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HD DVD off to running start

05-02-2006, 07:21 AM
HD DVD off to running start

By Thomas K. Arnold, Special for USA TODAY
Chris Searight rushed out to his local Best Buy the night before Toshiba's new HD DVD players officially went on sale April 18 and bought the $500 model.

"I wanted it for the clean, high-definition image and uncompressed sound," says Searight, 31, of Dallas.

His verdict was mixed: "The image quality is fantastic." But the player "takes way too long to boot, to sync with the projector and finally load and play a movie," he says. "There's a lot of work to be done on the connecting and the consistency of the audio."

Searight also was disappointed that only two movies were available the night he bought his player. "If the HD DVD guys had wanted to make an impact, they should have released better, and more, titles."

Jim Keenan, 50, of Santa Rosa, Calif., was more enthusiastic. "I'm very impressed with the player, even though it's the first one of its kind and does have a few quirky issues," he says.

HD DVD and Blu-ray formats are vying to replace DVD once high definition becomes standard. Sixteen million U.S. households have HDTV, and by year's end, that number is expected to reach 25 million, according to research by Warner Bros.

At 1,080 lines of resolution vs. 480 for DVD, both formats offer a clearer picture and hold three to five times the data of DVD.

HD DVD, developed by Toshiba, arrived first. The cheapest of the two Toshiba players ($500 and $799) out now costs half what the cheapest Blu-ray Disc player will cost when it arrives in June.

Toshiba's Jodi Sally says initial sales were good, and "to keep up with demand, we will be receiving product from overseas."

Robert Zohn, owner of Value Electronics in Scarsdale, N.Y., says he took advance orders for 316 Toshiba players and sold out his initial allotment the first day.

"We will carry Blu-ray, but our full support and dedication is to the HD DVD format," says Zohn, who does most of his sales online. "However, if sales stay as brisk as they have been, and if Toshiba can deliver enough players, I believe the format war will end before Blu-ray ships its first player."

Despite its head start and cheaper price, HD DVD is considered the underdog. Only Toshiba makes HD DVD players, and LG is expected to enter the market shortly. Dozens of manufacturers will make the Blu-ray Disc player.

On the software side, only three of the six major studios Paramount, Universal and Warner support HD DVD.

Paramount and Warner say they also will support Blu-ray, as will the three other majors Disney, 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures along with Lionsgate.

Will consumers replace all their DVDs with high-definition upgrades?

Chris Haire, 27, of Orlando will. After watching Serenity and The Last Samurai on his HD DVD player, he says: "It's awesome. I'm going to be replacing all these old DVDs as soon as they come out with more movies."

05-02-2006, 08:29 AM
So much for any credibility from Robert....could his comments be any stupider? :confused:

05-02-2006, 03:08 PM
Sure, he could have said that based on sales so far, the format war is already over! ;)

05-02-2006, 08:12 PM
:D So much for any credibility from Robert....could his comments be any stupider? :confused:Uh.....like anserineer :D