HD DVD’s rise and fall: A timeline

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – The end of the HD DVD format may have come faster than many of us would have expected. And despite the outcome of the format war has long been unclear, there have been several reports that correctly predicted the winner as early as July 2005. Join us as we are looking back in time to recap how the defeat of HD DVD developed.  
Following the announcement of Toshiba to pull the plug on HD DVD, we felt that it was time to have a closer look at our reports since the beginning of the format war to provide an overview of the events that led up to Sony’s success and Toshiba’s loss. On the following pages, we are listing all important HD format war articles, ranging from the very beginnings in November 2003 to the shutdown of HD DVD today.

The list allows you to recall the role of publishers, hardware companies, the Playstation 3 as well as Microsoft, which may have played a significant role in the downfall of HD DVD, due to its decision not to offer an HD DVD drive integrated in its Xbox 360. Even if we here have dealt with HD DVD and Blu-ray almost on a daily basis for some time, we were surprised to find some instances that predicted Blu-ray as the winner of the format war early on:

In July 2005, a survey claimed that consumers preferred Blu-ray over HD DVD. Following the launch of high-def players, some speculated that enthusiast users gave HD DVD the edge and sales numbers for 2006 appeared to be in a stalemate. In March of 2007, a European Sony executive told journalists that HD DVD would be “dead within one year”. Walking through high-def sales data in 2007 provides an impression how the lead of Blu-ray began to build up and hurt HD DVD.

Another surprising outcome of this format war is that the adult film industry had very little to do with the fall of HD DVD. The format still had the support from most studios that were releasing movies in high-def. The critical component of Blu-ray’s success appears to have been the Playstation 3, which not only put millions of Blu-ray players into the market, but also convinced gamers to purchase lots of Blu-ray movies.  

However, the end of HD DVD came very quick and its fate was decided by a few serious blows. In early 2008, Warner Bros. said it would abandon HD DVD. Soon, several retailers, most importantly Best Buy, began focusing on HD DVD and online rental company Netflix said it would be dropping HD DVD as well. Toshiba’s only reaction was the reduction of HD DVD player prices, which, from today’s view, only accelerated the format’s departure. 

2003 and 2004: Supporter groups are formed, first specifications and the name "Playstation 3" surfaces  



2003 Nov 17 HD war Next-Gen DVD Split By Two Competing Standards Techweb
2004 Feb 26 HD DVD DVD Forum approves HD-DVD format DVD Forum
  May 19 Blu-ray 13 firms to form Blu-ray mega-group The Inquirer
  June 9 HD DVD HD DVD ROM physical spec v1.0 approved DVD Forum
  July 15 Blu-ray Sony to test-produce Blu-ray discs in US Forbes
  July 26 HD DVD Microsoft says Longhorn to be HD DVD compatible Reuters
  Aug 5 Blu-ray Sony adopts Blu-Ray for PS3 Spong
  Sept 1 Blu-ray Blu-ray Disc BD-ROM spec adds Microsoft's video codec EE Times
    22 HD DVD HD DVD, HD DVD ROM logos approved DVD Forum
    22 Blu-ray PlayStation 3 will use Blu-Ray discs games industry
  Oct 5 Blu-ray Group formed to promote Blu-ray Disc format EE Times
    21 HD DVD NEC, Toshiba add HD-DVD to PCs in 2005 Digit Mag
  Nov 11 Blu-ray Sharp unveils first Blu-ray disc recorder PC World
    29 HD DVD Universal Pictures backs HD DVD


    24 Blu-ray HP confirms plans for Blu-ray The Register
    29 HD DVD Toshiba claims Hollywood endorsement for HD DVD The Inquirer
  Dec 1 HD DVD HD DVD Recordable logo approved DVD Forum
    3 Blu-ray Blu-ray read-only format to be finalized early 2005 Mac Central
    9 Blu-ray Disney to support Blu-ray Disc format EE Times
    20 HD DVD DVD Forum approves Thomson's compression format for HD DVD  
    23 HD DVD Toshiba launches HD DVD consortium The Register


Read on the next page: 2005 - Bondage talks between HD DVD and Blu-ray and a surprising survey that correctly predicted the outcome of the format war









2005: Bondage talks between HD DVD and Blu-ray and a surprising survey that correctly predicts the outcome of the format war




2005 Feb 23 HD DVD HD DVD inclusion of AACS approved DVD Forum
  Mar 10 Blu-ray Apple joins Blu-ray board of directors


  Apr 13 HD war Sony 'open' to Blu-ray Disc/HD DVD bonding talks The Register
  May 10 HD war Toshiba slams Blu-ray/ HD DVD convergence claims  
    19 HD DVD Matsushita insists Toshiba yield on DVD format Reuters
    26 HD DVD HD DVD backwards compatibility confirmed DVD Forum
    26 HD war Toshiba hints at HD DVD/Blu-ray marriage PC Pro
  June 27 HD DVD First big HD DVD event: DVD Forum: HD DVD Japan 2005 DVD Forum
  July 14 Blu-ray Consumers choose Blu-Ray over HD-DVD games industry
  Aug 1 HD DVD Microsoft mulling HD-DVD in future Xbox 360 revisions games industry
    2 Blu-ray Fox movie studio backs Sony's Blu-ray PC Mag
      Blu-ray Blu-ray secures Universal Music backing The Register
    23 HD war Breakdown in high-def DVD talks  
    24 HD DVD Toshiba president says company will press ahead with HD DVD Reuters
  Sep 6 Blu-ray Sony counts the cost of a Blu-ray PS3 PC Pro
    12 Blu-ray Sony expects Blu-Ray victory within 12 months games
    14 HD DVD HD DVD-Video Player speed determined at 3x-speed DVD-ROM DVD Forum
    28 HD DVD Toshiba to delay HD DVD player  
    28 HD DVD Microsoft goes with HD DVD  
    30 HD DVD HD DVD maybe not a "long-term" standard - Microsoft  
  Oct 2 HD DVD HP says Microsoft is spreading misleading info on Blu-ray TGD
    3 HD war Paramount's decision to back Blu-ray and HD DVD may avert format war TGD
    5 HD war Blu-ray / HD DVD battle plays out in real-time at Japan trade show



    12 Blu-ray Sony to introduce a high definition Blu-ray camcorder TGD
    20 HD war Gates dismisses next-gen DVD formats games industry
    21 Blu-ray Warner Bros. joins Blu-ray Disc Association TGD
    31 HD DVD iHD less expensive than Blu-ray alternative, thanks to Vista, says HP TGD
  Nov 1 HD DVD Xbox 360 will not use HD DVD, says Microsoft Japan official games industry
  Dec 15 HD DVD Toshiba delays HD DVD launch vnunet
    18 HD DVD HP backs HD DVD Red Herring
    27 Blu-ray Pioneer to ship Blu-ray drive in Q1 2006  


Read on the next page: 2006 - HD DVD and Blu-ray hit the market: HD is believed to get an early lead








2006: HD DVD and Blu-ray hit the market: HD is believed to get an early lead 




2006 Jan 4 Blu-ray Pioneer places a premium on high-definition Blu-ray media players TGD
    5 HD DVD Xbox 360 to get external HD DVD player TGD
    5 HD war First HD DVD players may be significantly cheaper than Blu-ray rivals TGD
    6 Blu-ray First-generation Blu-ray disc players may not be full-featured TGD
    7 HD DVD Toshiba announces Qosmio notebook computer with HD DVD-ROM drive TGD
    10 Blu-ray Microsoft: Blu-ray Xbox 360 add-on possible Game Spot
    21 Blu-ray Toshiba could have access to Blu-ray drive technology TGD
    24 HD war Netflix prepares to offer HD DVD, Blu-ray rentals TGD
  Feb 8 Blu-ray Sony Pictures aims for $35 retail for Blu-ray movies TGD
    17 HD DVD Toshiba to launch HD DVD players in March '06 TGD
    21 Blu-ray PlayStation 3 may face delays due to production costs TGD
    22 HD DVD Approval of HD DVD-VR DVD Forum
    27 HD DVD Sony to acquire HD-DVD know-how through joint-venture with NEC TGD
  March 8 HD war LG Electronics to produce HD DVD drives in addition to Blu-ray TGD
    8 Blu-ray Sony CEO: PlayStation 3 may just make it by Christmas TGD
    15 Blu-ray Sony to launch PS3 in November, blames Blu-ray for delay TGD
    16 Blu-ray Playstation 3 delay could derail high definition agenda TGD
    17 Blu-ray Sony announces Blu-ray player, after-market PC drive and Vaio PC TGD
    24 HD DVD Next-gen HDTVs may hide first-gen HD DVD limits, says Microsoft TGD
    31 HD DVD First Toshiba HD DVD players for sale in Japan TGD
  April 18 HD DVD First reviews positive for Toshiba HD DVD as supplies sell out fast TGD
    18 HD DVD Pentium 4-M reanimated for Toshiba's HD DVD player TGD
    26 HD DVD Warner, Universal experiment with HD DVD format variations TGD
  May 5 Blu-ray Sony ships Blu-ray discs TGD
    8 HD DVD Microsoft to offer HD DVD drive for Xbox 360 in Q4 TGD
    10 HD DVD Toshiba launches HD DVD notebook TGD
    24 HD DVD HD DVD-R for DL approved DVD Forum
    25 HD DVD Microsoft rallies support for HD DVD TGD
    30 Blu-ray Sony chief defends $599 PlayStation 3 as "more than a toy" TGD
    31 Blu-ray Microsoft execs slam Sony Blu-ray strategy games industry
  June 20 Blu-ray First Blu-ray titles arrive TGD
    21 HD war Samsung to consider "dual Blu-ray/HD DVD player" TGD
    23 HD DVD Toshiba losing money on first HD DVD players TGD
    25 Blu-ray Samsung launches Blu-ray player TGD
  July 11 HD DVD HD DVD gets a $150 million marketing boost TGD
    12 Blu-ray Will Sony PlayStation 3 dry up supply of blue laser diodes for Blu-ray? TGD
  Aug 15 Blu-ray Will Blu-ray sink the PlayStation 3? TGD
    18 HD war HD DVD players outsells Blu-ray at lower revenues TGD
    25 HD war Microsoft confirms 32-bit Vista will not play HD discs TGD
    31 Blu-ray 20th Century-Fox will finally join Warner, releasing Blu-ray titles TGD
  Sept 1 Blu-ray TDK shows off 200 GB Blu-ray disc TGD
    6 Blu-ray Sony drastically cuts PS3 launch allocation TGD
    11 HD DVD Memory-Tech and Toshiba develop triple-layer HD DVD TGD
    12 HD DVD Chinese HD DVD approved DVD Forum
    13 HD DVD Microsoft to offer Xbox 360 with built-in HD-DVD drive Digi Times
  Oct 10 HD war NEC ships hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD chip TGD
    10 HD war High-def media to dominate home video market by 2012 TGD
    17 HD DVD Xbox' HD DVD drive to connect to PCs, sort of TGD
    20 Blu-ray Sony delays set-top Blu-ray player TGD
    23 HD DVD U.S. media manufacturers support HD DVD Digi Times
  Nov 2 HD DVD Universal Studios claims to have the first true HD movie on HD DVD TGD
    15 HD DVD Toshiba launches second-generation HD DVD players in Japan Digi Times
    16 HD DVD More than 1.5 million HD DVDs shipped TGD
    17 Blu-ray Sony NEC Optiarc: Blu-ray Disc drive prices to drop 50% by 2008 Digi Times
    17 Blu-ray Sony launches Playstation 3 TGD
  Dec 6 HD DVD HD DVD gets early lead over Blu-ray in online discussions TGD
    28 HD DVD HD DVD encryption cracked TGD


Read on the next page: 2007 - Sony's PS3 becomes the decisive weapon in the format war and Sony says in March 2007 that the HD DVD will be dead within one year







2007: Sony's PS3 becomes the decisive weapon in the format war and Sony says in March 2007 that the HD DVD will be dead within one year 




2007 Jan 5 HD DVD Toshiba to ship HD DVD writer in February TGD
    7 HD DVD Toshiba to offer 1080p HD DVD player for $600 TGD
    7 HD war LG to roll out dual-format Blu-ray/HD DVD player in Q1 TGD
    8 HD DVD Microsoft, Broadcom aim to lower cost of HD DVD players TGD
    8 HD DVD HD DVD slams Blu-ray, talks innovation TGD
    8 Blu-ray Sony plans next Blu-ray attack at HD DVD TGD
    10 HD war Warner announces HD DVD - Blu-ray combo disc TGD
    11 HD DVD HD DVD versus Blu-ray - The porn industry says HD DVD TGD
  Feb 1 Blu-ray Blu-ray discs beating HD-DVD in sales 2 to 1 TGD
    5 HD war Numbers are mixed for 2006 format wars TGD
    26 Blu-ray Sony ready to drop Blu-ray entry-level player to $600 TGD
    27 HD DVD 51 GB HD DVD disc rivals Blu-ray capacity TGD
    28 HD DVD 2x HD DVD-RW Rev2 approved, HD DVD 1.1 approved DVD Forum
  March 6 Blu-ray AnyDVD HD now copies Blu-ray discs, too TGD
    12 Blu-ray Blu-ray disc edges out HD DVD in February TGD
    16 HD DVD HD DVD dead in one year? TGD
    21 Blu-ray Blu-ray player breaks $500 barrier at Amazon TGD
    28 Blu-ray Blu-ray Casino Royale hits 100,000 mark TGD
  April 11 HD DVD Toshiba releases entry-level 1080p HD DVD player TGD
    13 HD war Samsung announces plans for Blu-ray/HD DVD combo player TGD
    16 HD DVD Microsoft debuts commercial HD DVD encoder SDK TGD
    17 HD DVD 100,000 HD DVD CE players sold in the U.S. TGD
    20 Blu-ray Blu-ray edges out HD DVD yet again TGD
    23 Blu-ray Blu-ray camp claims 70% market share in movie sales TGD
    26 HD DVD HD DVD shipments "near" one million TGD
  May 7 HD war HP announces Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player/writer plans TGD
    15 HD DVD Planet Earth HD DVD topples Blu-ray sales TGD
    16 HD DVD Toshiba HD DVD player hits sub-$300 mark TGD
  June 1 HD war Blu-ray Pirates defeats HD DVD Matrix TGD
    4 Blu-ray Sub-$500 Blu-ray player to hit stores this month TGD
    11 HD DVD Toshiba claims top hardware sales in HD format war TGD
    18 Blu-ray Blockbuster to move high-def, offering only Blu-ray Discs  
    19 HD DVD HD DVD 1.1 features outlined DVD Forum
    28 Blu-ray Buy a Blu-ray player, get five free movies TGD
    29 HD war Warner pushes back Blu-ray, HD DVD combo disc TGD
    29 HD DVD Toshiba opens up next-gen features for HD DVD TGD
  July 2 HD DVD Toshiba cuts price for entry-level HD DVD player to $299 TGD
    17 HD DVD HD-DVD group claims success against Blu-ray in Q2 TGD
    25 HD war Samsung announces hybrid Blu-ray - HD DVD player TGD
    26 Blu-ray Blu-ray format leads adoption of next-gen DVD players in the U.S. TGD
    26 Blu-ray Sony: Target says yes to Blu-ray, no to HD DVD TGD
    26 HD DVD Xbox 360 HD DVD player price falls to $179 TGD
    27 HD DVD The brand new $113 Toshiba HD-DVD Player: Are the HD wars over? TGD
    27 Blu-ray BJ's Wholesale to back Blu-ray exclusively TGD
  Aug 6 HD DVD Toshiba releases third-gen HD DVD players TGD
    9 HD war Blu-ray, HD DVD topple VHS sales TGD
    13 Blu-ray Samsung Blu-ray Disc player available for $425 TGD
    14 Blu-ray Blu-ray "300" outsells HD DVD counterpart two-to-one TGD
    15 Blu-ray Blu-ray movie sales smash HD DVD in first half of 2007 TGD
    17 Blu-ray Playstation 3 kills HD DVD - opinion TGD
    21 Blu-ray Paramount and Dreamworks go HD-DVD: Sony’s curse continues TGD
  Sept 5 HD war LG announces second-gen HD DVD-Blu-ray player TGD
    7 HD DVD Microsoft touts deployment of its high-definition video encoder tools



    11 HD war China creates rival to HD DVD, Blu-ray TGD
    12 HD DVD Triple Layer Twin HD DVD approved DVD Forum
    17 Blu-ray Target reportedly doubles Blu-ray shelf space TGD
    20 Blu-ray Disney CEO calls Blu-ray victory a "foregone conclusion" TGD
  Oct 4 HD DVD Microsoft steps up support for HD DVD format TGD
    8 HD war Netflix sees stronger loyalty for HD DVD than Blu-ray TGD
    11 HD DVD Paramount confirms 30+ HD DVD titles for next year TGD
    15 HD war Warner's 300 smashes high-def disc sales records TGD
    19 HD DVD Xbox to get an integrated HD DVD drive? Smart House
  Nov 1 HD DVD Wal-Mart to sell HD DVD player for under $100 TGD
    2 HD DVD Best Buy follows Wal-Mart with $100 HD DVD player TGD
    7 HD DVD Toshiba sells nearly 100,000 HD DVD players last weekend TGD
    9 HD war Sony CEO considers HD format war to be in a “stalemate” TGD
    14 Blu-ray Sony details first BD Profile 1.1 Blu-ray movie TGD
    27 HD DVD HD DVD players pass 750,000 unit sales TGD
    29 HD DVD Wal-Mart puts "cheap" Chinese HD DVD player on sale TGD
    29 Blu-ray BD gaining upper hand over HD DVD in PC-use drives Digi Times
    29 Blu-ray In Europe, Blu-ray takes in 73% of HD movie sales TGD
    30 Blu-ray Blu-ray overpowers HD DVD three-to-one in Black Friday weekend TGD
  Dec 4 Blu-ray Over 2.7 million Blu-ray players sold TGD
    5 HD DVD Universal says 30% of HD DVD users access Web content TGD
    11 HD DVD Research firm says HD DVD sales will rise TGD
    12 HD war LG next-gen HD DVD, Blu-ray combo player hits stores TGD
    13 HD DVD Microsoft releases HD DVD emulator on Xbox 360 TGD
    20 HD war Consumers beginning to drive the HD market TGD
    20 Blu-ray Porn industry snuggling up to Blu-ray TGD
    26 Blu-ray Blu-ray site hacked to redirect to promotional HD DVD address TGD



 Read on the next page: 2008 - Blu-ray goes after a quick kill







2008: Blu-ray goes after a quick kill 




2008 Jan 4 Blu-ray Warner Home Video drops HD DVD support TGD
    9 HD war HD DVD vs. Blu-ray: The battle of the CES booths TGD
    14 HD DVD HD DVD player prices plummet TGD
    17 HD war BBC says it will still support both high-def formats TGD
    18 Blu-ray Blu-ray outpaces HD DVD by more than 6-to-1 last week TGD
    20 Blu-ray Sony, Sharp offer free Blu-ray players, sorta TGD
    22 HD DVD Major Chicagoland retailer drops HD DVD support TGD
    22 HD DVD "Save HD DVD" petition garners thousands of signatures TGD
    23 HD DVD Warner extends HD DVD support TGD
    23 Blu-ray Blu-ray leads HD player sales in first half of January TGD
    25 Blu-ray NPD: Recent Blu-ray sales explosion "doesn't really mean a lot" TGD
    28 HD DVD HD DVD buys Super Bowl ad TGD
    28 Blu-ray Blu-ray winning format war, Gartner says TGD
  Feb 6 HD DVD Xbox 360 HD DVD player price drops to $130 TGD
    9 HD DVD Circuit City unloads 1080p HD DVD player for $112 TGD
    11 Blu-ray Netflix drops HD DVD TGD
    11 Blu-ray Best Buy sides with Blu-ray TGD
    11 HD war HD DVD: Time to quit? TGD
    13 HD DVD HD DVD responds to slate of bad news TGD
    13 HD DVD Wal-Mart trims HD DVD player lineup TGD
    15 HD DVD Wal-Mart picks Blu-ray over HD DVD TGD
    16 HD war HD DVD defeated: Toshiba halts production of players TGD
    17 HD DVD Toshiba says it may end HD DVD TGD
    18 HD DVD Microsoft says end of HD DVD won't hurt Xbox 360 Reuters
    19 HD DVD Toshiba shuts down HD DVD TGD