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Hasta La Vista, HD DVD

We're not going to have the Blu-ray/HD-DVD format war to kick around anymore. This morning, Toshiba announced that it would stop making HD DVD players and recorders, a surrender that yields the market to the rival Blu-Ray format.

A statement on Toshiba's Web site attributed the decision to "recent major changes in the market," which is a grotesquely understated way of stating that movie studios, video rental stores and electronics retailers had spent the last month and a half pounding nails in HD DVD's coffin.

First, Warner Home Video announced in early January that it would stop releasing new titles in both HD DVD and Blu-ray. A month later, NetFlix also said it would drop HD DVD, news which was followed quickly by Best Buy's decision to promote Blu-ray over HD DVD And just last week, Wal-Mart said it would boot HD DVD players and titles from its stores.

It's hard to imagine that HD DVD could once have been the favored contender. It did, after all, reach stores months before Blu-ray--and did so with dramatically cheaper players. Microsoft had even anointed it as the high-def disc format of the future. But after that head start, most of HD DVD's best features were either unexploited or unadvertised:

* HD DVD backers repeatedly touted the lower manufacturing costs of its discs, but customers never saw that alleged advantage show up in store prices.

* HD DVD allowed movie studios to release "hybrid" discs--a regular DVD on one side, an HD DVD on the other--that would work in current and future players, but studios either neglected that or reserved it only for some titles.

* HD DVD discs were supposed to provide a "managed copy" of a movie to a computer, but squabbles between the format's developers and movie studios prevented that feature from being activated.

* HD DVD did away with the "region codes" that stop you from playing a DVD bought overseas in most players purchased in the U.S., but this unequivocally customer-friendly feature was only ever mentioned in passing by HD DVD backers. Ditto HD DVD's slightly more lenient copying restrictions.

* You could buy a Toshiba laptop with an HD DVD recorder drive at a non-exorbitant price, but standalone HD DVD video recorders for use with a TV never made their way into U.S. stores.

So now we have the more expensive format, with less backwards compatibility and with more stringent usage restrictions. I can't quite feel like celebrating.

If you've bought into HD DVD or Blu-Ray, how did today's news hit you? I'd also like to hear from people who had shied away from both formats until the industry would make up its mind--are you ready to go high-def disc shopping, or are you going to stick with DVDs or try out high-def video downloads?

Update: Great comments, everybody! If you'd like to expand on them, my colleague Mike Musgrove is working on a story for tomorrow's paper about the demise of HD DVD and would like to talk to you. You can reach him by e-mail at musgrovem@washpost.com.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 19, 2008; 10:04 AM ET
Categories:  Video  
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Comments

Being an early adopter, the risk was always there, I have both a PS3 and xbox 360 with HD-DVD add-on. I've only bought a few HD-DVD'S but guess what, they still play in my add-on no matter what announcements have been made. The way I see it I was able to enjoy well over a year of quality HD titles exclusive to HD-DVD including Transformers, the Bourne trilogy, and the extras on 300 that did not ship on the Blu-Ray version.

Posted by: mh | February 19, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I think I'll stick with my upconverting DVD player/recorder until a Blu-ray recorder comes along at a reasonable price. This of course assumes I'd be allowed to record HD content of course. If that isn't possible, I'll probably just get an Apple TV (or some equivalent) and download my HD content.

Blu-ray may have won the battle, but I'm guessing downloadable content wins the war.

Posted by: Shawn | February 19, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

We got a fairly inexpensive HD-DVD player from Toshiba, and I guess now we have a nice upconverting DVD player.

I share your sentiments on the drawbacks of blu-ray.

Posted by: Pat | February 19, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I coaxed my parents into buying an HDDVD player when Wal-Mart had discounted them to $100. I don't regret them having one, as NPR mentioned this morning: People will be able to scoop up HDDVDs for nearly $10 per disc before they're all gone forever.

But, while it is worse in many ways, BRD is also better in several. It has significantly more storage space per disc, which will help as technology progresses to higher and higher definitions and file sizes. Most of HDDVD's touted features (like interactive menus) will be in BRD's newest specification.

I think, in the long run, BRD was the right format. It's just going to be DRM-intensive and pricey...

Posted by: Brendan West | February 19, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The next DVD player I buy will probably be a Blu-Ray player, but only if I can find one for $150 or less. I guess it depends on when my current DVD player (5+ years old) stops working.

My LCD TV, purchased 18 months ago, is only 32" and does not have 1080p resolution. So I don't think I'd see (literally) the benefits of Blu-Ray on my TV. But if a Blu-Ray player is affordable, I'll upgrade and slowly build a Blu-Ray collection. Very slowly - only for movies and other videos that truly deserve it.

Posted by: SSMD | February 19, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts on how Toshiba could have won the war, was since they own the rights to DVD, stop allowing movie studios that do not support HD-DVD to use regular DVD format, cutting a huge chunk of profit from these studios forcing them to convert or suffer.

Posted by: Adam Beard | February 19, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It will be years before downloading HD content will be the norm. Our current broadband access and bandwidth is simply not conducive to a consumer-friendly experience. Blu-Ray can hold up to what, 60 gigs? For most people, they would rather not wait several hours to download a movie and then have to manage content on the HDD and decide what they want to keep, etc. Blu-Ray is the viable option for the next 10 years or so. Go get a PS3 now!

Posted by: steve | February 19, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The fact is that the consumer wins. One format with all movie studios in one camp providing quality HD viewing.

Posted by: Steve | February 19, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It's not a surprise since as you say, the lower cost of HD-DVD never materialized in the price of discs. I just couldn't get myself to buy any HD movies at $30+. I do like the upscaling of the Toshiba vs. my other DVD player's upscaling. Watching a standard DVD on the Toshiba HD player looks great. So much so I could not justify the added expense for the disc.
It is sad to see a superior product lose. I guess Sony knows how that feels too from the betamax days.

Posted by: Peter H. | February 19, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I have a PS3 so this news is awesome for me. As for the War, its over. A new war is going to start in a few years (trust me, downloads are a further away than most people think, Even on a high speed, HD downloads are going to be a day adventure, and if this becomes the norm, we are going to see slower internet connections in the future).

Undoubtedly, i believe that even when Downloads become feasible, there is still going to be people like me that like a hard copy as well. Especially since Downloads can become corrupt very easily.

Now lets hope Universal swallows its pride and comes to blu ray. As for Paramount, They betrayed Blu Ray in August and i hope Sony doesn't give them any special offers. If Sony gave special offers to Universal, i would support it.

Posted by: tmoney | February 19, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! Sony Blu-ray is #1! Hooray! Yeah, right. All Sony has won is an interminable list of headaches from convincing a skeptical consumer public to buy double the price equipment & DVDs in these economic times to attempting to stave off the eventual switchover to downloadable content long enough to make a profit on this technological boondoggle.

But again, I stress, how is any of these technological marvels going to approve the quality of music and filmmaking that has nose-dived since the arrival of the VCR and CDs in the 1980s.

Face it folks! Nothing is going to make The Adventures of Pluto Nash or Ying-Yang Twins look or sound any better than it would making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

A pile of steaming crap is what it is, no matter how much you tweek it into something the rubes will somehow want to forego this month's mortgage payment to buy.

Posted by: fcunmys | February 19, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I have an HD DVD player as well, and I've enjoyed it. I'll continue to enjoy it because I'm going to keeping buying HD DVD's until they stop carrying them in stores. I'll probably try to get another HD DVD player for my living room and use it as an up converting player since me and my wife have about 600 SD DVDs together. So, its no big deal. The Blue ray player may fail as well without competition. I refuse to pay $400 for a Blue ray player that looks to better than HD DVD. The death of Blue ray could be next. Standard Dvds when uprgraded to 1080 look almost as clear so there is no reason to pay $400 for Blue-ray player.

Posted by: Jack | February 19, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I originally bought the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on. This entry level player was an exceptional vehicle into the world of Hi Def movie viewing. Due to some limitations (720p resolution, less feature rich than stand-alones), I later bought a stand-alone HD DVD player.

It seems to me that the only feature that Blu Ray offers vs HD DVD is more storage size. While this additional information can translate into better video/audio quality and additional features, from the items I have seen on PS3's and store demos, I felt like my purchases were well worth the money and that the differences, if there were any, were minimal.

Additionally, due to a lower price on the entry level players and lower costs associated for production, as well as Microsoft's strong backing, I felt that I had made the right choice in which format to back.

Not the first time I was wrong. It seems that Sony has learned quite a few things since the Beta flop.

Hopefully I'll be able to pick up some really cheap movies now, though :).

Posted by: Tim | February 19, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

if you have a blu-ray dvd player why would you be worried about backward compatability? and the region codes arent a big deal anyways unless you pirate movies, which degrades video quality anyway and makes hi def kind of pointless right?

Posted by: karl | February 19, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I do think it is something to celebrate, prices will continue to go down on Blu-Ray hardware and software, while consumers with large DVD libraries will be grateful for the up-conversion Blu-Ray players allow. Really, the only issue I consider a let down is the region coding. I myself was not aware of HD-DVD's lack of region coding and I consider myself relatively tech aware. Since I own some British DVDs and am interested in buying more in the future this would have swayed me a bit. I hope that the Blu-Ray group realize soon that maintaining region coding will only hurt sales rather than fight piracy and as video downloads become more popular will especially hold back the potential for Blu-Ray market share.

Posted by: Malcolm Furgol | February 19, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I bought an HD DVD player and have thoroughly enjoyed it sense day-one. I get the point that Blu-Ray has more potential for an "upgrade future," but is that REALLY going to show up? I would bet that a new technology takes hold before that "future" even has a chance to develop.

I also don't understand the determination to knock down HD DVD. "Congratulations folks"... we've effectively undermined the competition. Now we have a format that is UBER-expensive and no longer has any rival to drive down its prices... good job. I could understand a victory if both formats were moderately priced, because then the technologic merits might have more weight regarding who should win.

Don't hold your breath for a fully loaded Blu Ray machine to get cheaper any time soon. If you find a cheap one, read the specs... you probably won't find TrueHD or other features that you find standard on most HD players.

In my opinion, this defeat is a result of Sony buying its victory from the other studios (fair enough I suppose in the business world) and HD's pathetic marketing.

Posted by: Ray | February 19, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

We opted to go with the blue-ray technology especially since it seemed to be the favored of the two by Disney. Like I told my husband you cannot go wrong with what Disney is picking. Seems I was correct in my assumption.

It worked out well for him either way as he received the new PS3 for Christmas with the blue-ray technology built in. Kind of killed two birds with one stone so to speak.

I also like all the pop up features that interact with your movie while you are watching it, makes watching the movie more then once more insightful.


Posted by: Susan | February 19, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It would be helpful if the author would get his facts straight:

"First, Warner Home Video announced in early January that it would stop releasing new titles in both HD DVD and Blu-ray."

Wrong. Warner announced that they would be dropping support for HD DVD only on June 1.

"So now we have the more expensive format, with less backwards compatibility and with more stringent usage restrictions."

1. Blu-ray discs have been priced the same as the HD DVD discs. You even stated it earlier in your post - the only exception were those "hybrid" HD DVD/DVD Combo discs which were typically priced $5 more than the non-combo HD DVDs.

2. Both formats are backwards compatible with DVDs and CDs.

3. The region coding available to Blu-ray is subject to the movie studio's discretion. For instance, New Line chose to only release new releases on region-coded Blu-rays so as not to interfere with the theatrical runs of the movie in foreign countries.

Posted by: Nighthawk | February 19, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

We're sticking with DVD's. We will just wait to see how it all shakes out. No hurry for us at this point.

Posted by: rjrjj | February 19, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I have a Toshiba HD DVD player and even my regular DVD's look great on it. So I will be happy, just to buy regular DVD movies, if I can't get the HD DVD ones anymore. I have been buying HD movies and like the extra features, that are not on Blu-ray yet. I will just sit back and enjoy my Toshiba until Sony produce a machine with the same capabilities, the same sort of price and get rid of thet drm that is so restrictive, that it can limit playback quality, if your tv's HDMI port is not the right level of firmware I have also read that movies produced for the next level of Blu-ray firmware, may not play on earlier machines. I feel with no competion, there is no incentive for prices to drop. Therefore it may still be some time, before the public, rushes out to buy this product in a any greater number.

Posted by: George | February 19, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I may not buy right away, but the demise of HD DVD means I'm that much closer. With one format, people will start to buy. That means prices will come down as production expands. That's good news. Whether BluRay or HDDVD won isn't as important as the fact that one of them won quickly.

FWIW, I don't buy that HD downloads will replace HD DVDs any time soon.

Posted by: ah | February 19, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh well, good to see it settled one way or the other but really, Sony won the SACD vs DVDA war too and then look what happened? Maybe people just don't care for more than their current experience, I mean good sound means little to people who in the main are happy with MP3 and redbook CD. Time for a new understanding of what people actually want and to stop foisting new platforms on us every decade. Anyone want to buy their favorites AGAIN in a new format?

Posted by: AD | February 19, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

To the person who commented on pirating movies... it only degrades the quality if you have to compress the recorded material. I have children and make "back up copies" so the originals stay intact. No degradation here as I make back ups on dual layer discs. No compression needed.

I will not buy any blu ray player until it ceases being a work in progress technology and I can get a decent one for $150. At least HD DVD was finished product and now it is finished. I liked the competition. Competition led to lower prices on hardware. I will now go buy a few cheap HD DVD players and use them for upconverting purposes for my over 500 standard DVD's. I will download HD content instead.

Posted by: Tom | February 19, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I am okay with the news... I am going to purchase a combo drive , one that plays both HD-DVD and Blue-Ray formats.

I am banking on the price of HD-DVDs dropping considerably. I would like to purchase some of those movies when that happens...

Posted by: John | February 19, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

As an early adopter, I have absolutely no regrets about buying a HD DVD player. I'll keep utilizing the player for HD discs and upscaling regular dvd's, and I will continue to buy HD DVD's until they are totally gone. Now is a good time to stock up your movie library.

As for Blu Ray...the only one I'd buy right now is a PS3. There's no telling how long it will be before the BDA starts releasing profile 2.0 players.

Posted by: Reston | February 19, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It saddens me to know that with all the real problems going on in this world, and the higher prices we pay for everything from, (food,gas,rent,etc) that these movie studios couldnt come to realize that HD DVD was best for us, the consumers?!? Cheaper price, same picture, more toys and whistles than blueray?!? All they cared about was the $$$$, and we are the ones standing outside looking in! Just my thoughts!

Posted by: David | February 19, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

LMAO at people who give benefits to having owned a HD Player. "It gave me great memories. At least i can download..." Give in, you made a dumb choice, live with it dumb dumb. Now go get your PS3 and shove your 360 in a dumpster.

Posted by: Joe | February 19, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I am curious as to the "HD downloads" mentioned by the disappointed HD-DVD fans.

Is this uncompressed HD, or compressed so much that it looks like 480p?

Posted by: avsman | February 19, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Yup, bought the 360 add-on, cheap. Got Serenity (of course), and a handful of other HD-DVD only titles. This article describes exactly how I feel. HD-DVD was the cheaper and more consumer-friendly choice all around, and it lost...so what does that tell you?

I guess people want region coding, high cost, and planned quick-cycle obsolesence when 1.0->1.1->2.0 keeps breaking backwards compatibility. Ah well...

Posted by: umdesch4 | February 19, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Nighthawk, perhaps you are the one that needs to get your facts straight.

"First, Warner Home Video announced in early January that it would stop releasing new titles in both HD DVD and Blu-ray."

Wrong. Warner announced that they would be dropping support for HD DVD only on June 1.

He didn't say they would drop their support in January. He said that they announced it in January. As in, it was in the month of January, they said that would
be dropping support.

"So now we have the more expensive format, with less backwards compatibility and with more stringent usage restrictions."

1. Blu-ray discs have been priced the same as the HD DVD discs. You even stated it earlier in your post - the only exception were those "hybrid" HD DVD/DVD Combo discs which were typically priced $5 more than the non-combo HD DVDs.

The DISCS may be comparably priced, but the players were not. BRD players were ALWAYS priced higher than HDDVD players were, sometimes to the tune of a couple hundred bucks.

2. Both formats are backwards compatible with DVDs and CDs.

He's talking about the ability, or in this case, the IN-Ability for first gen. BRD players to play the most recent BRD discs. Since they have no internet access, and no hard drives, the firmware on them can't be updated (unlike HDDVD that all had internet access) so the older BRD players can't play them.

3. The region coding available to Blu-ray is subject to the movie studio's discretion. For instance, New Line chose to only release new releases on region-coded Blu-rays so as not to interfere with the theatrical runs of the movie in foreign countries.

That maybe, but a good chunk, if not all, of HDDVD's were region free. So he still has a valid point.

Posted by: RCTrucker | February 19, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Ive got an HD DVD player..im quite happy with it..I needed a new DVD player and i have one that upconverts all my standard DVDs..oh well..at least I didnt pay 800 for it.

Posted by: JonJon | February 19, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I waited from the day HD-DVD was announced until just before Xmas this year to decide between them. When I noticed that Best Buy's Blue-Ray section suddenly looked larger than HD-DVD, I took the plunge to Blue-Ray. Still felt it was a risk, but I guess it paid off to pay attention.

Blue-Ray is fabulous, but I have a DVD collection of over 1000 movies (already was upconverting them on a regular player)...so I have no plans to suddenly start to buy tons of discs. Only things that are special to me (or have lots of extras that the regular DVD doesn't have) are worth buying again. Same with new movies since BRD are more expensive than regular DVDs too....only special ones.

I blame Microsoft for losing, even though that's very unusual for them. They did not push it enough, didn't push the differences and didn't take advantage of most of them. Microsoft blew it this time and I guess Sony learned from Beta.

Got a question for the general public....how much better can the picture GET? I was skeptical that DVD would be better than Laser Disc (picture quality-wise). I was skeptical that BRD could be that much better than regular DVDs....wrong both times. But I honestly can't see how it can get any better.

Posted by: Mark S | February 19, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

If anyone thinks that Blu-Ray players will drastically drop in price in the near future, take a look at the PS3. Sony holds the distributors prices like a noose around a condemned mans neck, never loosening it and keeping everything tight to their discretion.

This decision could not have been made by the consumer because if it were, HD DVD would have clearly been the winner due to the prices of the equipment needed to play back the titles.

No regional codes simply meant that if I wanted a movie before it was released over here, I could order one from over seas if it were available. Also, some of the movies that were released only in Blu Ray over here, were available over seas in HD DVD format.

Sony simply bought out the competition with the consumers being the real losers.

Hail to the superior profiteers!

Posted by: Dennis | February 19, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I have the Xbox 360 add-on and planned on getting a PS3 sometime in the future (if Sony stopped being so darn greedy about the price and features), however this news still saddens me. HD-DVD would have been the best format in terms of price and features, but now Sony holds the keys to high definition. Judging by Sony's reputation for greed, the HD market will only be left to the die-hard HD buffs out there with the paychecks to afford it. Sony will milk all the money off what I will call the "HD war over rush." Sure the war is over, but the the terrorists won! I may want their PS3, but not because I support Sony and Blu-ray, but because I support Konami and Square Enix, but that's a different forum. I tip my hat to HD-DVD and smile in anticipation for price drops for the movies!

Posted by: Ian | February 19, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Having been through the conversion from LaserDisc to DVD and all hype and name calling that ensued, it's safe to say that it will only be a matter of time and the economies of scale before Blu-Ray is THE defacto standard even for those of you who can't see the difference between a 480p DVD upconverted to 1080i (or 720p). Right now the only discs that can truly showcase what this technology is capable of have been recorded specifically for 1080p viewing (vs. the rerelease transfers done digitally by interpolation and rescan) and they are few and far between. Back in '99 when the first rumours came out about the new Blue Laser discs and Toshiba and NEC tried to trump Sony by creating HD DVD, the information we fed to every consumer that came through the door of our High End Home Theater shop (that specialized in Toshiba sales) was that Blu-Ray would be THE format since HD DVD never was designed for the transfer rates and capacity necessary for full 1080p even with MPEG4 compression. Fast forward to 2007 with the slow, arcane, not always compatible HDMI connection, Blu-Ray players that cost $800+... you had to have patience and knowledge about what's going on in order to make them work and even then it was sometimes a matter of having to "shutdown and reboot" (is this my PC running Windows or a DVD Player?) Then low and behond the PS3 shows up on the scene. Faster than even $1000+ SD DVD players to start up, transparent menus, lossless HD Audio, all wrapped up in a game console that the grandkids can play with? Sign me up... now my Sony Bravia SXRD 60" screen has taken on a life of it's own, the Planet Earth series has yet to not WOW anyone who's seen it and totally entrance them for as long as they can stand to watch. Everybody wants more! It's a shame that the studios aren't doing a better job of transferring their current titles to Blu-Ray as some of them are less than stellar.
So, in response to the original question, it has always been the well informed hypothesis that Blu-Ray would eventually win the war since it was the only one that would support full 1080p transfer rates. We that held to that philosophy were only holding out for an affordabe player that wouldn't require a Master's Degree to operate. Now that the PS3 is available AND you can use it as a full fledged Web Browser and Photo Album... what's holding YOU back?

Posted by: BigD | February 19, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I will not be buying a Blue ray player and I will not purchase a PS3. They're both over priced and overrated. HD DVD is clearly the better choice and I will just stick with it until they discontinue the movies as well. Mean while I will keep stocking up on the HD DVDs as they get cheaper and use my HD player as an up convert player for regular dvds.

Posted by: Patrick | February 19, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Blu! This will now allow folks who have been sitting on the sidelines the incentive they need to buy a hi-def disc product to feed that new HDTV. To those who state downloads are the future, maybe, but a long time from now as the broadband capability in this country is a long way away from fast downloads. Another factor is that many movie buffs want a hardware copy to display on a shelf. To those who state that they must now pay high prices for a Blu-Ray player....prices are going to go down as with all electronics. I would venture that you will shortly see BD standalones at $200 by Summer. I purchased the PS3 last April and absolutely love it. It has been a pleasure to use and has played everything thrown at it. No issues. No problems, just hi-def nirvana.

Posted by: Cawgijoe | February 19, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The PS3 killed hd-dvd. Executives looked out and saw 7+ millio PS 3 blu ray players vs less than a 1mm hd-dvd. Sony gambled and won. Now the mom and pop wave will be on.

Posted by: pwaa | February 19, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Bought the HD-A3 on Black Friday for 177 and got a price correction to $133 from Amazon plus 10 free HD DVDs. With the great upconverting available, I have no complaints and will wait to buy a Blue-ray until it is around $150 or less and the firmware issues are set.

Now if only Toshiba would release a dual player, I would pay a slightly higher premium for that since I have been so impressed with my current player.

Posted by: Independence_hall | February 19, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

i have both a ps3 and a hddvd player,when hddvd was gaining ground bd players came all the way down to 300 bucks, but after warner did there anouncement they went back up to 400, hddvd was a good product i relly looked foward to watching jerasic and lor in high def, but like everyone i think bd will take there time on price and new reles

Posted by: JIMBO | February 19, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

To fcunmys: cheer up sunshine!

Even if all content became downloadable tomorrow in HD format for dirt cheap, you'd just find something new to complain about because going against the mainstream is how you self-validate.

If you don't like blu-ray then don't buy it - other options will come along sooner or later. If you do like it and want to buy it, then knock your socks off - it's your money, well spent or not.

I have a PS3 and like the news, though there are few movies I'd shell out $25+ to own - however, I like that I can rent blu-ray for the same price as regular movies (for now anyway). It's true though, there aren't many movies that the average eye will be able to distinguish as being better in blu-ray than an upconverted regular DVD. The movies where an HD format really does stand out are going to be newer, and have lots of special effects or scenery - otherwise you're fooling yourself that the picture will be noticeably better, unless you have a gi-normous TV.

Posted by: Toonces | February 19, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Year in year out you can count on Sony
I've never gone wrong with Sony

Posted by: ted | February 19, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I have only been able to enjoy my HD Dvd player since before xmas, and must say that I was very pleased with the product. to me personally from viewing a friend's bluray player the HD player looked just as good if not better but that doesn't mean anything now does it folks. I agree with some others responses, that get me once shame on u get me twice shame on me and not going to happen. therefore i will continue 2 enjoy my hd player until there is a change in blurays technology, pricing, and bd movies. Then I will purchase a bluray player and give the hd one 2 the kids.

P.S.
I am not going to buy a video game and choose it as the foundation to play my movies, I want a good stand alone player, so "Toshiba Corp" if you are listening please make a bluray player we all can enjoy :)

Posted by: Wil | February 19, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The first weekend of January, I almost went out and bought an HD DVD drive for my Xbox 360, with the plan of renting, and not buying, movies until the format war was over. Fortunately, I put it off for a week, and the Warner Home Video announcement came out.

Blu-ray players are more expensive than the Xbox add on, so I'm still "just looking" at them.

Posted by: Ghak | February 19, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sad that the arrogant Sony won the battle. I got HD-DVD because it was cheaper yet it offered same quality as BR and it was definitely a finished product. From what I have read BR players are less user friendly and are plauged by bugs. Anyway I wouldn't dismiss HD DVD players. As far as I know Netflix is getting ready to offer a streaming content to your tv using Xbox or PS3 with their internet connection. I suspect they will have the same service for HD-DVD players internet connection. Then we can use them as an interface to stream movies onto our TVs. Besides my Toshiba is a good upconverter so regular dvd-s look better. As for BR - I will have to buy a bigger tv first (37inches currently) and BR players' price will have to drop to $200 for me to consider it. And I will definitely go with Panasonic or Sharp - not Sony which sucks. All the sony products I had broke down. I bought one of the first dvd players - back in 1998 when I paid $450 for it. It was sony and it broke down. Sony couldn't fix it, circuit city didn't want to take it back (over 90 days) and finally after a 6 month battle with a retailer they gave me a panasonic, which works till today.

Posted by: Kennex | February 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I got a Sony 32 LCD for the bedroom, High def cable with dvr and Blu Ray player. I am totally amazed by all the beautiful picture quality. Before, I just had low end TV, reg cable,low end dvd and vcr. I just love it all!!! Cost some bucks but you can/t take it with you. I especially like recording ball games such as Georgetown and looking at it after I know the score because I can't bear to watch in real time.

Posted by: ted | February 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

yup, gonna enjoy my 360 add on, and movies as well. Maybe MS will give us that BD add on soon. Toshiba really bit it on this one- hope they learned a lesson on the power of advertising. I think I seen ONE hd dvd commercial in 2 years, and at least 3 blu-ray commercials EVERY time I turned on the TV. They had the winning format in thier hands, they just failed to promote it.

Posted by: joe consumer | February 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The demise of HD DVD is a non-starter for me personally. I bought an HDTV in January and use that with an upconverting DVD player/recorder that I've been pleased with.

If I get a Blu-Ray player or recorder (LG makes one for PC's at a street price of $300) it will be for one of two things - either my own recorded HD television shows (if I can figure out how to do that) or "art house" movies on Blu-Ray, which haven't been released much, yet, as it's largely been Hollywood titles that have been made available.

Articles I've seen elsewhere say that most users will likely content themselves with an upconverting DVD player and an HDTV, so the fact the Blu-Ray has won may be a Pyrrhic victory for its supporters.

Posted by: Charles in Houston | February 19, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I bought a Sony Blu-Ray player just before XMAS 07. At first, I couldn't decide between the 2 technologies and was leaning toward HD-DVD only because I wanted to get the hi-def "Transformers" movie. A "nosy" shopper convinced me otherwise. Thinking back, I want to thank that fellow for sticking his nose in my biz. It was the best choice I've made in recent years. Now if only Universal Studios can release "Transformers" in Blu-ray by March, 08 ;-) ...

Posted by: blu-ray convert | February 19, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

At the root of all this, I guess, is whether an individual consumer buys a lot of movies on DVD. For my part, as long as I can burn movies straight from HBO or Pay Per View, the format doesn't matter much for me.

Posted by: CPS | February 19, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I have rented high definition movies downloaded to my Xbox 360. With cable internet, it takes 20 to 45 minutes or so to download, but you can start playing the movie after 5 or 10 minutes.

Posted by: Ghak | February 19, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I for one am happy with the decision. HD's advantage was the price point of components and disc manufacturing. A strong advantage sure, but a shift to a new format requiring new hardware was the perfect time to shift to more advanced technology. The bluray core tech is much more advanced than HD. The future of multimedia is much brighter with the extinguishing of the red light, and bring on the blu!!!!

Posted by: darren | February 19, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

With Microsoft on board, how could HD DVD still missed all the golden marketing opportunity. I completely agreed with what the writer says.

xBox outsold PS3 last year, but none of the xBox 360 console came with a HD-DVD drive.

HD DVD started with superior features but less capacity. Somehow when a good technology did not improve and promote itself, the good features are borrowed by the competitors.

RIP HD-DVD

Posted by: hy | February 19, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I had no doubt that Blu-Ray would win the format war. How odd that just several months ago, I sat down wondering why Paramount dropped the bomb that it will not make Blu-Ray and HD and only focus on HD and I was upset but, I knew this too, would be short lived. Alas, the time has come and now we should focus on the format that is left and make it easier for people to make the HD transition now that they only have one clear choice!

Posted by: Blu-Ray all the way! | February 19, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This news saddens me because everyone just jumped on the bandwagon after the Warner news in Jan. The consumers never really made any choices just big corporations made them for us. I see that PS3s are mentioned here but thats for people who think of video gaming first and movies second. The format war was mainly about HD movies. I will still buy HD DVD movies until they stop selling them. I wont plan on supporting anything Blu-Crap and stick with regular DVDs since my HD-DVD player is a great upconverter. Im loyal to my HD-DVD unless Sony buys me out too for several millions of dollars then I could be like everyone else who jumped on the bandwagon... awe... the corporate business life of back office money exchanging. Thanks for providing a superb product Toshiba!

Posted by: j_beppoy | February 19, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I plan to stick with my upconversion DVD player unless and until the prices drop on Blu Ray players. I am glad the format war is over and that has indeed reduced the uncertainty. But that this juncture, I feel that the machine cost and lack of blu ray titles is enough to keep me from switching.

Posted by: Martin | February 19, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"3. The region coding available to Blu-ray is subject to the movie studio's discretion. For instance, New Line chose to only release new releases on region-coded Blu-rays so as not to interfere with the theatrical runs of the movie in foreign countries."

Oh to not interfere with theater releases of movies. I get it. So they can squeeze as many 10 dollar theater ticket prices out of people around the world before they let people watch the movies at home. That way they make as much money as possible and don't care about user friendlyness.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I've been waiting for the format war to end before buying anything in HD format. So that makes this decision a win for consumers.

Blue-Ray can store more data, which only becomes more and more important over time. The Blue-Ray players on sale at retail also can play DVD, which seems like backwards compatibility to me.

I do wish the region-coding silliness would go away.


Posted by: Random User | February 19, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

After purchasing an A20 about last Oct for around $379, my first thought was that I should have waited to get one at $199. But I still felt I should support HD-DVD. After purchasing about 15 additional movies we get the word that Toshiba is pulling out. I have never felt that Bluray was a superior product, in fact I still think it is way over priced and still unfinished so in my view, it is not a choice for me. I have a very good upscaler in my A20, in fact a lot of movies look almost as good as the HD versions. Most of the DVD players that I have bought in the past have been usable for at least 5 years so that will probably be the time I might look into Bluray but until then I will buy SD-DVDs. I will never be a buyer of new technology until it is accepted and proven in the future.

Posted by: Ron | February 19, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

UNIVERSAL MADE A STATMENT, THEY WILL NOW SUPPORT BLURAY FORMAT!

Posted by: update | February 19, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

UNIVERSAL JUST RELEASED STATEMENT THAT THEY WILL BE SUPPORTING THE BLURAY FORMAT1

Posted by: UPDATE | February 19, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I purchased a Blu_Ray disk drive for a new PC last year and have been watching that format since then. I also observed when Block Buster and Disney endorsed the Blu-Ray format. I noticed that there were always more Movies in Blu-Ray available in whatever store I was shopping. Last December I purchased two Blu-Ray players to compliment my HDTV's and surround sound systems. All along, I have felt that the Blu-Ray technology was superior and that HD-DVD was just a quick injection trying to
capitalize on that market. Seems like I was right and that (this time) the better product has won. Over time the price of all of the equipment and the movies will decline. I enjoy the enhanced video and audio provided by the Blu-Ray technology.

Posted by: Joel | February 19, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I waited while the format wars went on, but once Warner moved, I decided to go ahead with a Blu-Ray player, which is being installed as part of a new A/V system this week. The whole format war was a major inhibitor on me spending money - what a drag! I am happy now to be able to move forward with some confidence that this new player will not be obsolete for at least 2 or 3 years!

Posted by: Tom in LA | February 19, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Who still buys dvds? Do you people really buy this crap? It is free all over the internet! Why would ANYONE buy it when you can download it to your computer, hook the computer up to the television, and have the same effect?

No wonder everyone in the country is going broke. You all are spending your money on junk you can get FOR FREE!!!

Posted by: Steve | February 19, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I got a Toshiba HD-A3 from Amazon last Thanksgiving for $150 plus 10 movies that I sold most of them on
eBay. Basically I got the player for free. I got
both my 16:9 TVs back in 2004 when they have only component
and DVI input. The Toshiba upconverts regular DVDs
to component inputs, which is what I need, while most of the upconverting DVD players require HDMI input. I am happy and I waiting for a big sale to buy the 2nd Toshiba HD DVD player to go with my 2nd TV.
It will be a while before I upgrade my TVs so that
they have HDMI input. By that time I should be able to buy Blu Ray player for $50 at Wal-Mart.

Posted by: Mike Turner | February 19, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I can't help but wonder if Microsoft shot itself and its favorite format in the foot by not putting HD DVD drives INSIDE Xbox 360s. Sure, they minimized losses by hedging their bet, but they sent a bad signal to the market and more importantly, failed to embed their preferred format/coveted investment into a popular product. Sony did the opposite. They gambled, put Blu-ray in PS3, and while taking a huge hit on the frontside, the decision appears to have paid off with market share and guaranteed profits down the line. Also, does it strike anyone as a tad ironic that Sony won this format war with a more expensive, less compatable technology (read: Betamax). Guess they learned their lesson: Win over the movie studios and the major retailers and you win the war.

Posted by: FuManShoes | February 19, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

This unfinished stuff kills me. The point of a player is to PLAY a movie which is what 99 percent of people want. The stupid commentaries, who cares? pip? who cares! play the movie. These blogs are always skewed to tech snobs. The average person numbering in the millions wants to plop it in and watch. PERIOD!

Posted by: wesley | February 19, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the greatest thing that comes from Toshiba's announcement is that we as a movie culture can finally get back on the same page and collect movies again. This useless format war splintered the home entertainment enthusiast culture into pieces. Consumers who were once united under DVD were coerced to choose sides or were scared (rightfully) to take the next evolutionary step in home entertainment. And for those that did take this step, the debate in some corners seemed to reach a serious and troubling bloods v crips mentality (on an internet level anyway). And in other corners the war was as comical Charlie Brown v Lucy. All of which in the end proved to be a waste of time and money from consumers, to media, to movie studios and hardware deveopers. Now many fences need to be mended and egos soothed before we get back to the real business of collecting, watching and enjoying movies at home. This was a sad two years wasted by a pointless and unnecessary civil war.

Posted by: Val | February 19, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Karl wrote "and the region codes arent a big deal anyways unless you pirate movies, which degrades video quality anyway and makes hi def kind of pointless right?"

Actually no - the big deal is if DVDs are not sold in your region, or if you travel a lot and want to watch them on your laptop.

Pirated DVDs tend to be region 0 (play everywhere), so region-coding makes them more attractive.

Posted by: Mike | February 19, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"Who still buys dvds? Do you people really buy this crap? It is free all over the internet! Why would ANYONE buy it when you can download it to your computer, hook the computer up to the television, and have the same effect? "---------

UMM, because some of us aren't pirates and want to easily and legally watch movies? Maybe perhaps, MR. PIRATE?

Posted by: Wesley | February 19, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

HD DVD is the most cost effective way to tru-HD. This statement is not only true because you can get the full HD Player for less than $200 right now, but because it has the capability to play all of its current(over 200) and any possible future titles via Ethernet and/or disc updates to it's firmware. Unless Blu-Ray adds this feature to it's players other than the PS3 you end up with a NEED for more than one BR player before the next-gen entertainment devices arrive. And for the PS3 lover above the PS3 is a horrible video game console due to lack of titles as well as compatability problems with the GH and Rock Band hardware/SCAM for starters. My Elite plays ALL games best(1080p) including 2007 Game of the Year- BioShock and Rock Band WITH the GH hardware. So don't throw your 360 away get a job/better job so you can afford both.

Posted by: texasbrian | February 19, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Blu-Ray had a much greater storage capacity than HD-DVD. It was a no-brainer.

It seems like more of these comments are complaining about a hatred of Sony rather than speaking about the benefits of either format. And those widely touted DVD/HD combo discs...why hasn't someone mentioned that they were often faulty.

Posted by: dvdjeff | February 19, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

HD-DVD seemed to be a lot smarter. It is strange how video game consoles are in the middle of DVD wars. Both BR and HD-DVD are a great format we will miss HD-DVD.

Posted by: techluver | February 19, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

In this world of "gotta have it right now" I'm laughing at you HD DVD/Microsoft xbox geeks today. I was content to hang on to my PS2 until the time was right. When I heard Warner Bros. had sided with Blu-ray I went out and bought the King of them all 80gig Playstation 3 which will be upgradeable for years. Since I didn't give the losers all my
"fun" money, I'll really be enjoying the Blu-ray victory. Hooray for Sony, Hooray for
me! The SMARTEST teams won today!

Posted by: Ken | February 19, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I do feel bad for the consumers that picked the wrong horse. Honestly this HDM war could have been avoided if Tosh/Sony had compromised in the beginning

I made the decision go with Blu with a PS3 this past fall (used primarily for movies rather than games) because of the future tech capability and all the studio/hardware manufacturer support.

HD-DVD was definitely more mature as far as the spec is concerned but IMO that didn't do much marketing wise against all the ps3s/stand alone players in the market.

Posted by: usiel | February 19, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

So it seems for saavy consumers the best bet for a Blu-ray player is the PS3-

for $399 or $499 you get a Sony-made top of the line player that is 100% upgradeable through firmware updates-

PLUS it is a Home Media Center with built in Wi-Fi capable of streaming music and video and pictures form your PC to your TV-

also a built in hard drive for storing more music and movies and family picture slideshows- oh yeah, Sony has made it eay for anyone to swap out to a bigger hard drive! sweet!

also SD card and Memory Card slots for popping them out of your camera and putting them right into the PS3 to view your pictures, with cool slideshow features built right in!

ALSO you can surf the web from the couch with it's built in TV web browser, and with or without the optional wireless keyboard support!

AND OF COURSE you get to play the next(now)gen games of the PS3!

Sony really has it made, even I can't see any fault in the PS3 as the BEST Blu-Ray player for consumers who want the most for their money!

cheers!

Posted by: frito | February 19, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean more companies will make Blu-Ray players and bring the prices down? Or does it mean that Sony can charge even more for licensing and keep the prices up?

Watch out, Sony. Flash card memory will soon fall to 50 cents / GB (10 minutes AVCHD/h.264), making most video discs uncompetitive.

Posted by: jkoch | February 19, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I have owned a Toshiba HD DVD player now for 2 months....didn't regret buying it as its superb, upscaling standard dvd's to 1080p - picture is great and so are the HD DVD's. Also have a PS3 so i can purchase both formats on Discs so i was future proof! lol, but will be getting hold of some HD DVD's as they will be cheaper now!

Posted by: Matner | February 19, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I have an xbox 360 with a hd-dvd add on and a ps 3. This is the 3rd xbox in 14 months. It is loud, cheap looking, bulky and i only own because I enjoy the games. My ps3 looks like an expensive component, quiet, sleek and nice looking in my home theater. MS simply is incompetent when it comes to hardware.

Posted by: PAT | February 19, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I have 4 HD DVD machine 1 being the xbox 360 add on. I also have a PS3 which I use for blu ray disc. I feel that HD would have been victorious if the xbox 360 were equipped with HD players rather than the add on. There are millions of xbox 360 out there, can you imagine all having a HD player? Also, my 3 Toshiba A30 are great up converters so I use them with my collection of standard DVD which greatly improves the picture quality. I am just waiting for HD movies to go on sale and I will expand my HD dvd collection.

Posted by: Raffy SV | February 19, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Sony had the right idea - make it easy and put the player in the console from the start.

Over here in the UK when you also consider that PS3 will get a PVR upgrade, Sony and Blu-Ray were onto a winner.

Posted by: Paul James | February 19, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

@frito

Was too lazy to go into all those great aspects to the PS3 but when I got into checking those capabilities out I was amazed and how useful they are.

Posted by: usiel | February 19, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

What will Michael Imperioli use to watch his movies now???

Posted by: Stephan Norei | February 19, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

It was all marketing. Sony knew how they lost back in the beta days and learned from that. The idea of having the PS3 with the blue ray player was solid gold and from that moment they had it in the bag. It didn't help Toshiba any that there marketing was no good either.

Posted by: MarkD | February 19, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

The denser DVD formats are good for backing up scads of data from my HDD. Should there be a Hollywood movie that benefits greatly from high definition, I may be persuaded to go out and buy a Blu-Ray DVD player for my TV. I will be secure in the knowledge that I will be deprived of some fair uses of any Blu-Ray DVDs that I may purchase. Hollywood should have figured out how to press high def movies on vinyl. The dirt and scratches alone would assure nobody wants my copies.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 19, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Yup, I have watched this one closely from day 1. The better technology lost here for sure. Microsoft can be thanked for killing HD-DVD with their half hearted attempt at supporting it on the 360. The 360 was first to market and if it had of shipped with the HD-DVD drive as originally planned I am quite sure Blu-ray would have never surfaced months later after HD-DVD began its true stranglehold on the market. PS3 have sold more units in the last year to be strictly a blu-ray player and this killed HD-DVD. I am a victim as I bought the 360 add on drive, but I saw the doom and gloom for HD-DVD and picked up a PS3 boxing day for $350. So I guess I will add some cheap HD-DVD's to my collection and I will continue to buy 360 games and let my PS3 sit there for movies only.

Posted by: DJ REDE | February 19, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Sony and Blu Ray! Now if Sony can just fix the PS3 to send bitstream DTS master audio to a compatible receiver all will rest easy.

Posted by: CBUS | February 19, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

none

Posted by: ahadu | February 19, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

HP (shopping.hp.com) is currently offering Blu-ray / HD DVD / DVD combo drives on their new desktop computers.

I wonder how long it's going to take them to go HD DVD Free. Now, support for HD DVD is a negative, not a positive.

I imagine that Blu-ray readers will soon be standard equipment on most computers.

Posted by: TomT | February 19, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I ebnded up with a HD-DVD player for about $40 so i have one. It works great for upconverting standard dvds. But i have always wanted blu- ray over HD-DVD. Anything Microsoft backs is well worth staying away from. Just like the Sync on ford cars i would never want a car with microsoft software running on it. With the way all the other stuff they make works id be afraid it might freeze up and tell me i have to pull over and roll up my windows in order to reboot.

One problem is MS is always trying to much at one time. They have to have their hands in everything. They never thought about a graphics interface operating system till Apple had one and it sold well. Then the MP3 Market takes off and so they have to make a zune. Then the game industry booms so they have to be a part of that. And just cant keep up with it all. instead of making a few things really great they make 10 dozen things half right.

I knew long ago blu-ray would win. After all no matter how cheap you get when you can only get 2 movie studios on HD-DVD and if you wanted any other studios movies you had to get Blu-Ray. Then of course when blockbuster said they were going to go BLU-Ray only as well as Target i knew it was just a matter of time. Then Warner Bros leaves HD-DVD that marked another nail in the coffin.

When beta max vs VHS things were different. In most ways Betamax was better and higher quality video But most people had little 13 or 19 in TVs and most consumers could not tell a difference let alone cared all they wanted was the cheapest way to be able to watch Videos and record videos. VHS was able to record longer times which made it more feasable to consumers.

Money is not the total issue here. People will pay more for good quality. Maybe if HD-DVD had been considerably cheaper things might have been different. Most people who buy HIgh-def either are doing it because it comes with the PS3 so since they already have a PS3 might as well use the BLU-Ray features. Or the others are the people who have home theaters and the difference in DVD SD and Blu-ray resoultion makes a huge difference.

Blu-ray will come down in price. If we woudl get rid of inflation and go back to the Gold standard where our money is based on gold and silver you would see prices of everything drop dramatically. When our dollar is worth less then everyone elses it does make the price of things go up because the dollar buys less now then it did just 10 years ago

Posted by: jason | February 19, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Based on the benefits of HD, did anybody really expect the big Hollywood studios to toss their support behind HD DVD? No more region coding makes the discs more universal...something they don't want.

Savings to pass on to consumers..somethng they don't want.

Allowings consumers to purchase one disc and get regular definition and HD definition instead of purchasing two separate discs (i.e. rebuy titles they already have)...something they don't want.

Big Hollywood wins again.

Posted by: MC | February 19, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on pointing out the Blu Ray mugging. Some journalists seem to have been under the misapprehension that Blur Ray won in a fair competition on its merits. Unlike Betamax versus VHS there was never a free market decision. Sony was both a provider of content and of hardware and the thing that did HD DVD in was the limited choice of DVDs after the majority of studios supported the more expensive format. One is reminded of Adam Smith: "two businessmen never meet without conspiring against the public". Now that there is not even a vestige of competition expect prices for Blu Ray players to stay high as will prices for the Blu Ray DVDs. Personally I shall stick with my upconverting standard DVD player. If and when sufficient interesting films are issued in Blu Ray at a more reasonable price I may reconsider.

Posted by: Ian | February 19, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

A few people have commented here that they plan to buy a HD-DVD player and/or take advantage of anticipated bargain prices on remaindered movies. Toshiba is unlikely to continue support (spare parts) for the players for any great length of time, since relatively few were sold. If you buy a player, and a bunch of "cheap" HD-DVDs, you're likely to end up with an unrepairable machine and a shelf full of expensive coasters in a few years. If you don't believe this, try and get a Beta vcr repaired.

Posted by: fudd | February 20, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Blue ray will do fine for probably 10-15 years. There's not enough bandwidth for the entire country to start downloading HD format. And even if it was easy to download, what are the odds that Sony (who put rootkits on audio CDs) is going to make it easy to burn? I doubt more than 1% of homes have their computer connected to their tv and nobody is going to be in a rush to figure out how to do that.

Posted by: ugh | February 20, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

I was waiting on the sideline for awhile but between the two. I picked Bluray. Why?
Well, because I knew that Capacity is king.
HD-DVD was already at the max and there's just no more room to grow. In this digital age space is never enough. After doing a lot of reading on the net. I finally picked up PS3 and it will be BD final spec ready when Sony release the firmware.
PS3 is the way to go if you don't want to end up bying a new player again. But if you're only gonna use it for movie only and don't want to wait then Stand alone player is your choice. I'm glad that it's finally over, now we can enjoy watching Hidef movies.

Posted by: Nicky B. | February 20, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Sony finally learned its lessons since the Betamax flop. though I was an HD-DVD follower; and having collecting essential titles like 300, Matrix Trilogy, Bourne Trilogy, etc. I still have no regrets participating in the HD format war, as long as my HD DVD add on still plays on my XBOX 360 there seems nothing to worry.

Posted by: No regrets | February 20, 2008 3:26 AM | Report abuse

I always thought Blu-Ray was going to win that format 'war' ever since the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 came out. The PS3 has a Blu-Ray drive built in and I think now that Blu-Ray is the winning HD disc format Playstation 3 will sell more rapidly and would have even if HD-DVD was still being produced and used.

Posted by: T Bag | February 20, 2008 5:23 AM | Report abuse

I needed to replace my old DVD player & considered a Denon. After the rapid price drop of the Toshiba models, the obvious choice was to go HD. It was cheaper, is a better upscaler plays CDs about as well as the Denon & i got 7 free HD DVDs! All for £190.

I've no problem spending money buying HD DVDs if cheap enough as i've no reason to believe my Toshiba won't last a few years yet.

I'll buy a Blu-ray one day, but not until the format is complete & prices drop significantly. By that point, who knows what other alternatives will exist?!?

Truth is Sony wanted to get one over on Toshiba after losing the original DVD battle. And lets be honest - Sony have had plenty of experience of backing/launching failed formats! Looks like they learned a few lessons this time.

Posted by: BJD | February 20, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse

I have both HD and BR. For sure, the HD player is better. My Sony BR player is exceedingly tempermental and, frankly, I hate using it.

Posted by: romano romani | February 20, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I Just bought a Toshiba HD A2 player on ebay for $20. You cannot beat the price. all I will be doing is using it as an upconverter for my dvd collection. I Started with Blue ray and am happy I did. Now I am preying on the HD DVD buyers. Hopefully I will get some nice cheap movies.

Posted by: MB | February 20, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

One thing people usually miss on BD vs HD-DVD is that BD's "non-backward compatibility" also comes with some very cool addons for the future.

* Internet downloadable subtitles (buy your DVD overseas and the content company can put up subtitles for you)

* Real Subtitles, DVD and HD-DVD have bitmap subtitles, BD has a subtitle scripting language that allows for placing and moving subtitles. (Think a building with a name in another language that is important to plot, you can subtitle just above/below it and keep that title there for the entire shot)

I'm sure there are a few others, but in my opinion, this was the right choice.

Posted by: Jason | February 20, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Wow - I never have seen so many bitter comments. - "HD-DVD is clearly better choice", "PS3 is overrated" - etc. Most of the people, with help by MS and XBox 360, were convinced that HD-DVD will win and now they can't swallow defeat. I have HD Player, A30, and PS3. PS3 rocks and did everyone forget how many problems XBOX 360 had? and if you buy all the add-ons for X-Box 360 (HD Player, network module), it really isn't less expensive then PS3. A30 is one of the more expensive HD players and I had nothing but problems with it. I had to update firmware many times just to watch movies (and 35sec load time sux - huge improvement from 90+ sec. load with previous firmware versions). PS3 updates are painless and easy to do vs. Toshiba's update process. Also, to these people who say "you get what you pay for" - regarding lack of features on the less expensive BlueRay players. A30 is a more expensive then most of the Toshiba's players and it still doesn't have true support for TrueHD audio (it does read it but it doesn't send it to the home receiver in the TrueHD stream - A35 does). Also, anything below A30 doesn't play in the 1080p. As far as disks being less expensive to manufacture? Well, I see BRD and HD-DVD movies side by side and they were price matched. I'm glad that BRD won as IT IS FAR SUPERIOR FORMAT.

So to all HD-DVD lovers - deal with the defeat.

Posted by: jack | February 20, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, one more comment... What's with the BD's "non-backward compatibility"? I play regular DVD's on it and the up-conversion is better then when using HD-DVD?

Posted by: jack | February 20, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

For once I think I'll get something for nothing. My DVD player has been flakey for a while and it never did like CDs. I'm going to buy a low priced HD-DVD unit to prolong the life of my DVDs and CDs as well. Plus I may find a few worthy bargains in the HD-DVD bins at the video store!

Other than that - I think the consumer is getting taken big time with this development.

Posted by: jborst | February 20, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

To the poster who says the A30 "doesn't have true support for TrueHD audio (it does read it but it doesn't send it to the home receiver in the TrueHD stream)", this is partially untrue.

The player will decode the Dolby TrueHD stream and sent it to the receiver via HDMI as uncompressed PCM, thereby providing full high-resolution audio to the listener.

The only difference is the decoding is done in the player and not the receiver. There is no tangible benefit in sending the compressed stream to the receiver to decode.

Posted by: dickydoo | February 20, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Do all of you people buying these things have 48" + screens to watch them on? I don't, and I won't be buying any of this crap anytime soon. Particularly as Sony (the Japanese version of Apple) stands to benefit. If blu-ray only lasts as long as DVD (or less) I may skip it altogether. I'll be up-converting DVDs until they stop making them.

Posted by: Robert | February 21, 2008 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Jason wrote; "some very cool addons for the future

* Internet downloadable subtitles (buy your DVD overseas and the content company can put up subtitles for you)"

Yes- they'll not actually let us watch DVDs bought overseas, but they'll let us download subtitles for them. BluRay: "it's like radio but with subtitles"

The studios are complete idiots when it comes to region coding. They even code titles that have been already been released for decades, or which were released in other markets before the US. But anywhere else in the world may as well be Narnia as far as the MPAA et al are concerned.

Posted by: Mike | February 21, 2008 3:16 AM | Report abuse

if you have a blu-ray dvd player why would you be worried about backward compatability?>>>>>

more than 1 tv?

more than one dvd player?

Posted by: jim | February 21, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

My advice to everyone who has not bought a blu ray or hd dvd player is don't,
Stick with regular dvds untill the studios pull them off the shelves, obviously these movie studios and home electronics companies are out to fleece everyone out of their hard earned money ,its unbelivable how they could have got away with this nonsense! People should launch a class action lawsuit against Warner , Sony and Toshiba!
few other businesses could have gotten away with the payola and backroom deals that went on here and for Toshiba and the other studios to dump their HDDvd customers like this is atrocious! I'd be mad very very mad at this.

Posted by: Paul | February 21, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

What good is the supposed BR tech advantage when it was never completed or ever fulfilled.
I haven't seen this type of consumer capitulation for a format since Vichy France circa 1944.

Posted by: Victor | February 22, 2008 2:07 AM | Report abuse

At least there is only one format now. I can't say I am very impressed with blue-ray and I will not be buying any until the drive prices drop conciderably. I hoped that HD DVD would win becuase I could get a player for $100 instead of there $400 blue-ray counterparts. Also hd dvd drives in computers seem to have worked better you could easily play any movie with them. But in looking for a blue-ray drive for my computer I can't find one that does not have some sort of complaint where some movies will not play becuase of the extra security on blue-ray disks. I think it will catch on but it will probalbly take a while unless prices drop quickly.

Posted by: Chris | February 22, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I have watched HD movies from DirecTV, these are not much better than DVD's played on my progressive scan 480P player with component output. Programing recorded with HD equipment looks spectacular. Until movies are produced in digital format, no film, most people will not really benefit much from the higher cost of players and movies.
However,if Blu-Ray can record from cable and OTA, then it will be worth the purchase.

Posted by: George | February 22, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Rob, the format "war" may be over, but will the consumer really benefit? I have shied away from buying either format.

My consumer benefit question revolves around the "reliability" of blu-ray format. I have begun to hear reports that the use of DRM technologies has made the DVDs less reliable, in part due to the need to "upgrade" your equipment following the "cracking" of the DRM algorithms. I don't know if the concern is valid, but I would be interested to know in a follow-up article if the imposition of this new technology has actually made your Blu-Ray viewing experience less reliable.

The hypothetical consumer in confusion asks: "It worked yesterday but it won't play today.", "I just bought the DVD today, it won't work but my other DVDs do?"

I hope that you will be able to report on this, as a leading edge concept. I know we won't hear anything negative from the Blu-Ray crowd.

Posted by: Steve R. | February 23, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Well! We are all losers in this when HD-DVD dies. 400 millions thrown at Universal Studio to switch to BR.... Sorry comsumers. We are going to lose more when Sony force the studios not to produce DVD format movies. I can see this coming since they are on top.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Even after watching a 1080p movie for 10 minutes, I forget about the clarity. Convenience is more important then clarity. In other words, I'll stick to whatever is convenient. For now, TIVO is my hero.

Posted by: stan | February 26, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

While I'm all for less restrictive and lower cost, I'm just glad to see it finally come to an end.

Posted by: Braintrove.com | February 29, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

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