A little over a week ago I asked for help in choosing between the two next generation movie formats: HD DVD and Blu-ray. I have had all the necessary equipment for a few months now (meaning, a nice HD home theater system minus a next-gen player) but have stuck with my regular old DVD player. I had hoped that my patience could last me through the ensuing format war. But then Amazon came along with this deal. (Actually, now there’s an even better deal.)
To briefly recap on the format war: Sony’s Blu-ray seems to be selling more discs and has sold more players (if the Playstation 3, which comes with a Blu-ray player, is included in the numbers). But then, the Toshiba/Microsoft HD DVD format is region free. Unlike Blu-ray, HD DVD does not have any region codes/restrictions. This is pro-consumer in two ways: 1) your HD DVD movies can be purchased and will work anywhere around the world and 2) you can get a lot of movies that are “Blu-ray Only” in the U.S. from European online retailers in the HD DVD format.
So back to the Amazon deal: It is for the Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD player, though the 10 free HD DVD movies deal still holds if you purchase two other nicer models as well. You get the movies 300 and The Bourne Identity plus any three movies from this listing on Amazon’s site. The other five movies you get later through sending in this form after your purchase (the link here is to the PDF of the form which also shows the movie selection for this part of the deal).
The deal is advertised for $199. But after I added it to my cart and proceeded to check out, the price was lowered to $174. Amazon also has another deal where you get one free HD DVD for every two purchased. There are 104 HD DVDs eligible for that deal, and if you’re interested in the overall selection of HD DVD movies on Amazon, looks like there are 474 available currently.
How does Blu-ray compare? Well, here’s Amazon’s page with Blu-ray players on sale. I couldn’t find any offers that include more than a couple Blu-ray movies. And even then, every price is well above $300. At less than half the price (especially if you include the price of all the free HD DVDs) and with more of a pro-consumer stance, HD DVD wins by a landslide.
Now if only I could convince the rest of the world so this format war can be over. If only…