Bad news, digital media fans: Talks that might have led to the formation of a single next-generation DVD format have stalled with both sides unable to reach a compromise. If you're keeping score, we have two major parties involved here, Sony and Matsushita, which back the Blu-Ray format, and Toshiba, which backs HD-DVD. The sides are attempting to meld the two incompatible formats into a single format and avoid the format wars that have typified such technologies as VCRs (VHS vs. Beta), writeable DVD (DVD+R/W vs. DVD-R/W), and high-end audio (DVD-Audio vs. SACD). Format wars tend to slow product adoption and lead to consumer confusion. On the other hand, each of the sides in this battle has a decidedly proprietary reason for wanting their version to win, as the adoption of one of the competing formats will lead to billions in licensing dollars. On the good news front, Toshiba and Sony say they're willing to give talks one more shot.