So Long, HD DVD

A few years ago when I first heard of you, I thought you had the coolest name. It was like love at first sight. You gave me great hope for the long-term, I believed in everything you said, and I invested in our relationship. But today, I heard the terrible news. You literally broke my heart. Today, is the end of our relationship. Today, is the end of HD DVD.

Toshiba is expected to finally show the white flag in its war against Sony for the next generation DVD format.

After the shameful CES press conference cancellation following Warner’s announcement to jump into Blu-ray’s wagon exclusively, many thought it was the end of Toshiba’s beloved HD DVD. Then, after being dumped by both Wal-Mart and Netflix, we hear that Toshiba will finally be pulling the plug off of HD DVD, stopping units and media production no later than this March. Ironically, it’s in March 2006 that Toshiba released its first HD DVD player.

HD DVD is not the only format dying though. LG, who capitalized on the high definition optical disc format war, can also throw away its dual-format player.

Sadly for those who purchased HD DVD players, new movies will stop being released on the defeated format. I guess that’s part of the game when you’re an early adopter.

A Vanished Momentum

Sony, who had lost the videotape format war against JVC in the 1980s, didn’t repeat the same mistakes. However, In late 2006, the momentum was in favor of the HD DVD camp. Microsoft had announced an add-on HD DVD player for the Xbox 360, while Sony was observing weak sales of its PlayStation 3 units during the holiday season.

But in mid-2007, a wind of change started blowing in favor of Blu-ray. While both Microsoft and Toshiba announced price cuts in their respective HD DVD player, Blockbuster announced it was choosing the Blu-ray camp. Something was in the air.

On January 4th 2008, just 3 days before CES, Warner Bros. throws a powerful multi-punch combination announcing they will switch exclusively to Blu-ray. That gave HD DVD its first count of 8.

And The New Champion Of The World… Sony Blu-ray

For those of you who were waiting for a winner before investing in a next generation DVD player, you can officially start negotiating with your banking institution.

A few options are available for you to choose, and expect more in the next year or so. But if you were hoping for prices to fall down, you may have missed the main topic of this article… the war is over! Don’t expect deals on Blu-ray players in the short term.

In my opinion, there are currently 2 interesting options for Blu-ray players:

1. If you are on the market for a Blu-ray player and you are not interested in a gaming console, I would recommend the Samsung BD-P1400. You can expect to pay roughly $350. If your HDTV supports 1080p, combined with an HDMI cable this player will deliver astonishing results.

2. What about both a gaming console and a Blu-ray player combined together? This is called the PlayStation 3, from Sony. Two configurations are available, the main difference being the internal hard drive: 40 GB ($399) or 80 GB ($499.)

UPDATE: It’s officially over. Toshiba’s president, Nishida-san, confirms discontinuation of HD DVD.

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