Friday, April 11, 2008

Gear: $50 For Free From Amazon

Ok, let me get this straight:
  1. I bought an HD-DVD player from Amazon in November when the format was alive and reasonably healthy, but knowing full-well that the format could die.
  2. The format died and now I can get tons and tons of HD movies for incredibly cheap prices.
  3. I'm perfectly ok with this.
  4. For all this "heartache," Amazon wants to give me $50, for free!
If you figure that the $50 credit from Amazon will buy about four HD-DVDs, the $199 I spent got me a perfectly functional HD-DVD player and 14 free movies. Or maybe I got 14 movies for $199 and a free HD-DVD player. What some people may think of as a very stupid purchase looks just dandy to me!


Erik Huntoon said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but won't an HD-DVD player also play a standard DVD? I still really have to wonder if Microsoft had integrated an HD-DVD drive into the Xbox 360 instead of doing it as an add on peripheral, if the format war wouldn't have turned out differently. It may have been the same in the end, but I think the 10 or so million Xbox 360's that have been sold may have at least given it a few more years of full support.

In some ways Microsoft looks smart for not tying themselves to a specific format that they knew may or may not be the winner of the war. But then again to me they look a little shortsighted now that they will probably be faced with paying royalties to Sony, their chief electronics rival, to license the rights to sell a Blu-Ray peripheral. All because their decision weakened the base of support for HD-DVD. I have a friend that spent $600 on a PS3 when it came out.. not because he wanted to play games, but because it was the cheapest way to get a Blu-Ray player. In the end, I think that is where the format war was won.

CorrND said...

Yeah, the HD-DVD format requires DVD compatibility. Blu-ray technically doesn't, but manufacturers all include that feature because they'd be crazy not to.

The huge installed base of PS3s definitely seems to have been a factor. Post-analysis of the Warner decision to back Blu-ray indicates that they were worried about how a protracted battle would affect their bottom line, not whether one format was superior to the other (contrary to their public statements). They chose to back one format specifically as a move to end the war. Blu-ray was clearly in the driver's seat at that point, especially with regard to the number of players in the market, so they went with them.