The history of consumer electronics marked a major milestone today, with the
official launch of the first HD-DVD products to retailers nationwide.
Previously expected to hit shelves by late March, the first next-gen high-definition
DVD players and discs finally began shipping to major retail outlets this week,
in a carefully coordinated rollout by HD-DVD supporting electronics manufacturer
Toshiba and studios Warner and Universal. Over 3,000 stores are planning to
carry the HD-DVD products, among them such major chains Best Buy, Wal-Mart and
Sears, as well as online retailer Amazon.com.
According to Video Business, as of late Monday Toshiba was already
reporting strong initial sales
of its first two HD-DVD players, after many
retailers "leaked" product to consumers over the weekend. Though the
electronics giant has yet to release actual sales figures, it estimates it will
shipped an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 units nationwide in time for today's launch.
"We've heard very positive sales reports so far," Toshiba vp of marketing
Jodi Sally told VB.
The initial four HD-DVD disc offerings from supporting studios have also already
breached Amazon.com's top sales rankings. VB reports that on Monday, the online
retailers top HD-DVD seller was Universal's 'Serenity, which ranked No. 321
amongst all DVD releases for the day, followed by Warner's 'Last Samurai' at
No. 802, 'Phantom of the Opera' at No. 1,524, and 'Million Dollar Baby' at No.
Initial reaction by early adopters has also been generally positive. After reports
of the retail leaks hit the web over the weekend, many popular online message
such as AVS Forum and Home Theater Forum were flooded with user posts
on the early sales, offering detailed analyses of the first HD-DVD players
and discs. Most enthusiasts gave the products a thumbs up, citing the format
as a clear step up in video and audio quality over standard DVD.
Here at High-Def Digest, we posted reviews of two of the first HD-DVD titles
yesterday, 'Last Samurai
also happy to report that early adopters should be relatively pleased with the
results -- both titles deliver on the format's promise of superb video and audio
quality, even if these initial disc offerings are only the tip of the iceberg
of what the next-gen high-def DVD format is ultimately capable of.
Watch for more coverage on the launch of HD-DVD all week long, as well as more
reviews of upcoming HD-DVD disc titles throughout the day.