Warner Bros. ended the format war January 4, 2008 by deciding to go Blu-ray exclusive. A little over a month later Best Buy, Netflix and Wal-Mart followed suit, announcing their decision to also support the Blu-ray Disc format, exclusively. Then, a few days after that, Toshiba made plans to close down its HD-DVD factories in Japan and Universal Studios jumped ship, leaving Paramount Pictures holding the HD-DVD bag. Paramount surrendered on February 21, 2008 - less than 24 hours after Toshiba and Universal made their announcements.
(At the bottom of this page are links to both Blu-ray and HD-DVD players at Best Buy along with links listing current title availability for both formats)
Both formats offered a 1080p picture, almost twice the resolution of current HD broadcasts.
Both formats offered completely uncompressed digital audio, sounding much better than current DVD titles.
Both formats offered interactive features such as "HDi" and "BD java", running a picture-in-picture (PIP) commentary during playback.
Both players supported internet connectivity for future firmware upgrades from the manufacturer, so your new HD disc player wouldn't become obsolete when new audio/video technologies became available.
Let's take a look at the Blu-ray Disc. It holds 50 GB of information (DVDs only hold 9). The extra space offers more space for digital information, which in turn means better picture and sound (in theory). Some of the first Blu-ray Discs used the same video encoding as standard DVDs and didn't look very sharp.
And now the defeated rival, HD-DVD. It only held 30 GB of information, a little more than half of Blu-ray. While some technophiles believe that HD-DVD had a better picture than than Blu-ray Discs, it tended to vary from title to title. Also the limited space on HD-DVDs offered slightly inferior sound quality to the Blu-ray (this was not always true, however).
Paramount was the last domino to fall. Here are some interesting arcticles which offer an "epilogue" to the (resolved) format war. The longest 18 months ever. (sigh)
Why Blu-ray Disc won
"Lessons from the Death of HD-DVD"
How it all started - October 2005
This doesn't mean that Toshiba's going to start working on Blu-ray Disc players right away. Click HERE for that story.
That just leaves Paramount and Dreamworks holding the HD-DVD "bag". Click HERE for a little information on that story.
Wal-Mart drops HD-DVD and goes Blu-ray exclusive
Toshiba expected to drop HD-DVD in the next few weeks
I think we're about done here, folks.
Special thanks goes out to Chase Bunger for letting us know about Netflix (he wasn't the only one "phone in") and to Migel Lebron of Bakersfield Home Technology for letting us know about Best Buy (he knew this coming weeks ago). Thanks fellas. Keep that info coming in.
Neflix press release
Best Buy press release
I hope this turn of events sends a message to Universal and Paramount to hang it up and let the HD-DVD format die with dignity.
It looks like HD-DVD bounced back this week. Instead of losing 4 to 1 against Blu-ray, they're only losing 3 to 1. And below, the story of HD-DVD's continued demise and the Home Theater industry's transition to HD disc unfolds. Pick your poison:
HD Disc soars over HD downloads
Microsoft cuts price of HD-DVD add-on for XBOX
More HD-DVD players returned than in stock
First of all, Chase Bunger had this to say about Circuit City's low, low prices on the Toshiba HD-DVD players we posted lasted time:
"I think the reason the A3 and A30 were on clearance at Circuit City is because, since Warner is going BR exclusive, they have to clear out the players w/300 in them because it is a Warner movie.....they are going to reissue the players with two Bourne movies in them. That and because Circuit City isn't smart enough to add a new sku for the new player in their system without clearancing the old ones.....pretty sure the prices are back up to normal (which is still freakishly low at $149) now."
The gang over at The Digital Bits confirmed this later, but Bunger knew it all along. No one scoops The Bunger. Thanks again, old friend.
Above is a chart showing HD Disc player sales for the week after Warner Bros. "announcment" on the LEFT and the following week when Toshiba dropped it's prices dramatically to compentsate (which Bunger just mentioned) on the RIGHT.
And above here is an all too familar chart showing pretty much the same situation. For the THIRD week in row since Warner Bros. "announcment", Blu-ray Discs have been selling 4 to 1 over HD-DVD. The numbers don't lie. The people have spoken.
To keep up with all these numbers and figures we're going to have a new link which lists the HD-DVD/Blu-ray sales information as it becomes available. Putting the charts side-by-side will give everyone a better idea how HD-DVD is slowly dying out.
HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc Sales (Post-Format War)
In response to HD-DVDs embarrassing sales numbers, WOOLWORTHS has dropped the HD-DVD format. Click right HERE for that story. And of course, click HERE for Toshiba's "response".
Above are the price tags for two of the only three HD-DVD players available. This trend is not just being seen at your local Circuit City. The word on the street is that the "Big Box" retailers are dumping their HD-DVD merchandise with no intentions of re-ordering.
The above chart documents a CONTINUING trend (see our 1/21/08 post) in HD-DVD software sales, two weeks after Warner Bros. "announcement". What will next week bring?
Chase Bunger, your friend and mine, has sent us a link from an interview with KEN GRAFFEO, "Executive Vice-President of High-Def Strategic Marketing" at Universal Studios. He says that for better or worse, HD-DVD is here to stay until you, the consumer, say otherwise. Click right HERE for his view on the (resolved) format war. Thanks, Bunger.
And thank you, Mr. Graffeo.
The above chart represents HD disc PLAYER sales for the month of DECEMBER and JANUARY (so far) side by side. Sorry HD-DVD.
This chart also represents HD disc player sales, but shows sales totals for the week BEFORE Warner Bros. Studios "announcement" on the LEFT, then shows the sales totals for the week AFTER the "announcement" on the RIGHT. Look at all that "blue" (Blu).
Above is a chart representing HD Disc SOFTWARE sales and below are reports which have been flooding in from all over the globe on the demise of the HD-DVD format. Feel free to take a look at some, or all of them, if you like. Here they are:
The Digital Bits (Rumor Mill)
I hope this convinces all the non-believers out there. (Toshiba included)
Latest news from the dying of an unpopular HD format. Here's a quote from Home Media Magizine reporting on HD disc sales during the first week after the format war ended:
"The product announcements come in a week when the top 10 high-definition disc sellers are all Blu-ray Disc releases, according to an analysis of Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales numbers by Home Media Magazine’s market research department. Net HD DVD sales, according to Nielsen, constituted only 15% of hi-def disc sales last week. And the top HD DVD seller, The Kingdom, sold just 10% as many copies as the top Blu-ray Disc release, 3:10 to Yuma."
HD-DVD won't go down without a fight. They have cut the price of their three only players just about in half. Click right HERE for that article. Maybe Toshiba's attempting to clear their shelves before the diehard HD-DVD supporters throw in the towel. You've gotta admire their spirit.
But here's a word from the editor of Home Media magazine. He calls for HD-DVD to hang it up for the good of all. He makes it pretty clear that HD-DVD is only prolonging the inevitable by a few months, while wasting everone else's time and money. Click HERE to see his take on all this.
And last, but not least. A very special kudos goes out to NADIR KHAN. He is the first and only person we know of to not only be listening to UNCOMPRESSED DIGITIAL AUDIO at home, but he's actually got full-blown "DTS-HD Master Audio" as well. We'll be adding him to the "Wall of Fame" on our "Uncompressed Audio" page. For all of you "non-believers", here's his testimonial on what you've been missing:
"I was watching 'Alien Vs. Predator' (on Blu-ray) and the sound was freakishly clean. There's a scene where a person climbs the side of an ice wall. You can clearly hear her digging her pick in the ice and the snow breaking apart with the tiny ice fragments. Then her phone rang and I was like, 'Wow!' In the movie theaters there are scenes where it's quiet and something loud is introduced and it startles you. A damn phone ringing was so small but it made me realize what I was listening to. The same thing continued throughout the rest of the movie. When people talk you can hear the distance of their voices. It's so open. Like if they are far away or close and maybe there's an echo or something to it. Little things you would never notice or pay attention to. It feels great to finally HEAR quality as well as see it in movies. I LOVE SOUND. Yeah, people don't know at all what they are missing out on. Everyone just focuses on the picture."
Thank you, Mr. Khan. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
And here's some more format news. Universal Studios "HD-DVD exclusive" contract has expired with Toshiba, leaving them free to adopt Blu-ray Disc. Also, Paramount's contract with HD-DVD left them a legal "loop-hole" which stated if Warner Bros. went Blu-ray exclusive, then they could too. The studios are waiting to make it official to prevent all of those Christmas returns for folks who bought the wrong HD player. Yikes!
Finally, on Japan's Panasonic website they've already got the fancy new Blu-ray Disc player the Panasonic DMP-BD50. This, you'll remember, is the player we've been waiting for. Here's a little video clip of the Panasonic performing a "BD-Live" demo at CES. Click right HERE to watch it.
We'll be adding the new Panasonic Blu-ray Disc player to the Uncompressed Audio page under the heading "The First and Only Player To Do It ALL" (or something like that). Click the link to check it out.
All the latest and greatest from this year's CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. Lots of new players comming out this year. Lets take a look, shall we? Click the model numbers for more info:
Samsung's second generation DUAL-FORMAT HD DISC player the BD-UP5500 will only cost $600 but only support DTS-HD "HIGH RESOLUTION" Audio. (not "Master" - Big difference).
But the best news of all is Panasonic's latest effort. The DMP-BD50, at only $500, will be the first Blu-ray Disc player to offer a BUILT-IN "DTS-HD Master Audio" 7.1 decoder. It's also the first player to offer "BD-Live". For those of you waiting for a Blu-ray player that won't require you buy a new Home Theater receiver, this is it.
For a little more info on "BD-Live", click the link right HERE.
We'd like to thank Matt at D & M Sound and Miguel Lebron at Bakersfield Home Technology and everyone else who let us know about this amazing change of events. Apparently Warner Bros. has decided to support ONLY the Blu-ray format with their explaination being that a continued format war would leave no winner (studios, electronic manufacturers OR consumers). Of course with 70% of Hollywood studios backing Blu-ray exclusively, this war is offically over. I, for one, am relieved. Like Betamax, MiniDisc, and Divx before it, we bid a "fond" farewell to the HD-DVD format. History dictated that it should have won, but here we are. We've been wrong before and I'm sure it won't be the last. Anyway, be sure to check out the latest press releases on this fortunate turn of events (and I'm sure there'll be more):
Warner Bros. Press Release
Warner Bros. Reply
Hope for HD-DVD adopters
And to Chase Bunger...Our hearts and prayers go out to you tonight...Where ever you are.
Lastly, Denon debuts its first two Blu-ray players on its website. The first one at only $1200, the DVD-2500BTCI is the only Blu-ray Disc player we've ever seen with ONLY one output on the back. The "T" in "BTCI" means "transport". This player doesn't have RCA jacks, S-Video or even fiber optic. Just one HDMI output to run picture and sound to your compatible receiver. Pretty cool.
The next model, weighing in at $2,000 - makes it the most EXPENSIVE Blu-ray Disc player to date. The DVD-3800BDCI has every ouput jack you could want including analog output for full-blown 7.1. While both new players support "Dolby TrueHD" and "DTS-HD Master Audio" output over an HDMI cable, this new one MIGHT (and I stress "might") be the first Blu-ray player to decode them both internally, as well. One can only hope.
Of course we'll be adding these two new players to the bottom of our Uncompressed Audio page.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's all coming together this week. Sony's "BDP-S300" is on sale for only $299. This format war is nearing its end. Click right HERE for that deal at Sony's website. It's also available at Circuit City and Best Buy.
Blu-ray just keeps the hits comin'. Right now at Best Buy, if you purchase either Panasonic's 42 inch or 50 inch, 1080p Plasma Flat-Screen HDTV, you get Panasonic's newest Blu-ray Disc player, the DMP-BD30K, for FREE! That's one of the ONLY players which will pass "DTS-HD Master Audio" via an HDMI cable to a capable receiver. Be sure to click right HERE for that deal. I love the holidays.
Blu-ray just beat the $300 price-point. Starting this week, Samsung's "BD-P1400" is on sale at Best Buy, Circuit City and Amazon.com for $299. And with a firmware upgrade, it will send "DTS-HD Master Audio" to your capable receivers. Certainly not the best player out there, but just in time for the holidays.
"DTS-HD Master Audio" is finally here! How many people have waited to see their receivers light up like that? Here's a great article covering DTS's debut party for their new amazing format. Click right HERE for that.
As we near Christmas Blu-ray has lept ahead in the United States with a 3 to 1 margin in software sales. In Japan, 9 out of 10 HD discs sold are Blu-ray. 7 out of 10 in Europe. Even with HD-DVD's low-priced hardware, 18 out of the 20 best-selling HD discs have been Blu-ray titles.
Meanwhile, there are rumors of WARNER BROS. picking a side in this format war early next year. If they side with Blu-ray, then 70% of movie studios will support the Blu-ray Disc format. If they side with HD-DVD, then it will be split right down the middle, prolonging this ridiculous format war. Makes me tired...
Back in the heat of the HD disc format war, Sony has announced it's just produced its 10 Millionth 50 GB Blu-ray disc...Click right HERE for that story...HD-DVD responded by announcing a TRIPLE-LAYER disc that would offer 51 GB...Unfortunately, all exsisting HD-DVD players cannot play a triple layer disc...Click right HERE for that story...To counter that, Blu-ray has proposed a QUAD-LAYER disc that'll hold 100 GB...Click HERE for that story...Geez, I hate this.
Panasonic is going to release a Blu-ray RECORDER this fall in Japan...It's said to be able to record 18 hours of full HD content on a dual-layered disc...This model also totes a 1,000 GB (that's one terabyte) hard drive that'll hold 381 hours of HD programming...Can ya' believe that? Click HERE for the story on that.
Where to begin? Let's start with the introduction of the THIRD Hi-Def disc format to rear its ugly head...Click right HERE for all of that nonsense...Geez.
Next up, if you haven't already heard, Toshiba paid Dreamworks and Paramount $150 million to go HD-DVD exclusive...They offered (and were turned down) Warner Bros. and Wal-Mart a similar deal...Click HERE for all of that nonsense.
Here's some good news...The REMASTERED version of "The Fifth Element" on Blu-ray is INCREDIBLE...The first time I've ever heard the new "DolbyTrueHD" audio format...It's even better than the "5.1 Uncompressed Audio"...A must have for Blu-ray fans...Sony has made up for their mistakes...It's the BEST Blu-ray disc we've sampled yet...Here's some pics of the new packaging so you don't pick up the wrong version:
See, the front packaging is IDENTICAL to the original release...
Make sure the top has the "THE RMSTD BD" on it...
And the best part: The "Full HD 1080" and "Dolby TrueHD" logos on the back...
And finally, we've started adding BLU-RAY titles to our "Great Home Theater Test Discs" page...These discs sound so amazing, it doesn't matter which scene you demo...It's all good...Enjoy.
We will no longer continue to update this page as it is no longer needed. Thank you all for your support during this format war.