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Toshiba Making Funeral Plans for HD DVD 452

Posted by Zonk
from the cue-taps dept.
Blue Light Special writes "With HD DVD on life support, Toshiba is reportedly preparing to bow to the inevitable and allow HD DVD to expire quietly. 'While denying that a decision on the fate of HD DVD has been made, a Toshiba marketing exec left the door wide open. "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 our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players," Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products, said.'" A few folks have also noted that Wal-mart is joining the Blu-ray train, further lowering the stock of HD DVD.
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Toshiba Making Funeral Plans for HD DVD

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  • That's a Shame (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thesaint05 (850634) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:18PM (#22436934)
    HD-DVD was cheaper for both players and movies, but I'm glad the format war is officially over. Especially with wal-mart throwing their (considerable) weight behind BD. I just can't stand the fact that Sony won. Oh well. I'm still not buying a BD player until they get sub-$200.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Unfortunately the lower cost never really materialized. All of the "combo discs" were more expensive than their Blu Ray counterparts. I never understood the point of those discs anyways. And Blu Ray was on "sale" for a long time. I have to wonder if Sony lost a bunch of money subsidizing costs just to get a foothold. That said, Sony and the rest of the BD consortium can go die in a fire. I'm not buying their crippled, DRM laden discs. I'm sick of being treated like a theif, when all I want is reasona
      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        I never understood the point of those discs anyways.

        For me at least, those were a bit of a gamble at future proofing. I have an HDTV already, but haven't bought an HD disc player yet. So, when I buy movies I need a DVD version. If I was already out buying the movie on DVD, then I figured I may as well plunk down the extra $5 and get it in a combo format, so that IF I ever ended up getting an HD DVD player, then I wouldn't have to repurchase that movie. If HD DVD looses out and BD wins (which has happened), then I would still have the regular DVD side of

        • Re:That's a Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dogtanian (588974) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:29PM (#22437948) Homepage

          If I was already out buying the movie on DVD, then I figured I may as well plunk down the extra $5 and get it in a combo format [..] Hell I might still get an HD DVD player anyways. I still haven't bought "The 300", and Wal-mart has a player with a bundled copy for $148 right now.
          Yes, but if- as appears almost inevitable now- HD-DVD really has lost the war and is killed off, you're still paying quite a lot of money to watch the few HD-DVD-compatible discs that you already have.

          If you buy more discs, you're investing in a dead-end system, and when your original machine breaks down, you'll likely have to buy a secondhand player in a few years time if you want to keep watching your collection. Which might not have the benefits of newly-built (and Blu-Ray only) hi-def players- and what if you want to use them in your computer(s)?

          And if you end up wanting to watch Blu Ray stuff, you'll end up forking out for that anyway, have two players cluttering up the place and (as above) effectively just be using the HD-DVD player for watching a few discs.

          I'm not saying that you're necessarily wrong though- *if* they sold HD-DVD discs off cheaply enough, this may not matter if you get your money's worth of enjoyment from the system anyway. Particularly if you hadn't planned on buying Blu-Ray at present.

          Oh, and remember that the "worth" of a movie is the minimum of either (a) the most you'd be willing to pay for it and (b) the lowest price you can get it for without too many drawbacks. So perhaps it's "worth" $30 based on the RRP, but what's its real worth? Then again, $30 doesn't sound too bad to me, so forget this last paragraph :-)
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Lumpy (12016)
        Amen brother.

        I also will not be Buying a Blu Ray player, ever.

        I WILL buy a blu Ray pc drive and a new upgrade to AnyDVD. you see my HDTV set is too old to have HDCP, blu Ray players will not output 720p,1080i on component output on discs that have the copy protection flag set. This happens to be almost all the discs available. so my only recourse is to take the blu Ray disc, CRACK it and re-encode the disc to a more compatible DivxHD format I can play on my media center PC that display's 1080i perfectly.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Ucklak (755284)
          Hey, this is Slashdot.
          When you boast of a Zenith DVD player that upscales nicely, please indicate the model number.
      • Poor execution (Score:2, Interesting)

        by TheAxeMaster (762000)
        They should have pushed the combo discs harder via advertising. I think people would have taken to the idea that they could buy a combo disc (for the same price as a standard HD DVD, eat a little profit there guys) and use it in their DVD player right now and in their HD DVD player when they were cheap enough (like now). But few people knew about them or what they were and they were rarely on the shelves. They made several marketing errors with the format (no v2 xbox360 with HD DVD built in being another) a
        • Poor advertising (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HTH NE1 (675604)
          HD DVD had pretty ineffective advertising for the format.

          While Blu-ray has ads that put the format up front and show you multiple movies you can get for the format, HD DVD ads are mostly ads for a single movie, available on DVD and HD DVD. The only ad you could say was an ad for the HD DVD format itself focused far too much on characters of Shrek, and the characters were actually complaining about the superior quality of the picture, either for Donkey's dragon girlfriend looking too big and scaly or Gingie
    • well considering that bluray isn't solely controlled or developped by sony yes, Sony won, just like they did with CDs, Playstation (2). everyone has a hate-on for sony in this argument ignoring the many others who had a hand in creating bluray. rather than Toshiba/MS's HD-DVD. to buy an HD-DVD player you had to buy toshiba, go blu, you can go sony, panasonic, samsung, LG, etc. etc. etc.
    • by Sciros (986030)
      I wish the "war" kept going because now it will take that much longer for a PROPER "next-gen" format (high-capacity flash cards) to take over. A big honkin DVD (even high capacity) is still way worse than a more durable, smaller medium. In not too long I think people will, instead of taking a DVD booklet to a friend's, will just grab a handful of 32-Gb SD cards, each with an HD movie or two. It would be so much more convenient (compare taking a bunch of Xbox games with you vs. a bunch of DS games).
    • by Like2Byte (542992)
      Yeah, I was shopping around for a new TV and couldn't decide to go DB or HD. I saw the prices of the players and thought, "Way too much."

      Then, as I was passing the Games section I noticed the PS3 consoles. It had BD. It was $40 more than the player alone.


      1080i HD TV - Check
      BD player - Check
      PS3 Games - Check

      Sitting in my underwear at 2am playing Motorstorm 2 - Priceless!
    • by Ngarrang (1023425)

      HD-DVD was cheaper for both players and movies, but I'm glad the format war is officially over. Especially with wal-mart throwing their (considerable) weight behind BD. I just can't stand the fact that Sony won. Oh well. I'm still not buying a BD player until they get sub-$200.
      They were only cheaper because Toshiba was trying to win the standard via a price war, but not enough people bought them, even at half the price.
    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      I just can't stand the fact that Sony won.
      Not to sound like a troll or anything, but do you have a specific reason for resentment of Sony's victory? Or just a generalized bias against them due to the BMG/rootkit thing, viral marketing, faulty batteries, etc?
    • Is porno available on Blu Ray?
      That was supposed to be the deciding factor: which format the "Adult Entertainment" industry adopted.
    • Blu-Ray != Sony (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheAngryIntern (785323) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:53PM (#22438318)
      I'm so sick of people assuming Blu-Ray = Sony. Look it up people, Sony is one of 9 founding companies, one of 18 companies on the Board of Directors and one of over 250 companies total in the Blu-Ray Association. Sony was just the most visible member of Blu-Ray since they have the most to gain or lose, so they have been pushing it the hardest. If you don't like Sony, then get a Samsung, or LG or Pioneer or some other Blu-Ray player. I'm not a big fan of Sony either, but I'm tired of people saying "I hate Blu-Ray cuz I hate Sony" or "I'm pissed that Sony won" Yes, Sony won, but so did 250 other companies and us consumers in general now that we'll have one format. sheesh, you anti-Sony guys are almost as bad as Apple fanboys!
      • Re:Blu-Ray != Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

        by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday February 15, 2008 @05:02PM (#22439338)
        Sony is rumored to be the one bankrolling most of the big money expenditures (including the recent advertising campaign and some of the studio payoffs). They also get a significantly larger chunk of the blu-ray licensing fees than the other BDA members, since they developed much of the actual technology behind the spec.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrXym (126579)
      HD DVD was only cheaper for players because Toshiba massively subsidized players. So yeah they were "cheaper" but in reality Toshiba was taking the hit. I think Toshiba's plan was to subsidize the early adopters and hope that technology and economies of scale caught up by the time they had already won. The BDA's plan was to sell stuff at the price it cost with prices dropping as technology and sales increased. In the end Toshiba's strategy failed - Blu Ray players were still outselling HD DVD players 2 to 1
  • Betamax,Laser Disc,Minidisc, DIVX rentals, and now HD DVD. When will tech companies learn that everyone wants one standard and that these wars usually end poorly for someone. You would think that by now they would learn to all cooperate and back one product, thus making it cheaper for the consumer and getting thier product into more households.
    • by irtza (893217) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:26PM (#22437046) Homepage
      Wasn't Sony on the wrong side of all these battles? What gives? Sony may actually win a standards war? What's next, other companies will use memory stick?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Beau6183 (899597)
      Without competing standards new innovations and price wars would never happen. Wars like these are only to the benefit of the consumer...
    • by Kjella (173770)

      When will tech companies learn that everyone wants one standard and that these wars usually end poorly for someone. You would think that by now they would learn to all cooperate and back one product,
      I guess this is one of those inverse Occam's razor moments, don't mistake ignorance for lusting after a bigger piece of the pie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      This war was not about consumers, it had nothing to do with people in any way. It was about licensing fees. MS wanted to secure it's hold on MPAA DRM contracts (see Netflix explanation on why they can't offer Linux or Mac streaming yet to understand this) and Sony wanted to increase PS3 sales and ensure their home theatre setups did not get encroached on by Toshiba.

      On top of that the per disk money Sony and/or Microsoft gets for the "interactive" portions.

      This was a war about money and control, the consumer
  • by framauro13 (1148721) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:23PM (#22437010)
    Had I not received a PS3 as a gift, I probably would have went HD DVD. But given the circumstances, I'm glad (and suprised) that the choice will eventually only be one single format.

    Hopefully I'll soon be able to get all of my favorite movies in high definition, not just the particular ones owned by production companies who signed specific format deals.

    A lot of people won't be happy about it, but I've gotta admit I'm impressed with how Sony marketing pulled this off. I definitely didn't see it ending this way.
  • It's done. I guess Sony had to have a successful format eventually.
    • by tepples (727027) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .selppet.> on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:27PM (#22437068) Homepage Journal

      I guess Sony had to have a successful format eventually.
      The ubiquitous Compact Disc Digital Audio format was developed by Sony and Philips. The variants of Sony's Betacam format (not Betamax) have enjoyed long periods of success in the broadcast industry. And the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 video game formats outsold their contemporary competition.
      • by Anubis350 (772791)
        yah, there's a reason everyone called a portable cd player a "discman" when it was sony's brand name. They could have pulled it off with mp3 I think too, had they not crippled all the devices because of Sony's media arm.
  • by pavon (30274) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:25PM (#22437030)
    So does that involve excess stock being quietly disposed of in an Alamagordo, NM landfill?
  • by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:26PM (#22437052)
    Their competition is called Blu-Ray. It's shorter to say, it has the word "Ray" in it (which is awesome), sounds new and different from DVDs, and even has a "cool" misspelling of a word. It's the same reason Yahoo! will never succeed - people simply like saying "Google" too much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      As silly as what the you said may sound, its would actually make a lot of sense for something as simple as an outrageous/uncommon name might be a key factor of success. However, I also have a slight notion that the tables might possibly have been turned if only the xbox360 had come standard with HD-DVD as the PS3 did with blu ray. In this stage its all a guessing game, whats done is done. Honestly until we $100 blu ray players at walmart, and blu-ray movies that don't cost 50-75% more than their DVD coun
  • Ew... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:26PM (#22437054) Journal
    Does that mean Sony now rules what will probably become the next main data format? The world just began sucking a lot more.

    Oh well, I'm not all that interested until the players (and the televisions) drop to a reasonable price. Oh, and easy-to-do piracy is another must on my list! ;)

    • Re:Ew... (Score:5, Informative)

      by samkass (174571) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:38PM (#22437248) Homepage Journal
      Does that mean Sony now rules what will probably become the next main data format?

      Not really. Sony isn't even the majority patent holder in Blu-ray, they're just the most visible proponent of the format and have sold a few million of the players.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        they're just the most visible proponent of the format and have sold a few million of the players.

        Ten million this week, actually. Say what you want, but sacrificing most of the poularity of the PlayStation brand they pretty much singlehandedly delivered that one. Ten million Blu-Ray players are great, but I can't see them satisfied with the market share of 20% in next-gen consoles. This week the numbers are completely into la-la land for Wii selling 450000 units and more than three times the 360 sales, but even in a normal week Wii > PS3+360. And it's still Nintendo maxing their capacity (1.8mio/4

        • Re:Ew... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by samkass (174571) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:58PM (#22438400) Homepage Journal
          I can't see them satisfied with the market share of 20% in next-gen consoles

          The Wii is doing great, but the PS3 has been picking up quite a bit of steam. The XBox360 is also doing great in the US, but not so much elsewhere. Sony got broadsided early on, but has been surprisingly competitive as of late.

          I think the interesting thing is that the Wii is selling to a lot of people who would probably never, no matter how Sony would have priced, packaged or marketed it, bought a PS3. Thus, the Wii is increasing the size of the total market, which isn't all bad for Sony. Also, the Wii is cheap enough that for those would WOULD buy one of the other consoles, it's not necessarily an either/or decision-- many can buy a Wii AND a PS3.
    • by qoncept (599709)
      Optical storage's days are numbered. Flash memory and fast internet connections are making it worthless. I see On Demand or Pay Per View or whatever you want to call it as the way movies will be watched in 5 years. Someone (not Apple) will take what NetFlix does and do it right.
    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      Does that mean Sony now rules what will probably become the next main data format?
      No more than they rule the Compact Disc formats.
    • Re:Ew... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Charcharodon (611187) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:13PM (#22438610)
      1 button easy pirating (fair use or Yarrrrrr!) has been available since practically the beginning for both HD DVD and Blu-Ray, it's called AnyDVD HD by Slysoft.

      You can use it to rip or just simply to disable HDCP so that the disc will play on your non-DRM ready hardware at full resolution.

      The downside to ripping is HD movies are 25gb vs 5gb for a DVD, and you'll need to find a software player that can handle HD content since most media players wont.

  • Packing the PS3 with a blu-ray drive did pay off. It was probably the main reason that Blu-Ray won out - none of the other Blu-Ray players have had much chance in market penetration.

    The only thing that bugs me about this development is that it's a Sony product and I don't like supporting Sony's attempts to lock their users into their products. Then again, I also believe that Sony will only have a few years of profiting from being the next-gen DVD standard - downloadable content should slowly take over withi
    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:43PM (#22437360) Homepage

      Then again, I also believe that Sony will only have a few years of profiting from being the next-gen DVD standard - downloadable content should slowly take over within the next few years.
      In the market space Blu-Ray is in? I doubt it, those 50GB discs are a broadband killer and I think they just bought themselves more time on top of the DVD, which hasn't been significantly threatened either....
      • I doubt that online movies will clock in at 50GB. Right now, most people I know don't even know what Hi-Def actually looks like... my girlfriend is convinced that shows "Girls Next Door" are Hi-Def because her TV is able to do 480P. Nevermind what the signal is, nor what the compression is (and DirecTV compression can be ugly).

        I expect movie downloads will be like mp3s: everybody knows that there is better quality out there, but only a few audio/video-philes really care. The massive convenience of not havin
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm glad blu ray has won.

    My point of view: I don't watch movies. I don't even own a television. What format is better for movies and TV doesn't matter to me.

    What does matter for me, however, is being able to use a re-writable form of the media for making backups. HD-DVD only offered 15 gigabytes of storage; Blu-Ray offers 25 gigabytes of storage.

    Now that a format is decided on, economies of scale can kick in and, in a few years, blu-ray blank media will be as cheap as DVD media is right now (I just bough
  • Am I the only one? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Friday February 15, 2008 @02:33PM (#22437160)
    Am I the only one who doesn't give a damn one way or the other?

    At least Blu-Ray rolls off the tounge easier. And yes, I'm convinced that's at least part of the reason it won.
    • Am I the only one who doesn't give a damn one way or the other?
      Nope. I don't give a shit, either. I was planning to purchase one or the other when the dust settled and a winner emerged. Looks like we're just about there.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cjb658 (1235986)
      Blu-Ray causes less confusion too. I went to Best Buy with my mother and we were looking at DVDs. She picked up an HD-DVD and I said "that won't work with your DVD player." "Why not?" she said. "I have an HDTV and a DVD player, so I can play HD-DVDs, right?" "You mean I need an HD-DVD player too?" Imagine how hard it will be to tell her she needs an HDCP-compliant TV as well.
  • by sadler121 (735320)
    How fast until BD+ is cracked?
  • Hatred of companies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jsheedy (772604)
    I really find it hard to understand why everyone hates Sony. Yes they did have the rootkit scandal that was not right at all. Though, how many times in your own company have you not agreed with how it handles things. I am in a software company, and they try things that are questionable at times. Really, different sides of the company, may not even know what the other sides are doing (that is wrong too, but when you are a peon, you are just glad to be working). I am not at all saying this is right, but
  • If only the media companies would let those of us stuck with HD-DVD discs because of this crap exchange them for the cost of the media... and not pay the damn royalties, etc again.

  • In this war I didn't WANT there to be a winner. I was hoping both camps would be forced to accomodate to an ongoing market share tug-of-war, while consumers owned hybrid players and weren't locked into EITHER format, and could choose whichever suited them. Movie studios would release movies on whichever they wanted, or could do double-sided discs (HDDVD on one side, Blu-Ray on the other) and release them in both formats, like music albums were released on cassette as well as CD for many years.

    Now that Son

    • by Buran (150348)
      Your ideal dual-release idea would have instead continued stifling choice for many years. You'll still be able to get movies in your choice of SD or HD for a long time, so no need to throw out your DVD player, but this either-or universe of this format vs. that format for HD releases had to stop. It was holding up adoption of HD, and why should we continue to have TVs capable of hi-res stuck with crappy upscaled SD (yes, I can tell the difference quite easily even on a 32" TV) for the foreseeable future bec
  • If Toshiba (and other HD-DVD losers) let people invoke their warranty to get free transcripts of their HD-DVD to Blu-Ray, then they'd keep a lot of their customer. Offer a discount on tradein for a Blu-Ray player if they ship ther HD-DVD player back with their discs to be transcribed, and Toshiba could turn a disastrous loss into a way to keep a lot more customers despite picking the losing side.
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:00PM (#22437568)
    Otherwise all those HD-DVD movies people have bought would be useless and a waste of money. As it is, they can just rip those high def movies to their hard drives.
  • I'm still considering picking up a second HD DVD drive for the XBOX 360 for use on my computers so I don't have to move the one I have around and risk damaging it. I've already invested in many HD DVD releases, most of them exclusively released to HD DVD, and am now reaping the benefits of 50% sales on more titles. A discounted drive that I can use on a computer, AACS keys disclosed, another five HD DVDs free... I'm even reconsidering purchasing HD titles I already have on DVD.

    Meanwhile there are still stud
  • Silver lining (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The-Bus (138060) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:19PM (#22437826)
    I supported the HD DVD format while it was viable (until WB pulled out). The silver lining is that the competition between the formats made hardware very, very cheap. Less than 18 months into the launch of both formats, we had HD DVD players go for ridiculously low sums. Blu-Ray backers didn't counter with matching prices, but they did drop the prices of their players (to sub-$500 levels). Software, too, became a bit cheaper. In-store, non-web pricing of high-def media was usually $29-$39, a good two- or three-fold increase over the regular DVD price. In 2007, especially in the summer and fall, there were numerous great deals on Blu-Ray discs. For every sale on HD DVD media, there were 4 or 5 on Blu-Ray: buy one, get one frees, etc. This was a smart move, as it lowered the cost of entry for people who had PS3s and honestly weren't too excited about the new formats. Now instead of paying $10 or $15 more at the store, the price difference would be $5 or less.

    Of course, the counter-part to this was the whole confusion between the rival formats and a lot of people who cashed into a new format weeks before its demise. But, even if HD DVD is dead, the discs and players still work.
  • by CritterNYC (190163) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:41PM (#22439048) Homepage
    The format war is over, unfortunately, Blu-Ray is far from ready for general consumer adoption. Profile 2.0 players, the players that actually do everything they are supposed to (and everything that even low-end HD DVD players did), are few and far between... not to mention very expensive when they are found. The standalone Blu-Ray players pretty much universally suck. They're woefully underpowered to do things like load the Java VM which is required for viewing many newer Blu-Ray discs (Disney's newer discs like Pirates of the Caribbean and Ratatouille take a full 2 minutes just to load on most standalone players). And the machines by some companies are so buggy that there's already been a class action lawsuit.

    The only Blu-Ray player even worth considering for consumers is the PS3. But then you're stuck with a big game console instead of just a standalone movie player, which is what many people really want.

    I had bought a Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD player for $159. Feature complete. Booted to drawer open in under 30 seconds. Loaded all movies in under 30 seconds. Did everything I needed (my TV has fine 3:2 pulldown so 1080i out is all I needed). And it came with 10 movies. Even now, there's really no equivalent on the Blu-Ray side. No standalone 2.0 player that isn't dog-slow.

    When Warner switched, I simply stopped buying HD content. Most of my friends that were buying HD DVDs did the same thing. Sure, I may buy into Blu-Ray eventually. But it looks like it's gonna be a while before it's capable of doing what it should.
    • If you just want to watch movie (most people do) any Blu-Ray player will do (yes, Samsung fixed the problem that lawsuit as around where a few discs would not play).

      If you want to be able to shop FROM YOUR disc a specialized web store based on the movie you just watched - well then, may God have mercy on your soul.

      HD-DVD had all kinds of cool internet features - that hardly anyone used more than to show it could be done.

      Oh yeah, I forgot the other hot thing you can do with internet access from your movie pl
  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:51PM (#22439172)
    If it's a commercial failure, then why bury it. Just make the spec, tools, etc. free without license. There's a huge market for a low-cost high-capacity storage and video medium. Toshiba could make HD-DVD free to everyone. Blu-Ray can't beat that. Sure, the MPAA members will only ship Blu-Ray, but if it costs nothings to add to your drive, why wouldn't a vendor throw it on top just because. Home video and amateur cinematographers will have a reasonable format for producing, sharing, and storing footage, there'll be an HD replacement for VHS, and the cost for the blank media will plummet.

    Then let's see who wins in the long run. Toshiba can still ship HD-DVD recorders, media, etc. Being fully open, the platform will reach every corner that Blu-Ray doesn't, by design. Blu-Ray is a very consumer-hostile format as-is; it's designed to limit the medium. Toshiba should give up not by burying it, but by becoming the antithesis of its competitor.

1: No code table for op: ++post