We're sure that you remember HD DVDs. They were that other format for watching high definition movies, a couple years back. They put up a good fight, surely, but you have to go where the money is. The result? Blu-Ray pretty much took over the at-home movie watching experience, and forever conquered the high definition war. There had been this sort of bastion of hope though, longed for in one company: Toshiba. But it looks like that's all gone and done away with now.
Toshiba have gone public with their plans to develop Blu-ray devices, as they were tipped to be back in July. The company has applied for membership of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), the marketing and promotion organization behind the format, together with confirming that they intend to launch both standalone Blu-ray players and notebooks with integrated Blu-ray drives sometime during 2009.
Well another week has come and gone as time steadily marches on and like every other week here on SlashGear, it has been a busy one. Poor old Toshiba took the old adage "if you can’t beat them, join them" seriously on Monday and announced that it would be launching its own Blu-ray player by the end of 2009. That had to be hard to swallow for the execs who bet it all on HD DVD only to be defeated by Blu-ray. Also on Monday the slick HP Mini 5101 netbooks tipped up starting from $399. I'm not convinced we need another netbook on the market right now personally.
With Toshiba slipping out of their mourning clothes and readying a Blu-ray player, it seemed as good a time as any to check whether their erstwhile HD-DVD partner Microsoft had reconsidered their "no Blu-ray for Xbox 360!" attitude. Unfortunately, when TeamXBox asked them if such a peripheral might be in the works, the response was a definite no; according to Microsoft, instant downloads and streaming content are far preferable to a physical disc.
Full Microsoft Blu-ray statement after the cut
How long is an appropriate period of mourning before you move on? If you're Toshiba, and you've been mourning the failure of HD-DVD, the answer is apparently seventeen months: according to Japanese paper Yomiuri Shimbun the company is planning its first Blu-ray player for release by the end of 2009.
If you found yourself caught up in the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD fight and came out on the HD DVD side, you're probably finding yourself with a small collection of DVDs that are pretty much useless right now. Luckily, Warner Bros. is going to try to help you remedy that problem.
The movie studio is now offering a trade-in program called Red2Blu that allows people to trade in 25 Warner Bros. HD DVDs and have them replaced with Blu-ray versions.
Of course, this new program isn't free and it'll cost you $4.95 per disc plus $6.95 for shipping on each DVD. What is kind of cool though is that you don't have to send in the discs to the WB, rather, you just need to send in the cover art for the HD DVD discs you own and want replaced.
China has failed to resurrect now-defunct HD-DVD with CH-DVD despite having its share of World largest market to boost; their latest answer to Blue High-definition Disc, abbreviated CBHD, which is also an improved version of previous CH-DVD, is facing the same destiny according to reports.
The Dark Knight sold 600,000 Blu-ray edition copies on release day, shattering previously held records for high definition disk sales. In all, The Dark Knight sold a total of three million copies, making Blu-ray sales just 20 percent of total sales numbers.
In hopes that the Batman summer blockbuster would generate unprecedented sales, Warner Home Video shipped one million Blu-ray copies for the release of the DVD. “In the first two days across those three territories, Blu-ray Disc sales are running between 25 percent and 30 percent of total (disc) sales, which is a massive number,” Warner's Ron Sanders told Home Media. "We had expected Blu-ray to account for a significant percentage of sales, but not quite this high, which speaks well for the format. It’s really catching on with consumers.”
The Dark Knight broke records set by the Robert Downey Jr. action hit, Iron Man. Iron Man only sold 500,000 Blu-ay disks within the first week. Studio executives were reportedly trying to push the high definition disks after reports stating that there were 147,000 new Blu-ray players being sold on Black Friday week alone. Warner Home Studio says that they may be able to sell one million Blu-ray disks by the weekend.
I know what you’re thinking, why bother with Format pronounced death eight long months ago? After all, only millions of obsolete HD-DVD players left after Toshiba pulled the plug on the Format War. Not so, those with HD DVD players can still use these to play legacy DVDs and upconvert them to HD resolutions. I still have the A35 remains on the component shelf and continue to upscale a gorgeous image. My only concerns are playback stability since day one and 1080/24p jagging issues on AVC material and I never thought Toshiba would address the issues with continues firmware updates after losing the Format War.
I'm a fan of Blu-ray. Sure back when it was first announced, initial speculation leaned in HD-DVD's favor. But with the PS3 sporting a Blu-ray player, there's no doubt in anyone's mind now--Blu-ray won the battle of the next-gen DVD player.
And that's great. Blu-ray is awesome. The picture is clearer and the menu features are much more interactive. Even so, many consumers are saying, "so what?"
The Magnavox and Sylvania branded Funai NB500 Blu-ray player were spotted at Walmart. The NB500 is Profile 1.1 Blu-ray player and it is price quite low at $298. It sports HDMI version 1.3, HD audio codec’s, and DVD upscaling. These units are obviously low end BD players and somehow outdated, but again the price point might lure some potential buyers.