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GAC
02-16-2008, 10:56 AM
SAN FRANCISCO — HD DVD, the beloved format of Toshiba and three Hollywood studios, died Friday after a brief illness. The cause of death was determined to be the decision by Wal-Mart to stock only high-definition DVDs and players using the Blu-ray format.

The format war confounded and frustrated consumers in Tokyo, above, and elsewhere. There are no funeral plans, but retailers and industry analysts are already writing the obituary for HD DVD.

The announcement by Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer of DVDs, that it would stop selling the discs and machines in June when supplies are depleted comes after decisions this week by Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer, to promote Blu-ray as its preferred format and Netflix, the DVD-rental service, to stock only Blu-ray movies, phasing out HD DVD by the end of this year.

Last year, Target, one of the top sellers of electronics, discontinued selling HD DVD players in its stores, but continued to sell them online.

“The fat lady has sung,” said Rob Enderle, a technology industry analyst in Silicon Valley. “Wal-Mart is the biggest player in the DVD market. If it says HD DVD is done, you can take that as a fact.”

Toshiba executives did not return calls asking for comment. Analysts do not expect the company to take the product off the market but the format war is over. Toshiba had been fighting for more than two years to establish the dominance of the format it developed over Blu-ray, developed by Sony.

The combined weight of the decisions this week, but particularly the heft of Wal-Mart, signals the end of a format war that has confounded and frustrated consumers and that had grown increasingly costly for the consumer electronics industry — from hardware makers and studios to retailers.

Andy Parsons, a spokesman for the Blu-ray Disc Association, an industry trade group, said retailers and movie studios had incentives to resolve the issue quickly because it was costly for them to devote shelf space and technology to two formats. Besides, he noted, many consumers have sat on the sidelines and not purchased either version because they did not want to invest in a technology that could become obsolete.

Thus far, consumers have purchased about one million Blu-ray players, though there are another three million in the market that are integrated into the PlayStation 3 consoles of Sony, said Richard Doherty, research director of Envisioneering, a technology assessment firm. About one million HD DVD players have been sold.

Evenly matched by Blu-ray through 2007, HD DVD experienced a marked reversal in fortune in early January when Warner Brothers studio, a unit of Time Warner, announced it would manufacture and distribute movies only in Blu-ray. With the Warner decision, the Blu-ray coalition controlled around 75 percent of the high-definition content from the major movie and TV studios. The coalition includes Sharp, Panasonic and Philips as well as Walt Disney and 20th Century Fox studios.

Universal, Paramount and the DreamWorks Animation studios still back HD DVD; none of those studios responded to requests for comment Friday.

“It’s pretty clear that retailers consumers trust the most have concluded that the format war is all but over,” Mr. Parsons said. “Toshiba fought a very good battle, but the industry is ready to move on and go with a single format.”

Because movie and entertainment technology has become integrated into a range of consumer electronics, the high-definition movie format war has created unusually wide-ranging alliances. The battle included, for example, video game companies; Microsoft has backed the HD DVD standard and sold a compatible player to accompany its Xbox 360 video game console.

Sony has pushed vigorously for the Blu-ray standard, not just because it is a patent holder of the technology, but also because it has integrated the standard into PlayStation 3. Sony has argued that consumers will gravitate to the PlayStation 3 because of the high-definition movie player.

Any celebration over the victory may be tempered by concerns that the DVD — of any format — may be doomed by electronic delivery of movies over the Internet. The longer HD DVD battled Blu-ray, the more the consumer market has had an opportunity to gravitate to downloading movies. Such a move, coupled with the growth of technology that makes such downloading easier and cheaper, has threatened to cut into the long-term sales of physical movies in the DVD format.

Mr. Doherty, like Mr. Parsons, argued that digital downloads are not yet affecting the DVD market and that they would not for some time. They said that movie downloads face a host of challenges, chief among them that many consumers have insufficient bandwidth to download movies or move them from device to device on a wireless home network.

Mr. Enderle, however, argued that bandwidth was improving and that major telecommunications carriers, which are pushing to increase speeds, would like to be able to make their pipes the delivery mechanism for high-definition movies. Wal-Mart, Warner Brothers, Best Buy and all the others lining up behind Blu-ray realized they had to kill HD DVD — and fast, he said. “The later it gets, the much worse it gets,” he said. By contrast, Mr. Parsons said that downloading movies “is not a viable option now or even in the near future.”

“It’s something that will move very gradually in that direction.”

WMR
02-16-2008, 10:58 AM
Just about.

WMR
02-16-2008, 10:58 AM
For those with HD DVD players, keep your eyes peeled, there are going to be some great deals coming up.

GAC
02-16-2008, 11:11 AM
For those with HD DVD players, keep your eyes peeled, there are going to be some great deals coming up.

I bought my Toshiba at Wal-Marts a couple months ago on a great deal ($99). The only reason I went out and bought one. It upcoverts regular DVDs to near HD too, and I'm satisfied.

I'm not going to run out and by a Blu-ray one right away, that's for sure.

WMR
02-16-2008, 11:15 AM
I bought my Toshiba at Wal-Marts a couple months ago on a great deal ($99). The only reason I went out and bought one. It upcoverts regular DVDs to near HD too, and I'm satisfied.

I'm not going to run out and by a Blu-ray one right away, that's for sure.

Yep, the upconversion is a super nice feature, and you can't ask for a better deal than that. Makes you think Toshiba knew this all was coming down the pike and such cheap prices on their players was a last ditch effort to stave off Blu-Ray.

Blu-Rays'll continue to come down in price, especially now that the "consumer confusion" issue is just about put to bed. They'll really want to get a blu-ray player in every home now.

KronoRed
02-16-2008, 11:51 AM
RIP HDDVD, say hello to BetaMax

TC81190
02-16-2008, 02:51 PM
RIP HDDVD, say hello to BetaMax

Funny thing is, at the beginning, it looked like it would be Blu-Ray joining dead Sony formats of the past, such as Laserdisc or Beta.

TC81190
02-16-2008, 02:57 PM
Oh, and despite what this article says, it's now official. Toshiba has killed HD-DVD.

http://www.engadget.com/2008/02/16/toshiba-pulling-the-plug-on-hd-dvd-already/

edabbs44
02-16-2008, 03:16 PM
I thought this was a thread on the movie "Taps" coming out on HD-DVD.

That would have been weird.

LoganBuck
02-16-2008, 04:52 PM
Will Blu-Ray have upconversion eventually? If not should I buy an HD DVD player now to have that ability in the future. I don't currently have an HDTV, but that is on the agenda for this year. I have not purchased any HD technology. If I don't have an HD DVD player will I be able to upconvert with newer formats of Blu-Ray? I ask so that my small mountain of kids movies doesn't become totally obsolete.

WMR
02-16-2008, 05:31 PM
Plenty of blu-ray players currently have upconversion standard, loganbuck.

durl
02-16-2008, 10:59 PM
I was holding off my purchase until the war was over. I believe it's pretty much done. I'll get a Blu-ray player this year.

Reds Fanatic
02-16-2008, 11:49 PM
I started off with HD DVD and recently also got a PS3 when it became obvious after Warner left HD DVD that this was going to happen. For those of you looking to get a Blu Ray player I highly recommend the PS3 if you can afford it. While it may seem like more a game machine to some it plays all discs with out a problem and will be upgradeable to newest Blu Ray standards. Some of the older blu-ray players have problems with the features on some discs and won't be able to upgrade. Other than the PS3 the other Blu-ray players that are probably the best reviewed are the Panasonic DMP-BD30 and there is a Panasonic DMP-BD50 coming out later this year that looks good.

SteelSD
02-17-2008, 12:13 AM
Will Blu-Ray have upconversion eventually? If not should I buy an HD DVD player now to have that ability in the future. I don't currently have an HDTV, but that is on the agenda for this year. I have not purchased any HD technology. If I don't have an HD DVD player will I be able to upconvert with newer formats of Blu-Ray? I ask so that my small mountain of kids movies doesn't become totally obsolete.

Actually, BR players have been able to up-convert regular DVD's to near high-def from day one and my PS3 does a great job of it.

The nice thing about the PS3 is that even though it seems like a video game console, it's the only Blu-Ray player I know of at this point that can update its firmware via the internet. HD DVD players have had that ability pretty much from the start because they've always boasted about their web-enabled features, but those features were quite disappointing to me.

However, there's also the line of thinking that includes purchasing a Blu-Ray player and a couple of really cheap "clearance" HD DVD players. You buy all the exclusive and new release stuff on Blu Ray, but purchase previously-released HD DVD titles at an extreme savings versus their BR counterparts. And if those HD DVD films are SD DVD/HD DVD "combo" discs, then you'll be able to upconvert the SD DVD side of the HD DVD disc using your Blu-Ray player if one or both of the cheap HD DVD players stop working. IMHO, the HD DVD combo disc prices are worth watching because they'll always be able to be viewed using either a standard DVD player or a Blu-Ray player.

Johnny Footstool
02-17-2008, 03:17 AM
I thought this was a thread on the movie "Taps" coming out on HD-DVD.

That would have been weird.

(Young Tom Cruise with a buzz haircut, firing an M-60 into the night)

"It's beautiful, man!"

GAC
02-17-2008, 05:28 AM
Will Blu-Ray have upconversion eventually? If not should I buy an HD DVD player now to have that ability in the future. I don't currently have an HDTV, but that is on the agenda for this year. I have not purchased any HD technology. If I don't have an HD DVD player will I be able to upconvert with newer formats of Blu-Ray? I ask so that my small mountain of kids movies doesn't become totally obsolete.

My Toshiba HD DVD player does an excellent job at upconverting regular DVDs to near HD. I can definitely tell a difference. And since this all came down you can probably get an HD DVD player really cheap if you want something just for the kids.

I've been shopping around and it looks like the cheapest Blu-ray you're going to find is in the $240 price range and up

http://www.nextag.com/blu-ray-player/search-html?nxtg=33eb0a1c0533-E7394C447C86FF9C

I'm still going to wait though until all the dust settles.

WebScorpion
02-19-2008, 11:21 AM
More and more, I'm thinking this is the death of selling actual media to the consumer. NetFlix is beginning to offer immediate playback of some movies and I believe iTunes, Rhapsody, and others are working on HD downloads. Amazon Unbox, GUBA, CinemaNow, and MovieLink seem to be reputable services as well. Of course, we can't forget bittorrent, which may turn out to be the winner of the whole shebang witrh the apparent death of DRM. As for me, I'm still in waiting mode, but at this point I'm watching the download services more than the burners and players of different disc formats. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/bounce023.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org)

SteelSD
02-19-2008, 12:27 PM
I'm still going to wait though until all the dust settles.

It's settled:

http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2008_02/pr1903.htm


Toshiba Announces Discontinuation of HD DVD Businesses

19 February, 2008

TOKYO--Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD and has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders. This decision has been made following recent major changes in the market. Toshiba will continue, however, to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.

HD DVD was developed to offer consumers access at an affordable price to high-quality, high definition content and prepare them for the digital convergence of tomorrow where the fusion of consumer electronics and IT will continue to progress.

"We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called 'next-generation format war' and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop," said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation. "While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality."

Toshiba will continue to lead innovation, in a wide range of technologies that will drive mass market access to high definition content. These include high capacity NAND flash memory, small form factor hard disk drives, next generation CPUs, visual processing, and wireless and encryption technologies. The company expects to make forthcoming announcements around strategic progress in these convergence technologies.

Toshiba will begin to reduce shipments of HD DVD players and recorders to retail channels, aiming for cessation of these businesses by the end of March 2008. Toshiba also plans to end volume production of HD DVD disk drives for such applications as PCs and games in the same timeframe, yet will continue to make efforts to meet customer requirements. The company will continue to assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives within the overall PC business relative to future market demand.

This decision will not impact on Toshiba's commitment to standard DVD, and the company will continue to market conventional DVD players and recorders. Toshiba intends to continue to contribute to the development of the DVD industry, as a member of the DVD Forum, an international organization with some 200 member companies, committed to the discussion and defining of optimum optical disc formats for the consumer and the related industries.

Toshiba also intends to maintain collaborative relations with the companies who joined with Toshiba in working to build up the HD DVD market, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation and major Japanese and European content providers on the entertainment side, as well as leaders in the IT industry, including Microsoft, Intel, and HP. Toshiba will study possible collaboration with these companies for future business opportunities, utilizing the many assets generated through the development of HD DVD.

However, according to avsforums.com, Toshiba will reportedly continue to provide hardware product service and support for up to 8 years.

As a format-neutral guy, it saddens me that I probably can no longer look forward to the kind of Blu-Ray BOGO deals that have helped me to grow my collection, there should be bargain-basement HD DVD player opportunities on the very-near horizon. At worst, they're fantastic regular SD DVD upscaling players and although I'll likely wait for most Paramount/Universal HD DVD movie releases to hit Blu-Ray, there'll likely be some "can't-pass-up" HD DVD movie deals coming shortly.

R.I.P HD DVD. You were a good format. You just couldn't beat the massive Trojan-horse effect of the PS3 while also not really knowing how to market yourself to the general public.

KronoRed
02-19-2008, 01:10 PM
I blame the name, BluRay sounds neat and spiffy, HDDVD has too many D's ;)

WMR
02-19-2008, 01:14 PM
Having Disney right off the bat in their corner was a HUGE asset.

SteelSD
02-19-2008, 01:16 PM
More and more, I'm thinking this is the death of selling actual media to the consumer. NetFlix is beginning to offer immediate playback of some movies and I believe iTunes, Rhapsody, and others are working on HD downloads. Amazon Unbox, GUBA, CinemaNow, and MovieLink seem to be reputable services as well. Of course, we can't forget bittorrent, which may turn out to be the winner of the whole shebang witrh the apparent death of DRM. As for me, I'm still in waiting mode, but at this point I'm watching the download services more than the burners and players of different disc formats.

Now, I'm certainly no market analyst nor have I recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. However, I can see major bandwidth issues from both a performance and cost perspective for downloading true HD content (1080p video and lossless audio) for HD media.

Time Warner has recently begun testing billing based on internet usage:

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUKN1639580720080117?rpc=44&pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

Per their research, the top 5% of bandwidth users account for about 50% of total bandwidth usage. Now let's assume true HD movie downloads (not poorly compressed heavily artifacted crap) goes even somewhat mainstream. If I'm thinking this through correctly, that's likely to throttle internet bandwidth for everyone. Sluggish downloads, frequent service drops, etc. ISP's are going to have to provide more bandwidth and will likely have to follow Time Warner's lead in charging high-usage customers more. Even if prices decline for HDM digital media, consistently downloading HDM media could actually be just as (if not more) expensive than purchasing a physical copy.

Then we need to add on the additional cost of likely needing multiple terabytes (1000 GB) of storage to archive your digital HDM collection at 25 to 50 GB per film and suddenly we have a real pricey enterprise on our hands. Sure, advances in digital compression could bring file sizes down and digital storage prices will continue to drop as well, but it may be quite a while before even your average HDM "niche" consumer might be able to afford a real foray into consistent downloading of films they're currently purchasing on Blu-Ray. I know for a fact that I couldn't afford a complete switchover right now from physical to digital HDM even if I could get the kind of download speeds I wanted.

Maybe I'm off base on some or all of that, but it just seems to me that there are a few issues we'd need to consider before projecting a new "digital age" for High Def film media. If anyone is an expert in the field, please feel free to correct anything I posted.

WMR
02-19-2008, 01:22 PM
The industry experts I have heard quoted predict something like what you're talking about is a real possibility 5-7 years from now... I could buy that.

HBP
02-19-2008, 03:35 PM
I think HD downloads might find a niche. For me, it depends on how interested I am in the movie. For example, I recently rented an HD movie off iTunes mostly because I knew I wouldn't buy the movie and because I had a gift card to use. If this were a movie that I knew I'd want to watch again, I'd rather purchased an optical disc.

GIK
02-19-2008, 10:30 PM
I'll only buy into HD downloads when they're 1080p. To my knowledge all you'll see today is 720p. That and I like owning the physical media.

SteelSD
02-22-2008, 12:08 AM
I'll only buy into HD downloads when they're 1080p. To my knowledge all you'll see today is 720p. That and I like owning the physical media.

Like you, I also like owning physical media. If digital HDM goes to 1080p, I might be swayed if they offer a portable standard-def file that I can also play on my Archos (or, for others, their Ipod, Zune, etc). But even with that feature, I figure that only the truly elite will be able to afford the digital storage necessary to store 1080p HDM files with lossless audio in the near future. Digital storage is getting less expensive every day as is compression tech, but I'd need multiple terabytes of storage. That's not cheap, and I can see most folks just wanting to invest in a Blu-Ray player and physical films. In short, if anything will "kill" Blu-Ray in the near future, I don't see it being HDM downloads. I see it being a new HD physical media that will evolve along with progressive HD television technology.

Secondly, the thing I like about owning physical media is that there's some re-sale value there. I don't know how that would possibly work with digital downloads. Could we sell the files to interested parties? If not, then I want nothing to do with even true-high def downloads if I have to pay retail for said downloads and the could never sell them.

IMHO, as I noted earlier, there are a ton of issues with any projected "digital age" for true high-def content in the near future. That might be resolved at some point, but not soon enough to keep me from purchasing Blu-Ray discs.

919191
03-15-2008, 03:28 AM
Guess it had to happen. $79.99. Wow. ANy cheaper and I might buy one for the kid's room.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?Sku=T24-9148&AffiliateID=isIkAyUyNbM-MIIfip0Rs60cKAg.w4UXow

GIK
03-15-2008, 04:52 AM
Might as well. If anything, it's a good "regular" DVD player.

SteelSD
03-15-2008, 05:29 AM
Guess it had to happen. $79.99. Wow. ANy cheaper and I might buy one for the kid's room.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?Sku=T24-9148&AffiliateID=isIkAyUyNbM-MIIfip0Rs60cKAg.w4UXow

I'm still waiting for the 1080p models to hit $75.00 or less before I get a second one. I almost jumped at an HD-A30 at @$100.00, but held off knowing they'll likely drop to half that.

Finding some good deals on HD-DVD films now too. Picked up American Gangster, The Kingdom, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age for $17.00 each, and Beowulf for less than $20.00. And I have a sneaking suspicion that Best Buy is going to begin really blowing out their inventory sometime soon (rather than the 30% off stuff they're offering now). When that happens, I'll be getting up early for some box sets (Matrix, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) and random other films.

Heck, prices have been so good on HD-DVD stuff, the only Blu Ray I've purchased in the last two weeks was No Country for Old Men (killer PQ and Audio, BTW).

WMR
03-15-2008, 05:35 AM
Steel: Please, please, PLEASE bump this thread when you see deals. PLEASE!!!!!

Thanks.

What are the deals right now at Best Buy?

Please keep us appraised, buddy.

SteelSD
03-15-2008, 05:48 AM
Steel: Please, please, PLEASE bump this thread when you see deals. PLEASE!!!!!

Thanks.

What are the deals right now at Best Buy?

Please keep us appraised, buddy.

Well, right now all I know of is that they're offering 30% off all HD-DVD movies and sets that aren't specifically listed at a normal "on-sale" price. That's a decent deal for new-release stuff IF Wal Mart wasn't pricing Universal's new releases at $17.00. But it's not a biggie for the rest. The box sets of The Matrix and Star Trek were actually cheaper the week before.

However, I've heard rumors of things like 50% off sometime soon. Remember- RUMORS. But that does make sense.

Target has select HD-DVD discs marked down too, but mostly "catalog" stuff.

Nothing much out there for Blu Ray though (also makes sense). Best Buy is running a "Buy two get $20.00 gift card" promo that includes The Assassination of Jesse James as one choice, but the rest of the choices are "meh" to me.

The only major deal on anything I've found recently has nothing to do with high def films. If you're in the market for a Microsoft Zune 1st Gen 30GB MP3/Video player, try Shopko. I grabbed one there today for $62.50. Yeah, it's a Zune. But it's also only $62.50...:cool:

SteelSD
03-17-2008, 01:07 AM
FYI-

I visited one of our three local Wal-Mart stores today and they had a sealed HD-A3 with two HD-DVD movies in the box (Bourne Identity and Supremacy) for $74.98. I passed because I'm waiting for deep discounts on the 1080p players, but that's still a pretty good deal for an HD-DVD player with two free films.

NJReds
03-26-2008, 04:10 PM
Best Buy notified me that they'll be sending me a $50 gift card because I bought a Toshiba HD-DVD player from them last year.

SteelSD
03-27-2008, 12:29 AM
Just an FYI- rather than going into deep-discounting for their HD DVD stock, my local Best Buy sent back every HD DVD they had.

deltachi8
03-27-2008, 01:04 PM
Just an FYI- rather than going into deep-discounting for their HD DVD stock, my local Best Buy sent back every HD DVD they had.

I believe all, if not most BB are doing that. They will probably end up on Woot or at Big Lots soon.

I also got a call from best Buy and will be getting a Gift Card for buying the Toshiba through them last year.