Next-Gen DVD Format War Fallout Continues

Dennis Faas's picture

In the wake of Toshiba surrendering in the next-generation DVD format wars, the effects of Blu-ray's victory are becoming widespread:

  • Circuit City has announced it's tripling the returns period for HD-DVD players. That means anyone who bought a player in the past three months can return it. Customers can't get a refund but will receive store credit. The offer doesn't apply to the discs themselves. Returned HD-DVD players will likely be sold on clearance, and the company says such sales are going well as some people are getting them as a cheap upgrade for watching standard DVDs in better quality.
  • Used HD-DVD players are selling well on auction sites such as eBay. The going rate seems to be around one-third the original retail value. It seems some people think it's worth buying the cheap player, despite its imminent obsolescence, because HD-DVD discs are now going at bargain-basement rates, often cheaper than the same movie on standard edition. (
  • Samsung has ditched plans to launch an updated version of their $600 player which plays both formats. It seems they decided the benefits of dual-format players will be too short-lived for it to be worth marketing a new model. It's thought their next project will be Blu-ray only player which is compatible with Sony's on-line gaming services, though there's no announced timetable.
  • Having won the war, Sony's next step will be cheaper players, likely a response to the increased competition which will follow now that every manufacturer will be concentrating on Blu-ray. Prices should drop below $300 this year, and may be at $199 at some time in 2009. That's thought to be an important psychological price point at which consumers are more likely to buy players on impulse. (Source:
  • Microsoft is apparently in talks with Sony to use Blu-ray technology on the Xbox 360 games console. It's thought that, unlike the external drive they used for HD-DVD, a Blu-ray reader would be built into a revamped Xbox model. Though Microsoft may feel it's the only way to keep pace in the market for high-definition games, the firm probably won't be too happy about the idea of paying royalties to one of their biggest rivals.
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