Okay, I should have known better. Despite a couple of years of promising myself that I wouldn't buy a hi-def DVD player until the ridiculous format war was over, I broke down in December. In part, I really wanted to buy Planet Earth in an HD format for my wife as a holiday gift, and in part, I was ready for a new gadget. Planet Earth is actually available in both HD DVD and Blu-ray versions, but clearly I had to pick one. And a Toshiba player for $199, with 12 free HD DVDs (through a no-longer running promotion with Amazon) helped push me squarely into the HD DVD camp.
Sadly, today, Warner Bros announced that it was taking its rather large library over to the Blu-ray camp. And while it may be too soon to say HD DVD is dead, this is clearly a huge hit for the format. It also appears to have caught the HD DVD consortium totally flatfooted, as is evidenced by an e-mail I just received from a PR rep for the HD Promotion Group:
"Notice of CES Press Conference Cancellation by North American HD DVD Promotion Group
Based on the timing of the Warner Home Video announcement today, we have decided to postpone our CES 2008 press conference scheduled for Sunday, January 6th at 8:30 p.m. in the Wynn Hotel. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
We are currently discussing the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluating next steps. We believe the consumer continues to benefit from HD DVD's commitment to quality and affordability – a bar that is critical for the mainstream success of any format.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on new developments around HD DVD."
Now, HD-DVD owners just have to hope there actually are some new developments around HD DVD... And now excuse me while I check out Amazon's return policy (and if that fails, American Express' superb return protection plan).