HD DVD Loses Format War – Plans For Trek On Blu-ray (and HD DVD) Unknown [UPDATED]

Last Fall CBS and Toshiba made a big splash over Star Trek coming out exclusively on HD DVD, starting with the first season of The Original Series. Toshiba reps dressed up in Trek uniforms at an industry trade show, they did a phaser remote-control give-away, and used Trek as a big selling point for their platform during the holiday season. However 2008 has been a very bad year for HD DVD and indications are that the format war is over and HD DVD has lost. Studios and retailers alike are jumping ship and all that is left is for Toshiba to finally call uncle…leaving Trek as a casualty of war.

What’s next for Paramount, CBS and Trek on HD?
The Japanese news service Nikkei is reporting that this evening Toshiba will announce they are ceasing manufacturing of HD DVD products (players & recorders) immediately and will stop selling them at end of March. The last two studio holdouts for HD DVD are Paramount (w/ CBS and DreamWorks) and Universal (including NBC). Both are expected to announce support for Blu-ray in the very near future. In fact The Digital Bits has reported that some Blu-ray Paramount titles (which were cancelled when they went HD DVD exclusive a few months ago) have reappeared on retailers ordering systems. What isn’t clear is if either studio will continue to support HD DVD as well in the short run. Although it would be the reasonable thing to do for consumers they helped push onto the format, there is the issue that retailers like Netflix and Wal-Mart have all announced they will no longer buy new HD DVD titles, and Best Buy is no longer recommending HD DVD to customers.

The big question for Trekkies is ‘What about Star Trek?’ It had previously been confirmed that work on seasons two and three of remastered Original Series has been progressing with likely releases in the Summer and Winter respectively. Even after re-embracing Blu-ray, CBS could still release these titles on HD DVD as well (which would be nice for all those who purchased HD DVD players over the holiday season). However, at least one report says work on those seasons for HD DVD has been cancelled. This has not been confirmed, but (unfortunately) would not be surprising. TrekMovie.com has tried to get some clarification from CBS and/or Paramount, but so far they aren’t talking to us (or anyone). After Toshiba makes their announcement CBS and Paramount are bound to follow with one of their own and maybe that will provide some detail regarding the future of Trek.

…and the good news?
The silver lining may be that once the format war is over all the Trek content that is HD Ready will come out soon on Blu-ray. In addition to the three seasons of the remastered Original Series, there is Star Trek Enterprise (which is already shown in HD Net), the ten feature films (which have been shown in HD on HBO and Cinemax) and of course the 2009 Star Trek feature film. TNG, DS9 and Voyager would all require remastering (and possibly new CGI) to make it onto HD and so those are much more long term.

As more is learned on this developing story, TrekMovie.com will bring it to you.

UPDATE: Star Trek Remastered in syndication unchanged
Some fans have raised concerns over the future of the Star Trek Remastered series that currently runs in syndication. It has been reported that Toshiba has been providing funding for HD DVD project and will end that funding. However, even if true, this funding would only relate to the HD DVD development and not the syndicated series. As far as TrekMovie.com can tell, the remastered Star Trek will continue to air new episodes until next fall (by which time the entire series will have been completed).

UPDATE 2: IT IS OFFICIALLY OVER
As reported at The Digital Bits, Toshiba have officially announced the death of HD DVD. From the release:

Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD and has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders.

next up…Paramount

Special thanks to Bill Hunt of the Digital Bits who contributed to this story and to Keiko for her Japanese translations and to Brian, Greg and others who have been sending in reports.

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Josh

Sounds good.

Josh

PS. FIRST!!

Nelson

It was fun while it lasted. At least it appears that once Toshiba makes the announcement, the war is finally over. At least for us who bought the HD-DVD’s of TOS S1 only need rebuy in BD if that is re-issued in BD.

charlielesko65

First… glad I waited.

I Love My Moogie

HD DVD format is the modern Betamax Blueray rules!

charlielesko65

…or not

Rob

I don’t see where any doubt could possibly lie. Anything that was slated for release on HD-DVD will be released on BD (and titles already released exclusively on HD will likely land on BD as well). There is absolutely zero chance that, once officially killed, CBS/Paramount will continue to release on the HD-DVD format.

As for fans who purchased HD-DVD players… It was a significant buyer beware situation, and they now own Betamax/Laserdisk players. I’d have far preferred if HD-DVD had won for a variety of reasons (Sony’s DRM being chief among them), but I wasn’t going to purchase a player for a few release titles until the issue was decided.

Sony and Toshiba did the general public no favors with this “war,” and now that we have a winner we can, as consumers, start to spend our money. As the smaller manufacturing companies that were once on the fence now can tool for one format, competition will force prices to drop. This is a fantastic time to be an HD consumer.

Ron Mosher

I knew it was over when the retailers started jumping ship. Thanks for the info Anthony.

DesiluTrek

I wish there was a place where I could bet money on these things. Back when Sony announced that the PS3 would be Blu-Ray capable, I thought that format would eventually come out on top. The phaser remote package deal almost lured me in, but I’m glad I held out this time.

Chris H.

There’s nothing “in doubt.” HD DVD is dead, and so is any future Trek on HD DVD. As soon as Toshiba makes an official announcement, Paramount and Universal will be released from their obligations and will be free to start producing Blu.

Spocko

Fascinating. I received my HD-DVD Remastered Star Trek set a few days ago, and now Toshiba has lost the war.

Soytaino

The only reason I got an HD DVD player was to get the Star trek TOS. I was really hoping that HD DVD would win the HD wars.

Ali

Maybe a bit longer will let them tweak and fix some of the undone effects?

Pragmaticus

Blu-ray is a ridiculous name. I’m sorry, I just had to say it.

boJac

Well, at least the Star Wars movies will finally be released in HD. Lucas had said he’d wait to release all six movies in a box set until there was a clear winner in the format war. So hopefully by this time next year I’ll have some Star Wars AND Star Trek in HD.

That said, it does kinda bite that Blu-Ray won. One of the reason’s I got a 360 was because you can play HD DVD’s on it. Darn. I’m glad I didn’t buy season one last November……

Blu-ray is better. HD-DVD players are too expensive. In a few decades though, all the HD-DVD stuff might turn into expensive collecter stuff. It happened with Star Wars/Trek toys and A-Track players. :)

D. McCoy

I’ve never understood what all the fuss is. Regular DVD is not really that bad. Besides, who needs Blu Ray? The next step is digital download anyway. Just finish putting them on iTunes. No packaging or distribution required.

#15
Shaddup. I’m the master of ridiculous names ’round these here parts. You beatledinger.

Imrahil

17 – do you mean “8-Track”?

T Negative

The Star Trek movies have been remastered in HD??

I’m not trying to nitpick but that’s news to me. My directors edition of ST:TMP looks nothing short of horrible as far as picture quality goes. It is blurry and full of scratches and the VFX shots are full of grain. Doesn’t the HD treatment clean all of that stuff up??

Oh well, I bought an HD-DVD player and ST-R season one. I imagine I’ll have to buy a BD player now. Bummer.

CLS USMC

Don’t let these nitpickers get you down Anthony! Intelligent folks knew what you meant , it was BLINDINGLY clear. Thanks for everything you do.

And #9 you’re right on the money. I bought the PS3 for the BR player knowing that it was only a matter of time. I almost fell for the phaser remote but I held off.

Remastered in HD does not = pristine print. It’s a resolution classification. In truth, those new Dochterman shots for the TMP Director’s Edition may not be in HD and will have to be reconstituted as a result.

As an aside, I do think Paramount made a selfish business decision here. While I do not know the specifics, they went “exclusive” with HD-DVD where there was really no need to do so, particularly at the time when it seemed BR had the advantage. My suspicion is that Paramount got a sweetheart deal from Toshiba to play ball, and they took the $ despite seeing the writing on the wall. And who stood to lose if that is the case? The consumers that put their $ and faith behind the studio. Phaser remotes are too damn hard to resist!

Ryan T. Riddle

Ah, f— it! I have them on old skool DVD and that will have to do for now. I ain’t made out of credits you know.

T2

had a blu-ray, sold it and bought an hd-dvd player when TOS-R 1 came out. now i’m gonna have to go buy another blu-ray. when is there going to be some good news around here? movie delays and the hd-dvd end…something good’s gotta come up

I Love My Moogie

I can’t wait for Star Trek V & Embrace of the Vampire to be released on Blu Ray, but until then I’m sticking with the standard DVD format.

Hey #27

Maybe Paramount will take all their profits from the ST-R discs and put that towards updating the FX for ST V! That would be a nice gesture! :-P

Viking

OK, I’m no uber-videophile, beyond liking a big screen and big, theater-quality sound, so edumacate me here: what is the difference between HD-DVD and Blu Ray? Is it the the number of nose hairs you can count per pixel grid? It just seems to ba a redux of the VHS vs. Beta battle of the 80’s – whomever can toss the vendors the most free trips to Cancun, etc., won the war.

Stanky McFibberich

Glad I am not that interested in HD in any format. Can take it or leave it.

Sebastian

Star Trek Season 2 HD production has been halted. http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#toss2 My guess is it won’t be released. Never bought into either format, yet. Still ‘roughing it’ with good ol’ 480p standard! For my 42″ HD set it looks great! No rush to switch anytime soon. Patience will yield its own rewards. May the winner, Blu-Ray, live long and prosper. Who knows? I may even buy one someday!

Good Riddance HD-DVD – BluRay was always superior, (more storage being the chief reason). The sooner Paramount can get with it the better.

Stanky McFibberich

re: 21
My copy of STTMP looks fine to me. But then, I like watching shows on old black and white tube sets.

CmdrR

This is why I wait on new tech of any kind. It’s a pure waste to be first on board a ship that’s aiming for iceburgs. Or, if it’s a gamble, why is it a gamble? Just make good stuff CHEAP and sell it. I’ll decide after the dust settles.

Besides, as I’ve guessed before, there’s bound to be new TOS revamps in the future. Those will owe a lot to CBS-D, but may look even better. I’ll wait.

Snake

I guess Season 1 be re-released in a BR/normal dvd combo? and season 2/3 the same?

Tallguy

#13 “next time I pick a franchise to run a site for…i will pick on with less pedantic fans”

Bwahahahahaha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in days.

Ty Webb

If Toshiba were paying for the project then we could be looking at quite a while for a Blu-ray release. Or they could just put out a no frills release on Blu-ray and leave off all the fancy bits.

jonboc

I couldn’t be happier. My Toshiba plays some dandy hi-def and is a wonderful up-converter for standard DVD’s. Now, with all the stores wanting to make room for Blu-Ray, it’s just a matter of time before all the HD-DVD movies hit the bargain bin. That’s when I’ll clean up!

Ty Webb

A lot of people are saying that, although they’d have to be dollar store prices before I’d consider buying dead media.

Vulcan Soul

http://formatwarcentral.com/index.php/2008/02/18/star-trek-season-2-canceled-not-delayed/

This report does not just say that TOS-R on HD-DVD has been cancelled [and would be re-released on Blu-Ray later].

What it implies is that TOS-R has been cancelled altogether, since Toshiba was allegedly financing the whole thing.

Ensign Ricky

#13 – “next time I pick a franchise to run a site for…i will pick on with less pedantic fans”

Lol, you aren’t related to my ex-wife, are you? ;-)

Up to about a month ago, I was so tempted to order up the first season of TOSR, but amazingly I showed some restraint and decided to wait. I’m definitely glad that I did so. One of the few bright things that I’ve done.

Brian

I havent really looked into it, but I was hoping that HDDVD would win, from what I have read, it seemed to be quite a bit cheaper with only a little bit of loss compared to BR

T Negative

#40 Oh my!

Star Trek Remastered season 2 canceled!! Say it isn’t so!!

This is bad news if true. Now even less time and money for our friends at CSB-D.

Thomas Jensen

It was trek being released on HD which got me into the thing. I’m hoping against hope they’ll, at least, release the next two seasons on HD-DVD. Past that, I’ll see what I have to do. They should do versions in both formats. Didn’t the sales of season one hit 100,000 units? I’d think they’d want to keep that market happy and reach the blu-ray people, too.

And it would be idiotic to abort the remastering of the series. Aren’t they more then half done?

Mr. Atoz

If i wait three weeks on getting my HD-DVD player, I avoid this whole thing? Haven’t bought Trek Remastered yet so OK there.
Will buy all three seasons on Blu ray when they come out.

Probably keep HD-DVD player for a while since I bought some flix for it.
HD had more bells and whistles, kind of a shame they lost.

Ro-Dan

I bought STAR TREK: REMASTERED mainly for the standard DVD side since I don’t own an HD-DVD player. No big loss really. I just wanted it for the new visual effects anyway. If they decide to release the remaining seasons in standard def or Blu-Ray I’ll be fine with it. As it stand right now I’m happy with standard definition.

Ban An Appeal

Do HD-DVD’s self-destruct after one viewing? Do they revert to cave drawings or some other archaic format? Why would one ditch their HD-DVD player simply because it lost the format war? I still use a Sony beta machine, Sony elcaset, Sony DAT, Sony reel-to-reel, and I still watch my Sony Wega CRT even though I have an 62″ DLP (hmmm, didn’t realize I had so many Sony products).

Anyway, I will keep my HD-DVD player and enjoy my first season of Trek, and when Blu-Ray comes down in price I will probably buy one (it may be a Sony…no particular reason), and I will buy seasons 2 & 3 of TOS-R, if available. I will also pick up clearance HD-DVD movies and enjoy those for years. And if my HD player breaks down I will find another at a garage sale for $5 (unless they’re programmed to self-destruct as well).

T Negative

#38 that’s my plan as well.

HD-DVD’s are going to be really cheap soon. There are hundreds of titles available on the format that would be great to have. I will grab them up and keep my HD-DVD player for a long time and go Blu-ray in a few months.

What else is there to do??

chris

NICE! I am so glad I waited.

Jeffrey S. Nelson

All I want is a stand alone disc of the Billy Blackburn home movies. On simple dvd. Is that too much to ask for?
After CBS/Paramount released the series box set of the MacGyver series with the two movies and wouldn’t offer the movies for sale separately,–stiffing the fans who already bought the series season by season–my optimism faded.