Saturday, May 03, 2008

How I ended up owning an HD-DVD player

Right now I'm watching The Bourne Identity on my new HD-DVD player. There are two things wrong with the previous sentence: 1. I don't like The Bourne Identity, and 2. the HD-DVD format was killed earlier this year. Yes, but life is full of surprises -- like a house with two working DVD players four months ago suddenly having zero working DVD players. I found myself in this predicament today, after a Toshiba player purchased five years ago decided it was tired of the whole "eject" thing. This followed an 18-month-old Toshiba upconvert player in December going on strike against the "power" button.

So I'm at Costco looking for a new DVD player. On one shelf is a Sony model for $80, and below it is a Toshiba HD-DVD player for $80. Hmmmm. And the latter even comes with two HD-DVDs and an HDMI cable. Hmmmm. And almost all the HD-DVDs at Amazon are on sale for $13-$16. Hmmmm. And, well, I really didn't need any more convincing after seeing the price on the Toshiba, especially since it was the last one. How bad did my Costco want to sell their last HD-DVD player? Check the label in the picture, it's advertised first as an UPCONVERTING DVD PLAYER, they're basically saying "hey people, this is still a perfectly fine DVD player!"

I'm actually quite happy about bringing this obsolete technology into my home, since I've come to realize it's going to be a long time before I convert to Blu-Ray. In December I saw a Blu-Ray player at that same Costco for $280, now they're being sold for $390. Think the demise of HD-DVD had anything to do with that? Blu-Ray discs are also pretty set at $30 at least. Browsing through the available HD-DVD titles, I was excited to find discs such as Zodiac: Director's Cut, The Thing, The Road Warrior, Grand Prix and Galaxina (yes, someone decided Galaxina needed to be available in HD!). There's probably six or seven HD-DVDs I really need to own, and plenty more available to rent online (including Casablanca, which I'm very curious to see in high def). And yes, it also serves as a damn fine upconvert DVD player, looking better than my last model.

So for the price of a regular DVD player, I upgraded to HD and received two free DVDs and a $40 HDMI cable for my trouble. I'll also be able to see what many of my favorite movies look like in high def and will soon own the best version of The Road Warrior in the world (non-HD fools are still waiting for Warner Bros' long overdue special edition). As Max says, "I recon you got a bargain!"


Burbanked said...

I'm thinking that you just didn't want to have to change the name of the site to Blu-Ray Panache, which sounds like something else entirely.

Mario said...

By the way, there's no region coding on HD DVDs. You can import all the HD DVD gold that you want. There are so many discs that were released on Blu-Ray only in the US, but HD DVD everywhere else in the world. Plus, the discs are just as cheap, check out 's site.

Adam Ross said...

Good tip, Mario. Strange that movies like Total Recall and An American Werewolf in London, which are undoubtedly popular in the U.S., were not made available to American HD-DVD buyers.

Joe Baker said...

You know Adam, while I WAS in mourning for a couple days after realizing I'd chosen the wrong format, all is ok. For the price you paid, hell yes, nice buy! You'll love how great your standard DVD's look on this player as well. My thought process is: I'll keep the HD-DVD for another year or two before maybe going to Blu-Ray, and get region free discs, 780-1080p quality on most discs, and a reliable player.