Daily Blog – Ross Jones – April 10, 2008: MY HD DVD PLAYER: SHOULD IT STAY OR SHOULD IT GO?

Not only did I not take sides in the Blu-ray/HD DVD format battle, I was one of those “wait-and-see” guys that had every intention of waiting until the dust settled before jumping in.

The peer pressure from many of my colleagues, who went “purple” and immediately bought both formats, was intense. But I was determined to sit on the sidelines.

Then came the Wal-Mart HD-A2 $99 sale, and resistance was futile. I changed my Netflix subscription preferences to HD DVD, got the five free movies via coupon, and life was good.

We all know what happened next. The HD DVD player now sits forlornly in my rack, gathering dust except for the occasional showing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Aeon Flux. My Oppo player handles upconverting standard-def DVD’s. But I still have a soft spot for the Toshiba, and have been keeping an eye on the discount deals for software. Now comes news that Wal-Mart is offering to take back the HD-A2 and refund the $99 purchase price, which would mean that my total investment in the failed format was, uh, zero. But the Toshiba really is a nice player, and I’m still not (quite) ready to jump into the Blu end of the pool (finished specs would be nice).

Thus the question: should it stay or should it go?

4 Responses to “Daily Blog – Ross Jones – April 10, 2008: MY HD DVD PLAYER: SHOULD IT STAY OR SHOULD IT GO?”

  1. ovation Says:

    If you only have 5 titles AND you only watch 2 of them, then perhaps the return makes sense (especially if the Oppo is handling SD DVD). I won’t be returning my A2 (I even bought an A3 when they dipped to 80$ last month) as I have over 50 HD DVD titles and zip.ca (unlike Netflix) is not dropping HD DVD rentals–at least not overtly (I’ll be watching my 10th HD DVD rental this week out of 20 total rentals since joining 6 weeks ago).

    I’ll be going “blu” (dark purple?) later this year with the S550 or BD50 (I want the MCH analogue output and COMPLETE internal audio decoding as I’m not upgrading my receiver any time soon) but I will be keeping the HD DVDs spinning for quite some time.

    If you plan to add another HD display to your house, though, I’d suggest keeping the A2–if the the display has great processing, the A2′s 480i over HDMI will come in handy OR if the display is only so so at processing SD, the A2 does a great job. Something to consider.

  2. Dan Says:

    Just returned my HD-DVD player to Costco this evening. My decision was made easier because I had paid nearly $200 for it at Costco just before Christmas (actually my wife did). I had wrestled with it for weeks, but what nailed it was two things. The first was the lack of media. I only had three movies (two of which came with the player). Once Netflix turned out the lights and the retailers dumped everything, there was no benefit to the player. The second nail in the coffin was that it would freeze up on DVD-Rs I recorded. Now I’m here trying to figure out what to do next because I am, in no uncertain terms, purchasing a Blu-ray player until that technology is 110% solid. There should be absolutely NO ISSUES and goofy firmware upgrades for an appliance device that costs $400!!!

  3. ovation Says:

    You will be waiting a long time then, as “firmware updates” are “the way things are”. TVs get them, computers get them and, as Blu-ray machines are essentially computers, they will be getting them for many years to come.

    I agree that things ‘SHOULD’ run smoothly with no firmware updates and issues, but the reality is otherwise–and waiting for it to be gone will require some serious patience. Life was a lot simpler in the days of VHS (no firmware needed there) but I’ll trade the occasional headache for the much better movie experience.

  4. GlennH Says:

    I’m in just about the same dilemma. I was holding out on the format war but caved in early Dec 2007 to get the Wal-Mart $99 HD-A2. I felt at the time that Blu would probably win (just didn’t expect it to happens so rapidly) but I figured for that price I could take a chance and it would at least be another DVD player.

    Then I bought about a dozen HD DVDs (ironically costing significantly more than the player did), and I just got my 5 free ones (only 3 of which were my preferred choices) in the mail this week. I never considered that I’d have a choice to return the player. So now I wonder what I should do — return the A2 and sell the discs at a discount? Just keep it and the discs? I’m using my OPPO 970 for regular DVDs. I wish Wal-Mart would do what Best Buy and Amazon have done – they issued $50 gift certificates to purchasers of HD DVD players, without the need to return them. That would really make it an easier write off.

    I too expect to eventually go Blu, but not until a better selection of reasonably-priced Profile 2.0 players is available.

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