Unwrapping high-definition video

This Christmas may bring an end to the war.

Though “mission accomplished” may have been declared in February when all support for HD DVD was withdrawn, this holiday season will likely bring closure to the format war.

Initially priced $600 and up, Blu-Ray players as low as $299 are expected to see a spike in sales this holiday season, said David Moore of blu-raystats.com.

“Since Blu-Ray increased its library in August, sales have been way up,” he said. “Just last week Blu-Ray disc sales jumped 83 percent, which is a good sign that more families may be leaving Blu-Ray players under the Christmas tree this year than last year.”

According to Moore’s Web site, Blu-Ray has 9 percent of the market share of disc sales while DVD dominates the remaining 91. Though the price of players has declined, consumers are having a hard time making the leap to Blu-Ray because of other costs — specifically the price of the discs themselves, Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics, said in a press release Friday.

Though Blu-Ray discs are not yet as affordable as DVDs, they have dropped to an average of $25 compared to their original release price of around $40.

Colby Smith, a senior majoring in philosophy and a home theater associate at Best Buy, said that despite the higher costs, shoppers at his store location have shown an increased interest in Blu-Ray technology.

“We saw a lot of people in here for Blu-Ray last year, but there have been a significant amount more this holiday season,” he said. “The price of TVs, PS3s and other Blu-Ray players have dropped a lot this year and the number of customers buying into the technology has gone up proportionally.” A similar transition process occurred with DVDs. After multiple declines in DVD prices over the years, people began buying DVDs instead of VHS, and retailers dropped the old technology for the new. Smith said there are  telltale signs of the next format change.

“In a lot of cases Blu-Ray players and the televisions compatible with them have become the standard,” he said. “Standard definition TVs are almost non-existent as a sales item. We only carry a couple of tube TVs now, and even some of the lower-resolution HDTVs are slowing production.”

Most package deals — which typically offer 1,080-pixel resolution televisions, an HDMI cable and a name-brand   Blu-Ray player — cost consumers about $1,800. Insignia brand packages cost less than $1,300, but that is about the most frugal one can get this winter without waking up for Black Friday sales.

To make Blu-Ray discs work to their optimum performance, one must purchase an HDMI cable and a television capable of putting out 1,080-pixel picture resolution. The least expensive such TV costs about $1,000.

No price drops have been announced for 2008, but analysts expect more to come over the next few quarters, according to enderlegroup.com.

For more information on Blu-Ray technology and the state of the digital video market, visit blog.wired.com/business.