HD DVD: R.I.P.

With the announcement today that Toshiba has dropped their support of HD DVD, it looks as if the war is finally over between HD DVD and Blu-ray -- and I'm thrilled.

Today's announcement from Toshiba that they were no longer supporting the HD DVD format came as no suprise to those who have been following the ongoing battle between the two next-generation video formats. Sony's Blu-ray technology surged ahead after announcements by leading retailers Wal-Mart, Target, Blockbuster, and Netflix all declared their love of the Blu-ray. Then when Warner Bros. dropped their bomb about supporting only Blu-ray, other major studios followed, and that signaled the end. For a comprehensive timeline about the ongoing battle, go here.

Despite having 1 million people worldwide already invested in the HD DVD technology (a technology they said they will continue to "support"), Toshiba could not rival Sony's marketing penetration or the studio support, and now, HD DVD seems to be on its way into Betamax lore. I had originally thought that the porn industry would decide the winner of this whole thing -- as it did during the VHS vs. Beta days -- but without a firm announcement one way or the other, I guess Toshiba made the decision for them.

As soon as I heard the rumor about HD DVD's demise, I felt all tingly inside knowing that my recent poker winnings and birthday money could finally be used toward a shiny new PlayStation 3, which, of course is owned by Sony and is a very capable Blu-ray player. Although I'm still sporting the 1080i rear-projection TV (from Toshiba!) and am not feeling the full HD goodness that is 1080p from my PS3, it looks damn good and is definitely a step up from my standard DVD/VCR combo player (from Toshiba again!). The best thing? Prices will likely be coming down on all Blu-ray movies! As for Microsoft, Universal, Paramount, and Dreamworks -- the studios/companies that have supported HD DVD -- I guess they'll come to the realization that Blu-ray is the only game in town. In fact, one already did.

With the format war seemingly over, I can't help to wonder what went wrong for Toshiba. PCMag.com's Lance Ulanoff sums it up nicely in his excellent analysis, so I won't try. Rather, I'm welcoming my venture into the great unknown world of next generation video and looking forward to rebuilding the home theater that has served me well over the last six or seven years. How about you guys?