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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default Wal-Mart dumps HD DVDs to back Blu-ray

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) has decided to exclusively sell high-definition DVDs in the Blu-Ray format, dealing what could be a crippling blow to the rival HD DVD technology backed by Toshiba Corp.

    The move by the world's largest retailer, announced on Friday, caps a disappointing week for HD DVD supporters, who also saw consumer electronics chain Best Buy Co Inc and online video rental company Netflix Inc defect to the Blu-ray camp.

    In a statement on its Web site, Wal-Mart said that over the next few months it will phase out sales of HD DVD systems and discs. By June, it will sell only products in the Blu-ray format which was developed by Sony Corp (6758.T).

    "We've listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," said Gary Severson, a Wal-Mart senior vice president.

    The move affects 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in the United States, as well as related online sites. The stores will continue to sell traditional DVD players and movies.

    The so-called format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray has been a thorn in the side of retailers, which have had to commit shelf space to devices from both camps even as they field complaints from frustrated and confused customers.

    Next-generation DVDs and players, boasting better picture quality and more capacity, were expected to help revive the $24 billion global home DVD market. But Hollywood studios had initially split their alliances between the two camps, meaning only certain films would play on a consumer's DVD machine.

    Like the Betamax-VHS battle in the 1980s, having two DVD standards has dampened sales of both and put retailers in a conundrum of having to either choose sides or sell products that have a chance of becoming obsolete very quickly.

    The balance of power, however, tipped toward the Sony camp in January after Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros studio said it would only release high-definition DVDs in Blu-ray format. With that, studios behind some three-quarters of DVDs are backing Blu-ray, although some release in both formats.

    Blu-ray also has support from News Corp's 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Co and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Sony's PlayStation 3 game console can also play Blu-ray films.

    "So if you bought the HD player like me, I'd retire it to the bedroom, kid's playroom, or give it to your parents to play their John Wayne standard def movies, and make space for a BD player for your awesome Hi Def experience," Wal-Mart's movie and gaming blogger, Susan Chronister, wrote in a posting.

    To be sure, Toshiba has secured agreements with studios including NBC Universal's Universal Pictures, Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

    Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360 also currently works only with HD DVD. However, Microsoft said in January it could consider supporting Blu-ray technology at consumers' behest.

    Toshiba could not be reached to comment on Wal-Mart's move.

    Earlier on Friday, the Hollywood Reporter quoted unidentified industry sources as saying Toshiba was widely expected to pull the plug on HD DVD in the coming weeks.

    Toshiba spokeswoman Junko Furuta said none of what was reported in the magazine had been decided. She declined to comment further, saying: "We cannot comment on speculation."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    Well, that oughta do it. RIP HD-DVD.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  3. #3
    Eye suffacozza YEWW! Goo's Avatar
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    I have no idea if 'the hollywood reporter' qualifies as a useful news source but anyhoo..

    Stick a fork in it
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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    Well, that oughta do it. RIP HD-DVD.

    Yup. And for once, I picked the right format early on and stuck with it.

  5. #5
    Good Enough
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    well when it finally happens officially I won't be getting a Blu Ray player until they make an affordable one that plays regular dvds. No way am I buying an expensive machine that only plays blu ray discs.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    What's so great about blue ray anyways? Are they blue or something?

    WHY WAL MART???? WHY??

    Why can't they sell everything instead of picking and choosing (forcing these techno items down our throats)??? I still don't get the diff between the two but then I'm still just getting used to regular dvd's.

    I remember being caught in that Beta/VHS war. I've still got that big ol beta player in my garage. It was gonna be the next greatest thing so I thought at the time.

    This all just sucks.
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  7. #7
    Sinner's Swing! twonabomber's Avatar
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    only sucks if you've bought an HD-DVD player that you won't be able to get movies for.

    where was the outrage when Best Buy and Netflix announced they were going to go exclusively Blu-Ray?
    "is this a good show tonight, or fuckin' what?" - DLR, Montreal, 11/10/07

    Toronto 10/7...Cleveland 10/10...Toronto 10/12...Montreal 11/10

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    Well t/g I didn't fall for that one. And I rarely visit those other two stores, I'm lucky if I make it to Circuit City once in a while.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnTheInside1985 View Post
    well when it finally happens officially I won't be getting a Blu Ray player until they make an affordable one that plays regular dvds. No way am I buying an expensive machine that only plays blu ray discs.
    Not only will Blu-Ray players play standard DVDs, they'll also upscale the picture to almost HD quality for your HD TV.

    The best Blu-Ray buy at the minute is the PS3 because it's widely regarded as the most advanced, future-proof and best value machine on the market. Look at it this way, you get a top-flight Blu-Ray player and a next generation games console for less than most of the stand-alone players.

    Now that there's thankfully only one format, manufacturers and retailers can get on with making more affordable devices. The market has shifted so that Blu-Ray is no longer competing with HD DVD, but with standard DVD, so to thrive the prices must come down. I'd guess we'll be seeing affordable machines in time for next Christmas.

    And on a general note, I went down the Blu-Ray route last year. If you're a big movie fan, it's well worth it. Blade Runner in High Def is just stunning.
    HERE AND GONE by Haylen Beck (Stuart Neville writing as...) - "It doesn't get better than this." - Lee Child, "Highly recommended." - Harlan Coben, "Cancel all your plans and settle in for the ride." - Ruth Ware, "This is a book that lives up to the buzz." - Alafair Burke

    Summer 2017 UK & North America

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    Report: Toshiba May Withdraw HD DVD Video Format

    TOKYO — Japanese electronics maker Toshiba might withdraw its HD DVD next-generation video format, Kyodo News agency reported Saturday.


    The report cited unidentified individuals from the industry as saying Toshiba Corp. is reviewing its operations, with the timing of the withdrawal to be decided later, depending on U.S. demand for its HD DVD products and other factors.

    Calls went unanswered at Toshiba Corp.'s Tokyo office, which was closed for the weekend.

    HD DVD has been competing against the Blu-ray technology, backed by Sony Corp., other makers and five major Hollywood movie studios.

    Recently the Blu-ray disc format has been gaining market share, while Toshiba has been forced to slash prices to sell its HD DVD machines. A Toshiba pullout would signal the almost certain defeat of HD DVD to Blu-ray.

    On Friday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest U.S. retailer, said it will sell only Blu-ray DVDs and hardware and no longer carry HD DVD offerings.

    The announcement came five days after Netflix Inc. said it will cease carrying rentals in HD DVD. Several major U.S. retailers have made similar decisions, including Target Corp. and Blockbuster Inc.

    Last month, Warner Bros. Entertainment decided to release movie discs only in the Blu-ray format, becoming the latest studio to reject HD DVD.

    Warner Bros., owned by Time Warner Inc., had been the only remaining Hollywood studio releasing high-definition DVDs in both formats.

    Both formats deliver crisp, clear high-definition pictures and sound, but they are incompatible with each other, and neither plays on older DVD players.

    Only one format has been expected to emerge as the winner, much like VHS trumped Sony's Betamax in the video format battle of the 1980s.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Stick a fork in HD DVD. It's done.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

    www.geocaching.com - The site where you are the search engine.

  12. #12
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    The Blu-ray Disc Association is speaking out against charges that the org is shunning adult video distributors from releasing content on Blu-ray.

    As we reported last week, the co-founder of porn distributor Digital Playground says that his company was forced to change HD allegiances after "all Blu-ray Disc copying facilities in the United States had refused to cooperate." He went on to allege that primary Blu-ray backer Sony "wants me to publish my films on HD DVD."

    Without responding directly to Digital Playground's claims, Marty Gordon, vicechair of the Blu-ray Disc Association US Promotions Committee emphasized in a statement to Ars Technica that the Sony-backed organization is committed to working with "all" content providers.
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.

  13. #13
    Outta Space Cowboy Scotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twonabomber View Post
    where was the outrage when Best Buy and Netflix announced they were going to go exclusively Blu-Ray?
    When was that?

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty View Post
    When was that?
    February 11th

    Best Buy to push Blu-ray over HD DVD
    Large-scale retailer Best Buy this afternoon unsettled the HD video industry by announcing that it would promote Blu-ray over HD DVD. The chain had originally claimed to remain platform-neutral but now says Blu-ray will be its "preferred" format and will reflect this choice in its stores. Blu-ray movie players and titles will be given more prominent positions than HD DVD, while store staff are more likely to recommend the new format. The sudden shift is a reaction to customer demand, according to Best Buy president Brian Dunn.
    "Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way," Dunn claims.

    Best Buy's decision compounds HD DVD's losses for today alone, as Netflix dropped HD DVD this morning in an attempt to drive HD movie sales by choosing only one format. Since Warner Bros.' announcement that it would shift to Blu-ray exclusivity in January, Blu-ray has continued to lead sales and has resulted in several stores and services either de-emphasizing HD DVD or introducing HD for the first time through Blu-ray.

    HD DVD's chief proponent, Toshiba, has not responded to the Best Buy move but was formerly the subject of a promotion that sold the HD-A3 movie player for $200, which remained the lowest price for an HD DVD player until the Warner announcement pressed Toshiba to make a price cut to $150 in a bid to remain competitive.

    Netflix drops HD DVD, goes Blu-ray exclusive
    Movie rental service Netflix this morning dealt an added blow to HD DVD by announcing that it would drop the format from its mail-based subscriptions, offering HD movies solely in Blu-ray. While the company will not immediately halt rentals of HD DVD tiles, it will no longer add HD DVD movies to its catalog and intends to phase out the format as discs finish their useful rental cycles. The move is claimed to end the confusion caused by dual formats and will let Netflix push HD video more clearly to its rental business, which is still dominated by DVDs.
    "We are now at the point where the industry can pursue the migration to a single format, bring clarity to the consumer and accelerate the adoption of high-def," says Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

    The decision compounds a steady series of losses for HD DVD, which were first triggered by Warner Bros.' decision to drop HD DVD from its catalog by June. The change will hand over 70 percent of the entire HD movie business to studios that support Blu-ray and is believed to have resulted in both expanded Blu-ray sales as well as emergency HD DVD player discounts by Microsoft and Toshiba in an attempt to both rescue format sales and clear movie player stock.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  15. #15
    Atomic Punk
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    Samsung to scale back HD DVD support
    Samsung will de-emphasize HD DVD support in the near future, the company said today. The Korean electronics firm has currently been developing dual-format Blu-ray and HD DVD movie players such as the UP5000 but has now said it will show "more interests" in Blu-ray devices above the HD format's rival. No plans have been announced to phase out dual-format players, though the gradual end to the HD DVD format is likely to reduce the chances of any HD DVD-capable players in the future.

    Samsung has primarily backed Blu-ray since opting to produce HD movie players and presently offers only Blu-ray movie players in stores. This in addition to help from fellow Blu-ray supporters Pioneer and Sony have often been credited as a blow to HD DVD, which has rarely counted more hardware supporters than Microsoft and Toshiba.

    The Samsung commentary is likely prompted by both official Toshiba statements and rumors that have hinted Toshiba will withdraw the HD DVD format entirely, potentially removing it from the market within weeks after losing most support from studios and retailers.

    Microsoft: X360 HD DVD's fate hangs on Toshiba
    Microsoft will not make any decisions about the fate of its Xbox 360 HD DVD player until it hears from Toshiba, the former company said today. Although rumors have pointed to the Xbox creator developing a Blu-ray add-on for the spring, its official stance will hinge on whether Toshiba continues its own hardware, which is believed to rest inside the Microsoft-branded drive. Microsoft has often followed Toshiba's moves closely and recently dropped its Xbox 360 HD DVD price to match similar discounts for Toshiba's line.

    However, Microsoft does not believe that the outcome for the add-on player or HD DVD as a whole will have an impact on the Xbox 360's standing, according to the statement. In addition to a primary focus on games, the console is said to be independent of the success of any one HD movie format through the Xbox Live Video Marketplace, which currently supplies 720p downloads of some of its movie catalog.

    "We believe it is games that sell consoles," Microsoft said, alluding to Sony's commonly understood efforts to use Blu-ray as a selling point for the PlayStation 3.


    MS to roll Blu-ray Xbox 360 add-on in May?
    Microsoft could offer a Blu-ray attachment for the Xbox 360 as early as May, according to a claim by company insiders. The game console maker has reportedly fast-tracked an external drive for the Xbox that could clear marketing and sales hurdles by May. No pricing or features have been suggested for the device, though whether it will be capable of full 1080p output is uncertain and will likely depend on whether the main console is equipped with HDMI video output.

    While Microsoft has not commented on the claim, the move is likely a response to Toshiba's likely end to HD DVD after multiple movie studios and retailers said they would drop the format. Microsoft itself discounted its Xbox 360 HD DVD player to $130 earlier this month, partly to bring its device in line with similar Toshiba drops but also reportedly to clear stock of the now obsolete player.

    Officially, Microsoft has not confirmed any plans in the past but has said it would adapt its HD strategy for the Xbox 360 to reflect demand. However, sources have said the company ideally seeks to move 1080p movies to online downloads (likely through the Xbox Live Video Marketplace) and sees a potential Blu-ray drive as an interim step.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

 

 

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