We all knew that HD-DVD was dead but you have still been able to purchase new HD-DVDs an have also been able to rent HD-DVDs from places like Netflix.
But Netflix has officially announced that HD-DVDs will be “going away.” Starting December 15, 2008 Netflix will no longer be carrying HD-DVDs. Netflix will automatically replace all HD-DVDs in your queue with regular DVDs.
Netflix announced in February that they would begin phasing out HD-DVDs and I’m a little surprised that it has taken this long to finish the process.
I’m glad that we can finally put this format war completely to rest. Now if Best Buy would stop selling those Blu-ray/HD-DVD players.
Future Shop has announced that between March 7 and April 3, customers who own HD-DVD players have been invited to return their players to Future Shop and receive $100 off either an LG or Samsung Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo player.
Future Shop will even accept players that haven’t been purchased from Future Shop.
Unfortunately the offer is for a combo player but I guess if you’ve already began building a library of HD-DVD discs it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to have a player that is capable of playing back those discs.
Currently the combo players are going for $499.99 at Future Shop so the $100 credit will bring the price down to $399.99, which is about the same price as a PS3 so it isn’t that bad of a deal since you won’t have to re-buy all of your already purchased HD-DVD discs.
Have you been screwed by another format war? Well Circuit City is here to help, if you purchased your HD-DVD player within three months of Toshiba’s announcement of the end of the format war and you also purchased your player at Circuit City, then you may be in luck. There have been some reports that Circuit City is letting HD-DVD player owners trade in their players for the full purchase price towards a Blu-ray player or a gift card.
This is a great move Circuit City if you have been affected by the format war and your player qualifies head on over to Circuit City and see if you can get them to let you return it.
One thing I want to mention about Circuit City, in the past year I’ve had two brand new consumer electronics stores show up in my area, first was Best Buy, and when I heard that a Best Buy was coming in I was ridiculously excited but was then incredibly disappointed when I realized that Best Buy was a terrible store. Then Circuit City came in and every problem I had with Best Buy was exactly how I wanted it to be with Circuit City… fixed… Circuit City is a great store and I would go there and purchase products from them, even if they are more expensive than they are at Best Buy, just because the store functions so much better than Best Buy does.
The German website HDTV Praxis is saying that both Paramount and Universal are going to be making the obvious choice of switching to Blu-ray.
Universal’s president Craig Komblau said “While Universal values the close partnership we have shared with Toshiba, it is time to turn our focus to releasing new and catalog titles on Blu-ray.” (source)
I would like to take this opportunity to officially announce that I will no longer be manufacturing hardware or software for the HD-DVD format and starting in March I will begin manufacturing Blu-ray discs out of my basement.
This decision of mine was due to market circumstances with Netflix being my primary distribution channel I just can’t see how I can continue to manufacture HD-DVD products.
Everyone else was making announcements about leaving HD-DVD… I didn’t want to feel left out.
Toshiba made a statement early this morning stating that it will no longer develop manufacture or market HD-DVD players and recorders.
Toshiba said that they have no plans to beginning making Blu-ray products but I’m sure if Toshiba wanted to be in this market they will eventually cave and start making Blu-ray. Toshiba is committed to stockpiling HD-DVD recording media for those who own HD-DVD recorders.
So I guess it is just a matter of time before the rest of the HD-DVD gang get the memo and leave the format. I’m a little surprised that Toshiba didn’t fight a little bit longer, but on the other hand I’m sure the announcements that Netflix and Wal-Mart were going Blu-ray probably made them rethink there strategy.
This is a good move for Toshiba, at least they won’t be sinking millions of more dollars into a dying format and continue to confuse customers.
The battle is over and there is one left standing, Blu-ray, but in the background we see a new contender, coming up fast…
Pretty much. On the 15th word came out that Wal-Mart was going to discontinue support of the format by June, players AND discs. This means that if you want to head off to your local Wal-Mart to get your HD disc fix you better be ready to see Blu-ray on those shelves. Wal-Mart made the decision based on Netflix’s decision to go Blu-ray exclusive and Best Buy deciding to suggest Blu-ray over HD-DVD in their stores.
That was bad enough but yesterday the Hollywood Reporter posted an article citing unnamed sources saying that Toshiba may be dropping the format soon. Shortly after that came a report from Japan’s NHK that Toshiba is planning to very soon end the manufacturing of HD-DVD hardware and software.
This is a huge blow to HD-DVD and since Toshiba was the formats biggest backer this pretty much means that all we have to do is sit around and wait for the official word from Toshiba that the format war is over.
Not to say I told you so but since very early last year I’ve been partial to the Blu-ray format, this is the earliest mention I can find of it on my blog though.
The Playstation 3 seems to be doing pretty good right now. Last month Sony sold nearly as many Playstation 3s as Nintendo sold Wiis. Here’s the rundown:
Wii – 274,000 Playstation 3 – 269,000 Playstation 2 – 264,000 Nintendo DS – 251,000 Playstation Portable – 230,000 Xbox 360 – 230,000
It’s uncertain as to whether these are customers purchasing the PS3 just for the Blu-Ray disc support or if it’s just because they like Sony but it does say something for both Blu-ray and the next gen console race.
HD-DVD has taken quite a few hits lately, with Warner Bros. leaving the format and Netflix deciding to go Blu-ray exclusive HD-DVD has been left in the dust of this next generation format war. These numbers showing that the PS3 is selling pretty well isn’t good for HD-DVD. Currently the best Blu-ray player is the PS3 so for many wanting to get into the format this is their best option.
This also shows that this race isn’t over yet, although Nintendo has a huge lead over Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 that doesn’t mean that Nintendo will end up winning. Sony owns three of those top six slots and their newest console is in second place, Sony could still pull a rabbit out of their hat with one killer title exclusive on the PS3 or maybe even Playstation Home.
Netflix announced Monday that it will stock only Blu-ray discs and will soon be dropping the HD-DVD format. Netflix have offered both formats since they hit the streets in early 2006.
“We’re now at the point where the industry can pursue the migration to a single format, bring clarity to the consumer and accelerate the adoption of high-def,” Ted Sarandos, cheif content officer for Netflix said.
Netflix made this decision because of 4 of the 6 major movie studios using Blu-ray exclusively.
Currently the only major movie studios to be sticking with HD-DVD are Paramount and Universal, and we have all heard the rumors of those two jumping ship.
Netflix isn’t going to be taking away the discs that they currently have in stock, Netflix will continue to offer those discs until the natural life cycle of the discs come to an end.
Things don’t seem to be looking too good for HD-DVD. The research group NPD released numbers of hardware market share for High definition formats. In the week leading up to CES the hardware market share for both formats were practically tied but the week of CES Blu-ray kicked the crap out of HD-DVD selling 92.53% compared to HD-DVD’s 7.47%.
Toshiba even began to cut prices on their players often times costing half of what the Blu-Ray players cost but it looks like the consumers have spoken and they say that they would rather have a format that actually has movies on it.
“It should be consumer choice; and if that’s the way they vote, that’s something we’ll have to consider,” this is what Albert Penello group marketing manager of Xbox hardware said when asked whether Microsoft would support a Blu-ray DVD accessory in the event that HD-DVD failed. –source
This single quote has made the blogsphere set fire yesterday. It seems that Blu-ray may be winning everyone over lately, this doesn’t mean that HD-DVD is dead but things are looking pretty glum for them.
Today we also got news from PaidContent that Universal is going to be ending their HD-DVD exclusivity soon. The reason that Universal has not yet made an official statement about this is that contracts keep them from doing so, Universal is still committed to a series of promotions for HD-DVD in the coming months.
Paramount also may be leaving the HD-DVD camp, from all of the rumors going around it seems that Paramount has a clause in their HD-DVD contract allowing them to switch camps if Warner Bros. goes with Blu-ray (which they already have).
New Line Cinema (a sister company of Warner Bros.) has confirmed that they will follow Warner’s move to go exclusive with Blu-ray. Ron Sanders, Warner Home Video president, said that although Warner Bros. decided to go exclusive with Blu-ray other Time Warner entertainment companies would be making their own decisions. New Line Cinemas decision to stop making HD-DVD titles is effective immediately. –source
With the news of Microsoft’s willingness to come out with a Blu-ray drive for the Xbox 360 alongside these news stories about studios leaving HD-DVD, it looks like HD-DVD isn’t looking too good right now. I can’t really see HD-DVD coming back and winning this war but I’m not going to come out and say that it is dead either. Although the fact that HD-DVD decided to cancel their press conference at CES says to me, and many others, that the HD-DVD camp is also starting to think that they may lose this war.
Recently Warner Brothers Entertainment made the decision to (later this year) go Blu-Ray exclusive. For those of you at home keeping score this means that now HD-DVD only has Paramount Pictures, Universal, Focus Features, and Weinstein Co. Things aren’t looking too good for the format.
The only real thing that I can see that HD-DVD has going for it is price. The players seem to be about $100 cheaper than their Blu-Ray counterparts. Blu-Ray has significantly more studio support than HD-DVD does and currently there are only two manufacturers making standalone HD-DVD players while Blu-Ray has ten manufacturers making standalone players.
Let’s face it, Blu-Ray just has way more support than HD-DVD does and what makes a format widely adopted is support.
The one company that everyone is looking to for a reaction to this is Microsoft. Microsoft has been supporting HD-DVD for seemingly the entire time but will this make them change their tune.
I did read somewhere (can’t remember where or I would link for credit) that someone was speculating that Microsoft is supporting HD-DVD thinking that HD-DVD is clearly the worse format. This way neither HD-DVD or Blu-Ray would win the war and both of them would die. This way Microsoft could swoop in with a movie download solution which would trump both of the formats.
I’m not sure if I believe that theory but I do think that Microsoft will have to react in some way. Whether that means Microsoft deciding to switch sides and come out with a Blu-Ray add on drive for the Xbox 360 or Microsoft becoming format neutral, I do think that they will have to do something.
The format wars have really been heating up in the pricing side of things. The $99 sale of the HD-A2 was just the beginning. But, now you will be able to get yourself a $199 Blu-Ray drive for your PC, it is still far from a stand-alone player but is a step in the right direction for the Blu-Ray side of things.
The name of the drive is the PLDS DH-4O1S, it just goes to show you that the naming conventions in most places are just terrible.
The drive ships with Cyberlink PowerDVD.
If I was building a HTPC this drive would be on my parts list. I have always like the idea of using a single computer to do all of the work that in most houses is done by many different set top boxes.
Read more about the drive, including detailed specs at Gearlog.