£119.95 + 7 movies (Amazon)
Effectively a free player and access to over 300 top quality HD titles to keep you going whilst you wait for a decent priced Blu-Ray player that *fully* and *reliably* supports profiles 1.1 and 2.0, and is sub £200, and wait for the HD DVD titles to be re-authored to profile 1.1/2.0 spec on Blu-Ray (which is going to take a long time due to costs and difficulty with the Blu-Ray software development process).
So whilst HD DVD may be dead, at this price you really can't argue. It's a free player and just use it as a door stop if you really must when you've re-bought in 'Blu' (though it's not going to spontaneously combust the instant Warner stops making HD DVD).
As for the sales slump. First thing is it's US figures only. They're blind now to HD DVD. Second thing is observational sales of players this side of the pond doesn't seem to match the claims. PS3s collect dust, EP-30s at bargain prices are flying off the shelves. Just what is the reality behind the figures?
Not that it matters. The BDA have vast amounts of money to throw into the pot to ensure they win no matter what. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they're actually buying up PS3 and Blu-Ray disc stocks just to force the matter even further. Though I do think it will take $1billion this time to buy out Universal & Paramount, compared to the $500m for Warner (note that the entire profits from HD DVD and Blu-Ray disc sales only amounts to $300m !!).
It's easy to win when you own major studios and just buy all the rest of the competition, use aggressive tactics to bombard the web, retailers and consumers with propaganda, and ultimately remove all consumer choice. If it were Microsoft they'd have anti-trust thrown at them. If they were just UK based they'd have monopolies and mergers after them.
Still, such is progress. Hijack the development of HD and set it back 10 years.
Again, not that it even matters who's won. The whole thing is a war after all of 1% of the retail movie market!
10 years from now, HD will be all downloads. Sounds unlikely, but look at the state of the net 10 years ago.
What matters in the here and now to Joe Public is digital SD TV and small flat screens that can be tucked in the corner. HD is meaningless to 99% of the population regardless of the 'HD Ready' sticker on their sets.