Monday, November 30, 2009

The Downfall of HD-DVD

Around 2 years ago this time there was a heated war brewing: with the camp of HD-DVD supporters on one side, and Blu-ray-backed studios on the other. Both were battling it out over who would reign supreme as the number one high-definition format after DVD eventually phased out. At the time, many likened the war to the VHS vs Betamax conflict of the early 80s. But few could predict how the tables would suddenly turn, nor how swiftly the war would end by one decisive act.

In January of 2008, just weeks before the industry's annual showcase, CES, Warner Brothers announced they were now putting their support behind Blu-ray, abandoning what many HD-DVD adopters had arrogantly assumed was a surefire feather in their cap.

But the numbers did not lie. Due to Sony having the foresight to equip all their PlayStation 3 consoles with built-in Blu-ray players right out the box--and since the home console was just beginning to hit its stride in sales--Warner and many other previous diehard HD-DVD supporters could no longer ignore the truth. Blu-ray was gaining, and all the top analysts were predicting an eventual lead over HD-DVD in the year to come. Warner, in actuality, only precipitated what had already been apparent on the books for months.

But many HD-DVD owners were too stubborn to admit defeat. So, when the Warner announcement came, it was to profound shock to Microsoft supporters and Xbox 360 owners alike, both of whom had aligned all their hopes behind an HD-DVD dominated market not so much for personal stake (unlike the PS3, the 360 had foolishly not come equipped with an HD-DVD player), but because they wanted to see Sony and its much hyped Blu-ray format fail.

Warner's capitulation changed all that. Blockbuster soon followed suit, announcing an abrupt reversal to a statement it had made just a month prior putting its support behind HD-DVD only. Now Blockbuster was singing a different tune, stating that while it would still stock current HD-DVD titles, its future high-def video rental offerings would involve Blu-ray releases solely.

Rather than the war taking another year and change to end, this back-to-back blow effectively crowned Blu-ray king within just a few short months into 2008. Today, HD-DVD is but a mere memory soaked beneath the bitter tears of fanboys who still refuse to believe their dreams of a Sony and Blu-ray humiliation have not come to fruition.

To commemorate this blessed changing of fortunes, I have reposted a parody video below which was first released when the news of Warner's defection was still fresh in the ears of Blu-ray naysayers. The video takes a pivotal scene from the excellent German film, Der Untergang, and replaces the original English subtitles with scripted text devoted to the downfall of HD-DVD -- to hilarious effect! It takes a scene which is orginally depicting Hitler's reception of the news that his top generals have either been defeated or defected beneath the approaching advance of Russian troops, and turns it on its head. LOL! The thought of Hitler calling in his top advisers to discuss something as mundane as the high-definition movie market just tickles me to no end.

But, honestly, nothing can top the actual words some genius scripted to go along with the real movie dialogue (spoken in German). The reaction and the expressions on the actors' faces just matchup so perfectly with the parodied subject matter. You have to check it out for yourself and keep in mind the atmosphere that was prevailing in late 2007/early 2008:

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