Monday, February 11, 2008

The End of HD DVD

Well, if the Jan. 4 announcement of Warner's decision to go Blu-ray exclusive didn't kill HD DVD, Sony's impressively orchestrated Blitzkrieg today did. Mysteriously, Netflix chose to announce that it is phasing out its HD DVD selection on the same day Best Buy announced that they will officially recommend Blu-ray to its customers.

The HD DVD group had a month to answer the Warner blow. They could have wooed Disney or convinced their current studios to start selling regular DVDs as combo discs, giving themselves an unexpected lease on life. Instead, they sat on their asses, slashed some prices and wasted money on a lame Super Bowl spot that didn't even air in all markets.

The result of the Blu-ray victory will likely be a delay the adoption of HD media. Blu-ray players remain more expensive than the average consumer is willing to pay, and the format offers no discs that can be played in older DVD players. For people who have DVD players in multiple rooms of the house and the car, this doesn't make for an appealing scenario. HD DVD had the potential to break down these barriers, but Toshiba and co. botched it with poor strategies and marketing. That isn't to say that they wouldn't have won if Sony didn't pay Warner half a billion dollars, but surely Toshiba would have done the same if they had the dough.

No comments: