I mentioned a few weeks ago that things looked pretty grim for the HD-DVD camp as Warner decided that it would soon only be releasing its movie in Sony’s Blu Ray format. Well, as of two weeks ago, Toshiba has announced that they were officially dropping out of the High-Definition format war and stopping to produce all HD-DVD players and support for the format. There will still be a few HD-DVD discs coming out over the next few months, but that will be the end of this adventure.
Now, as mentioned before, that does not necessarily mean that you can just run out and pick up a Blu Ray player since most stand-alone players produced today are not going to be compatible with the next version of the BD format, which is usually referred to as BD Profile 2.0. The one player that is a safe bet is the Playstation 3 since it will be upgradeable through a firmware update to support Profile 2.0. There are also starting to be a few stand-alone players that are promoting the fact that you will be able to upgrade them to the new version.
Personally, I am leaning more towards a standalone player than a PS3 for one main reason, the lack of an infrared port on the unit. Its controllers and optional remote control only work via Bluetooth so it is not possible to control it with a universal control such as the Harmony 550 that I have. For a unit that is supposed to become the center of a home theater system, that is quite a way to be closed to other controls and fit inside of a larger environment. I have read a few things about a third-party controller that comes with a USB component that you can jack into the PS3 to get an IR port but I am not sure how well these work. If you’ve tried one of these devices before, drop me a note and let me know how useful they are.