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I Killed HD DVD

By admin Published: March 3, 2008

Over the weekend the bride and I picked up a Blu-ray DVD player. But that's not how I killed HD DVD. ...

No, I killed the format a couple of months ago when I bought an HD DVD player. I've been facing the need to move up to high-def DVDs because I write a DVD column, and I needed to be more aware of how the high-def versions worked. Also, because I love toys. I had given it a lot of thought before choosing HD DVD. I looked at price differences, and at available titles, and all the stuff about how balky Blu-ray machines could be. I knew that both formats were backward-compatible, and that either way I would get a much improved image when watching my old DVDs. I also knew that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the hardward of DVD (even high-def) will give way to digital downloads, so all this gear will be superfluous -- or kept around for the same reason I keep a turntable, so I can play by old LPs.

So, after thinking and rethinking and re-rethinking, I settled on HD DVD. So, of course, not long after I did that, Warner Bros. decided to move from HD DVD to Blu-ray, and Netflix announced that it would only carry Blu-ray, and retailers started going Blu-ray only. And Toshiba, a maker of HD DVD players, reportedly decided to opt out of the form. And there I was, looking at my HD DVD player.

This is not, of course, the first time this had happened. In the VHS-Beta wars, I was a Beta guy for much longer than was reasonable. (I remember getting review tapes from the TV networks, and the increasing dismay that greeted my requests for Beta.) I have managed some technological potholes -- I never fell for 8-track tapes, for one thing -- but I have a bad enough history that I try to sit out format wars until they're over.

Only in this case, I did not. Even a few months ago, it didn't look as if the war was going to end so quickly. But I am trying to be philosophical. As I said, both formats are backward-compatible, so the HD DVD player makes a good upgrade from a standard DVD. And I am -- fingers crossed -- hoping there will be a massive product dump soon of HD DVDs and I can fill some gaps in my video collection at a relatively modest price.

Hey, when the record companies went from mono to all-stereo, I built a large foundation of my record collection on severely-discounted mono LPs. They still sound all right on that turntable.

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