Fans of Toshiba's HD DVD format have been kicked while they're down, this time by Wal-Mart's decision to ditch the format,
and sell Blu-ray players and media exclusively. Effective June, the
move is the result of customer feedback, and an attempt to "simplify"
patron's decisions. This news closely follows Best Buy's decision to
also give the format the boot. Speculation has already surfaced that
suggests Toshiba will abandon their own format "in the coming weeks"...
So file all that HD-DVD software next to your Betamax tapes. I actually preferred the HD-DVD format, but thought from the beginning that Blu-Ray's position in home gaming machines, which immediately gave them a huge installed based before any of us started buying High Def. movie players for our home theaters, might give it a lead that could not be overcome.
Most consumers have just wanted the format wars to be over so they could pick the right player and software (I partially avoided this problem by buying a combo player). This is an interesting consumer-friendly role for Wal-Mart that I have never seen discussed, that of standards-setter.
So here is a message to Blu-Ray: Now that you are on the verge of victory, you need to clean up your own house. The creeping standards problem you have had, which has caused early players to be unable to play newer disks, has got to end. In particular, it is irritating not to be able to play a newer disk because the fancy multimedia menu won't work. When when you learn that we aren't interested in all that crap and just want the movie to start? Just because the technology says you can do that stuff does not mean that you should.