HD-DVD Lives On!

toshiba_hdxa1_hddvd_playerOn our last trip to Fry’s I was shocked and amazed to see a considerable inventory of HD-DVD media still on the shelves. Not only was there a great selection but the prices were good. Apparently this phenomenon is not unique to this store, or even this city. It’s bigger than that. So much so that there’s half-joking conjecture that Toshiba could actually revive the format.

Did Toshiba Drop HD-DVD Too Early?

Alec Saunders (a fellow Canuck) has an interesting observation about Toshiba and HD-DVD.

IMHO, Toshiba’s comment doesn’t take into consideration Blu-Ray. Not making that statement is political face-saving on their part. Alec argues that they need to move the entire value chain to sell HD-DVD. That means making & selling the technology but also ensuring that the desirable content was readily available. Their trouble is that they were unable to sustain the support of a significant mass of content creators…the studios.

To those of us with HD-DVD players (mine is an HD-XA1) we could see that this battle was over by mid-2007 when HD-DVD releases slowed to a trickle. No new content…no reason to buy the players. At the very same time Blue-Ray releases started to come in good numbers and from a variety of sources.

Now the really good question to ask revolves around did Sony & IBM really make a deal with Toshiba involving dropping HD-DVD in return for additional rights to the cell processor and related manufacturing in the far east?

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.