Saturday, February 16, 2008

It Sucks Being on the Losing Side

Back in July, I shared with you my choice between the 2 competing HD video format (see HD DVD, July 29th). At that time, I chose to go with the Microsoft-Phillips-Toshiba backed HD-DVD, against Sony's BluRay.

After reading about both technologies, I deemed HD-DVD the better one. Another factor that assisted me in the decision was the XBox 360 addon HD-DVD drive, which cost me just $39 to add (well, to be honest, it was $139 on eBay, but I just won a $100 eBay certificate - thanks Doug!).

I also got a couple of titles (eBay and Amazon) and was very happy with my choice. Results were as promised and quality and feature were better than the average DVD.

The HD camp seemed to be managing the format war well, with major movie studios publishing their latest hits on HD exclusively (300 and Transformers were notable). Sony, on the other hand, was trailing a bit behind (with a rare victory, when the latest James Bond became available on BluRay only - mainly due to the fact that Sony owns Columbia Pictures).
It looked like the VHS-Beta format war all over again - where Sony ended up on the losing side.

But over the last month and a half, a revolution has occurred. Warner Studios announced that they're embracing BluRay exclusively (later, a rumor surfaced that Sony paid Warner a $150 million to "make the right choice" - further proving that only in movies does good triumph over rich/corrupted).

The HD camp started faltering: they've canceled their CES press conference, and had nothing to say even when NetFlix and later Blockbuster, announced they'll gradually drop the HD format as well.

A couple of days ago, Walmart decided to phase out HD by June. Amazon sold the Xbox 360 HD module for $79, and dropped the price on other HD players - and now it looks like the war is over.
Everyone's waiting for Toshiba's surrender message, and there are even rumors that the next version of the XBox may even include a buit-in BluRay player.

So, how does it feel to be on the losing end of a battle? How does it feel to be stuck with technology and media that are soon to become unsupported? - IT SUCKS. But..

Engadget had an online survey, asking HD adopters what will they do now. While it looks like most people conceded their "defeat" and are considering buying a BluRay drive in the near/far future, some commenters point out that HD is still the better format, and purchased movies can still be watched.

I subscribe to that opinion. Furthermore, with the rush of people to BluRay, the HD DVD prices will fall (there are at least 70 title on Amazon with 50% discount) - allowing me to get some good HD content for my library for rock-bottom prices.

But I guess if you're just getting into the whole HD movie deal now - BluRay is the format for you.

(Hero dies at end of movie. Cue sad music. Titles roll sad).

Update 6:45pm
This just in: Toshiba just announce they're out of the HD-DVD manufacturing (Reuters article). RIP HD-DVD.

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