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Next DVD Format War Still Wide Open 253

Posted by Zonk
from the going-to-have-to-buy-fifth-element-again dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite the wishes of partisan players like Sony and Toshiba, many consumer electronics manufacturers are opting to support both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs in upcoming media players." From the article: "Consumer electronics maker LG Electronics and PC maker Fujitsu-Siemens both said on Thursday they would keep their options open after computer giant Hewlett-Packard said last month it would back HD DVD as well as Blu-ray. Bjorn Sehrm, senior director Digital Home of Fujitsu-Siemens, told Reuters: 'We are planning to put both in. We don't take a stand in that fight, and actually we're very sorry that fight is happening.'
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Next DVD Format War Still Wide Open

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  • by babbling (952366) on Friday March 10, 2006 @09:59AM (#14890182)
    Xvid files can be put on any storage device/media! Furthermore, they have a greater reaching compatibility: you can play them on Linux, Mac, Windows, and many DVD players. If a device doesn't support your Xvid file, there are free tools (mencoder) [mplayerhq.hu] available that let you re-encode it into almost any other format and codec.

    The unfortunate part is that you can't buy these superior Xvid files, because none of the companies that sell TV shows are willing to sell such a great product. Luckily, "torrent sites" have filled the gap in the market. They're against the law (assuming copyrighted content, that is...), but superior.
  • by limabone (174795) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:03AM (#14890214)
    I have a DVD player (OPPO Digital OPDV971H) that does a really good job of upsampling a dvd to HDTV quality (up to 1080p I believe, although my tv doesn't support it). It all depends on the quality of the DVD itself, but the better the DVD transfer, the better it looks. I have a 60" Sony LCD and upsampled movies look fantastic. Good transfers like Sin City, or Finding Nemo for example look gorgeous.
    You can buy an upsampling DVD player at your local electronics store for a tenth of the price of a blu-ray or hd dvd player, and then you can sit on the sidelines and watch the current format war wage, and save yourself some money.
  • by kmankmankman2001 (567212) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:40AM (#14890448)
    It does NOT transform a DVD into HD quality. Upconverting from 480i to anything doesn't make it HD anymore than does slapping a snazzy body kit on a Yugo make it suddenly drive like an Aston-Martin. You are still saddled with the limitations of the original, 480i, source material. The promise of HD DVD formats is that the source is actually high quality from the start.

    That said I won't be buying one for quite a while as I think it's going to be a long, stupid, battle until one format finally emerges as a 'standard'. Until then I'll keep outputting 480i over HDMI from my Pio 79avi into my Pio 1130 and let the PDP do the heavy lifting for upscaling. It's pretty good but no comparison to REAL HD.

    In the meantime I don't expect M$ and others to sit idly by. With the continuing drop in HDD prices and the advent of near plug & play connectivity it's quite conceivable that HTPC's could move into the current DVD space and pre-recorded hard-drives and/or download-on-demand for true HD content could make the whole format debate irrelevant. I'd certainly prefer not to cede M$ yet another potential monopoly position but the idiot$ letting this format war continue don't seem to understand that the clock is ticking.
  • Re:Who wins? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dusik (239139) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:45AM (#14890488) Homepage
    >> "Although I heard blu ray is supposed to have some heavy polymer that prevents scratching, how much will your fingerprint or speck of dust stop the player from reading properly."

    They actually came out with a new polymer covering for the Blu-Ray that's highly scratch-resistant. They did a demo a while back trying to jam a screwdriver into the disk and it was still fine. It's really quite an improvement.

    >> "how much will your fingerprint or speck of dust stop the player from reading properly."

    Possibly, but on the other hand that's not permanent damage :)
  • by elrous0 (869638) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:47AM (#14890500)
    You can put a DRM wrapper on any type of file you want.

    No you can't, smartass, because Xvid is open-source under a GNU GPL license. That means you couldn't wrap the format in any DRM format which restricts its open-source nature. In other words: Use Xvid, can't use DRM.

    End of story.

    -Eric

  • Re:Who wins? (Score:2, Informative)

    by dusik (239139) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:55AM (#14890552) Homepage
    >> "I'm still waiting for the TV thing to die down, HD or not HD, Plasma or LCD (plus now there is a new one to the flat TV line-up isn't there?)."

    Yeah, there's SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display) coming out fairly soon (probably 2007). That's basically flat CRT, with each pixel being an individual mini electron emitter (a la LCD).
  • Re:DVD -- schmevedee (Score:3, Informative)

    by fossa (212602) <pat7 @ g m x . net> on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:13AM (#14890668) Journal

    You do know the resolution of a printed book is an order of magnitude greater than any screen, yes?

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:20AM (#14890709)
    Depends on the algorithm.

    My old set created extra horizontal and vertical lines that were halfway between the surrounding real lines. So if you had

    blk|wht|blu
    blk|wht|blu
    red|wht|blu

    it would upsample to

    blk|gry|wht|ltb|blu
    blk|gry|wht|ltb|blu
    blk|gry|wht|ltb|blu
    dkr|rgr|wht|ltb|blu
    red|pnk|wht|ltb|blu

    The result was seamless video that looked excellent.
  • by hotani (166671) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:26AM (#14890745) Homepage
    That was the original plan of HD-DVD, to be a better compression format of HD quality movies to fit on a normal (AKA: red laser) DVD. Actually, a format called EVD already exists [lsilogic.com] in China which does just that, but we'll never see it over here. Apparently the disks would be playable in current computer DVD drives as long as you had the software. Good going HD-DVD and Blu Ray for not jumping on THAT, sheesh - that would be so bad for business if people could get higher quality movies without having to also buy another $600 player!

    There are HD files floating around out there [mvgroup.org], lots of really good Discovery channel and BBC shows in 1280x720 XviD format that look great and *surprise!* they are 700MB files (for a roughly 40 minute show) that will fit on a standard CD.
  • by aaronl (43811) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:43AM (#14890852) Homepage
    You need to go learn how the GPL works. First, it protects the code, not the content. Second, someone certainly could hack code into Xvid that would do DRM against a TCPM chip or whatnot for a key. They would have to make that code available, but that won't really help you to get around it, because they wouldn't have to make the keys available.

    More important, as the other poster said, you could always simply use a different container, that included DRM, and drop Xvid and AC3 into it. You can embed Xvid into a Matroska container, or an MPEG4 container, etc... why not something proprietary? Now you have DRM, you've used Xvid, and you don't have to release anything to anyone.
  • by RandyOo (61821) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:00PM (#14891990) Homepage
    That's a really good idea! I guess that's probably why they did something like that [wikipedia.org] when they designed the CD and DVD formats. Do a little bit of reading, and I think you'll be impressed. Actually, without the error correction technology, the tiniest speck of dust would completely freeze your video or music.
    After re-reading your post, it sounds like you're suggesting an additional layer of redundancy, but with the way the discs are encoded with error correction right now, an unrecoverable scratch would probably take out the backup, too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:15PM (#14892828)
    I was really looking forward to this technology...and would have bought in the first month if not for the format wars...and now they have made it even worse with HDCP.

    Excuse me, but I dropped 3 Grand on an HDTV 3 years ago and do not feel like tossing it (or running it at a ridiculously low resolution) because of another draconian move on the part of the MPAA. Forget it. I'm out. The cash will go to Fidelity instead of Sony.
  • by benwaggoner (513209) <ben,waggoner&microsoft,com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @08:42PM (#14895644) Homepage
    I seem to keep posting this message :).

    Reach around. You'll find it's a paperclip in your back, not a knife.

    If you have a 4-5 year old set, it's probalby a 720p display, or a 1080i CRT.

    If you have a disc that uses analog downrez (ICT), your image will get scaled down to 960x540 before being scaled up for output. Still more image data than DVD (720x480), with every pixel perfect (since each is nicely scaled down from 4 soure pixels). For a set of your vintage, you probably won't miss much with ICT.

    Also, ICT is optional on a per title basis. Several studios have said they aren't going to use it at all. And there is a labeling requirement - you can just avoid buying discs that use it.

    So, if you want to boycott, boycott ICT discs. Tell the studios you won't buy any discs that use it. But if you love HD, don't deprive yourself of the first good HD format for consumers! HD DVD stuff looks great, completely devoid of the ugly MPEG-2 blocking artifacts seen in off-air or cable HDTV.

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