Monday, February 18, 2008

Final Nails on HD-DVD format's coffin

Finally there's a possible victor in the ongoing war between the new formats. Blu-ray has proved all critics of its format and most importantly the HD-DVD wrong by finally nailing the final blows onto Microsoft's face, with a string of events starting with Toshiba pulling out of the HD-DVD business.

From Gizmodo:
Reuters/NHK: Toshiba To Pull Plug on HD DVD Next Week

Both Japan's NHK and Reuters are reporting that Toshiba is going to finally pull the trigger on HD DVD, ending the format war after being punted by Wal-Mart (the country's biggest retailer), Best Buy and Netflix. The official announcement will come next week, though Reuters' source confirmed that "We have entered the final stage of planning to make our exit from the next generation DVD business." RIP HD DVD, you will always have a place on our mantle. At least until we buy a Blu-ray player. But really. Update IDG's spin on the NHK story is that Toshiba has already halted production. Also, Toshiba confirmed it was mulling doing the deed, which sent its stock through the roof.

From Gizmodo:
Wal-Mart Goes Blu-ray Exclusive in June

Wal-Mart is going Blu-ray exclusive by June—they won't even stock older HD DVD stuff at that point. While Netflix and Best Buy pulling Blu were hard blows to HD DVD, when the world's largest public corporation won't stock your products, you're basically doomed. Wal-Mart is the avenue to the unwashed masses, and, as an emerging format, if you're not rolling on it, you've effectively fallen off the radar of millions of people. It's probable Toshiba already knew this, hence the rumors of it finally pulling the plug. If they weren't considering it before, it's gotta weigh heavy on them now.

Wal-Mart Moving Exclusively Toward Blu-ray Format Movies and Players

Bentonville, Ark., Feb. 15, 2008 - Wal-Mart Stores, U.S. today announces that its 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores will move forward this year with one hi-definition movie and hardware format: Blu-ray. The change will take place quickly over the next several months whereby the retailer will phase out HD DVD offerings and reorganize shelf space. By June, Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Clubs, and will offer only Blu-ray movies and hardware machines, as well as standard definition movies and DVD players, and up converts.

"We've listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Wal-Mart, U.S. "With the customers best interest in all we do, we wanted to share our decision and timeline with them as soon as possible, knowing it will help simplify their purchase decision, increase selection, and increase adoption long term. We anticipate enhancing our selection with continued great values in hi-definition Blu-ray products, so our customers can further enhance their entertainment experience at home."

Wal-Mart will continue to sell through remaining HD DVD product, but in less than 30 days customers will see a more predominant move toward Blu-ray in stores, clubs and online. As the nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart thoughtfully reviewed all areas and impact in making its decision, and is excited to move forward with one format and share its future plans with customers.


From Gizmodo:
Microsoft Rumored to Release Blu-ray Xbox 360 "as Early as May 2008"

With the HD DVD ship sinking faster than the Titanic, the rats are quickly abandoning the ship: according to rumors, Microsoft may be releasing a Blu-ray-based Xbox 360 soon. We don't know if the rumor is real, although it seems reasonable to expect it. The only real question is when. Their Microsoft insiders are saying May. We are saying maybe.

Only Sony can save Microsoft's face now. Blu-ray or bust! At least we, as consumers, have less choices to think about when buying a next-gen console or a HD player.

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