HD DVD, Redux

My dogs have expressed little interest in my lamentations on the subject of HD DVD and my brother even less. While I don't realistically expect more from this audience, the allure of large numbers compels me to share these final thoughts on the demise of HD DVD.

I'll start with the admission that I am one of the early a-duh-pters that has the HD DVD add-on for the XBOX 360. That doesn't make me a MS fanboi, I would instead describe myself as an evil-company-hateboi. And if you want proof that I'm not in MS' camp just talk to me someday about Vista and its wonderful support of earlier versions of Office.

There are several reasons that the death of HD DVD sticks in my craw.

1) HD DVD was far more consumer-friendly.

* It's region-free. The spec does not have Region coding, allowing for my purchase of titles from anywhere in the world. I could watch German scheisse videos featuring Cartman's mom to my heart's content.

* It's easily upgradeable. An ethernet port is mandatory in the HD DVD spec. The majority of stand alone Blu-ray players don't have ethernet which not only limits interactive features but more importantly complicates upgrade issues. Something the early adopters will be realizing once Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) is widely released.

* AACS (onerous copy protection) is optional in HD DVD but required in Blu-ray. This should come as no surprise to anybody familiar with Sony and their bootkit rootkit bonanza rewards.

Although none of these features may matter to you, the underlying principle of being consumer-friendly should. Sony simply doesn't get it and frankly I feel that they don't care.

2) Who the hell decided "one format to rule them all?"

Yeah. I actually have heard of Betamax but I've also heard of Macintosh, Firefox and Linux. Simply put - choice is good for consumers. I recognise that there are additional costs to the studios in authoring more than one format but in the scheme of things this is a negligible cost.

The excuse that consumers wouldn't get off of the fence until the "format war" was over is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I can guaran-damn-tee you that the fence is where I'll stay firmly entrenched next time around.

3) My last beef is far less tangible but still valid to me and that is this bully-ish concept of Sony declaring that if we didn't like their rules then they were going to take their ball (read: movie studio) and go home.

I recognize that I'm painting Sony with a very broad brush (as I type this on my snazzy Sony VAIO laptop sitting in front of my gorgeous Sony XBR2-60" TV) and that's not my intent. But faulting "Sony" is less cumbersome an attribution than to the conference room full of pointy-headed-asshats who were behind this consumer unfriendly move.

So while my 360 will rely heavily on downloaded movies and videos from XBL the HD DVD will still live on in my house in the 40-ish movies that I currently have and the (hopefully) $US 10 movies to come in the following months.

HD DVD, I hardly knew ya.


    Why oh why do all the really good points of view come out to late?

    Interesting read - I didn't know about the Ethernet spec. If you look at how fundamental firmware upgrades are becoming to devices like the PS3, Wii and 360 this does paint Blu-Ray in a less admirable light...

    Fully agree. People claim that it wasn't the customers who chose blu ray, but the studios; that's rubbish. They'll go where they'll make the most money. If customers had gone to HD DVD, then the studios would have. Customers get the short end of the stick because of their own short-sightedness, leaving us all boned for yet another generation of region locking and copy protection. Bravo!

    US$10 HD-DVD's? Already happening (actually cheaper than than), check out the ezydvd site. We (the 10 adopters of HD in Australia) will get some great bargains.

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