As we reported from CES, HD-DVD’s death knell as a viable high-definition disc format began to ring loudly when Warner Bros., one of the format’s largest major supporters, announced that they would move exclusively to Blu-ray in early 2008. Today, Netflix and Best Buy also declared HD-DVD dead to them—the former will completely phase them out of its rental business, and the latter will now exclusively recommend Blu-ray players to its customers.
While a hardware sales increase for HD-DVD in light of Warner Bros.’ announcement led some to believe that there may still be some fight left, this was almost certainly due to across-the-board price-slashing of HD-DVD players. But as more and more companies continue to pull out, it’s seeming like it’s about time for a towel to be thrown.
Soon, not only will owners of an HD-DVD likely not be able to find new releases for their player, they won’t even be able to rent the titles that do exist from neither Netflix or Blockbuster—the big B having long ago backed Blu-ray.
If you’re an owner of an HD-DVD player, especially one acquired brand new for the holidays, this has all got to be pretty infuriating. Which leads me to why I—without an HDTV, PS3, or any real desire to play my rented movies in high-def in the first place—still find this format war so fascinating. One would think that someone, somewhere within the bowels of the consumer electronics behemoths would have realized (after watching the same thing happen hundreds of times in the past) that the war would ultimately produce a loser, and with it, the loss of a gargantuan sum of money for said loser and its partners along with the added benefit of pissing off hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of honest customers. One would think that the CE giants would go pretty far out of their way to avoid such a predictable thing from happening, right? Especially while companies with disc-less download services (Apple’s iTunes, anyone) are waiting in the wings licking their chops, waiting for the giants to shoot themselves in the foot?
Apparently not. Regardless of the comparative merits of one format or another, when it comes down to it, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb saying that most people could care less. What they do care about though is getting involuntarily tied up in a format battle they ultimately don’t have any opinion on (or, more likely, don’t even know exists), and wasting their money in the process.
Are you one of those who has, due to no fault on your own, found yourself on the losing team? How should the HD-DVD group to compensate you? Create a commenting account (if you haven’t already) and let us know in the comment section below.
News via Ars Technica