The biggest news at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January was not the birth of a new product but the death of one.
A decision by Warner Brothers to withdraw support for the HD DVD video disc format sent shock waves through the electronics industry and appeared to hand the future of home entertainment to Blu-ray, a rival format.
The move set the stage for this year's Consumer Electronics Show, which starts Wednesday under the dark cloud of a recession and a sharp downturn in consumer spending. Nearly two million square feet of convention hall will be stocked with the latest mobile phones, portable music players, digital cameras and expensive flat-screen televisions.
But many eyes will be on Blu-ray, which for the first time has the floor largely to itself as the heir apparent to the DVD. Over the last decade, DVD players and discs have generated tens of billions of dollars for Hollywood and the consumer electronics industry, so the pressure for a blockbuster sequel is high.