Wow, that didn't take long. In just over six weeks HD DVD went from underdog to dead dog, with Toshiba making it official today - it will no longer "develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders."
The announcement means that Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation - the remaining will be freed up to produce Blu-ray discs, bringing this ridiculous saga to an end.
For those of us who got lured in by the late 2007 price cuts and bought HD DVD players, well, no need to start licking our wounds just yet. First of all, as many have noted, it's still a mighty fine upconverting DVD player. And if you are willing to do a bit of work, depending on where you bought your player, you may still be able to take advantage of price adjustments (or even return policies).
After the Warner Brothers bombshell at CES, I had decided to return mine to Amazon, and to make the jump to Blu-ray. But then a few things happened. One, Toshiba slashed their prices in half, and Amazon gave me back close to $100, meaning my Toshiba HD-A3 player, with something like 15 free HD DVDs, cost me just over $100. Two, when I started looking at Blu-ray players, I just couldn't find a player I actually wanted. Even if I could suck up a $400 price tag, the only player that is actually compatible with Profile 2.0 (which is a fancy way of saying network-capable, which should become the Blu-ray standard later this year) is the PlayStation3, and I really didn't want another game console in the middle of my home theater. So yes, you have it correct - in order to get a high-definition DVD player that had the functionality of my current Toshiba HD DVD player, I would either need to spend $400 on a PS3, or wait until later this year.
Instead, I'm going to continue using my Toshiba player, and hope that by the time I'm ready for my next move, streaming HD content will be in bountiful supply.