In this weekly column, our journalist Mark Raby gives his insight on one big rumor, news story, or trend that developed over the past week.
HD DVD has enjoyed a few months of being the only next generation media in full swing, but this week was the format's last week before it gets crowded with the first official Blu-ray Disc player, the BD-P1000. This was the final chance for the HD DVD manufacturers to gain some attention before the brutal war begins, and there were some news-worthy events that sprung up over the last 7 days.
Perhaps the biggest story was that Samsung didn't delay its Blu-ray player. We've seen BR release dates shoved around left and right, and once a delay announcement led several to believe that the BD-P1000 wouldn't even hit its summer deadline. And of course, just a few days ago, Sony delayed their BR player for the bajillionth time. So it's breathtaking news that Samsung actually has the guts to go through with the June 25 release date.First off, Warner Home Video announced their new feature would be seen in the upcoming HD DVD title "The Dukes of Hazzard". Called In-Movie Experience (IME), it's a new interactive way to watch bonus features seamlessly during the movie (Yahoo! News). It's cool to see some new functionality features being introduced for HD DVD, instead of just improved picture/sound quality.
Additionally, heads were turned when big-time Blu-ray supporter Samsung hinted that they might be working on a combo player that could play HD DVD and Blu-ray. Then, in an interesting move, the very next day Samsung released a very short statement through press release outlets with a very definitive tone that in no way is Samsung going to support HD DVD.
Of course, the most interesting HD DVD-related story that hit the waves this week was the announcement of the very first HD DVD recorder, with its massive terabyte hard drive. It even caught the attention of general news outlets and even made its way into late-night talk show monologues. It was as if Toshiba was saying to the BR manufacturers, "Look how much further ahead we are with HD DVD." Of course, we don't have a US release date on the RD-A1 recorder yet.
I was actually surprised with the amount of HD DVD news, even if just a modicum of new stuff, since the format has been seemingly absent from the headlines since the first player launched. It's bringing my hopes back up that there is going to be a heated battle between the two formats. I think Blu-ray has an advantage with the backing of the PS3, but it will be interesting to see if there's a lead gained by either before then, since we're going to have a good several months of competition before PS3 is released.
In the end, we all know that good competition makes for a great victory, so whichever format ends up victorious will have worked hard to attain its status. So we're sure to get one totally tripped out new home entertainment format when all is said and done.
Feature Published by: Mark Raby
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