At Frye’s over the weekend I saw two half shelves worth of HD-DVD software. This is only remarkable because I had not been to an electronics superstore recently to see such a display. I know they’ve been out for weeks or a month or a I don’t care.
The HD-DVDs were grouped at the end of the anime section just before the nature and historical videos. I can’t remember the first weeks or months of DVD’s launch but it was probably just as pathetic (I remember only seeing Eraser and Twister DVDs for a year before I cared about DVD as a source of entertainment). The discs were packaged in the same clam cases as normal DVDs, the "HD-DVD" banner at the top was the only tip-off. Blockbuster!/must buy! titles included: Rumor Has It, The Chronicles of Riddick, Van Helsing, Swordfish, Doom.
If I were the King of All Home Entertainment Media (like Mark Cuban or Mickey Mouse), I’d write this memo to all my media minions:
Dear whichever studios are launching HD-DVD: The following titles will force me to adopt your new disc format: Digital Video Essentials (to calibrate before we watch the rest of the launch titles), Star Wars Episodes IV-VI, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, Alien and Aliens, King Kong, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Harry Potter movies, Moulin Rouge, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Princess Mononoke, Serenity (actually this is a launch title! Go Team Whedon), Sin City, Apocalypse Now, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Romeo+Juliet, Fight Club, Terminator 2, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Lion King, The Incredibles, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Spider-Man movies, Batman and Batman Begins, X-Men Movies, Superman 1 and 2, Kill Bill, Casablanca, North By Northwest, The Graduate, The Fifth Element, Blue Velvet, and Planet of the Apes.
Now that’s a launch.
After every geek collects their jaws from the floor they would be ready to invest in the best HD-DVD player they could find. The entire launch catalog described above would break all home video sales records. These are the movies we are willing to buy over and over again. It wouldn’t matter if half of the titles were rushed to production and didn’t eek out the finest high definition quality because the movie studios could release an extra special edition six months later and we would buy it again. The HD-DVD would just have to look and sound marginally better than the best SD-DVD had to offer for the same title.
HD-DVD’s launch needs a huge push. Rumor Has It couldn’t launch a bottle rocket with a flame thrower.