HD DVD Rises from the Dead for One Final Scare

HD DVD Rises from the Dead for One Final Scare

May 19, 2010

A short time ago in the galaxy not so far away, a war raged for the successor to DVD. On one side we had Toshiba’s HD DVD, and on the other Sony’s Blu-ray. The war was long with little victories for each side, but finally Warner Bros. switched to Blu-ray exclusively and many major retailers and the rest of the studios followed suit. HD DVD couldn’t survive the death blow and slid into oblivion with Jurassic technology like Beta players, 8-track tapes and MiniDiscs.

But like the monster that won’t die at the end of a horror flick, HD DVD has risen from grave for one cheap scare. It seems that indie director Gary Ugarek had started a campaign to get his low-budget zombie flick Deadlands 2: Trapped released as an HD DVD collectible. To do so, he had to convince at least 500 people to preorder the $30 disc and pay in full. Ugarek managed to get the preorders (attention Deadlands 2 buyers: Blu-ray Bob has some 8-tracks for you for $50 a pop), but technical problems prevented the disc from being released. In short, no production facility would press an HD DVD in 2010.

Without warning, those crazy folks who forked over 30 bucks for what is surely the last HD DVD got their prize in the mail recently from distributor Anthem Pictures. Deadlands 2: Trapped boasts mostly upconverted video compressed onto a single layer disc crammed with bonus features (including a workprint of the movie). In other words, the quality is going to be more akin to a DVD you buy from a street vendor in Chinatown than an Avatar Blu-ray. Still, for fans of the now-defunct format or collectors, enjoy the resurrection—this zombie won’t likely rise from the dead ever again.

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Hugh Bonneville