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First Blu-ray Disc Reviews Posted Online 235

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-star-wars? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the first Blu-ray player and discs officially making their market debuts tomorrow, High-Def DVD Digest has posted the first reviews of three of the first Blu-ray discs -- The Fifth Element, 50 First Dates, and xXx. So what's the verdict? So far, in terms of video quality, the results seem to be mixed: standard DVD fave 'Fifth Element' underwhelmed ('just not the best HD I've seen'); likewise, 'xXx,' was a disappointment ('up close just looks like a messed-up bunch of dots'). Somewhat surprisingly, it's '50 First Dates' that ranked highest of the three in video quality ('holds its own with the best high-definition transfers out there')."
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First Blu-ray Disc Reviews Posted Online

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:05PM (#15562898) Journal

    So exactly how are HD videos (blu-ray, or HD) going to capture the hearts and imaginations of the buying public with this kind of debut? Ostensibly (you would think) the best and brightest would be selected for their ability to shine and put the best face on an already murky new format battle.

    It's an interesting task, convincing Mom and Dad, friends, etc., this is the latest and greatest thing... "no, no, just wait, you'll SEE the difference in the next scene... just let me pause it on this one frame, THERE!... see how clear the pattern is on Drew Barrymore's shirt!"

    I've seen HD from comcast. I've seen HD demo'ed in Circuit City (when they FINALLY got some source). My experience and subjective opinion is that what is being delivered is being delivered with unacceptable compromise, whether it be to rush to market, or just shoddy quality, it doesn't matter. I've seen compression artifacts, I've seen jittery playback. I'm not "getting" it.

    This kind of rollout will underwhelm the public, especially at the rollout prices. The only thing keeping this from dying on the vine is the digital mandate to convert to digital, and the tide of HDTVs only requiring customers to buy in.

    • by Winterblink (575267) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:13PM (#15562946) Homepage
      Partly it's rushed, yes. But there's also the fact that HD has been so hyped, especially the next generation of media players, that nothing will really blow away viewers short of being able to reach into the screen and feel Drew Barrymore up.

      And even then, I don't think that would be worth the outlay of cash for the hardware.
    • by Dominatus (796241) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:17PM (#15562974)
      The problems are almost always in the source material.

      Hell, TNTHD upconvertes and stretches (!) normal SD content for most of the day and calls it "HD".

      I've noticed that the most important part of HDTV is the source, and this is evident just through simple channel surfing. Shows that I assume can afford better cameras because they need less of them, and less mobile ones, such as Jay Leno/David Letterman, SNL, etc, have absolutely amazing quality. Watching it on a 1080p 50 inch Sony SXRD is phenomenal, with no artifacts, or lack of detail. The colors, contrast, and image quality is so good that it appears your looking through a window.

      Anyone who has seen this TV displaying true HD content at my apartment is immediately excited. And almost everyone says "oh oh! put in a DVD so we can see how that looks", unaware that DVDs are of a much lower resolution.

      So I put one in, usually something fun like The Matrix or what have you, with a warning that it's going to look much worse then what they just saw. I have a pretty good upconverting DVD playing that puts out 1080i/60 over HDMI. Looks better than a normal DVD player but considerably worse than the HD content. Everyone so far has been disappointed with DVD quality (except my mom, but she's ...well...a mom).

      Point is, there *IS* a difference, a huge difference, and those of us with good TVs are begging for a way to watch our movies in the same detail we watch our TV...other than HBOHD.
      • I really wish TNT wouldn't do that. It's not so much the upconversion, as if upconversion is done right, it can be almost watchable. My problem is with their stretching technique to fit 16:9. They do some kind of weird "partial" stretch process, where the center of the picture is left almost normal aspect, but as you approach the edges of the picture, it starts to stretch out more and more. The result, at first glance looks pretty good, as long as your attention is drawn to the center of the frame. But
        • Yeah -- Discovery HD, INHD 1/2, and HBOHD all look fantastic. Surprisingly, even the "little guys" get things right sometimes: one of the consistently *great* looking shows over the past season was Supernatural, a trifle that aired on, of all networks, the WB. They deliberately played up the film grain and did some really distinctive color processing (really punched up the browns and blues) to give everything a really textured but somehow eerie look.
      • "I've noticed that the most important part of HDTV is the source"

        This goes for all video. Period. If you visit a digital video enthusiast forum like Doom9 you'll see that statement over and over and over in threads. As the first post said, move along nothing to see here.
      • Spot on.

        This furor over current sample quality is similar to that of those who decried CDs because crappy masters dubbed onto CD still sounded like shit.
        • by TheRealFixer (552803) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:58PM (#15563329)
          As I recall, weren't there multiple "standards" for audio CDs way back when? I seem to remember seeing CDs that were either tagged DDD, DAD, ADD, or AAD - depending on how "digital" the disc really was. I believe DDD meant it was digitally recorded, digitially mixed and digitially transfered, which was the highest quality you could get. That was popular on classical music CDs. But most popular music CDs were of the much lower AAD quality, because they were just reusing the original analog masters.
          • Those aren't exactly "standards". It was just a notation system used by record companies to ostensibly indicate quality. It was long ago abandoned as not being informative at all.
            • And worse, a lot of the analog stuff sounded better than digital. Sure, the noise floor was better with digital, but analog was warmer, less harsh. So it got a bit embarassing for companies pushing all-digital.

              Though I've never seen DAD, I did release a tape that was DDA.
          • As I recall, weren't there multiple "standards" for audio CDs way back when? I seem to remember seeing CDs that were either tagged DDD, DAD, ADD, or AAD - depending on how "digital" the disc really was. I believe DDD meant it was digitally recorded, digitially mixed and digitially transfered, which was the highest quality you could get. That was popular on classical music CDs. But most popular music CDs were of the much lower AAD quality, because they were just reusing the original analog masters.

            Wrong.

            Just
      • Hell, TNTHD upconvertes and stretches (!) normal SD content for most of the day and calls it "HD".

        They somehow manage to mess up the audio on HD shows as well. I've noticed several shows, like Law & Order, have the audio pitch reduced significantly, so everyone's voice sounds deeper. It is very unnatural and distracting.

    • My experience and subjective opinion is that what is being delivered is being delivered with unacceptable compromise, whether it be to rush to market, or just shoddy quality, it doesn't matter. I've seen compression artifacts, I've seen jittery playback. I'm not "getting" it.

      The title of this reply, for those who may have skipped over it, is "Why Digital Isn't Better Than Analog".

      Usually that starts into a discussion about how much better analog is at reproduction and why vinyl rocks. That's not where I'm g
      • Your experience seems to indicate there may be a market for native HD material that isn't massively compressed -- like HD_DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. I've come to the conclusion through many posts that comcast sucks (everybody say it together!) for HD content and that the guys at ciruit city and best buy couldn't properly set up an HD system to save their jobs (let's daisy chain 20 HD sets together and see what the picture looks like!). It's sad that our retailers are doing such a disservice to themselves. M
      • Instead of paying for Comcast, get a simple YAGI roof antenna for over-the-air HD broadcasts.

        1. They are free to tune in.

        2. FOX and ABC have their prime-time shows in beautiful 720p. That covers House and Lost (the best two shows running) right there.

        3. NBC and CBS have their prime-time shows in also-good 1080i.

        4. PBS has a signal that is 24/7 1080i (although they just use it to re-broadcast the a Cringely TV special on how great HDTV is, a documentary on covered bridges of Iowa, and historical reality sho
    • Porn. Standards follow porn. VHS was built on porn. The consumer Internet was built on porn. DVD's were built on porn. Webcams were built on porn. The only reason we REALLY need broadband is for porn. "50 First Dates" and Vin Diesel are irrelavant. Until you can see boobies in crystal clear definition that makes you feel like you can actually reach out and squeeze them, the market for Blue-Ray will tepid at best. Nobody needs to see Drew Barrymore THAT clearly. Jenna Jamison on the other hand ....
  • xxx (Score:5, Funny)

    by nFriedly (628261) <nathan,friedly+shashdot&gmail,com> on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:10PM (#15562928) Homepage Journal
    > http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/xxx.html [highdefdigest.com]

    you gotta wonder how many porn filters will block that third link...
    • by p2sam (139950)
      Mine got blocked. :(
    • Ever go looking for some porn on a torrent site, and get nothing but pages and pages of different versions/cams/releases of that crap movie and its sequels?

    • "Triple X" first came out in 2002. Coincidentally, Kazaa was becoming extremely popular at the time for swapping movies.

      My friends and I came up with a theory as to why they named the movie "XXX" -- so that users searching for it on Kazaa would come up with nothing but porn. Note: since there's no way in hell I would even waste downstream on that movie, I haven't seen it, so maybe they came up with some flimsy background for the naming. *Shrug*
  • by Orrin Bloquy (898571) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:12PM (#15562940) Journal
    Seriously, 5th Element was shot on film, and the other two I don't know about, but aren't there any well-known digital productions which would transfer cleanly? How pristine are the masters for 5th Element by now?

    And to agree with the earlier poster: Whoever's greenlighting chick films like "50 first dates" and "Phantom of the Opera" for testdriving a new medium needs a new job, preferably selling hot dogs on a street corner, to get an idea of what a market actually asks for.
    • That's an excellent point, something which the reviewer completely ignores. Something like Star Wars Ep 3 would showcase the capabilities of both HD-DVD and Blu-ray nicely, at least give something with a high enough quality of transfer to really compare the formats.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:20PM (#15562998) Homepage Journal
      No joke. You'd think they'd dig up some killer app for this stuff, but instead we get a substandard action movie, a junky Drew Barrymore chick flick, and cult French scifi flick (which I personally love, but which isn't exactly a must-upgrade title for Joe Sixpack.) Why wouldn't they use some Criterion-level classic that's available on high-quality masters, and that everyone wants? Doesn't anyone else remember how many VCRs were sold by "E.T." in the 1980s?
      • Maybe I'm wrong, but wasn't E.T. held from release on VHS until it's 15th or so anniversary in 1996? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/6304143184/103-85 28752-9792644?v=glance&n=404272 [amazon.com] In that case, it probably didn't sell too many VHS players...
        • It was first released on VHS in the late 80s sometime, 87 or 88 I believe, and stores couldn't hope to keep them on shelves for quite a while. I remember pretty much everyone getting or giving a copy as a gift that holiday season. It was an odd tape, black with a green flap, and it was the closest thing to a killer app that VHS had, at least in my area.
      • by FerretFrottage (714136) on Monday June 19, 2006 @03:05PM (#15563381)
        I don't think ET sold that many VCRs. The poor little guy had a slow distribution system (kids and their bikes--granted they could fly, but still, those bike baskets don't hold many VCRs, plus ET could have stayed on the office and have left more space for the VCRs, BUT then the bikes couldn't fly then could they?). Anyway, he also was more concerned with constantly trying to report into his home sales office rather than focusing on customer satisfaction. Why the "competition" was so concerned with catching him is beyond me. The only thing he had was the "light finger promotion" deal and the claims that his prices didn't "Ouch".

      • Geeks love that "cult French scifi flick". Geeks buy new toys. Profit.

        I can't explain the chick flick and substandard action movie. Rich chicks and rich dicks?
    • by tourvil (103765) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:26PM (#15563050)
      And to agree with the earlier poster: Whoever's greenlighting chick films like "50 first dates" and "Phantom of the Opera" for testdriving a new medium needs a new job, preferably selling hot dogs on a street corner, to get an idea of what a market actually asks for.

      A relevant Penny Arcade comic to answer your question:

      http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/04/19 [penny-arcade.com]
    • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:42PM (#15563200) Homepage Journal
      Whoever's greenlighting chick films like "50 first dates" and "Phantom of the Opera" for testdriving a new medium needs a new job, preferably selling hot dogs on a street corner, to get an idea of what a market actually asks for.

      Well, I actually watched Phantom of the Opera at the movies on the big screen, and I think that they're aiming for the Opera and Cinema buffs with that one - a lot of early HDTV adopters are into opera for some reason, have the sound systems to appreciate it, and might want to get it in a higher resolution format.

      It won a number of awards for cinematography, with good reason.

      Plus, the blood, burns, and mask are just plain cool.
      • a lot of early HDTV adopters are into opera for some reason, have the sound systems to appreciate it, and might want to get it in a higher resolution format

        What does HDTV appealing to opera lovers have to do with the Blu-Ray release of a shitty Andrew Lloyd Weber musical?
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday June 19, 2006 @03:02PM (#15563356)
      Quality 35mm shot on a good lense, as you get with hollywood movies, is good to somewhere in the realm of 2000-6000 lines of resolution each direction. That's a ball park, of course, since there's no direct correlation to pixels on analogue film, but still. A good negative can resolve about 6000 lines of resolution, the positive shown in theatres is good for about 2000.

      35mm has plenty of resolution for a good HD, it just takes doing a good digital transfer. If you want to see an example, get the T2 Extreme Edition DVD and watch it on a modern computer running Windows. The 2nd disc has a HD transfer in WMV9 (VC1) format. They chose an intermediary resolution that's not part of the ATSC spec, 1440 horizontal (the verticle is cropped to fit the aspect ratio of the film). Because the bitrate is only that of DVD, it gets a bit blocky during action sequences but for all that the detail is superb. It is clearly head and shoulders about the DVD version, despite being sourced from film, and an old one at that.

      While pure digital movies certianly are easier to get good copies of, since there's no transfer just resampling, it's not that film lacks the rez, it is just that they don't want to invest the time and money in to a good transfer.

      • Having an HDTV and high def content, I can attest that much of the HD content from remastered film sources can be beautiful.

        The catch is that when a film's scene is cropped pretty hard you can see the grain in the film.

    • Let's face it, it is really the blokes that want 500 inch TVs, 12 inch sub-woofers and BRay to watch big action movies. But when they say "Honey, I've been thinking of ....", senior management soon says "No".

      By serving up chick flicks first, the blokes get to have a more effective line of attack: "Honey, I love you so much I've been thinking of buying **you** a new BRay system to watch chick flicks. Just imagine, you'll be able to read the clothing labels & see the individual tears running down Drew's f

    • They probably picked "50 First Dates" to show off the lush scenery in HD (the film was shot in Hawaii). There were many tropical vistas, rain forests, ocean views, etc. used as backdrops in the film.
    • As no one else seems to have pointed out the obvious answer, I will - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114709/ [imdb.com] (Check out the first entry in the trivia section).
      Although I was under the impression that the film used in movies is still of a far higher quality than 1080i (a trip to a cinema should confirm that). So the key is how well the digital recording (is it called 'mastering') is done.
  • I skimmed the summary the first time, and when I read "xXx", I thought to myself, "hi-def porn." I mean, that must be one incentive to go HD that will actually bring in customers. Fifth Element? Please.
    • I skimmed the summary the first time, and when I read "xXx", I thought to myself, "hi-def porn."
      But do people really need to see all the tiny hair follicles or other abnormal growths on other people's gentals?
      • But do people really need to see all the tiny hair follicles or other abnormal growths on other people's gentals?

        Dammit! I left the webcam on again while changing underwear!

  • Uh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:15PM (#15562959)
    close just looks like a messed-up bunch of dots

    Well... that's sort of what it is, yes? :-\

  • by IceDiver (321368) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:15PM (#15562963)
    I didn't see these in the theatre, I didn't rent them when they came out on DVD, and I CERTAINLY don't want them in my permanent collection.

    What makes Hollywood think I'm going to want them now, just because they are high def?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:15PM (#15562964)
    From the 50 dates review:
    Happily, this transfer proves that the Blu-ray format can deliver a picture as good as anything I've seen yet on HD DVD.
    This is a nonsensical statement. There is nothing to prove. They both support the exact same compression formats (MPEG-2, VC-1 and the best of them all: H.264/AVC). The maximum bitrates are high enough to not cause noticeable artifacts in either format, when AVC is used with a good encoder. Both formats support storing the movies in 1080p24 and pull-downed to 1080i60 at runtime. Therefore, there can not be any quality difference inherent to the formats, only errors caused by external factors such as scratched discs. Blu-ray comes ahead in this case, because it has stupendously good hard coating technology by TDK.
    • Therefore, there can not be any quality difference inherent to the formats

      Well, maybe not in the formats, but there is a quality difference in the current players. The first Bluray players are supposed to be able to output the disc's native 1080p at 24fps (film is natively 24fps), while the HD-DVD players released so will show a picture converted to 1080i at 30fps. If you had a reallly good TV, you could theoretically get a better result with BluRay, at least until HD-DVD starts releasing 1080p players.

  • 3... 2... 1... - happy pirating!

    OK, seriously, I know this will take some time (I don't know of any PC Blue-Ray DVD readers even available yet), and no, I don't encourage downloading of movies/music online unless you own it blah, blah, blah (that said, I have to admit my own guilt for downloading a TV show that my Tivo missed or that iTunes wasn't selling, so call me a hypocrite if you must).

    I'm still wondering what the HD to Standard Def (SD) ratio is. My wife and I have decided that 2 years from now is w
  • by Recovering Hater (833107) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:22PM (#15563007)
    Right after I spend around $1000.00 on 50 First Dates. Puh-Leaze!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    After comparing two movies that are, by today's youthful standards, quite old, with a movie that was produced less than two years ago, the newest movie has the best picture quality!

    Stay tuned for tomorrow, when we'll have the following headline:

    "X3 has better picture quality than XMen and XMen2!"
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:23PM (#15563019)

    We can expect Blu Ray releases of Istar and Gigli any day now. Actually, a quick Google shows that the real problem may be that the Sony movie catalog is almost completely dreck, Princess Bride excepted. If what Sony owns is crap, crap is what will be released first on Blu Ray.

  • by Aellus (949929)
    The 5th Element review that the news post referenced paints an entirely different picture than "it completely underwhelmed". The review says it was still a damn good picture, it just literally was NOT the best HD could be. That can easily be explained since the original was film, not digital. Other than that? Its still HD, which is a whole lot better than standard definition. I havent read the other two reviews yet, but it doesnt seem like Blu-Ray really flopped like this post makes it sound like it did...
  • I can't help but hear these words in my head:

    "Get it now on DVD and PSP."

    And we know how well that turned out (PS What?).
  • And why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ericdano (113424) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:26PM (#15563055) Homepage
    And why did something so lame as XXX make it to Blu Ray? Why not something good, oh, say the first Harry Potter Movie. The Battlestar Galactica Mini-Series (not the tv series). Star Wars? T3?
  • by GoRK (10018) <johnl @ b lurbco.com> on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:27PM (#15563059) Homepage Journal
    I find it very hard to stomach these reviewers who are trying to compare the 'picture quality' of Blu-Ray to HD-DVD when the codecs used are exactly the same. Blu-Ray offers the edge on size and maximum bitrate, but it's doubtful that the early titles are going to be taking advantage of it. Any title that did take advantage of the extra space would very logically look better (if the compressionist is not an idiot, anyway). Whether or not anyone would really notice is another debate. You could make a comparison to the acutal players ability to decode and post process the footage as well, but this would require identical MPEG2 or H.264 content to be fed through both format players -- which has not been done either.

    So anyway, I guess the gauntlet is down and the proverbial "masses" will decide. Unfortunately they will probably end up doing it based on title availability, brand loyalty, price, and "picture quality" instead of technical merit. All it really means to me is that I have to wait to buy a player until: a) one camp gives in, b) someone makes a dual format player or c) companies start releasing *everything* in both formats.
    • by stratjakt (596332) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:55PM (#15563305) Journal
      Unless it's from Sony and specifically a BluRay showcase disc, I'd imagine the HD-DVD and BluRay releases will be exactly the same data - after all, why encode and remaster the thing twice?

      The masses though can't get over the Beta vs VHS thing.. So the non-techies out there can't grasp that this time around the only difference is the discs themselves, and the markets being split for no reason better than competition for the sake of it.

      I think HDDVD vs Blu Ray is a battle that everybody will ultimately lose.

      I know severeal folks with fancy new HDTV plasmas, and most don't get why they should pay a few extra bucks for component video cables, when s-video or composite looks just as good to them... Frankly, unless you're a videophile, they're right.

      If I'm just passively watching or playing a game, I can't see the difference between progressive scan and interlaced..

      Maybe I'm just getting to old -- but most people are as old or older. I don't see the point.

      I feel the same way about XBox 360, PS3 and Wii.. They aren't a "new generation", the whole thing seems to be the industry trying to force us to upgrade to something we don't want or need. The last generation was "good enough", and once the market got saturated, they conductor of the gravy train yelled "end of the line" and they freaked out..

      What were we talking about anyways?

      • I understand what you're saying about the XBox 360 and the PS3, but dissing on the Wii as not being a new generation is just lunacy sir.

        What freak out are you talking about too? Video game sales still make the big bucks, at least for companies that know how to sell them.
        • What I mean is, everybody who's ever going to buy a PS2 has already has one. The 360 and PS3 aren't in my eyes a "new generation", I see a new generation as being capable of a whole new range of functionality. The NES could clearly do things that the Atari 2600 couldnt. The SNES could do things the NES couldnt. The PSX could do things the NES couldnt. The PS2/XBox can do things the PSX/Saturn gen couldnt. These are all different generations.

          I can't think of anything the XBox 360 can do that the XBox c
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:29PM (#15563076) Journal
    Somewhat surprisingly, it's '50 First Dates' that ranked highest of the three in video quality

    Not surprising, there's no action to speak of, not a lot of motion, etc.. Less movement means less to encode, which means less work to decode.

    The Matrix was always the DVD stress-tester of choice, specifically the kung fu scene, because you would really notice the quality of the decoder during the more intense scenes, where every pixel on screen is changing with every frame.

    So my question is, is this an issue with the encoding of the discs or an inherent design problem with the discs themselves, perhaps too low a bitrate, or just a cheap shit decoder in the playback device? My money is on the latter.
  • I think I would have liked these reviews more had they provided some screen shots, or even short "detail" movie clips of what to expect from Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD -or- regular DVD.

    For all the talk, there's been precious little that we can SEE.
  • First for the VHS. Then the DVD, then the Directors cut. Now the Blu-Ray version?

    At least most of hollywood's current movies don't outlast the media that they're released on. Gigli Blu-ray? I don't think so.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:44PM (#15563222) Homepage

    There may be a big problem looming for Hollywood. If you transfer 35MM film to 1080p, the film grain often shows up. Compressing all that useless film grain noise, which has no frame to frame coherence, will use up a big fraction of the data capacity. It will also mess up the motion compression, which usually results in annoying jaggies. So it's probably necessary to filter out at least some of the film grain. But if you filter out the film grain, you lose resolution.

    The reviews of the new Blu-ray disks ("the picture looks too soft and flat") indicates that there's probably too much filtering.

    Somewhere in LA, there are probably members of SMTPE struggling with this, trying to figure out the right tradeoffs between resolution loss and compression overload when converting existing films.

  • by asv108 (141455) <alex&phataudio,org> on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:47PM (#15563241) Homepage Journal
    The first DVD player I had was a kit from Creative, which came with this huge decoder card in order to handle playback on the computers of the age. ( 12/1997)

    In a period of 2 years DVD went from geek toy(97) to mass market adoption(99). Fueled by the features, quality, price, and convenience of the discs. The falling prices of the hardware players helped a lot too.

    I'm a early adopter with an HD setup, but I have no interest in Blue-Ray or HD-DVD at the moment. I'm sure in a couple years I will pick one (probably when Netflix chooses a technology), but right now regular DVD's using an upconverting 1080i DVD player and an HDMI cable look and sound great for me. The upconverting setup was only $250 a year ago, and it makes my existing DVD's look great.

    What is the motivation for these HD formats from a user perspective? Higher priced players, high priced discs, and limited selection. What is the consumer paying for? A little bit better pictured quality is not going to motivate people to switch.

    There needs to be something more for the average consumer to consider using any of these formats. Looking at the audio world, there have been hi-def audio formats out for quite some time with little success. There needs to be something more besides a quality increase to get people to jump ship.

    • One word: durability. DVDs are good, but their fatal flaw is that they are too damned easy to break. Just ask any netflixian about the problem. The biggest motivator for upgrading to a new format would be a more durable format that didn't become useless after a year of wear and tear.

      • For the price difference just buy a couple of the same DVDs. Of course this wouldn't be a problem if you were allowed to copy the media. You'd buy the dvd, copy it, then out the original away only bringing it to make a new copy because your old one got scratched.

        The funny thing, I know a lot of people that still have tape players in their cars because tapes are more durable than cd. Even though the quality is less they stick with tapes. So you may be on to something here but I think Blu-Ray places itself o

    • by Kralizec (627733) on Monday June 19, 2006 @03:16PM (#15563498)
      (probably when Netflix chooses a technology)

      Actually, Netflix is already offering HD-DVD disks. All you have to do is set it up in your account settings.
  • by this great guy (922511) on Monday June 19, 2006 @02:54PM (#15563294)

    Most people don't know this but the quality of current Blu-ray titles does not match the quality offered by HD-DVD's for a very simple reason. The couple of Blu-ray titles that have been released so far are all encoded using MPEG-2, while HD-DVD titles are using the more advanced MPEG-4 based VC1 codec.

    What is even more frustrating is that Blu-ray titles could have been VC1 encoded. The Blu-ray and HD-DVD standards both support the same set of video codecs. But for some reason the Blu-ray camp decided to encode the first titles using MPEG-2. I don't follow closely enough the format war to know why such a decision has been taken, but I know this is a stupid decision because most non-technical people will have a bad first impression of Blu-ray. It is even more frustrating knowing that Blu-ray titles have the technical potential to look at least as good as HD-DVD titles.

    • What is even more frustrating is that Blu-ray titles could have been VC1 encoded. The Blu-ray and HD-DVD standards both support the same set of video codecs. But for some reason the Blu-ray camp decided to encode the first titles using MPEG-2. I don't follow closely enough the format war to know why such a decision has been taken, but I know this is a stupid decision because most non-technical people will have a bad first impression of Blu-ray. It is even more frustrating knowing that Blu-ray titles have t
    • Since Blu-ray supports highbandwith, what advantage is MPEG4/AVC going to give you? I would expect, given a high enough bitrate that MPEG2 will not look any different that MPEG4/AVC unless it's 4:2:2.
    • Just to pick nits:

      VC1 is also known as WMV9 (Windows Media Video 9 codec)

      H.264 is also known as MPEG 4 AVC (MPEG 4, Part 10)

      Two totally different codecs.
  • Whoa! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beefslaya (832030)
    Slow down, I haven't even purchased my HD television yet.

    While watching a hockey playoff game a month ago, my buddy paid extra to have HD broadcast straight from the Cable provider (Charter charges for this) and was all proud of his Samsung wide screen LCD/hybrid TV.

    To be honest with you, it didn't change the game experience for me that much. Wide screen was nice (got to see a few more dirty hits off the "regular" camera angle)and it wasn't enough for me to justify paying an extra 100-200 dollars for HD ca
    • I disagree completely. I've spent the last few days watching the world-cup in HD, and it is a completely different experience. The wide-screen aspect ratio gives you a much better feel for where players are on the field, and the picture is sharp enough that you can actually tell which player has the ball, even if he's on the opposite side of the field. I could do without the "closeup of the coach so tight you can see his nose hairs" shots, but damn, those are some well-rendered nose hairs!
      • I don't know about the US but we've had widescreen aspect ratio over here in the UK for a number of years, without having HD. If HD and widescreen have been linked then that's a cunning plan on behalf of the broadcasters and manufacturers to get HD widely adopted.

        My latest TV is HD capable. I don't see me getting any HD playback device any time soon though. DVD quality is good enough.

  • Independent Review (Score:4, Informative)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Monday June 19, 2006 @03:09PM (#15563418) Journal
    Another reivew, from a Mr. Sony McSonyson, informed me that Blu-Ray provides not only a superior picture quality, but also interfaces directly with my brain to extract my personal preferences. For example, in Star Wars, regardless of which version, Han would always shoot first. In every scene. Also, "Into the Blue" would focus on Jessica Alba not in the ocean, but a kiddie pool filled with baby oil. Also, it was revealed that HD-DVD would kill my dog, leave me sterile, and emit cancer-inducing radiation if viewed for more than 0.18 seconds at a time.
  • I for one don't meet the hardware DRM requirements to buy those movies. But hopefully the non-DRM'ed versions will be out soon :)
  • Sorry guys, this just doesn't seem like a good idea.
    For HD to make a good debut you can't take something that's been filmed digitally on a camera designed around the NTSC standard and then just enhance the video by making the resolution bigger. Unless you've done lots of research into image sharpening algorithms, this just CANNOT work. Try taking the slashdot banner and expanding it to print on a poster-size piece of paper... The printout will be disgusting. That's exactly what they're doing by taking old m
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday June 19, 2006 @04:14PM (#15564047) Journal
    Are we suppose to judge the quality from his words and 200x150 pixel thumbnails?

    Right...

Just because he's dead is no reason to lay off work.

Working...