Warner Bros. dropped a huge bomb on Toshiba before the CES last week. They made the move to Blu-Ray exclusivity. Warner stated that they were pro-actively trying to end the format war. Yes, it is bad for consumers, but when the market split is this deep, how bad is it? The only consumers in this war are early adopters and gadget heads. The result of Sony putting a Blu-Ray drive in the PS3 is a huge conglomerate of 8 million Blu-Ray pundits. How can a small force of HD-DVD enthusiasts fight the force of Blu? There are many ways to fight for your format or join the other side. I’m here to highlight some of them.
If you’re an HD-DVD owner, I know you are feeling confused, angry and maybe lost. The Warner news has you in a pickle. You’ve invested money in what you believed was a great product but now there is doubt in your mind that it will survive. I’m listing several paths for you to take. Whether you are a staunch supporter or fence sitter about to decide on a format, I hope one of these plans will help you make the transition into HD video.
1. If you can’t beat em, join em!
So you’ve decided to scrap your HD-DVD hardware and go Blu. This isn’t very difficult. HD-DVD players are selling like hot cakes on sites like Ebay and Craigslist. Bundle your gear up and move it as quickly as possible. Now that you’ve decided to go Blu, there are a couple of ways you can do it: You could spend $399 and get a Playstation 3, you could buy a used Blu-Ray player or you could opt for a new one on sale at Amazon.com or even Ebay. The Sony Model: BDP-S300 is priced the same as the PS3 at $399. Problem with older stand alone players is they are not easily upgradable to the new 2.0 BD spec. The Playstation 3 is upgraded through downloads and is fully 2.0 compliant. The PS3 is the cheapest BD player you can buy and it comes with the ability to play games. If you are truly making the move to Blu-Ray and don’t want to put too much damage into your wallet, this is the best buy. Remember, any Blu-Ray player comes with 5 free movies.
2. Get the best of both worlds
For you hardcore geeks that don’t want to wait for Warner’s Blu-Ray library to make the switch, use both formats. This can be achieved several ways. You could opt for one of the new combo players that will play both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. The combo players come at a hefty price. The LG Model: BH200 comes in at a whopping $799 and the Samsung BDUP5000 comes in at $999. That’s a lot to pay for HD definition but you get the best of both worlds in one piece of equipment. The other option for you gamers out there is to purchase a PS3. You just can’t lose by going that route.
3. Finish the fight and stand your ground
If you absolutely refuse to go Blu and want to continue supporting HD-DVD, then keep supporting it. I advise all of you HD-DVD super fans to buy as many HD-DVD films as you can. Continue to support the format that you love. Contrary to popular belief, the HD-DVD library is huge and has some great titles. If you continue to show strong support for the format, you could possibly get more studio support. If a title is released for both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, then buy the HD-DVD version the first day it’s released. Speak with your dollars as that is the only thing that matters to these studios. You could also help the cause by purchasing those cheap HD-DVD players for your friends and family members who haven’t made the jump yet. Every HD-DVD player upconverts beautifully; so at the very least, it will set them up to view their existing library in HD.
It’s a tough time for all of us right now. Technology is being thrown at us at an incredible rate. We have 2 HD disc formats, digital downloads making a strong presence and the ever popular DVD still dominating the home video market. As much as I am against this format war, I’m deciding on whether or not I should stay Blu or get a combo player. I want access to all the films in HD. I don’t want to have to choose between formats. I have an existing DVD library and a PS3. I seriously think that a Samsung combo player is in my future.