Saturday, February 16, 2008

The fat lady sung... HD DVD dead... Wal-Mart picks Blue-Ray

Well... looks like I called one right. Blue-Ray won.

The New York Times is reporting that Wal-Mart will no longer be carrying any HD DVD equipment or HD DVD titles after June 2008.

"HD DVD, the beloved format of Toshiba and three Hollywood studios, died Friday after a brief illness. The cause of death was determined to be the decision by Wal-Mart to stock only high-definition DVDs and players using the Blu-ray format.

There are no funeral plans, but retailers and industry analysts are already writing the obituary for HD DVD.

The announcement by Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer of DVDs, that it would stop selling the discs and machines in June when supplies are depleted comes after decisions this week by Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer, to promote Blu-ray as its preferred format and Netflix, the DVD-rental service, to stock only Blu-ray movies, phasing out HD DVD by the end of this year."

Now if only the manufacturers will ramp up Blue-Ray production so we can get $100 players on the shelf and decently priced media available to consumers who are willing to pony up for the available recorders.

If they don't hurry up and get players to the market in that magical $100-150 pricepoint, all of the consumer electronics brands stand to lose even the Blue-ray battle to videos delivered via streaming over the internet and to upconversion of standard DVDs.

I know you can't put bits back that aren't there anymore but the upconverting DVD players that hit the market in the past 12 months do a stunning job at putting a pretty image on the screen.