HD-DVD: It's all over except for the funeral


HddvdripRecent rumours about Toshiba’s imminent exodus from the HD-DVD hardware and software business seem to have been correct.

According to EngadgetHD, quoting an article from Reuters, insiders at Toshiba have confirmed that the company intends to formally announce their withdrawal from the HD format war. This news paves the way for Sony’s Blu-ray format to become the standard in what has been a long battle between the two rival factions.

While consumers are the ultimate winners here, many of them have already jumped on the HD-DVD bandwagon and are now faced the question of what to do about their recent investment.

As we recently reported, Amazon.com is offering 150 of their HD-DVD titles at 50% off, which means that if hardware prices take an equally steep dive in price, folks who don’t mind shelling out a few hundred dollars could easily build a decent HD system and library, assuming of course they don’t mind the idea of dwindling title selection in the coming months and years. After all, most HD-DVD players are also excellent standard DVD upconverters which means if you were considering buying a regular up-converting player, a few bucks more for an HD-DVD player may make sense.

On the other hand, now that Blu-ray has emerged victorious, would this be only slightly better than buying a Betamax player?

Let us know what you think – especially if you have already bought an HD-DVD system.

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50 comments

  1. David

    Honestly, the real winner is Sony and blureray associate. As we all know, the cheaper price point is HD DVD. It also offers all next generation features since early 2006, while bluray is still implementing most of the feature as we speak in 2008. Picture-in-picture has been great, i've also tried the harry potter web function and it's pretty cool. Blueray is still crippled. They just offer better image and sound over regular DVDs. Ultimately, the trojan PS3 helped blueray (the next gen format with less next gen features) win.

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  2. Trevor J Skidmore

    How can they say that consumers are the real winners here. The real winner is SONY, and watch the prices soar.

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  3. DVD man

    I am so upset with DVD HD Toshiba. I bought the player and discs. Blu ray players aka Sony namely are expensive , that is why I chose Toshiba in the first place . Now what am I suppose to do when Blu ray takes over ? I would like Toshiba to reimburse me for the player I bought and all HD DVD discs purchased… I CAN'T play blu ray disc movies on my "no good for nothing" HD toshiba player. I hate Toshiba for what they can not do for consumers !!!!

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  4. Bob Ancle

    This is irresponsible reporting on your part. There has been no such action taken. What happened to fact checking, this is just a bunch of clowns creating FUD, and is a incredible poor example of lazy journalism on your part. You should apolgize to the public for this kind of rumor moungring.

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  5. elle

    Don't hate Toshiba, they are just doing what they can to save their butts after big players like Disney decided to endorse Blu-ray. Everyone loses in this deal, consumers especially. Trevor is right, the only winner here is Sony….Sony sucks!

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  6. Bob Yokum

    I think you forgot to mention the CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against BLURAY Players made by Samsung because they don't work. I think we can expect a massive class action lawsuit to occur out of this mess, the public has been taken for ride by the BDA and they will to have to pay in the end.

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  7. Rick M

    Stop whining… you knew it was gonna happen. Now go and hook up those HD DVD players on the kids's TV's and go buy yourself a PS3 40G @ $399.00 ….and enjoy the best "next gen" video game system! Oh ya, if anyone wants to buy a Nintendo Wll, we have one here unused since X-mas, when the wrapped PS3 got opened

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  8. Jay

    "On the other hand, now that Blu-ray has emerged victorious, would this be only slightly better than buying a Betamax player?"

    Betamax does not even compare. It's actually unfortunate that people like to bring that up just to create a buzz.

    The fact is, Sony isn't the only company behind Blu-ray. It also belongs to Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Apple, Dell, Hitachi, LG, Samsung and Sharp.

    Isolating Sony with Blu-ray is just disingenuous.

    As for soaring prices, I'll take a page from your play-book and ask: how did VHS come down in price once the war with Betamax was over ? That's right, by having different companies compete with each other over their players.

    Bottom line is, it's over. Now we can start wide mass market adoption of one HD format.

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  9. Barf

    The catalyst for HD-DVD losing was Microsoft, they could have forged the new format choice years ago. Had MS bundled the HD-DVD drive with the xbox360 from the start (instead of the silly HD-DVD add-on) Blu-Ray would have bowed out long ago as the studios would have picked the overwhelming consumer-driven format years ago. The Sony Playstation3 was launched almost 2 years later than the xbox360 and was a disaster in terms of sales at the beginning, but was the only reason Blu-Ray survived as the price of the console dropped over time. Heck, the PORN industry even announced the HD-DVD format was their choice early on… and they were the reason Sony lost their BetaMax vs. VHS war in the '80s. Toshiba should have been giving serious and delicious kick-backs to MS to bundle HD-DVD with the xbox360. Major ball-droppage there.

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  10. Pete O'North

    Great! I picked up a Toshiba A3 with 7 free movies when the price dropped to $148 CAD recently. I hope everybody ditches their HD DVDs, I'm waiting to buy them up cheap now. Having 400+ titles to choose from makes for some fine viewing, and the A3 upconverts regular DVDs beautifully!! Plus, I'm ALREADY enjoying HD at home, I don't have to wait around and worry about when to buy Blu-Ray! BTW, did you know that Sony is considered a crappy brand in Japan for consumer electronics? I don't trust them anymore.

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  11. GARBAGE

    THis is too bad, and BARF is right, the reason why blu-ray became such a dominant force is because of it's bundling with PS3, its too bad, because the price of HD-DVD was cheaper from the start, and who wants to pay 400-500 dollars for a glorified dvd player and 30$ for a glorified DVD?

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  12. Joe

    @ Rick M.

    I seriously disagree with your comment here. PS3 is NOT the best next gen gaming system. Graphically, it's still inferior to Xbox 360. Xbox live is superior to PSN. BUT one thing that PS3 does have and Xbox 360 doesn't is Blueray. I don't consider this as a gaming feature, so no, PS3 isn't the best next gen system.

    Back to topic, consumer didn't win. Hollywood. They can now keep the blueray price at 30-35$ since people who want next generation doesn't have a choice to buy blueray. While players will stay above 300$ for the forseeable future. As long as it's not a profile 2.0 or 5.0 player (which finally has next generation features) selling below 200$, it's still not a consumer win.

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  13. Guru

    I've always believed that SONY would be the winner in the end. Why? Remember BetaMax and VHS? If BetaMax was a winner then, Blu-Ray would have existed more than 10 years ago. It is the public who dominates the standard. However, what the public does not realize is that the folks who use it day in & out know which technology allows them to be more flexible and advance in the industry. Too bad it was only Toshiba. It could have been Zenith or JVC?
    For those have invested in PS3, you'll know what your investment has turned into. Sorry Microsoft folks…

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  14. GARBAGE

    think about it this way, all of u hating Toshiba. Why not buy an HDVD player now, with hundreds of titles to choose from and 7 free with the purchase of a HDVD player for 148.99, thats cheaper than a DVD player when you consider the regular price of DVDS (21.99-24.99)
    Why not buy one???

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  15. Simon Cohen

    Just some clarification on a few points:
    I think the consumer wins simply because having two competing formats fragmented the market, and forced studios into producing both, or picking one. That limited consumer choice. With a single format, the whole market can move ahead. And Jay is right, there will be many manufacturers competing to offer Blu-ray players to the market, so prices should drop and quality should improve.
    @ Bob Ancle: Reuters is a very respected news gathering organization so I doubt they're on the wrong track here. However, if it turns out they were wrong, I will absolutely write an apology to this blog for passing along incorrect info.

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  16. McGrath Dot Ca

    First, I will wait for Toshiba to announced it officially first. I have seen this rumor elsewhere too but it's not on Toshiba's site.

    Reports are starting to show that Toshiba won't give the 5 HD-DVD movies with lack of reasons. So, if you get them great for you.

    Price of Blu-Ray products will fall because of competition between manufacturers/studio and with regular DVDs.

    Barf: The PS3 was launch 1 year later not 2 years. If Xbox 360 had launch with a HD-DVD, it would had been around the expected launch of the PS3 in March 2006 and HD-DVD players. MS wanted the holiday money thus launch with a DVD. Also, it's was still possible to have one HD format at time but talk fell. ;)

    Joe: It's always best to compare current generation games against with each other. The first years, programmers learn the machine and so, games are not at their best.

    Until Paramount/Universal says they are dropping HD-DVD, then HD-DVD is not officially dead. If they continue, it could be a "niche market" for the 1 million players. More players will be added with the fire sale in the coming weeks from Walmart.

    If you have a HD-DVD, Just sign the petition:
    Make Blu-Ray Standard But Keep HD-DVD
    http://www.mcgrath.ca/make-blu-ray-standard-but-keep-hd-dvd/

    But if Toshiba announce the end of HD-DVD this week, then the petition is also dead for HD-DVD supporters ;)

    P.S. Those that don't know me, I'm a Blu-Ray supporter. It's the content and not the price that won me over.

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  17. Will

    I think that it has been clear all along that this battle was Blu Ray's to win. Let's be honest here, in terms of quality and potential, BD are the future. BD have much more capacity than HD DVD's and they offer higher quality. Also, in terms of marketing, HD DVD sucked. Making the PS3 a BD player was a brilliant move that was most likely the reason they won the battle. I'm glad I got a PS3, now it's time for all the prices to go down. Sorry for all you people who bought lousy HD DVD players.

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  18. Mike

    I have a Sony PS3 and an Xbox, they are ok.
    All the manufactures makes a good something, but in my opinion Sony makes the worst sound equipment and ok video equipment. I guess I shouldnt be so mean, but in my experience Sony is mediocre at best.
    I say go buy a good used "high end" Denon, Marantz or NAD with upscaling, and you will see AMAZING 1080 video and far superior audio quality with regualar DVD's.

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  19. McGrath Dot Ca

    Will: The official capacity is now 50GB for Blu-Ray and 51GB for HD-DVD but it's not used in any HD-DVD movies yet. Will it be now?

    Yes, the gamble paid off with the PS3. Now, they just need more games(exclusive or not). 2008 is looking good.

    Marketing did not go well for them. Plus, under cutting their competitors did not help them gain major manufacturers.

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  20. Lawrence

    The sooner this format war is completly over the better. As for all the Sony bashers it takes 2 to fight. When DVD came out there was no format war, you just went out and purchased a DVD player and purchased or rented DVD's. If the major players in this battle had any forsight they would have settled on one format before starting compatablily issues which only pissed of the consumers who were just looking for a true high def picture. When I purchased my current DVD player I paid $350 + tax, now I can buy one for $100 with the same features and picture, so the prices will come down as more units are sold! As for those who invested in HD-DVD you must have realized you were gambling on who would win and you lost. You don't really think Toshiba is going to send you a cheque do you?
    That's my Opinion!

    Still sitting on the fence!

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  21. Drecoil

    I hate to tell you PS3 people but the so called Blueray player built into the PS3 is a stripped down one. In order for Sony to put one in they had to strip it of all the extras. An average Blueray player is around 600 Canadian. A PS3 is around 300. You do the math,

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  22. McGrath Dot Ca

    Lawrence: Correction. When DVD started, their was also Divx players(not the codec). It was a rentable DVD model and you had to plug the player to a phone line. The war lasted less than year. This one lasted way too long but I got myself a PS3 to protect my fence ;)

    Drecoil: Where do you buy a new PS3 for $300. The back of a truck don't count. ;)

    The lowest is still $400 for the 40GB model. I paid $300 because I price matched the Dell promo of $370 at FS and used my gift certificate I got during the holidays and birthdays. :D

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  23. Joe

    As far as i know, the bluray lense inside the playstation 3 is basically plastic instead of glass as used on the standalone players, thus PS3's bluray will wear out sooner or later. (that's what best buy, futureshop and even walmart employees told me)

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  24. johnrock2

    Hi Hate to tell you hd owners you just wasted your money on a old news format.One thing more ps3 is better then that bug filled xbox 360 Longlive Bluray,

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  25. Karan

    Just to add to all the content posted here by you guys…

    Sony's Blu-Ray DVD technology goes far beyond the standard applications of Regular, Up-converted and HD Content.

    Anyone who has actually played back a Blu-Ray DVD will notice some functions not available on regular DVD's (even HD-DVD does not include some of these)

    Functions such as Floating Menus, Protected Encryption Transfer (PETS) and some functions exclusively for use by Service Providers (Movie Studios) these are AACS Type-II/III and MMC Type-II

    Though they are still in beta, but will be out soon.

    Toshiba's HD-DVD supports only AACS Type-I and MMC Type-I and no PETS.

    What does this mean, now even companies such as Block-Buster and NetFlix can re-distribute Blu-Ray Discs (with movies customized by them, in partnership with the BDA, of course)

    Think of this – a Spiderman 3 Movie Disc which shows you content from Block-Buster on the disc itself!

    This opens up an entirely new market and industry… Customized Data Replication and Re-Distribution.

    Even Medical Companies are exploring the possibility of using Blu-Ray Discs for Providing Customized Medical Training for Associates. Google It!

    That's Revolution, not evolution…

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  26. Semiman

    Drecoil…thank you for extolling your ignorance…well lets put that one down with the one about plastic lenses too….

    The PS3 is not stripped down. Is it missing the odd small feature? Yes. It does not have built in component video outputs (you need to buy the cable) and it does not have the build in decoder for multichannel sound (but then neither do the others).

    What it is is much faster. What it also has is a much different business model. Standalone players must make all their profit on the player alone. The PS3 is an avenue to sell content. To that end, it can be sold on razor thin margins…well perhaps even at a loss initially. Funny enough, because it may be used as a blueray player more than a game machine initially, it may screw up the economics as the profit on a $70 game are better than on a movie.

    A standalone player may sell 500K units (at least initially). The first PS3 variant sold millions, the second variant will sell millions more, and the total sales will eventually be in the 10's of millions… we are talking huge economies of scale and hence lower manufacturing costs eventually.

    You are right, when someone who understands the math does the math, it makes complete sense.

    Do you have a PS3? I do… and a standalone (which I no longer use) and even an HD-DVD (for rental movies)…. I have never felt the PS3 was lacking in features.

    The lens is a non-moving part and while the laser is blue, the plastic is not going to yellow or age appreciably… it will last far longer than the laser.

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  27. Techie

    I find it appauling that people are whining and complaining about a format becoming standardized. If you look at communications history, this type of technology battle is standard fare. From the earliest phonographs to grammarphones, to 72's 33s 45s, 8-track to 16-track (standard cassette), Laserdisc (also chosen as the standard for the porn industry back in the 70's), to DVD. The fact of the matter is that technology changes, and as things change people are left waiting for the "standard" to be determined. VHS beat out betamax for the sole reason that JVC licensed other comapnies to produce VHS players, Sony did not do that with BETA, and yet Beta is a better format, and still is the "Standard" for television production. As for people demanding Toshiba reimburse them for hopping on a bandwagon, you made a choice, turned out to be the wrong one. That isn't Toshiba's fault. The fact that there now is a standardized format, and the fact that Sony has been marketing a Blu-ray system for less than $300 for a few years now (PS3), you can bet that rather than lose again due to poor licensing policies, they will start the licensing machine rolling, and more and more cheap players will come out. So ultimatly the patient consumer will win.

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  28. Andy T

    Still sitting on the fence for this, especially the BluRay profile scaling problem broke out, after seeing a regular DVD on a computer versus a home player I decide any of these is worthy only when you've got complete HD system to go with it.

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  29. Dace

    Some of the comments left here are by pretty sore losers. Specially the one asking for Toshiba to refund him his money. Give me a break. You made your choice, now live with it. Serves you right for being cheap.

    DVD Man, your grammar really sucks, but maybe I should congratulate you for being able to write a whole paragraph. "no good for nothing"?? Meaning that its good for something? Yeah, its good for demonstrating that you are what you buy…cheap crap!!

    Blu-ray was the best from the start, despite for David saying it was "crippled". Wow, interactive content on HD DVD…it was just implemented to make-up for its shortcomings and entertain feeble-minded fools who buy cheap crap.

    HD DVD, may you burn in hell and never return. This time, the better format won.

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  30. Semiman

    Techie, the Beta used in Television production is quite a bit different in many ways than the original Beta. Additions for component video, etc. were far beyond the original Beta for consumer….and today, we are onto new things, with digital now the standard.

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  31. richard

    Who says the customer comes out the winner of the war Blu-Ray VS HD DVD?Let me tell you something:Sony is the worst company when it comes to being in favor of the customers. I remember buying a mini disk player from Sony only to realise I could not add more than 3 songs at a time and I could not transfer music from the disks to other devices.
    For myself…I hope Sony goes out of business…and fast.
    Customers…beleive me…Once Sony has the monopoly…We gonna pay …BIG buks for their products.

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  32. Big T

    Hey Sony lost the Beta Vs VHS war and we the consumers wound up with the poorer system VHS – this time round the better system has won out (Blue Ray)

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  33. Maestr02

    Pretty disapointing how many people blame Microslop for HD-DVD's failure… at launch the 360 was how much? $500'ish. Tack on another $200 for a HD-DVD drive and their next gen console released at christmas would have run into the $700+ range. Add a second joystick, a wireless network adapter and a game and you would have clocked an even $1000.00. It wasnt feasible. It was Sony's $650 entry level price tag on the 60 gig ps3's at launch that kept sales back in the beginning.

    The end result is that the better format won. We live in a day and age where the consumer decides which products to support. Same was true of Microsoft windows vs. Linux and OS2. We the people made the decision, the sales #'s show that blu ray despite being more expensive sold more movies than HD-DVD month after month.

    Sorry to all those who got suckered into buying a HD-DVD unit, you just didnt have enough like minded people supporting your choice as a consumer.

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  34. Kevin

    Personally, I have been hoping that HD DVD would win this generation. I'm kinda tired of Sony always coming up with their own media formats (UMD, Memory Stick, MiniDisk…)
    In the end, this hasn't really affected me yet due to my lack of an HD capable tv. I probably won't pick one up still for a bit, so I've got time to see what appens when teh dust settles.

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  35. Ron

    How sson people forget what SONY tried to do with their music disks and I am sure it wont be long before they try the same thing with Blu Ray

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  36. Chris

    Long live the DVD,

    That is my vote, either that or Microsoft will come out with its own version, because they will never put a competiors product in one of there products.

    I can't believe people would still choose a slower method and less advanced, while still being more expensive, while going into a 'Bagel' -> watch west wing and you will understand that, or the 'R-word'.

    Alas the Human mind always boggles me.

    Anyways Long live the DVD, for the next 2-3 years, and guess what Blueray will be a thing of the past.

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  37. QBear

    This is simple –

    Microsoft is the largest company in the world and could have made HD DVD fly if it was priority.

    Clearly it was not.

    Now that HD DVD is dead, Microsoft had better allow their customers to return these useless HD DVD players they fooled us into buying for xbox 360 –

    (fat chance)

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  38. Fred Bushor

    I'm pretty fed up with these companies developing different technologies and we, the consumers pay the price in more ways than one. Between my wife and I, we have hundreds of movies, documentaries and family video from VHS tapes on DVD. Now, if I understand things correctly, I will need to get a BluRay player / recorder?

    Well, I doubt that I will after going through the Beta / VHS crap years ago when the electronic companies got everyone going and coming.

    Why can't all electronic companies can't get together and decide on ONE system. Some will say that's what this is about now that Blu Ray has become the standard but look at the billions to be made by those companies who will sell to those who feel they HAVE to convert.

    What the hell did my grandfather do without Blu Ray , VHS , Beta, digital recorders or even a Kodak box camera? They told stories that remain with us forever. Some facts are added or omitted, just as we edit video or audio for effect.

    Nah! I'm fed up to here with being lead down the garden path by electronic companies. When my present gear becomes obsolete, I'll revert to the way things were in the "GOOD" old days.

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  39. Markus O'Reilley

    Pete O'North,

    Having lived in Japan now for over 12 years, I can tell you that Sony is not consider a "crappy" brand. It is considered a decent middle of the road brand, similar to the US.

    I feel badly for those who have HD-DVD, but this was coming for over a year now, and it was obvious to anyone who was not blind to the warning signs… first Blockbuster, then Wal-Mart.

    Anyone who thinks that the prices are going to rise doesn't know the market at all. DVDs were incredibly expensive when players were still 1000+, remember the DVD vs. Divx wars? For years many studios would not release on DVD, but once the market demanded it, DVD prices went way down.

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  40. Elo

    For the people who think Toshiba is going to refund their money, sorry, but that is not going to happen especially when they are at a loss already, you bought the wrong player in a format war and that is your problem, you could have bought an Upconverting player and waited the war out. I am not a very big sony fan but contrary to what some people might believe, they make very good products and they are not the only ones to support Blu-ray, Samsung, Philips, Sharp, LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, Denon, Mitsubishi (coming out with one) and JVC all support the format whereas HD DVD is supported by Microsoft, NEC, Sanyo and the only company actually making a player…Toshiba. Altough Blu-Ray does not have some of the features HD-DVD has… people don't give a crap, people want quality rather than features .HD DVD is over, whether people wait for the official announcment or not, too many studios and companies support Blu Ray to switch now and it is integrated into their PS3.

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  41. Marlon

    Don't feel so bad about buying HD dvd players etc, I ust forked out $600.00 for a Sony Bravia HD DVD home theatre system. Now what am I suppose to do with it it won't play blu ray either. what a waste.

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  42. James

    Oh great another machine to add to the collection of players I had to keep in order to play my collection of other outdated formatted media. Maybe the makers of entertainment centres will win big with this too. lol.

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  43. David

    @ Dace

    Quote
    "Blu-ray was the best from the start, despite for David saying it was "crippled". Wow, interactive content on HD DVD…it was just implemented to make-up for its shortcomings and entertain feeble-minded fools who buy cheap crap."

    WOW man or woman, blueray was best from the start? Tell me ONE thing that blueray did better than HD DVD aside from disc space?

    I can't help but laugh at blueray fanboys' because they think it's superior. Can't blame them since Sony is their God. But Sony is selfish. They refused to use the newer and better technology VC1 codec developed by Microsoft and used the older MPEG2 which they have some patents or stuffs. I still remember laughing out loud on blueray's first few months. It was ridiculous. Quality was comparable to upconverting dvds.

    This time, the better format, lost again. Bluray might eventually become better once they catch up HD DVD in features and specs due to its space advantage, but as we speak, it's inferior.

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  44. Marlon

    I think like some of you out there things are going to be expensive look at the cost of Sony's product now even after they've been out for a few years they are still pretty expensive in comparison to other brands such as Toshiba, LG, Viewsonic, Samsung, Hitachi etc. Sony is already controlling the Movie end of the market Disney is following them too. I feel with a lot of the big companies if they can't compete they just follow along until someone comes out a winner (Sony).

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  45. David

    Just to add one more comment:

    HD DVD supporters were smart. They didn't buy into Blue-ray's marketing lies, nor its false promises (just like PS3 was).

    That's what differentiates HD DVD supporters from Blueray. The former knows the format inside out, while the latter simply believes whatever comes out of Sony's mouth.

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