I’ve finally come to a crossroads with my HD DVD player. I no longer have any use for it. Don’t get me wrong; I got extensive use of the format, enjoyed it tremendously, and I still love my player. I truly, genuinely do. But it finally dawned on me the other day that the machine has not been turned on for almost two years – coincidently, not long after the format’s demise. So… what to do, what to do?
Well, there’s really only one thing that can be done. It’s time to unplug and remove the machine from my system, which I did over the weekend. Expect to see the player, along with my HD DVD collection, selling in the HDD Marketplace in the coming weeks. As any true HT hobbyist will tell you, I regret nothing. But that doesn’t mean this doesn’t sting, at least a little. Believe me, I’ve been stung a few times in this hobby. I was a strong supporter of the HD DVD format from the beginning and I enjoyed it immensely. It was ready and fully functional right out of the gate, as opposed to its competitor, Blu-ray, which still needed close to a year after launch before it was finalized.
I’m not looking to reignite any debates over which format was superior, or which provided the greater benefit. Objectively, HD DVD was ready from the onset, and that was the reason I chose it over Blu-ray. I still remember the day I purchased my Toshiba HD-A1. It sounds weird, sure, but I’ve been told that I have an uncanny memory (an attribute my wife absolutely hates because when we argue, I can recall almost anything in detail, including all my HT purchases). And so, I remember that cloudy Sunday afternoon in late spring, walking out of Best Buy with this big, heavy box and my first assortment of HD DVD movies (‘The Last Samurai‘, ‘Serenity‘, ‘Training Day‘ and ‘Unforgiven‘) in my hands. I got my three free discs (‘The Chronicles of Riddick‘, ‘Constantine‘ and ‘U-571‘) in the mail a few weeks later. I also changed my settings on Netflix that same day. And like the crazed hobbyist I am, I spent all day calibrating the entire system – the best part of buying any new toy!
When the Blu-ray format seemed to actually offer something worthwhile, I bought a 60GB PlayStation 3 on launch, which was even more expensive than the HD-A1. Specs were still rather questionable, and the audio/video quality of available media at that point ranged from piss-poor to average. However, future selections looked very promising, so I took the jump. Just as with my decision to go HD DVD first, the specs of the PS3 far exceeded any standalone player out there. Oh, and it was future-proofed. That was a plus. Anyhow, the next year, I upgraded to an HD-XA2, the one going up for sale soon. And a few months after that…
Well, we all know what happened then. But again, I have no regrets. The HD-XA2 remains a beautiful, sturdy machine, and I got plenty of good use from it. I’ve watched hundreds of movies on the player, even after the format wars finally came to a close. It has a simple but elegant design and is equipped with one the best video processors available on any optical disc player. Still, I’m having difficulty convincing myself to keep it when that same question keeps coming up: “When was the last time you even turned it on?”
(Funny. Here I am still thinking about it when I should be typing.)
It’s been almost two years since I’ve watched any of my HD DVDs, and I’ve been slowly replacing them with their Blu-ray counterparts for several months now. I hardly even watch DVDs for that matter. What with four separate devices that have internet access, one of which I plan to write about in the near future, most all of my home entertainment viewing consists of Blu-ray or online streaming.
Yeah, I think I’ve come to the point of finally saying goodbye to the HD DVD format and my excellent HD-XA2 player. I suppose I’ve waited long enough for any hope of a comeback, right?
[Crickets chirping in the distance.] Damn….
Besides, I recently moved (again!) to a cozy little 1940s house with a decently-sized, rectangle-shaped living room. Unfortunately, space has become somewhat of an issue, so I’m looking for ways to make the most of my space, which includes figuring out what to do with all my media. (Also, another future topic I plan to write about, where this all hopefully ends with my building an HTPC.) The first lamentable victim of this dilemma is sadly the XA2. There is a bright side to all this, however. Like when your first pet dies and your parents take you to the pound to pick up a new puppy, which oddly does work at making you feel better, the wife has granted me permission to pick up a new toy!
It sure is hard to say goodbye, but I can’t wait to play with its replacement!