Casualties of the format wars

It is always a risky decision to make when competing formats are at each other’s throats for market dominance, but what if your early adoption choice is on the wrong end of the format wars? If you don’t know what I’m referring to here, you probably haven’t made a choice between Blu-Ray or HD DVD. Recent developments have basically put the nail in HD DVD’s coffin, so it looks like HD DVD will go the way of Betamax.

What should one do with the HD DVD player and discs that are basically going to become relics of the latest format wars of home entertainment? Well, you could try and return all of your HD DVD merchandise if you have the receipts and are within the return date cut off. But, what if that ship has sailed? Are you supposed to hold on to this dying format only to pull it out in 20 years to impress your technophile friends with this short-lived format?

Should you resort to listing it on eBay or Craigslist? It seems that a lot of people already have that idea. Could you use the discs as coasters for your drinks? Not really a great idea either. Unfortunately, I think you just admit that it’s time to move on and buy a replacement Blu-Ray player. If you choose to dispose of your old player, be sure to read our post on disposing electronics first.

I’m going to hold off buying a new DVD player for a while and rely on digital distribution for my HD movie viewing pleasure. Services like Amazon’s Unbox and my cable provider’s On Demand make this relatively simple. It is definitely the most uncluttered of all the options, and I’m in no hurry.

For those of you who have all the hardware needed to convert HD DVDs to Blu-Ray, Wired has a tutorial on how to do just that.

13 Comments for “Casualties of the format wars”

  1. posted by Sarah on

    Big fan of On Demand! No clutter!!
    AND, it’s much better for the environment.

  2. posted by Cyrano on

    I use Amazon Unbox with my Tivo constantly.

  3. posted by ciara on

    we have dvr w att…but i’m in no hurry to get rid of the ol’ relic of a dvd player that i have or to spend the money on those blueray discs. we use on/in demand, too.

  4. posted by SuperChuck on

    I think the HD formats just plain don’t add enough value to become as dominant as DVD. DVD, after all, is no better than S-VHS, but offers many more conveniences: no rewinding, no degradation, bonus features. Even as a videophile, I’m wary to drop an extra $10+ per disc for better color depth.

    On Demand services, though… That’s the future… Xbox Live’s Video Marketplace, Vudu, Amazon Unbox. I have my eye on Vudu, but that’s just me.

    Last year, I built a media server complete with 2 XBox Media Center PCs. This gives me access to my ~260 DVDs without touching a single disc. I don’t think I could go back to sorting through stacks of boxes to find something to watch.

  5. posted by angela on

    What “recent developments” have swayed the market to Blu-Ray? The porn industry sided with HD DVD just like it sided with VHS. That pretty much wraps up the debate IMO.

  6. posted by Erin Doland on

    @angela — There were 15 or so events over the last month that worked against it. The “nail in the coffin” was when Toshiba announced it is no longer producing or backing HD DVD.

  7. posted by Michael on


    I think the PS3 was the thing that did it. Plus Toshiba (HD DVD) just recently gave up and let Sony (Blu-Ray) win instead of drawing it out longer.

    Blu-Ray is superior to HD anyways, if you bought HD DVD it’s your own fault. Basic physics tells us that blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light, so it’s physically capable of reading smaller indents on the disc.

  8. posted by Christine on

    I thought everyone got porn on the internet these days LOL! Anyway…

    I had this happen with my cassette tapes. I realized that I no longer had a cassette player…not a huge deal with most of the stuff. I mean, who wants to listen to them anyway. But, I have some tapes of voice recordings…I’d like to try to preserve those in some way.

  9. posted by Stephanie on

    I recently donated all my music compact discs to my local library. That is now an old format for me since I have gone digital. They were very happy to have all of the CDs to add to their collection. I would do the same for DVDs. There are plenty of people out there who still use “old” formats via their local library. If you have discs that are not suitable for donation, there are companies that recycle them. I found several that do in a simple internet search. I may have to fork over some cash to mail them to a recycler but it feels better than knowing that the discs would be sitting in a landfill for centuries to come.

  10. posted by Daniel on

    @ Michael

    You think Blu-Ray uses a shorter wavelength than HD-DVD? What, because they put “Blu” in the name?

  11. posted by Lilann on

    You could also keep your HD DVDs for many years and enjoy them.I’m someone who purchased an HD DVD player and HD DVD discs and once the format war ended I moved on with a Samsung combo player. The Samsung player plays HD DVD, Blu Ray and DVD. So a combo player is a nice unclutterer solution.Combo players by Samsung and LG dropped dramatically in price once the format war ended and were purchased by many HD DVD fans. The price drop allowed me to purchase a top of the line “open box” combo player for less then the cost of a Blu Ray player back in 2008.The Samsung also has the best upconversion technology which makes my dvds look better then even. Since the end of the format war I’ve purchased some Blu Rays movies and rented many others from Netflix. I’ve also purchased several HD DVDs as HD DVDs can be purchased new usually for $5-$10. I recently purchased Slither for $5 and Atonement for $7 on HD DVD. Neither of those films has made it to Blu Ray.

  12. posted by terriok on

    Hmm. Records, 8 tracks (I finally tossed them, lol), cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s…

    Whatever the format- it is not going to be around very long. Now that is a waste!

  13. posted by Sheila on

    Anybody got any use for 5-1/4″ and 3″ computer floppies?

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