a futuristic generation of home electronics that looked like nothing that had gone before. Lament the disappearance of this glorious Sony Blu-ray prototype (pictured above). It has a profile that befits an alien spaceship, all creamy curves and dramatic minimalism; it really does look like it should cost a thousand bucks.
Similarly, when Toshiba first began to promote its HD DVD player (above), it didn’t use a conventional DVD chassis. Instead, it teased with gentle curved edges, soft touch buttons and trendy luminescent blue highlighting. The thing looks more Meridian than mainstream. Is HD DVD the next evolution of DVD? Who would dare argue otherwise!
Even Philips, which has always adopted a more conservative approach with its devices, dared to be different with this prototype BD recorder (below). With vivid blue LEDs and stylised control buttons, it resides several notches up the evolutionary ladder from the average DVD recorder. But you just know that when it becomes a reality, it won’t look anything like as cool.