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HD DVD Gets Buried by Best Buy and Netflix

by Paul Strauss
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For all of you who’ve been holding out hope that HD DVD might stage a comeback in its stand against the rapidly gaining Blu-ray format, I think that it’s time to count HD DVD down for the count.

With today’s announcements by Best Buy recommending Blu-ray as the “format of choice” and Netflix stating that they would no longer stock the format, it’s just too much for the infant HD DVD platform to take. The rats are leaving the sinking ship, and it’s every man, woman and child for themselves.

HD DVD Dead

As recently as the 2007 holiday season, it looked like both formats still had a decent shot at dominating the market. But back in January, Warner announced it was going exclusively Blu, and I think that was truly the beginning of the end for HD DVD. Since that time, retailers started to aggressively cut the price of HD DVD players, in a desperate maneuver to keep the format alive (or at least recoup their inventory investments).

I really think we reached the tipping point today, and the momentum has shifted so far away from the HD DVD format, that we’ve gone past the point of no return. And while I generally don’t think that any decrease in competition is good for consumers, the speedy demise of the HD DVD format is likely to produce an increase in the production of high definition content (since studios won’t have to worry about which format will survive), as well as less risk for buyers going forward.

As for current HD DVD owners, there are still titles out there, and they’re likely to be produced for quite some time. Toshiba and Microsoft haven’t officially pulled the plug here, but the format is no longer a viable choice for new buyers. Without the support of most major movie studios, major retailers and rental outlets, you might as well consider it six feet under.

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