We trust Google with a lot of things: we trust that it will be there for us when our memory fails and that it will find the best information for us. Can we trust it to predict the future for us too? Well, the future of consumer electronics at least.
Based on Google Trends searches, Microsoft's next generation system is poised to take down Sony's next Playstation console. Google Trends previously held the data that showed the winner of the high-def DVD race, as Blu-ray yielded more search results than HD DVD films. This time, news site Ludos Mundi used Google Trends to discover whose winning the next-gen popularity contest, and found users search "Xbox 720" about 60 percent of the time, compared to searches for "PS4" that occur 40 percent of the time.
You can use Google Trends yourself to see the data. Simply compare "Xbox 720" and "PS4" using the Forecast feature.
Okay, we know that some of us put all our stock into HD DVD, going all out on movies and players, only to be burned by the eventual Blu-ray victory. However, that also means that HD DVD player owners can enjoy some steep discounts on media for the failed format. As an example, Amazon is currently selling 99 HD DVD titles for $7.99. Seriously, perfectly good movies like The Bourne Supremacy, Army of Darkness, and the like, all for $7.99. Meanwhile, those of us buying Blu-ray are doing so at $20 or more a pop! See? Doesn’t that make you feel better about your HD DVD investment? We didn’t think so.
Read More | Amazon $8 HD DVD clearance
Well, with the news that HD DVD had been killed by Toshiba, you knew that it was only a matter of time before the Xbox 360 HD DVD player was eliminated as well, right? Well, the time has come, as Microsoft sent us the following update:
As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD. Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market. As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.
Okay, well, shouldn’t that be “HD DVD was one of the several ways…”? So, now that we know that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player add-on will no longer be manufactured, if you really really want one, they can now be had for $49.99. That is 75% off of it’s original price, for those of you keeping track. So if you want a piece of recently outdated technology, now is your chance.
Read More | Bloomberg
It’s official. Toshiba announced today that the end is here. In a public statement, Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO said, “While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality.”
The company will cease selling their products to retail dealers by the end of March, but promises to continue its product support to those who have already purchased HD products. They will continue to market standard DVD players and DVRs. Toshiba will now concentrate on other tech that supports hi-def, including NAND processing, next gen CPUs, small form factor hard disk drives, and those that utilize wireless and incryption technology.
Read More | Toshiba Press Release
“We do not believe the recent reports about HD DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. As we’ve long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry. We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.”
Well, we think it is safe to say that we will be seeing the 360 HD DVD player (along with all the others) hitting the bargain bins over the next week or so. Now we await official word of an Xbox 360 Blu-ray add-on. It’s gotta happen.
Sony showed up in force for CES 2008 with a bevy of Blu-ray players in tow. Check the video above for a good run down of the Blu-ray technology. Some of the new interactive features are sure to impress, although many of the features have been available within HD DVD for some time.
Take note of the awkward cut that occurs when we ask them about the whole format war thing and the fact that studios are jumping over to Blu-ray left and right. That is when they stopped and told us they didn’t want to talk about that subject. We pushed the issue a bit, but they wouldn’t budge, so we just cut that portion out. Not sure what the big deal was though, I mean, it seems victory may be at hand for the Blu-ray side of things.
Toshiba, never admitting defeat, has once again cut its prices up to 50% to promote its HD DVD players. Their entry level players now carry an MSRP of ~$150.00. Expect an onslaught of various media-type commercials within the next few weeks. While we continue to hear rumors concerning the HD/Blu-ray War, we think we will just bide our time and revel in the news that now almost anyone can afford a player. Toshiba is still offering 5 free DVDs with purchase.
Read More | USA Today
Some channels were reporting earlier that Paramount was looking to bail from the HD boat, enabled by a clause in their contract that cited Warner Bros. departure as grounds to themselves switch. Paramount is now denying these claims, their spokesperson saying “Paramount’s current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format.” Warner’s switch resulted in a full 70% of movies now produced by Blu-Ray studios and Blu-Ray booth folk were yesterday claiming that they’ve clearly won. But the HD people we’ve spoken to seem resolute for now, though it wouldn’t be the first time someone failed epicly even as they denied it outright
.Read More | Bloomberg News
Toshiba was kind enough to show us their full range of HD DVD-capable laptops. In the video, we go over the Qosmio $3,000 system which features a full 1080p screen (and looks simply gorgeous) and HDMI output. You can output in straight 1080p to an HD TV over the HDMI out, to glorious, CEC-compatible result. It’s also the world’s first notebook to include a rewritable HD DVD, which may or may not be terribly relevant given the recent mullings over HD DVD.
When I asked about their impression on that though they said they have absolutely no intent of giving up the fight and very much intend to continue to support the format.
Also check out the video to see the Satellite A205—a $899 laptop with an integrated HD DVD player, though no HDMI.
Warner Bros. announced they were becoming an exclusively Blu-Ray studio this weekend, apparently completely pulling the rug on the HD-DVD camp. Said a Toshiba press release:
TOKYO, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/—Toshiba is quite surprised by Warner Bros.’ decision to abandon HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray, despite the fact that there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD DVD. As central members of the DVD Forum, we have long maintained a close partnership with Warner Bros. We worked closely together to help standardize the first-generation DVD format as well as to define and shape HD DVD as its next-generation successor.
We were particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained in the US market as well as other regions in 2007. HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007.
Toshiba‘s one of the HD-DVD founders and following this announcement, they pulled their CES conference entirely. A bit of a death knell ringing for the HD-DVD side, with rumors swirling that Microsoft may be pulling their HD-DVD support as well.
It makes the free HD-DVD press backpack/roller bags a bit of a sad affair.