The writing was already on the wall, but it looks as if Onkyo actually won’t be pursuing the long lost HD DVD format any longer. According to a Japanese report at Yomiuri Online, the firm will be discontinuing production of HD DVD players following Toshiba’s own decision to abandon the format, but it will continue to provide service for customers that already snapped up the DV-HD805. Interestingly, there was no mention of Onkyo’s plans in regard to Blu-ray, but nevertheless, yet another red supporter has definitely waved its white flag.

Think of this what you will, but we’ll file it in the “believable” bin for now. The Hollywood Reporting is saying that Toshiba could be making a move to drop HD-DVD “in the coming weeks.”

This would be the official death of the format as it is Toshiba’s own format.

Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for Toshiba said, “given the market developments in the past month, Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of its recent price reductions on all HD DVD players.”

Ouch.

Michael Bay Outspoken director Michael Bay is once again singing the praises of Blu-ray, this time in celebration of the recent Blu-ray successes. At the Visual Effects Society’s sixth annual award show, where he presented the award for animated character in a motion picture, he remarked, “Blu-ray’s better, and I told everyone. I was very vocal about it. I knew HD [DVD] was not going to make it.”

Netflix is going in for the kill, threatened by Apple’s recent announcement that they will be providing streaming video via iTunes. So, they’re broadening their horizons, and that may well include streaming video to gaming systems in the not-too-distant future. First, they are changing their service structure to allow you to get all the online rental you can handle for $8.99 a month, and they’re also working it so that you can get their service on the Mac sometime in 2008.

DirecTV has just launched an awesome service that will allow subscribers to schedule DVR recordings from their cell phones. If you have DirecTV and a cell data plan, point your device to m.directv.com to get started.

So far, the only reported compatible device is the HR20-700 DVR, but more support should be added in February.

Where the failed promise of Managed Copy on Blu-ray and HD DVD left us all hanging, Apple, iTunes, and Fox have oddly picked up the pieces. As paradoxically quietly announced at this week’s Jobsnote, the new Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest DVD comes with an included movie file that one can pull off the disc onto their machine — but only by making use of an included code (and a copy of iTunes with a valid account, of course), which ensures the DRM is still there. What’s unclear is whether the movie file is DRMed before being pulled off the disc, or is encrypted specific to one’s account during the process of download from the disc. Ultimately these details won’t change the fact that iTunes Digital Copy is a ripe target for people who wants to legitimately buy their media, yet doesn’t think it should be friggin’ rights managed. Crazy, we know.

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As you all know, Warner Brothers went Blu-Ray, but rumor has it that the WB was rewarded with a fat stack ($500 million!!) of cash money for their choice.

The story goes like this: Warner was seeing its DVD sales slump because of the format war and wanted to end it quickly. They preferred HD-DVD, but going Blu would end it sooner. They gave Toshiba a chance if they could get another Blu-Ray studio to switch.

FOX was apparently lined up, but dropped at the last minute due to a reported $120 million payout by Sony.

So you’re pumped up at the idea of iTunes HD rentals? You want to grab iTunes 7.6 and get the crystal-clear movie-rental goodness? Not so fast: what exactly IS the resolution of these forthcoming High-Definition rentals? Where on earth can you find out just what resolution the movies will be in?

Thankfully, you needn’t look farther Engadget, for they point out that as the AppleTV has not been updated on the hardware front, we can still expect the maximum playable content to be 1280 x 720 pixels. That’s not to say that there will be movies at 1280 x 720 resolution, but if you’re hoping for 1080p content to arrive on your freshly, and freely updated Apple TV that might not be the case.

(Source: TUAW)

So what is it with the “guy tax” that Apple has added to its Apple TV rentals? You know what I mean. Rentals are $3.99 for women, $4.99 for men. See? Look at the picture. Because few women are going to look at that pricing structure and say “Oh wow, honey. Let’s pay a dollar more so that we can enjoy the romance and relationships with better pixel counts.”

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