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The party for HD DVD is over, literally

Warner leaves the HD DVD consortium, so HD DVD cancels its CES party.

War is hell, particularly when you want to schedule cocktail parties.

The HD DVD Promotional Group had scheduled a cocktail party and a press conference this Sunday evening in Las Vegas to tout the "progress" it has made in high definition video and the ongoing format war with the Blu-ray consortium.

On Friday, however, the group sent out a note terminating the event because Warner Home Video earlier in the day said it would switch exclusively to the Blu-ray format.

"Based on the timing of the Warner Home Video announcement today, we have decided to postpone our CES 2008 press conference. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause," the cancellation read. "We are currently discussing the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluating next steps. We believe the consumer continues to benefit from HD DVD's commitment to quality and affordability--a bar that is critical for the mainstream success of any format."

The original invite was a lot more upbeat:

"Please join us as we present exciting news and a sneak peak at what's to come for 2008," it read, "featuring executives from the HD DVD Promotional Group: Intel, Microsoft, Paramount Home Entertainment, Toshiba, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, and Warner Home Video."

Warner leaving the group probably wasn't the exciting sneak peek they had in mind. But you have to wonder, why cancel? Was Warner bringing the food? Springing for the drinks? If they had any guts, the remaining members could have bought a keg and held a party in the parking lot.

We've all faced rejection, and the way to deal with it is to get shamelessly drunk and loud in public, after all. Where did these people learn their manners? The upside is that you will probably see a lot of derelicts walking around the strip with "HD DVD 2008" shoulder bags that they found in a dumpster.

The cancellation also marks two bad CESes in a row for Toshiba. Last year, the company abruptly canceled plans to show off its SED TVs at the show. Subsequently, it tossed responsibility for SED to Canon.

Ironically, HD DVD players have outsold standalone Blu-ray players. At Ceatec last October, Blu-ray execs said that their group would become more aggressive in late 2007 in promoting the format and try to gain an advantage by the first quarter of 2008.