HD disc format war to create costly dust collectors
The HD DVD player in an entertainment center near you could become a next-genera- tion Betamax, but the world may not know for sure until later this week.
yesterday denied that any final decision had been made on the future of its HD DVD high-definition DVD format, but acknowledged it had started a review after Wal-Mart Stores
joined the Blu-ray camp last week.
If it does throw in the towel, Sony Corp.'s Blu-ray technology will win the format war, unlike during the 1980s, when its Beta home video format lost to VHS. That format war turned very expensive, top- and front-loading Sony Betamax players into dust-collecting, closet-filling junk.
Shirokiya, well known for its consumer electronics department for decades, did not sell HD DVD players, said Jay Inatsuka, buyer and manager.
It does sell Blu-ray products by Sony and Panasonic, and it saw a sales spike after Warner Bros. Entertainment announced in January it would stop distributing home video on both formats.
"Prior to that," we did have a lot of customers asking for HD DVD," he said.
Hollywood Reporter said in an online story yesterday that sales of the competing systems were roughly neck and neck until the end of last year, but that Sony has gobbled up 90 percent of the market since then.
At Best Buy in Iwilei, sales had also been running about even and seemed to be driven by movie titles, according to a home theater department employee who asked not to be named.
Well-stocked racks of HD DVD movies face customers walking into the department from the main entrance.
Across the aisle, however, are display boxes promoting an offer of three free Blu-ray movies with the purchase of a 1080p HDTV.
The Blu-ray movie shelves are on the other side of the HD DVD rack. Those bore less product yesterday, but appeared to have been extensively picked over.
At the Iwilei Best Buy yesterday, a Toshiba HD DVD player was on sale for $199.99, while a Sony Blu-ray player was selling for $399.99, as was a Samsung Blu-ray player.
A Panasonic Blu-ray model costs $599.99, but one salesman said customers find the brand's processing to be superior.
For $999.99, there are Samsung and LG players that work with both formats.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com