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Is HD DVD Trying to WIN?

by August 20, 2007
Is HD DVD trying to WIN?

Is HD DVD trying to WIN?

I criticized HD DVD recently for issuing these hybrid HD DVD titles, claiming that users didn't want them and they were resulting in the appearance that HD DVD titles cost more than comparable Blu-ray discs. I was met with vigorous applause AND debate on the subject. Generally here were the points:

  • Some people liked hybrid discs since they could then take the disc into other rooms which do not have HD DVD players (bedrooms etc). While I could see this point, I think it is very shortsighted - especially if, in the process, HD DVD goes under due to perception that its discs cost more.
  • Hybrid discs are nice, but they should cost the same as Blue-ray and standalone discs. Suck it up - we all know it only results in about $0.50 extra per disc in quantity. Set your sights on long term success, not trying to squeeze more out of consumers for the added "value" of a hybrid format.
  • The end of the "format war" and elevation of the formats to greater than niche status would necessarily result in players being very inexpensive - so you can afford to have that HD DVD player in your bedroom eventually.
  • HD DVD needs all the help it can get - it MUST not be perceived as costing more to the consumer for software that is just as available on Blu-ray.

Warner Home Video is now the second studio to re-release several of its HD DVD/DVD combo discs as stand-alone HD DVD editions this Fall. I guess it was fairly obvious that seeing the premium price for HD DVD right beside a lesser-priced Blu-ray alternative was not exactly the best marketing tool for selling HD DVD to consumers. Perhaps next time perhaps they'll run it by some consumer panels before going live with a more expensive product.

On October 2, Warner will discontinue the previous combo versions of the following titles and re-issue them in HD DVD-only versions, at two different price tiers:


Reduced from $39.98 to $34.95 will be the recent theatrical releases 'The Ant Bully,' 'The Fountain,' 'Happy Feet,' 'Lady in the Water,' 'The Lake House,' 'Letters from Iwo Jima,' 'Rumor Has It...,' plus Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning 'The Departed,' and one of 2006's top-selling high-def titles, 'Superman Returns.'

Slashed to an even cheaper $28.99 are the catalog titles 'Good Night, and Good Luck' and 'Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.'

Warner's move to "de-combo" these titles follows the lead of Universal, which recently re-issued its catalog titles 'Unleashed' and 'Army of Darkness' as HD DVD-only releases.

When Universal re-issued its discs as HD DVD-only they left off the supplements that had been exclusive to the DVD side of those discs. Warner included the bonus materials on both sides of its DVD/HD DVD combo discs, so all of their October 2 re-releases will include all of the special features.

The specs of the re-release discs will be identical to the HD DVD sides of the earlier combo versions.

Included discs affected by the re-release:

  • The Ant Bully (Combo Edition) (HD DVD)
  • The Fountain (Combo Edition) (HD DVD)
  • Happy Feet (Combo Edition) (HD DVD)
  • Lady in the Water (Combo Edition) (HD DVD)
  • The Lake House (HD DVD)
  • Letters from Iwo Jima (HD DVD)
  • Rumor Has It (HD DVD)
  • The Departed (HD DVD)
  • Superman Returns (HD DVD)
  • Good Night, and Good Luck (HD DVD)
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (HD DVD)
About the author:

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

stratman posts on August 24, 2007 23:19
AcuDefTechGuy, post: 300971
Oh, I hear you. I have a 3 yr old daughter and a 4 yr old daughter! But the way I see, we spend easily $4,000 every year for 2 weeks of vacation. It only lasts 2 weeks, but we enjoy the heck out of it. Same with blu-ray or HD DVD. It costs $240 for an HD DVD player or $500 for a blu-ray. If you enjoy it enough, it's worth the money even if it only lasts 1 year. I have a friend who spends $200 per week on lotery tickets. He probably spends $10,000 per year gambling, mostly losing, of course. But he enjoys it for the time being.
So $240 or $500 for even 1 year of enjoyment is worth it—-if you enjoy it.

I guess that's one way of looking at it…if one has extra disposable income.
AcuDefTechGuy posts on August 24, 2007 23:16
stratman, post: 300969
I use to be that way (8 track, LD, Minidisc), but I learned my lesson, early adopters always get burnt, there's no other way, either the technology goes south (like one HD format will) or the natural curve of diminishing returns will make your early purchase lose its value within a short period of time, either way one loses. I have other things (a 4 year old) that keep my money tied up, now when I was younger, single and freeeee………..

Oh, I hear you. I have a 3 yr old daughter and a 4 yr old daughter! But the way I see, we spend easily $4,000 every year for 2 weeks of vacation. It only lasts 2 weeks, but we enjoy the heck out of it. Same with blu-ray or HD DVD. It costs $240 for an HD DVD player or $500 for a blu-ray. If you enjoy it enough, it's worth the money even if it only lasts 1 year. I have a friend who spends $200 per week on lotery tickets. He probably spends $10,000 per year gambling, mostly losing, of course. But he enjoys it for the time being.
So $240 or $500 for even 1 year of enjoyment is worth it—-if you enjoy it.
stratman posts on August 24, 2007 22:50
AcuDefTechGuy, post: 300397
Some people are just looking for an excuse to buy new electronics anyway.
If they come out with Super Purple-Ray next year, those people will be the first waiting in line. And I'll be second

It's not about investing for the future. It's enjoyment now. It's just that not everyone enjoys the same thing. My preamps/amps/speakers will still be the same, but the media players will change with technology and time.

I use to be that way (8 track, LD, Minidisc), but I learned my lesson, early adopters always get burnt, there's no other way, either the technology goes south (like one HD format will) or the natural curve of diminishing returns will make your early purchase lose its value within a short period of time, either way one loses. I have other things (a 4 year old) that keep my money tied up, now when I was younger, single and freeeee………..
Duffinator posts on August 24, 2007 22:31
jliedeka, post: 300964
Mostly it's because a lot of their titles are hard to find anywhere else. They have a good library of Kurosawa films and some others like Bergman and Goddard.

I wouldn't necessarily buy a Criterion disc of a movie I already own without a compelling reason. E.g. they either have or will shortly put out a disc of House of Games. I already have it on DVD and, while I like the film, I don't like it enough to buy it twice regardless of what else may be on the disc.

Jim
The best version of Blade Runner was the Criterion LD.
jliedeka posts on August 24, 2007 22:14
Mostly it's because a lot of their titles are hard to find anywhere else. They have a good library of Kurosawa films and some others like Bergman and Goddard.

I wouldn't necessarily buy a Criterion disc of a movie I already own without a compelling reason. E.g. they either have or will shortly put out a disc of House of Games. I already have it on DVD and, while I like the film, I don't like it enough to buy it twice regardless of what else may be on the disc.

Jim
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