High Def Discs are Dead on Arrival

Last night, while stumbling around Fry's, I noticed they have a small HD-DVD section. I was not a fan of the format to begin with. Now, I'm even less so.

The first thing that surprised me was the prices. The movies cost in the range of $25-50. That's insane, nobody is going to pay that sort of money per unit for their movie collection. Sure, back in the day I bough a few "Mobile Fidelity Sound Studio" albums (high priced specially pressed vinyl records), but I didn't need to buy special record player to hear them.

I guess they feel that early adopters are less price sensitive, but these prices sure do discourage people from becoming early adopters. The volume of these movies is going to be so small initially, the studios are almost certainly going to lose money, and they probably wouldn't lose that much more if the price was a buck. Prices these high won't help them to prevent losses, but they sure will help prevent sales.

But, hey, who wouldn't jump at the chance to pay $35 to own The Chronicles of Riddick.

Which brings me to the second problem: the selection is almost exactly not what you want. I think the early adopters would want stunning eye candy, such as Star Wars (Fox) and The Matrix (Warner Bros.). Instead you get stuff like Blazing Saddles (Warner Bros.), which while one of the ten most important movies ever made ("Work...work...work...hello boys!"), I can't imagine it benefits from the HD format.

There is so much technically wrong with the high def formats to begin with. The price tag is just icing on the shitpile. I don't think I'll be upgrading my DVD collection to HD anytime soon.

For more info, here is a recent Ars Technica article on HD-DVD movie prices.

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re: High Def Discs are Dead on Arrival

I bought an $80 Samsung upconverting dvd player, and I'm tickled to death with it. If I really nitpick about the picture I can complain, but for the most part I'm pleased with it. I'm not pissing away $600-$1000 on an HD-DVD player, I'm not getting a BluRay PS3, and I'm not getting a 360 with the supposed HDDVD drive. I play more content via my HTPC than I would an HDDVD. I wish I hadn't dumped the money into a 1080p TV though, it was a big mistake.