HD-DVD Merchandising At Fry’s: The Look And Sound of Incompetance

I took this picture with the camera in my Blackberry Pearl back in November 2007. I was at Fry’s Electronics in Houston to pick up a few things and thought I’d swing by the TV department to see what was new. I was shocked when I saw the display pictured on the left.

Here you see what could have been a really nice end-aisle display of Toshiba HD-DVD wares. It has one of the nice new Toshiba LCDs, a couple of HD-DVD players and a nice assortment of discs. So what’s the problem you ask?

If you look at what’s on the LCD-TV it’s the local Fox affiliate, off-air in SD running Judge Judy. This is just simply wrong in so many ways.

It’s not HD , it’s SD. It’s not even good quality SD, it’s crappy off-air with no cable. The players are right there in the display. The discs are right there, too!! My guess is that the department staff didn’t or couldn’t work out how to make one disc repeat endlessly, so they just tuned something they might like to watch.

I bet Toshiba paid a considerable sum to mount these displays. I hope they know how great an effort their retail partners made as well.

BTW, when I was seen to be taking a picture I was approached by a salesperson who was otherwise trying to avoid being engaged. He told me to stop and that taking pictures was not allowed in the store. I guess they don’t want their merchandising magic being leaked to competitors.

Netflix Dumps HD-DVD

Sigh, I guess this really is the end of HD-DVD. Today I received a nice email from Netflix telling me very simply that they won’t be handling HD-DVD any longer. They’ll continue to distribute the discs that they have, but there won’t be any more, and they won’t replace any that fail. Customers with HD-DVD as a preference in their account will be automatically transitioned to standard DVD as their account preference.

I guess at some point I’ll be looking for a Blu-Ray player, but not until they get the issue of newer spec profiles worked out. I wouldn’t want to spent $$$ on a player then find that it doesn’t play interactive content.

Update – So it appears that today Best Buy announced withdrawal of their support for HD-DVD as well. Ars Technica has the details.

HD Downloads From iTunes

It’s Sunday afternoon here in jolly (but exhausted) old England. I just caught a post by George Ou at ZDNET called “Don’t believe the low bit-rate ‘HD’ lie.” It’s right on the money about the reality of downloading HD content as proposed by Apples new iTunes service.

There’s more to HD than spatial resolution. Just as a cheap digital camera might take pictures with a lot of pixels and nonetheless turn out lousy images. Bit rate matters, even given consideration for various compression schemes.

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First Look: Amazon Unbox on TivoHD

As I’ve mentioned before we have a TivoHD PVR unit and we LOVE it. It’s one of the few things that we give an unqualified recommendation. It’s great. Best in class. You won’t regret the purchase.

However, one thing that TivoHD can’t accommodate is pay-per-view movies. It’s not so much that Tivo can’t handle it as much as the cable companies don’t currently have the infrastructure to do pay-per-view for any cable card device. It requires two way interactive cable cards that aren’t yet rolled out. This is a bit of a drag since my wife used to use pay-per-view enough to make me wince every time I saw the cable bill.

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We Like Our HDTV. But Is HD-DVD Finally On The Ropes?

About a year ago we finally moved into HD with the purchase of a 42″ Sharp Aquos LCD-TV and a Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD player. The HD-DVD player was actually acquired using Continental Airlines frequent flier miles in a program that they offer to very frequent fliers late each year. Of course, we got the HD PVR from Time-Warner as well. Given the fact that my employer manufactures HD graphics equipment it was truly a matter of putting my-money-where-my-mouth-has-been.

Sharp Aquos 42 Inch LCDTV

Sharp Aquos 42″ HD LCD. The first real 1080 set in its size class.

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