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Video Games and the Hi-Def Format Wars 260

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-think-about dept.
Pika the Mad writes "Reuters has a concise but interesting article up about how video games will help decide the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD. According to industry analysts "What Sony and Microsoft decide to announce publicly or to dealers at E3 next week will be key." So this year's E3 could very well be a deciding factor in how you view your movie library for years to come."
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Video Games and the Hi-Def Format Wars

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  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @09:53AM (#15280970) Homepage Journal
    So i doubt it will have much of an impact on me.

    Though i might upgrade to one of them fancy color tvs i keep hearing about sometime this summer.
    • by Detritus (11846)
      It took a long time for color TV to become commonplace. The first RCA color TV sets were sold in 1954. It wasn't until 1972 that color TV reached 50% market penetration in the USA.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, 2006 @09:54AM (#15280975)
    The real determiners of the HD format wars will be the adult DVD producers. They put out over 12000 titles a year and this is the single biggest market of content repackagers / producers.
    • I think the effect of the adult industry is well overblown. They may release a lot of titles, but I doubt if the sales for each title is that high. I know it's probably one of those hidden markets, but I don't own any and don't know anyone who does. We ain't prudes either. If high street shops sell them, they tend to have a small corner tucked away in the corner. So I'd be very surprised if they have much of an impact at all.
    • Very unlikely. pr0n industry values quantity over quality. A HD DVD is sort of a luxury version. Not much 'elite' porn out there as it is. The majority of stores and websites sell pure garbage. So-and-so #124. Why do they bother?

      And what they do sell as elite porn... Well what can you expect from the pr0n industry after all?
    • The thing is, it's pretty clear that the future of pr0n is Internet distribution, not a new kind of disc.

      (Incidentally, I also think that this is the direction that movie distribution will take.)
    • The real determiners of the HD format wars will be the adult DVD producers

      You want to pick the winner? Look at the market for family entertainment.

      How much do you think the Harry Potter franchise is worth to Time-Warner? To Walmart? It has made J.K. Rowling richer than the Queen.

    • The real determiners of the HD format wars will be the adult DVD producers.

      Conventional wisdom is that adult DVD doesn't want high definition, as the 480-line output of standard definition production hides the imperfections in erotic actors' skin.

      • the 480-line output of standard definition production hides the imperfections in erotic actors' skin.

        That sort of thing is a lot of why it's so much more expensive to make an HD program over an SD one. Every imperfection shows up where previously, it would be hidden by the low resolution of the camera.

        "Star Trek" took advantage of this in its Next Generation series -- the red labels on all sorts of access panels have a visible number on them that you would think is for inventory control or for referring to
        • ST:TNG, at least most of it, was filmed on 35mm film; so there's plenty of resolution for HD if someone takes the time to remaster it.

          Many older series are being shown in HD (Knight Rider, older Law & Order, etc) because they used film rather than video.

          The problems come in on things like aspect ratio (depending on the film process, there may be enough frame for 16:9 aspect ratio... but things like microphone booms, the sides of sets, etc, may be in it). So a fair amount of re-editing is required.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, 2006 @09:54AM (#15280976)
    I hate to say it, but there's really no relation. The games we play will have no relation. This is just wishful thinking on the movie industrys part. I think they are statring to realize that people just are that interested in the HD format enough to spend the additional dollars to upgrade equipment. And, as more and more people start making noise about all the DRM garbage associated, they are just going to steer away for quite a long time.
    • The point is that the next gen consoles (360 when it gets an HD-DVD drive and PS3 with Blu-Ray) will be bringing an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player into every home that has a next gen console- therefore every console sold is ALSO a player sold. To make the numbers smaller, if 100,000 PS3 sell, 20,000 360s, 2000 Blu-Ray Players and 10,000 HD-DVD players, it might LOOK like HD-DVD has won the war, but when you add in consoles, it's actually 102k vs 30k- Blu-Ray wins because of the game consoles.

      Industry analysts are
    • I think there is a whole host of folks out there with HD TVs realizing how inferior DVDs are to HDTV. These are the people anxious to upgrade / see what the industry has to offer.

      I agree that console games likely will not have much impact. Anyone with a HDTV is not likely to be satisfied with the 'HD' quality that would be produced by a console DVD player anyway.

      The winner will of course be the format with the best price/performance and availability.
      • The winner will of course be the format with the best price/performance and availability.

        Which, right now anyways, is HD-DVD. I've hardly heard about people flocking out en masse to pick up the four movies that are out. I think price over anything else will become the determining factor, as cheaper products tend to win out in capitalist societies. I'll wait a few months for both formats to be decently available to wait about this, but seeing that the HD-DVD players cost half of that of a Blu-Ray, and ar

    • by westlake (615356) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @12:05PM (#15281421)
      as more and more people start making noise about all the DRM garbage associated, they are just going to steer away for quite a long time.

      I doubt it.

      If the novie plays that will be the end of it for just about everyone.

      If one click in Vista or OSX saves HD to your hard drive or low-res to a portable player, so much the better.

      But only a Geek to give a damn about codecs, cables and connectors, or the fine points of managed copy. Everyone else will just buy the standard color-coded MCE bundles from Dell or HP and be up and running in under an hour.

    • So this year's E3 could very well be a deciding factor in how you view your movie library for years to come.

      No, my VHS and DVD players should work pretty much the same way they do now, for the foreseeable future. Considering the installed based of non-HD TVs and DVD players hooked up to them, I don't see Plain Old DVD disappearing from the shelves any time soon. (Just look how long ye olde VHS held on.) So I'll just continue watching my library of VHS tapes and buying/renting PODVDs until these mutuall

  • by goldcd (587052) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @09:55AM (#15280978) Homepage
    I'm quite happy with DVD for now - and I'll be damned if I'm going to buy either standard for the foreseeable future.
    I mean I'd like Hi-def, but the amount it's going to cost me to upgrade and all the hassles with the competing standards, the retarded prices they'll be charging, the 'oh this can't play on your PC as we don't like the connector you're using' blah blah
    I just can't be bothered. DVD'll do me fine for a few more years - and after that I'll be sticking to media-less content.
    • by swansontec (953822) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:33AM (#15281089)

      My thoughts exactly. Why buy either when both will be replaced by direct download? Until then, the DVD is good enough. In fact, DVD will probably be around much longer than that, just as the floppy is still around today.

      People keep comparing the BluRay vs HD-DVD war to the VHS vs Betamax war, but I think the comparison is flawed. This is more like the Zip-disk vs LS120 "war." Remember that? People wanted to know which format would replace the floppy disk, but both are now irrelevant. The difference is simple - VHS and Betamax both competed in a market where there was no existing alternative, while the Zip-disk and LS120 competed in a market with a well-entrenched but less-capable alternative. In the end, better technologies like flash drives, email, and networks destroyed the market for the high-capacity floppy replacements. Meanwhile, the floppy itself still lives on for the few things it can still do well, like system recovery. For the same reason, the DVD wil still be with us years after the HD-DVD and BluRay are forgotten. How else will we watch our massive collections of "old DVDs?"

      • "...just as the floppy is still around today."

        Unfortunately, the floppy is disappearing. I miss it- my recent computer I bought doesn't have a floppy drive. While I haven't run into any problems because of it, it makes me kind of uneasy.

        Of course, if one of the optical drives fails, I still have another one already in the machine, and then the four or so in other computers at home... and now that I think about it, floppies were ridiculously unreliable ...
    • There are those of us who have invested quite a bit of money in home theater systems with big HDTV's and personally I'm going to buy an HD player this year. Which format depemds on what is going to happen over the next 6 months or so.

      And the pricetag doesn't bother me one bit.
    • by analog_line (465182) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:38AM (#15281112)
      I concur.

      Frankly, HD-DVD and BluRay displays at such a high resolution, I can't imagine that half the people that buy HDTV sets can even see any actual quality difference between an HDTV version of a movie and a standard DVD version without buy a television so large that few if any can afford it. My eyes aren't that good. Hell, my TV isn't that good, and I don't want to and am not going to buy one until this one gets broken beyond repair (and there's a very good TV repair place near here, so that's not very likely).

      Also, there's little actual advantage that I can see in the HD-DVD/BluRay over the DVD format, aside from a reduction in the number of discs needed for big movie sets (like the LotR special editions, TV series, etc) but that kind of economy isn't going to last very long. The content size will expand to fit the media. Video games used to be dwarfed by the capacity of CDs, now they're pushing the limits of multiple DVDs, multiple HD-DVD/BluRay will soon follow so that doesn't really solve the multiple disc problem permanently. DVD had very clear advantages over VHS. HD-DVD's advantages are not so clear.
      • I can't imagine that half the people that buy HDTV sets can even see any actual quality difference between an HDTV version of a movie and a standard DVD version without buy a television so large that few if any can afford it.

        RCA 52" Widescreen Projection HDTV, HD52W59 [walmart.com] $ 894 USD

        • RCA 52" Widescreen Projection HDTV, HD52W59 $ 894 USD

          Irrelevant for the purposes of a discussion about HD-DVD and Blu-ray, as the TV you link to does not include the required HDCP connection. Care to try again?
          • by ThomHamilton (229852) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @12:54PM (#15281610)
            Perhaps you can try again. The listed TV actually DOES include the DVI-HDTV input.

            For those who don't know the nomenclature, DVI-HDTV is the proper name for a DVI input with HDCP support included. It is fully compatible with HDMI via use of a simple adapter cable from HDMI sources, or can accept direct DVI sources, both with HDCP 'protection'.

            • by 7Prime (871679) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @04:53PM (#15282288) Homepage Journal

              Folks, anyone else out there realize that $900 is extremely expensive for the average joe to spend on a TV? Let's see, the majority of TVs are bought by late teens and 20-somethings, heading out into the world, or college bound to fit in their tiny apartments or basement flats. As they have famillies, SOME will become wealthy enough to spend $500 on a 30" TV, most will be happy with a 20" (as my familly has been for years), an elite few will be purchasing $800 widescreen, rear projection systems with surround sound equipment. The /. community is a VERY BAD sample of mainstream society. Most (not all) /.ers are middle class to to upper class citizens, as they had the fortune of being able to be introduced to high techology at an early age (I know there's a few of you here and there that are exceptions, but you are a minority). Also, we LOVE gadgets and technology, and various forms of entertainment. And still, from what I'm seeing, the majority of people even HERE wouldn't even benefit from HD.

              Take off your rosie colored glasses and realize:
              1. the average familly has a 20"-30" TV
              2. the average individual living on their own has a 15"-20" TV
              3. even though it has become a common catch phrase in our culture, very few people have "Home Entertainment Systems" this was a term circulated by TV manufacturers as a sort of "Everybody's doing it!" tactic.

              I haven't done a direct comparison, but going to take a guess that HD will only be of real significantly noticable difference on 40"+ TVs. That's an extremely tiny part of the market. Most everyone else is fat and happy, and would rather spend their time trying to figure out a way of paying less at the pump.

              Funny, I consider myself a film buff, I even work as a video editor and producer at a TV station, my life litterally revolves around the tube, yet I have zero interest in any of this HD stuff. When I see a movie, I don't care if it has the nth degree of resolution. My favorite movie of the year was "Good Night & Good Luck", how is HD going to help that? Even if "King Kong" was the hit movie of the year, I really don't see how HD is going to "increase my viewing pleasure", the graphics were neat enough as it was. This is 100% hype driven by video equipment manufacturers. Hollywood doesn't care (in fact, they'll be the big losers of this, because it might make more people stay home then go to the theatre), the mainstream public doesn't care, NOONE CARES! When The NES begot the SNES, the entire gaming community was ready for a change in quality, when VHS begot DVD, most people were ready for a media distrobution change to match their music media (notice I didn't say "quality", DVD adoption wasn't about quality, it was about convenience). People would still be using VHS if it weren't for the added convenience of DVDs, HD doesn't add any convenience. I seriously think that the HD revolution is going to die even before it gets off the ground. When 95% of the population goes to the store, see sa DVD version of a movie and an HD version of the same movie for twice the price, and buys the DVD version, suddenly the HD manufacturers are going to look a bit green around the gills.

              The immediate future of movie distorbution is in cheap, simple, low-bandwidth internet distrobution. The population won't care if quality takes a hit, just as audio quality took a hit with the iPod. The TV manufacturers know this, so they're desperate to get a new media off the ground before traditional media distrobution becomes a thing of the past. Even if HD gets off the ground, they're only buying a little time, maybe a year or two. I bet you anything that even if everyone switches over to HD, the average citizen will be willing to fall back to non-HD if renting a movie becomes as simple as iTMS.

              • an elite few will be purchasing $800 widescreen, rear projection systems with surround sound equipment.

                The New York Tines has HDTV in 19% of american households. The Geek is the last to know.

                The RCA model is a bog standard entrant from Walmart.com, marketed for sale to middle class families, the core market for projection TV. It isn't by chance that Harry Potter is on the fast track for HD release.

              • >Folks, anyone else out there realize that $900 is extremely expensive for the average joe to spend on a TV?

                well, movie theaters costs $20-45 per person. Large screen TV's were not a replacement for the Movie theater in quality. $900 HDTV seams like it would be.

                so that TV costs equivalent 20 persons visits to the theater, or 10 date visits, or 5 family visits.

                my 42" TV, and Netflix subscription has so far (1 year) eliminated the thought of a Movie theater from my house. But the regular DVD wouldn't el
                • Where do you live that it costs $20-45 per person to go to a movie theater? Are you spending $12 on popcorn? Er--since you used the $45 mark in your calculations, it must be closer to $35 in popcorn and drinks. Maybe if you cut back a bit you'd save money AND lose weight!
        • Granted, there's a market out there of people who'll spend nearly a grand on a TV. Not all of us are that stupid and/or rich.
        • You could get a car for that price. I think that HDTV is going to be a niche for a long time unless the prices plummet.
    • So true. This 'next format' is a complete non-event; I already know exactly how I will be watching my media library for years to come: streamed off my mediaserver, which, among its many other qualities, doesnt _argue_ with me.

      What the media is sold on I dont give a crap about except insofar as the format has to allow easy transfer to the mediaserver. And it appears neither of these obsolete-before-they-hit-the-shelves formats are going to deliver.
    • I'm quite happy with DVD for now - and I'll be damned if I'm going to buy either standard for the foreseeable future.

      Exactly. Why bother? It's so much less expensive to use standard DVD, I already have the equipment, there are lots of movies available, my TV upsamples to get close to HD resolution (it can't resolve small stuff that was never resolvable in the first place -- not like those magical photoshop plugins CSI has --, but it makes the picture look much better).

      And then look at the prices. $300 and u
  • If Sony releases the PS3 way cheaper than any Blu-Ray player... How would the other Blu-Ray players react to this? Who would want to buy another Blu-Ray player if the PS3 is the cheapest one and it is also a next-gen console, allegedly the most powerful of all?

    I just don't get Sony's plans...

    DVD-video was a success because it is the only digital format and all studios support it. From now on, it's a three-head race with Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and the good-enough-for-most-of-consumers ol' DVD.

    I'm happy with what I can rip and view as I like ^_^
    • The PS2 was cheaper than most DVD players when it came out. DVD players in turn dropped prices to compete with the PS2. Now, you can get a DVD player with a happy meal. Heck, one of the big reasons the PS2 beat out the dreamcast in Japan was not because of games, but the DVD capability. When the PS2 came out in Japan the most popular title sold along with the PS2 was not a game at all, it was the Matrix on DVD.
    • How would the other Blu-Ray players react to this? Who would want to buy another Blu-Ray player if the PS3 is the cheapest one and it is also a next-gen console, allegedly the most powerful of all?

      How did the industry react when the PS2 was released? they were still selling $500 DVD players that did just about the same amount (just they could play VCD's) as the PS2, the only problem I ever had with the PS2 DVD Player (which was my first) was the audio on the launch models were extremely low, I remember
  • by Random Q. Hacker (137687) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:01AM (#15281002)
    The only format war being waged now is whether to burn to single-layer DVD, dual-layer DVD, or just keep your torrented movies on 300 gig hard drives. New media formats are *so* irrelevant they're Jack Valenti.
    • Dual Layered discs are irrelevant due to price... Torrented movies are irrelevant as it's done by a small pct of people and they don't provide any income to the movie producers.

      25-100 gig BR discs showing content in hd will appeal to home theater afficiondo's first and as prices go down it will whittle down to the general masses.
  • by rootofevil (188401) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:06AM (#15281015) Homepage Journal
    Upconverted dvd playback vs HD playback? I can barely tell the difference. Dont believe me? Go checkout a demo at your local bigbox retailer. Just dont pay attention to the "HDDVD vs Standard DVD" demo. Try to check it out next to a 720p upconverted player.
    • Easiest way to test: Your own computer. There are 1080p trailers. 720p trailers. 480p trailers. Scale them all up in full screen and you'll see the difference. Usually makes it a lot easier to do an apples-to-apples comparison with same screen settings and same source. My screen is 1920x1200 - perfect for 1080p video. Put in a DVD - usually PAL around here, and you got max 720x576 pixels - each trying to cover something like 2 2/3rd of a pixel horizontally, vertically will depend on aspect ratio but it does
      • by rootofevil (188401) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:53AM (#15281166) Homepage Journal
        Right, I understand that. Now step back 12 feet and tell me if you can identify which is which. I cant.
        • Well, digital projectors owners are certainly going to notice on a 100 inch diagonal piture the difference in quality between DVD and HDDVD. But this is the minority, not everybody's setup.
        • Right, I understand that. Now step back 12 feet and tell me if you can identify which is which. I cant.

          People with low end stuff like that walmart "HD" TV will not.

          There is a difference sitting at the back of an IMAX movie theater vs your local movie outfit.

          LCoS TVs are absolutely beautiful. DVD resolution on one at 80-100" simply does not cut it, and that is with a $2,000 upscaler.

          I know that many here are happy with the free low quality downloads of video and audio on the net, but rational or not, there
      • > Easiest way to test: Your own computer.

        Disagree - I haven't yet seen a computer based video player that does as good a job as my stand-alone upscaling DVD player, and most are considerably worse. MPlayer is fairly close, but forget about anything else...
      • I'm with you.

        I find DVDs don't look anywhere near as nice since I upgraded my home theatre system [mikebabcock.ca] to include an HDTV. I now watch HD shows like CSI which look absolutely astoundingly beautiful then I put in a DVD and find its grainy. Upconverted or not, there's a huge resolution difference between the two.

        I'd posit that most people who can't see the difference either don't have true HD HDTV sets or need glasses (really). If you find road signs fuzzy on the side of the road, you shouldn't bother with HD.
        • I now watch HD shows like CSI

          Being a science geek I watch CSI, too. But I have to laugh at the irony here: watching in HD a show which frequently does BS crap like get a 1024x768 perfectly-sharp image from a crappy VGA-resolution or worse security camera. I'd like to know how they're doing that, because as far as I know it's impossible to insert back data never recorded by the camera in the first place.

          I guess they're using computers with flux-capacitor PCI cards ...
    • Exactly!

      I can tell the difference. If, y'know, I look hard at a TV almost twice the size of my own. Now ask me if I care enough to replace my DVD collection :)
    • The Superbit DVD of The Fifth Element [dvdreview.com] is often used as a reference DVD due to it's quality. I compared it with a HD showing of the film(HBO or Showtime, don't recall which) and the difference was very noticable. Not all HD sets are created equally, perhaps your set isn't up to par?
  • by Megane (129182) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:08AM (#15281019) Homepage
    By buying a Nintendo Wii-volution.

    I don't care about SACD or DVD-A, and don't care about the two HD movie formats either. I just want a bigger write-once media format to store my own stuff.

  • Has anyone seen any estimates of how many 360 owners actually plan to buy the HD-DVD add-on? If HD-DVD's big hope is an optional extra to the 360, looks like they'll lose...

    Meanwhile, it certainly looks like Sony are going to be able to use the PS3 to drive through a huge installed base of Blu-Ray machines.

    From an experience point of view, why should we care? Well, I was at a conference in London where the dreaded Bill Gates spoke, but he did say something I found interesting: he said that "soon, the
    • They already had stuff like this when CDs first came out. There was really bad games that were mostly video to make up for the lack of game play. What you end up with when you mix video games and movies is a video game with tons of videos you have to sit through. I don't think anybody wants that. If you make it more movie, then you don't really have much of a game at all. Maybe just a movie with multiple endings. Kind of interesting but not something we haven't seen before. If you go the other way, t
  • I can't see it improving Jet Set Willy on my spectrum emulator, unless it makes the chunky pixels sharper...
  • How could the 360 be a factor in determining the outcome of this format battle? The 360 is a standard definition DVD unit, and very few people are going to buy this vaporous external HD-DVD add-on. They have already paid more than they're accustomed to for the 360, and unless the HD player can add some key enhancement to the gaming experience it will be perceived as superfluous. No, the only way a new format can be helped by a game console is if it's standard equipment, as the PS2's DVD player was and as th
  • Music industry promoted the classic black disc

    Music industry promoted the tape

    Music industry promoted the CD

    Video/Movie industry promoted VHS/Beta

    Video/Movie industry promoted DVD

    Console games initially used cartridges then moved to CD then to DVD. They always had to adapt to the market directed by the music and the video industry. Actually the music industry is pretty much overwhelmed by the MP3/Internet "media". So I really think the video industry (and of course the consumers of that industry) will

    • Video games didn't have to adapt to what the music industry or Hollywood was using, they simply latched on because it was a format that was easy to use and produce and was superior in terms of storage capacity to their current media.
    • Let's not forget, the 300 dollar dvd player was unheard of before the PS2. That console really was a driving factor in the wider adoption of the DVD movie standard, and was the first DVD player for a lot of people.

      The major standards for videogames over the past few years have been

      A: cartridges, a unique videogame phenomenon
      B: CD's, which didn't catch on in gaming until long after the basic audio CD was standard (though drove PC CD sales).
      C: DVD's, which consoles had a hand in popularizing.

      The company I wo
  • "NEITHER" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BenJeremy (181303) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:28AM (#15281076)
    Honestly, I think somebody is paying all these analysts to hype the "next generation" DVD format because for now, at least, BOTH formats are too expensive, require too much investment in new equipment, and offer too little benefit to be worthwhile for at least a few more years.

    Perhaps if digital television had taken off a few years earlier, pushing higher-def TVs and better home theater sound into a majority of households, this might be a winning proposition... but for now, most people are quite happy with the DVD experience.

    Unlike the transition between video tape and DVD, the improvements moving to HD are far more elusive, and when finally observable, are not really all that great over the "old" DVD format. Early reviews state that a clear difference is only discernable at very high screen sizes; and at the prices those extra-large format, hi-def TVs run, only the most affluent will be able to afford to see what the hype is all about.

    In the end, there's no point declaring anybody a winner in "next gen" DVD until the Walmart crowd gets behind it, and "old" DVDs fade into oblivion. ....I'll tell you a little secret, though.... the hype isn't about what's best for consumers. It's about pushing new DRM onto the market to supercede the broken DRM (CSS) of DVD; that's it. The big movie companies could care less about the consumer or their experience, but if Sony and their fellow companies can sell you a new pricey $$$$$ kit along the way, why they'll do that too. In that respect, Hi-def DVD formats deserve nothing but scorn.
  • by coop535 (813230) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:34AM (#15281094)
    I call shenanigans!

    This was the first month I bought a game on DVD format instead of the 6 CD package. For the past year they've been charging a *premium* for the DVD packaging.

    Who REALLY CARES what format the consoles select? It's a closed system most certainly DRM'd to the nuts. It'll be at least five years (after they make up their minds) before I see any games in a hi-def DVD packaging.

    • by Junta (36770)
      What games have you been playing that chose 6 CD over DVD in a platform that would support either? I know a lot of early PS2 games (i.e. Tekken Tag) Fit on a single CD and therefore didn't ship on DVD media.

      Every game that has exceeded the capcity of one CD was put on DVD. Sometimes publishers still opt for a two-disc packaging rather than a daul layer DVD packaging (Xenosaga was dual layr DVD, the sequal packaged as two single layer DVD).

      The point is, printing one DVD is cheaper than printing a set of CD
      • What games have you been playing that chose 6 CD over DVD in a platform that would support either?

        I think he's refering to PC games. For some reason, it seems that game makers prefer to send games as a stack of CDs rather than a DVD, despite the fact that a DVD drive has been pretty much standard equipment on any computer that someone would buy to play games on for atleast a couple of years. I'm not sure why they do this, but due to the harddrive in the PC you usually don't have to swap disks that much.
        • I'm not sure why they do this

          For some reason there are a vocal base of PC gamers who are happy to shell out $300 for a 7900GT but not $30 for a DVD-ROM drive. They whine and throw a hissy fit when a game isn't available on CD.
    • Who REALLY CARES what format the consoles select?

      You need to not think of this issue as a geek. Instead, look at it from the point of view of the mass of early adopters - Namely, 18-30YO males, usually slightly more tech-saavy than average but not actually geeks. They can set their DVD player's clock, they can manage most AV equipment cabling, they can probably correctly assemble an out-of-the-box computer (though not safely do anything inside the case).

      These folks will buy (at least) one of the next
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @10:41AM (#15281132)
    The premise of the article is right - the game consoles are going to decide the winner in the "hi-def" wars.

    But the article totally misses the dark horse candidate which I, with my great knowledge and keen insight of the market, predict will be the real winner.

    The losers will be both BLU-RAY and HD-DVD. The winner will be downloaded content.

    All of the game systems are network centric. In order to get much benefit out of any of the systems you practically have no choice but to connect them to the internet and that is typically going to be a broad-band connection too.

    Combine that ubiquitous high-speed internet connectivity with the high-powered processing built into these systems and you have the ideal platform for media distribution using new highly efficient codecs like h.264.

    An hour of 720p encoded with h.264 to just 1GB looks pretty good. In most cases it looks a lot better than a DVD. A low-end 1.5Mbps (DSL) connection can transfer that 1GB in under 2 hours. A mid-range 8mbps (comcast cable) connection can transfer it in less than 20 minutes, and high-end 20mbps (Verizon FIOS fibre) will do it in under 10 minutes with plenty of bandwidth to spare.

    This combination of processing and network throughput will make it feasible to sell direct downloaded hi-def video to anyone with one of these game consoles.

    I believe that just as MP3's portability convenience trounced the non-portable high-def audio products like SACD and DVD-Audio, so too will downloaded (possibly, but not necessarily) pay-per-view hi-def tv and movies.

    Of course the quality of 1080p at 8G/hr with h.264 will be significantly better than just 720p at 1G/hr - but for many people the lower quality will be still be more than good enough, and for the videophile, waiting a little bit longer for the download of a top-notch 1080p encoding won't be a terrible inconvenience.
    • and for the videophile, waiting a little bit longer for the download of a top-notch 1080p encoding won't be a terrible inconvenience.

      On hi-speed fibre, you won't have to wait even for an 8GB encode. The hour it takes to send is still faster than the movie itself, so your provider will stream it to your set-top box, and you'll just watch it as it arrives.
    • One gig for 720p an hour? Have you taken a look at the trailers size at apple.com, which are encoded in mpeg4? It's more like several gigs an hour. 150megs for 2 minutes or os That's 75 gigs a minute or rougly 4.5 gigs an hour. And if trailers on Apple.com are only in stereo, you can look at even bigger files for 5.1 and 6.1 surround and even worse if you are using DTS.

      1 gig an hour is rougly NTSC resolution on mpeg 2 IIRC. About 6 times the resolution, better than stereo sound only 4 times the compression
      • Those trailers are encoded in H.264 (MPEG4 AVC).

        I would think you could do okay at 1G/hour in H.264. I would think 2G/hour in H.264 would look nearly identical to the MPEG-2 8G/hour source materials.

        That having been said, the poster sets the bar absurdly low. "Better than DVD"? DVD looks like poop. I'm not going to buy a movie in a format that looks only as good as DVD.

        In the end, I can play a DVD as long as I want and take it to other places. These downloads will be DRMed to high heaven, locked to a given
  • If I remember correctly the porn industry is the biggest commercial consumer of DVD media. Is Forbes being polite in ignoring their impact or has their influenced waned? The game industry might be large, but I don't think it's as big as the skinflick industry...
    • I think the porn industry has realized that HD-porn is a bad idea.... porn requires some level of fantasy to be successful and HD destroyes that. While some porn specializes in realism most mainstream stuff attempts to sell an ideal of physical perfection that you can't fake with HD.
    • People still pay money for pron? Even with broadband?

      There really must be something wrong with the RIAA's theory about piracy then, and the /. people must be right - video sales have slumped because the content is worthless!

      Which suggests that neither format will go anywhere until content improves.

      IMHO, MP3 has taught the consumer that content and media are separable, and the public will either buy what ever is cheapest, or hold out for dual format drives.

  • I don't know about you but I am not crying out for higher resolution films and TV. I think DVD quality is just right and a huge and expensive transition over to another format seems pointless. It feels a bit like Microsoft forcing a new and unwanted Windows Version on us.

    If people really cared about getting the ultimate quality in their viewing, DivX and Xvid would not be so popular as they further degrade the image quality.

    The only benefit I can see in Bluray is as a storage medium. I have lots of st
  • by mcubed (556032)
    I thought the looming format war was of no consequence to me for a variety of reasons, namely that I wasn't interested in purchasing any of the products that would use either of these new formats. I have a stand-alone DVD player, but I don't use it. I have a small TV, but it's not plugged in. I don't have (nor want) and XBox; ditto for PSP. And I'm not a movie collector, so I wouldn't buy new discs in either format.

    But now I find myself in the market for a new laptop, and whaddaya know, there are mode

  • I think it will be definitely interesting, not to mention one of the other important genres which has yet to follow one specific platform which is the adult industry. I have a feeling that Sony making Blu-Ray really their own may contribute to it not being the accepted format, as most people will want to feel as if they can use the format in all devices and even if this is possible, people will still feel the Blu-Ray is associated too closely to it's producer.
  • by RexRhino (769423)
    OK, I understand that a higher storage capacity DVD is always good for computer users for backups and such... so I am not complaining there.

    But seriously, how many people really want a higher def DVD player? How many people are going to really care about the difference?

    The new "format" that is going to beat both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD will be the net. How many people are buying high-end CD walkmans? Do they even make high end CD walkmans any more? Everyone wants an I-Pod or some sort of MP3 player! And how many
    • As a starwars Anti-fan, I want a high enough def screen to be able to count the number of hairs on Harrison Ford's head as Greedo shoots first.
  • If we can't get the patent holders to come to some sort of comprimise maybe we can get the content producers to do so. In fact, they have incentive to resolve this mess because the market won't really take off if people are hesitant to risk purchasing a format that may become obsolete in a few years. This is bad news bears for the content producers who want to rerelease Jaws SUPERDUPERBIT Platinum Plus edition and the like to reap insane profits. So in order to fix this two-standard mess content producers
  • Michael Pachter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveCBio (659840) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @01:56PM (#15281782)
    People have to stop going to this guy for prognostication on videogames. He doesn't have a freaking clue. Seriously, the only reason he stands out in my mind is because he keeps being referenced by mainstream media in these articles and he always turns out to be so wrong he almost wraps around to being right.
  • by AC-x (735297) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:27PM (#15281867)
    Will there even be time for a format war? The rate things have been going these days I'll be buying a 24x BluRay-RW/HDDVD-RW/DL DVD+-RW/CDRW compatible burner for £30 in a few years, with low-end dual format players going for about £20.

    The only technical difficulty will be how they'll fit all the logos on the tray door
  • Up to WHO? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:40PM (#15281904)
    So this year's E3 could very well be a deciding factor in how you view your movie library for years to come.

    Who says I have to buy into whatever HD format they choose? Last time I checked it was still the consumer who's in charge. If nobody buys the format, it will just turn into the next LaserDisc-drops-while-VHS-puffs-on story. If I don't have an HD TV (which I don't) is there any reason for me to upgrade to a differnet format, other than lots more DRM headache?
  • I don't see why... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cosmotron (900510)
    I don't see why people are thinking that Blue Ray will surge over HD DVD. Just because the PlayStaion 3 will use them? I personally think (and you don't need to agree with me) that HD DVD will succeed because 1) it has a logo similar to that of the existing DVD's, and 2) it has the initialism DVD in it. The general public, the ones that buy DVDs will see a familiar logo along with a familiar name and buy it.

    But, I could be wrong.
  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sweez (971938)
    HD-DVD? Blu-ray? Games?

    Games nowadays barely fill up a single DVD (and a large percentage still comes on 1-2 CDs), what are we talking about here?
  • DVDs suck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ikekrull (59661) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @04:21PM (#15282198) Homepage
    Put DVD disc in drive... wait... sit through copyright warning.. wait.. watch stupid asinine 'pirating dvds is an evil thought crime' mini-feature....wait... watch previews of upcoming releases... wait...studio credits scroll...wait... wait while stupid pointless menu displays... wait.. finally start feature (what you wanted to happen when disc was inserted).. wait while the same stupid studio credits scroll.. wait... try to fast forward and your player tells you the 'operation is prohibited'?? wtf? its *my* player, and its *my* disc.

    The DVD experience is just so bad, and its guaranteed to only get worse with HD formats since all the stupid, cheesy ideas the studios have to 'add value' by ramming advertising, previews and propaganda down your throat as well as 'rich media' navigation screens will simply mean it takes even longer to just watch the f**king movie you wanted to.

    Since I have experienced the simplicity and ease of just choosing video files to play off a Freevo menu, I dont think i'll ever buy any kind of video disc player again, unless it comes bundled with a computer which I can use to extract the content that I actually find relevant or desirable, and archive for convenient viewing.

    If the MPAA/RIAA dont like the idea that I will choose to spend my time watching only content I find relevant or desirable (for which I am happy to pay for), they can go f**k themselves.

1 + 1 = 3, for large values of 1.

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