It feels kind of strange to be posting in the Blu-Ray forum area. For the record, though I have been an HD-DVD owner exclusively for the past year, I was very careful about coming out against Blu-Ray. As with the official stand Home Theater Forum is taking in this format war, my bias towards either format is neutral. To date, I still see no clear winner and my comments in this post should not be misinterpreted as being biased in any way. Honestly, a year after both HD formats have launched, I had no intention of getting into Blu-Ray, though a certain movie just announced exclusively to that format would have forced me to buy in the next few months. More on that in a moment. For me, this format war came down to price. I jumped into HD-DVD because of the cost. I could not justify spending twice the amount for a Blu-Ray player compared to HD-DVD. It was my intention to eventually buy into BR, but I was not going to do so until hardware prices came down to the $300 level and/or there was a "killer app" software title released that I needed to own exclusive to the BR studios. This brings me to my decision to swallow the BLUE pill.... The folks from Panasonic and the Blu-Ray studios (Sony, Fox, Lions Gate and Disney) were extremely gracious to all the HTF/BITS/TVSHOWSONDVD attendees at EMA this year. Each of us have been promised a complimentary Panasonic BR player. Obviously, the studios and manufacturers hoped that members who did not already own BR players would come on the forum and start talking about their newly acquired format. Count me in as one of them who will be doing just that. Don't think, however, that any of us have been bought with this gift. In my case, this is just another HD player that gives me additional title purchasing options. I fully expect the picture quality to be just as good as HD-DVD and over the course of time I will be able to determine on my own if one format is better than the other. I should mention that all of the formentioned attendees also received free HD-DVD players from Toshiba, Universal and the HD-DVD group. I don't expect there to be any bias shown based on whom gave us what. Though we are grateful to both camps for the generosity they have shown, this format war isn't about which studio is looking to give away the most product. Getting back to the subject at hand... So, as I stated, it's rather strange that in 4-6 weeks I am going to own my first Blu-Ray player and will be able to join all of you in discussing my experiences. I feel as if for the longest time I have had to ignore the Blu-Ray member conversations merely for the fact I didn't own a player. The studios gave all of us some great titles (9 in all) including The Fifth Element (Remastered), Crank, Pirates of the Caribbean DMC, Alien vs. Predator, Ice Age II and others that I can't think of off the top of my head. I just went online and ordered The Patriot and Casino Royale, so you know I am serious about buying more titles. I'll also admit that at the same time I purchased 300 and Twilight Zone: The Movie on HD-DVD because I want to keep things equal. But here's the real SELL of the format for me that I was teasing you about a few paragraphs above... If I wasn't part of the group receiving complimentary players, it was the announcement of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind exclusively to Blu-Ray that would have pushed me into buying the format within the next few months. You see, I have always said this from day one of the format war.... You want to win this format war? You need to win it with software. Outside of a few new releases, I was never impressed with the Blu-Ray titles being released. It was as if the studios were playing it way too safe. If Blu-Ray keeps releasing films like CE3K or Universal releases Jurassic Park or Back To The Future, you will probably see the scales tip more in favor of one format from film enthusiasts. The average consumer, however, is walking around on their own "wavelength" so you never know how they will decide. Do you realize how many Blu-Ray players would be sold tomorrow if Lucas decided to release Star Wars to that format? I look forward to becoming an owner of Blu-Ray and joining all of you in future conversation. Just don't expect me to immediately declare a preference in this war because there are so many good and (fewer) bad points about each format that makes me realize that I am just going to concentrate on enjoying films on both players.