The future is streaming, there's no doubt in this. It's cheaper and more easily accessible with tons of new content to watch every day. But even with such a huge variety of content backlog to watch, there's still many television shows and movies throughout history which aren't available for streaming on any of the main streaming sites. Some of those shows and movies are found on DVDs and HD DVDs, or they were up to a point before they stopped being produced.
Assuming that your favorite show is no longer made it can be difficult to find it and that in turn can drive up the price quite a bit since there is more demand than supply. This has made people pay a lot of money to get those rare discs and sets. These are those HD DVDs and DVDs which are the most valuable.
With that being said does that mean that all HD DVDs are valuable? Are they worth anything at all?
Some HD DVDs are valuable and worth quite a bit but that is normally the exception rather than the rule. If there is extremely high demand for a specific HD DVD and you can’t find it anywhere then it will certainly be worth a lot. However for just general movies or TV shows that were produced on HD DVDs they are not worth anymore than normal and are often worth less.
The reason why HD DVDs are not worth a lot is quite simply that there is no modern player that they will work on. HD DVDs were discontinued in 2008 and all the players that played them were discontinued at that time as well. HD DVDs will not play on a normal DVD or Blu-Ray player (unless you have a combo unit) so there is much less demand for HD DVDs than there is for normal DVDs or Blu-Rays.
Often the only people who are interested in buying HD DVDs are those who don’t understand what they are or people who are collectors of a specific movie or TV show.
Why did HD DVDs become practically worthless?
It's well known that HD DVDs are now virtually worthless (unless you have a rare one as mentioned above). But the history of how they became worthless is very interesting, especially because it involves a war between them and Blu-rays. When both these formats went to war then different companies took sides with one format or the other. Some movie studios produced both of the formats but it wasn't very cost-effective or efficient. So they were ultimately put in a dilemma. This dilemma was also faced by retail stores as they tried to decide whether they would dedicate valuable space to both the formats or only one of them. Overall, the consensus was that one way or the other, only one was going to prevail.
HD DVDs vs Blu-rays
By 2007, Blu-rays were doing well. While the sales of Blu-ray players weren't very high, Sony's idea of including a Blu-Ray disc player in its PS3 helped the format gain popularity. As such the gap between the popularity of Blu-Rays and HD DVDs increased quite a bit. But HD-DVDs didn't give up right then.
Studios like DreamWorks and Paramount declared that they would keep on producing content just exclusively in the HD-DVD format, but in the end it wasn't enough. Blu-ray gained another victory when the popular Blockbuster Video Stores went on to just exclusively rent the Blu-ray discs in their HD movie selection. This was followed by retail mega outlet Target who stopped carrying the HD-DVD disc players entirely. Instead, they just reserved space for the Blu-ray players.
The final nail in the HD DVD coffin
But HD-DVD fans still had hope. After all, Toshiba's HD-DVD machines were still a lot cheaper than the dedicated Blu-ray players. The cheaper price gave the supporters of HD-DVDs some hope but it wasn't going to last very long. Quite quickly this shifting to Blu-Ray format began in full force. By January 2008, the winner was clear. The final nail in the coffin was when Warner Bros. Productions announced that it would be switching exclusively to the Blu-Ray format and had dropped HD-DVDs entirely.
Warner Bros. was the final nail because after that just two companies were still backing the HD-DVD format- Paramount and Universal. Paramount had an exit clause in their agreement that if Warner Bros. stopped producing HD-DVD content, so could they. With Universal, their exclusivity agreement had just expired.
Finally, when mega-retailer Walmart announced that it would just keep Blu-ray electronics and movies in its stores Toshiba conceded the war to the worthy victor, Blu-rays in February 2007. Toshiba announced that it would finally stop producing HD-DVD machines by March as well.
The HD DVD and Blu-ray format war certainly saw only one victor. But people who invested in their HD-DVD collection are still able to take solace in the fact that Blu-Rays have never been able to unseat the regular DVD either.
Which Movies sell for a high price?
Although most HD-DVDs (and used DVDs and Blu-Rays) are basically worthless there are some that still sell for very high prices. Some examples of these movies that are in high demand and command a premium price are:
Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection
Friday the 13th has a very dedicated fanbase and those fanbases try to get the best versions of their favorite movies even if it means buying the same movie multiple times. This Friday the 13th set has sold online for $279.99 and it includes all the movies in the franchise along with an exclusive book and a Camp Crystal Lake patch.
The Killer, Criterion Collection
John Woo’s The Killer. While this set very quickly went out of print, you can still find the Criterion HD-DVD or DVD for sale online. The last time one went up for sale on eBay, it sold for $199.99. But if you want something cheaper, then you can get the Blu-ray disc of the movie on Amazon for less than $10.
Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box
Arrow Video has released many highly coveted box sets throughout the years. This limited edition was called "The Scarlet Box" and was released in 2016. The set came with the first three Hellraiser movies, extras, and an exclusive 200-page book. It retailed for $124.95 but you will have to pay up to $230 right now online to get it.
MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge Vol. 4 & 5
This mid-2000s Spike TV series took clips from the Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle and overdubbed them in the snarky English language commentary. The DVD and HD-DVD version of this recently went for $197.95 on eBay.
The History of Beavis and Butt-Head
In 2002, MTV made a DVD called The History of Beavis and Butt-Head. But it wasn't a complete collection, it just had some cherry-picked episodes which were chosen completely without the show creator Mike Judge’s input. As Judge has "absolute approval rights" over any Beavis and Butt-Head DVD or HD-DVD releases he used his power to have the set cancelled. But before he could do so, a few of the copies got out into the wild and became a collector's fantasy. One recently sold on eBay for $225.
This was a crowd-funded cult movie that was only released on Blu-Ray as a gift for the people who donated to the Kickstarter for the film, to get the movie made. Those Blu-Rays can now fetch a very hefty price on eBay which can be around $250 or more. Keep in mind that Kung Fury is just 30 minutes long.
Most HD-DVDs are worthless but if you happen to have one of the above titles or the few other ones that are incredibly popular with collectors then you might be able to make some money by selling them. Since HD-DVDs are not manufactured anymore and most of the titles that were on HD-DVD were also on regular DVD and Blu-Ray then the likelihood of the value of these HD-DVDs going up is slim to none.
If you have some HD-DVDs that you watch then feel free to enjoy them but they are not a good investment in regards to possibly gaining value in the future.