The Death of HD DVD: A Bunch of Burned Consumers

I believe it is pretty well known that Toshiba has announced they will no longer manufacture HD DVD players and are giving up on the format war with Sony. I’m kicking myself for not waiting this war out and buying into the cheaper HD DVD format in December. But, at that time HD DVD players were half the price of the Blu-ray players and I received two free HD movies in the box with the Toshiba HD-A3 player I purchased along with a mail-in rebate to receive five more free . These marketing strategies helped push me in the HD DVD direction when I decided to upgrade my home entertainment system to high-definition. Although I knew the format war was going on I never thought the HD DVD technology would come to an end in such a short timeframe. Wow! Was I ever wrong.

Just three short months after my purchase the war is over and HD DVD technology is declared dead. Sony Blu-ray has won and I’m left with empty pockets, a feeling of defeat, and an embarrassing collection of HD DVD movies that says “I chose the wrong technology”.

It’s unfortunate so many consumers have to take the loss on this industry decision. The major retailers have declared they will no longer carry HD DVD movies leaving owners of HD DVD players empty handed. Amazon.com has cut prices on all movies in this format by 50%, but you won’t find me buying any more HD DVD formatted movies no matter how cheap they become.

In addition, both Netflix and BlockBuster are discontinuing distribution of HD DVD formatted movies in their online rental services. I received an email notification from Netflix on February 11, 2008 stating the following:

We’re Going Blu-ray

Dear <Member>,

You’re receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.

While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.

Toward the end of February, HD DVDs in your Saved Queue will automatically be changed to standard definition DVDs. Then toward the end of this year, all HD DVDs in your Queue will be changed to standard definition DVDs. Don’t worry, we will contact you before this happens.

You can click here to change your format preferences.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience.

-The Netflix Team

Imagine my disappointment. I just bought this thing damn player in December!

In the end, I am glad a single format has been selected for the consumer’s sake. No more head scratching decisions while standing in front of a salesman at your local electronics store weighing the pros/cons of each individual format and gambling on which technology the “industry” will choose. I put my money on the underdog (unknowingly) and lost the bet. Now I am stuck with an HD DVD player which is only good for up-converting my old DVD’s and playing the seven or eight HD DVD movies I already own. What a waste of money for a device that was supposed to be leading edge.

However, there’s still an option. Seems LG will continue to support the HD DVD technology with its dual format players.

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