HD-DVD Launch Whimper

Looks like the next generation of DVDs will be getting off to a slow start. Netflix may have added a HD rental page, but they won’t have any discs to rent to the few consumers who manage to get their hands on a player.

Generally speaking, I’m an early adopter of new technology. I was definitely first on my block with a DVD player (and finding discs was a chore), but I have little desire to upgrade to either of the new formats. Why? Current 480p movies with 5.1 digital surround is quite nice… and spending $500-$800 on a bulky player with limited titles for marginally improved video and sound quality doesn’t compute. Additionally, copy restrictions will prevent ripping (not that computer drives even exist yet) and may limit output to HDMI. If I’m not jumping on board now, I can’t imagine many people who will.

Hollywood Reporter says: Moreover, sources report that only 10,000 Toshiba players are being shipped to retailers initially, a number that indicates low sales expectations. On the software front, it is unlikely that even a single HD-DVD title will be available for sale this month at any of the consumer electronics chains and discount retailers that are bringing in the players.

(via Thomas Hawk)

3 thoughts on “HD-DVD Launch Whimper”

  1. I can upgrade my current HD tuner/DVD player combo via firmware to scale video output up and I haven’t even bothered. Maybe my eyesight is too poor or my screen too small, but really 480p looks great.

  2. Dave: you are right. There is no rush for the new HD formats. 480p looks excellent on most HD monitors, and those disks are readily available inexpensively.

  3. 1. 480p looks great on my HD monitor already.
    2. It’s not clear whether or not HD-DVD is the next VHS or the next Beta.
    3. I’m not interested in re-purchasing all my favorite movies AGAIN.
    4. There’s plenty of TV shows on DVD, all in SD and thus presented to their best with the existing DVD format.
    5. I’m not interested in endorsing DRM schemes that limit my fair-use rights, restricting me from transferring content from the disk to an iPod, laptop, or home file server.
    6. Will this format even get off the ground before it is obsoleted by direct internet downloads.

    Can anyone think of any more reasons?

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