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DVD Format War Already Over? 640

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the there-were-these-things-called-laserdiscs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'Nobody likes false starts' - claims the assertive and risky article "10 Reasons Why High Definition DVD Formats Have Already Failed" published by Audioholics which outlines their take on why the new Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats will attain nothing more than niche status in a marketplace that is brimming with hyperbole. Even though the two formats have technically just hit the streets, the 'Ten reasons' article takes a walk down memory lane and outline why the new DVD tech has a lot to overcome."
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DVD Format War Already Over?

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  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:35PM (#15609524) Journal
    About the only compelling thing in these new formats for me is data storage and back up, and I'm still not sure that they will be more cost effective than cheap raids or even external HDs.
    • by ScottLindner (954299) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:37PM (#15609534)
      That's what I'm in it for too. I have over 100GB I'd like to keep a good incremental backups of. I just hope they can start spinning off archival quality media at a reasonable price by the time the drives hit around $100/each. Am I asking too much? :-)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:13PM (#15609942)
        DVD / HDDVD - Blue-Ray are not archival quality - None can even come close... Most writable consumer media starts degrading in 7 years.

        Instead, try this:

        www.inphase-tech.com

        Guaranteed 50 year media life, first generation will be 300 GIG per disc, going to 1.6TB per disk. Drives going out to OEM's right now.
    • by rmerry72 (934528) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:50PM (#15609605) Homepage
      High density plastic discs will never compete against external hard drives for serious backups. They are a proven, reliable media with the advantages of constantly being able to rewrite and reuse them as needs change.

      I backup all my DVDs onto external hard drives and throw the shiny discs into the closest. The flimsy plastic is really only good for a couple of uses before scratching, fingerprints or other marks degraded them.

      HD DVDs would be useful as a transient storage container for transporting data between locations, because its eay to transport and after copying the data to its real location it can be thrown away. But not as a backup. Same as DVDs today.
      • by ScottLindner (954299) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:58PM (#15609638)
        The problem is that magnetic media has a significantly shorter data integrity than what optical media *can* provide. The cheap media most people buy is about as reliable a hard drive.
        • by rmerry72 (934528) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:45PM (#15609829) Homepage
          The problem is that magnetic media has a significantly shorter data integrity than what optical media *can* provide.

          Under what conditions? Sealed in an air-tight, moisture-proof box? Handled with gloves like any fragile document from the 13th Century? The cheap media most people buy is about as reliable a hard drive.

          Crap. No other word for it.

          I've been backing up on hard drives for over four years now - in fact, I now have 8 hard drives purely for dedicated backups (well, I have a 1.5TB media library). Every now and then I need to restore a file that has been accidentally deleted or corrupted and I have yet to go to one of my drives and find it unusable.

          Granted its only been four years, and yes, hard drives are not archive grade storage mediums. If I wanted archive quality I'd go back to backing up on tape drives - that is the only proven archive media in the industry today. I've gone back to DVDs and CDs that I haven't used on twelve months and find they are unreadable - let alone four years. I'm sure there are people on /. that have had working hard drives for 7, 8, hell 10 years+.

          Even audio CDs don't last more than a couple of years, particularly if you do something ridiculous, such as actually use them. Who here as a pile of audio CDs they bought in the 90s that are degraded beyond use?

          • I have to say... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Belial6 (794905) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:54PM (#15610118)
            I have to say that if your pressed, honest to goodness purchased CDs are only lasting a couple of years, you need to look at the environment you are living in, because it must be extreamly harsh. I have only seen a couple of pressed CDs fail that have not been massively abused.

            I also wouldn't count too heavily on tapes as being "proven archive media". Have you ever heard of people having to "bake the tapes"? That is because a lot of tapes that are only a couple of decades old have started to seriously degrade. Also, you can't just throw tapes into a non-climate controlled environment any more than you can a CD. About the only area that a tape has greater reliablity than a CD is when they are tossed in a pile on a desk without being put in a case. And that is only because the tapes have a built in case.
          • by plover (150551) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:23PM (#15610249) Homepage Journal
            Who here as a pile of audio CDs they bought in the 90s that are degraded beyond use?

            Not me, unless you count "two" as a pile. And those two failed because I let them bang around in my truck and get scratched to hell, not because they were played or otherwise magically rotted.

            Given much less care than LPs or cassette tapes, virtually all of them play as well now as they did when I bought them. ExactAudioCopy does occasionally report an error or two when I'm ripping them. I'd estimate that 90% of my discs are error free, and the rest are mostly 99% or better (EAC figures.) And while I don't deliberately manhandle them, I'm far from a paranoid audiophile with alcohol swabs and white gloves.

            And as far as burn-'em-yourself discs, I've not had any data discs degrade on me (that I'm aware of.) Those, I definitely treat better than audio discs, with limited handling and their lives spent inside clean CaseLogic CD folders.

            As for hard drives, I certainly haven't had the good luck you seem to be having. If I have an older drive that is powered down for a couple of years, the chances of it spinning up seem to be far from 100%. And that's not just cheap Maxtors I'm talking about (although Maxtor is no proof against failure), I've had it happen with a number of server-class SCSI drives, too. While it's certainly not a 50% fail rate, I'd guess that long-term stored hard drives seem to have only about a 90-95% chance of spinning up again.

            No medium is perfect. And there's another point I've not mentioned yet, and that's the availability of readers / interface electronics. If I had backed up all my valuables on an old Winchester drive, what are the chances I'd be able to read it today? First, I'd have to find a working machine with an ISA bus, video card, possibly a monitor, a keyboard, and some kind of boot drive. I'd need to scrounge a copy of DOS, although pirating an ancient one off the Internet seems pretty doable (but creating a bootable disk is less simple.) Then, I'd have to find a WD503 ISA card for it, and cables. I'd probably have to come up with a network card, too, so I could get the data off the machine.

            Of course, these same arguments will hold true for CDs and DVDs at some point in the not-too-distant future, as well as any current hard drive communications bus. Maybe it won't be BluRay or HD-DVD that spells doom for the CD/DVD/hard-drive backup plan, but it will be something.

            • by StikyPad (445176) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:58PM (#15610600) Homepage
              That's why I laser etch all of my important data into diamond. Sure, it's expensive, but once it's done I can just toss the gems into a bag and I have nothing to worry about. After all, the only thing that will scratch diamond is another.. oh crap!
              • Diamonds are worthless for long term data storage. They decay back into graphite over the course of hardly one time the lifetime of the universe. They even are flameble. The moment some one heats them up to 800C they're gone.
                Now how could you possibly trust *that*?

                My methode of datastorage is much more secure. I have all my data written on the hand of God. I did had to erase a lot of names of it first, so some of you might experience some difficulties when trying to enter heaven. But I'm sure you'd enjoy hell too. They seem to have great barbeques. And it's for a good cause. I can't be expected to let my Simcity save games go to waste when the universe ends, can I?
  • See what Gizmodo [gizmodo.com] said in 2004.
    • The markets? They did a bang-up job choosing which quadraphonic record format would win, which AM stereo would win, DAT or DCC. SACD or DVD Audio. Unless one side is clearly the Beta, the markets can never make up their minds. They will buy neither to avoid getting stuck with what may be the next Beta. Drives that do DVD-R and DVD+R were the thing that kept DVD burners from being DOA, not the markets. Drives that do both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray won't be allowed unless current licensing agreements change.
      • They will buy neither to avoid getting stuck with what may be the next Beta.

        I don't quite follow this. Beta got trounced by VHS largely because the consumers found the image quality acceptable, given the longer recording times. It's the consumers that made Beta, well, Beta.

        If consumers don't find that the new formats offer enough, compared to what they have, then they both will become the next Beta.

        That's the alpha and omega of it. (sorry, sorry everybody.)

        • by mcrbids (148650) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:07PM (#15610415) Journal
          I don't quite follow this. Beta got trounced by VHS largely because the consumers found the image quality acceptable, given the longer recording times. It's the consumers that made Beta, well, Beta.

          In the case of VHS vs Beta, consumers didn't have a reasonable other choice. If they wanted to videotape Star Trek episodes, they had to pick one or the other. So the decision wasn't whether to buy, it was what to buy. And VHS killed Beta because of the extended recording times.

          However, there's already a choice that's a clear market winner - DVD. Players are cheap, (I can now get a DVD with stereo audio and DVI for $30) media is cheap (movies cost ~ $10-$20) and it's widely supported.

          So the choice consumers make is not "Which HD-DVD to buy?" but rather "DVD or one of them expensive, risky HD thingies". If they go DVD, they get all their movies and titles, decent video/sound quality, and don't pay too much. If they go HD-whatever, they get marginally better video, no noticable difference in sound, and a limited, high-priced movie selection.

          Which would YOU buy? I don't know about you, but I'm in NO HURRY to adopt HD-DVD - I might end up buying an LCD TV in about a year to replace my aging 19" CRT...

          On a side note, I've gotten to where I just don't like DVDs anymore. I have 5 kids and a busy career. When we rent DVDs, we end up paying late fees a good percentage of the time. When we buy them, they often get scratched or lost. I don't have time to be a "DVD cop". But a Dish Network Pay-Per-View is easily recorded on the DVR and played over and over, with no media to lose, no trips to the local video store, and no stupid envelopes to mail back. (a la NetFlix)

          When we want a movie, we buy it on PPV. The selection still isn't fantastic yet, but it's just so much less hassle! IPTV is definitely where I'm going to go, as soon as it's available for my DVR!

          My vote for the next media format: IPTV on-demand, with a DVR or iTunes. The real question is simply: does Apple have the gonads to actually penetrate the living room, or are they content to just be a cool fad?
  • by Nybble's Byte (321886) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:37PM (#15609533) Journal
    Vinyl sounds better.
    • by timster (32400) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:57PM (#15609633)
      When I'm in my car my iPod playing lossy music through a $15 tape adapter sounds way better than vinyl does. Actually in my Honda Civic the vinyl sounds mostly like a room full of cats regardless of the source material. I haven't figured that out yet but I assume it's just that the awesome bandwidth of the vinyl sound is just overloading my system.
      • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:03PM (#15609660)
        Actually in my Honda Civic the vinyl sounds mostly like a room full of cats regardless of the source material.

        Yeah, but that's probably the Civic you're hearing, not the vinyl. :)
      • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:09PM (#15609927)
        Actually in my Honda Civic the vinyl sounds mostly like a room full of cats regardless of the source material. I haven't figured that out yet but I assume it's just that the awesome bandwidth of the vinyl sound is just overloading my system.
        Hey, like I had like the same problem, but then I upgraded the factory radio to a 'Type R' radio (incredible deal from this guy - he's like into the import/upgrade business, and sneaks out a couple of Type R radios each month and sells them from the back of his car - they're like over $1000 if you could even get one, which you can't cuz you need like this special license so don't even try, but that import dude will part with his "extras" for $200 which is just so schweet cuz he can like write them off on his insurance or something). And then I got these like special audio spoilers that clip onto the speakers (the dude I got them from - no, not like the import/upgrade dude, this dude is like a different dude - hangs out with that other guy, yeah, the one with the weird hair), and he said they keep the higher-velocity notes from producing delaminated/nonlabial/nonlaminar/whatever-the-hell airflow - I guess that's like 95% of the distortion once you upgrade the radio. So like the sound now is just so freaking incredible, and like everyone I meet is like all "hey Raven dude, we can't believe you actually have a Type R radio and speaker spoilers" and like roll their eyes cuz they're so jealous ROFLMAO.
    • Re:They left one out (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:11PM (#15609698) Journal
      Record vinyl [vestax.com] from any external audio source.

      Or, if you're lazy and don't want your mp3's as vinyls, just use a Winamp plugin [winamp.com]? :-)
      • Re:They left one out (Score:4, Interesting)

        by afidel (530433) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:54AM (#15610947)
        At only $10k I'm suprised some of the recording houses haven't picked them up. I was looking into custom dub plates for my brother and the only way to get them done affordably for small runs was to send the files to a place in Jamaica where the reggae scene has kept some dub houses alive. They press to a non-vinyl material that has about 80% of the life of vinyl at like 2% of the cost of having a vinyl master made. For only $10k the recording houses could offer small runs of DJ's music for a much more reasonable cost then actually pressing a master.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:38PM (#15609540) Homepage Journal
    I guess, in the sense of risk-averse.

    Relative to the Southern Baptist Convention, though...
  • by ezratrumpet (937206) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:38PM (#15609541) Journal
    Another reason that HD-DVD might fail is that the general public doesn't realize that there's a difference between "DVD player" and "HD-DVD player." The medium of content delivery didn't make a visual change such as the change from vinyl to CD, from 8-track to cassette, or even when comparing VHS and Beta.
  • by Achra (846023) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:39PM (#15609547) Journal
    There's a simple rule to follow:
    Is this all that much better to Joe Sixpack than what he had before?

    Cassettes were better than LP's. Not in fidelity. But in portability, durability, and most importantly - the cost of a 'decent' player - Cassettes were hands down better.
    CD's were better than Cassettes. They sound GREAT. You can skip tracks just like you could on an LP. They are supposed to last forever! (unlike those cassettes that by now you know simply don't)..
    SACD... Does anyone have an SACD player? No! (Except niche enthusiasts). Because, to Joe Sixpack, it's simply not worth the money for an immeasurable (to his ears) difference in quality.

    Same goes for video. DVD was a great upgrade from VHS. It combined the cheap player aspects of VHS with the hi-def of Laserdisc. Suddenly, everyone could have a GREAT copy of their favorite movie (as long as it wasn't starwars - a whole other topic entirely), for the output cost of about $50 for a cheap player. What part of Hi-def DVD is going to be any different than SACD or DVDAudio? Anyone?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      > SACD... Does anyone have an SACD player?

      Actually, if you have a halfway-decent CD player, you probably do. The question is, how many SACD's do you see actually getting pressed?
      • I know my CD player doesn't play SACDs (I picked up a free one somewhere, popped it in just to see). Nor does my car's. Or any of my computer drives. I really doubt most do- there's no demand, so why incur the extra cost? Maybe high end stereos do, so they can put it on the box as a feature point. But the majority of people don't have high end stereos.
    • Your argument Audio CD vs SACD is valid for the most part, imho. The same would go for Audio CD vs DVD-AUDIO. The quality increase is indeed not perceptible by most - certainly not on their gear.

      On the other hand, they can both easily store surround sound. An Audio CD could as well, of course, but then it's not really a red book (is that the one?) Audio CD anymore. I know a lot of people did get basic 5.1 speakersets for the audio that comes with DVD movies because it -is- perceptible better.. it's a wh
      • On the other hand, they can both easily store surround sound. An Audio CD could as well, of course, but then it's not really a red book (is that the one?) Audio CD anymore.

        That isn't strictly true, although it does depend no what you consider "surround sound". While currently unused, Red Book does permit four channel [wikipedia.org] audio formats. As well, Dolby Pro Logic can be encoded into the standard two channel Red Book format without violating the specification.

        So if you're referring to discrete 5.1 surround, you are correct -- however, there are different types of surround sound, at least two of which can be encoded on to Red Book CDs.

        HD-DVD (or BlueRay) over DVD might not be as particular a jump. It does have higher resolution, of course, but it doesn't specify anything with regards to possible higher framerates or even better encoding

        Actually, both standards can handle H.264 [wikipedia.org] video, which is a signficantly better encoding standard than MPEG-2. Depending on what profile is used for the encoding, it is possible to specify much higher colour fidelity.

        This isn't to say I disagree with your overall argument, however. I'm not so sure that the quality differences are going to be sufficiently significant to the average viewer (which would include myself) to matter. As I've stated in other articules on this subject, I'm personally more interested in these formats (BlueRay in particular) for data storage than for video.

        Yaz.

        • by ximenes (10) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:43PM (#15609818)
          Yes, they allow H.264, but they do not dictate that the disks use it. So what will happen is the same thing that happened with regular DVDs: some of them use the proper encoding methods and a reasonable bitrate, and others are packed with way too much crap or otherwise done poorly and there is no easy way to know other than DVDBeaver or your intuition.

          How will I know (just by looking at the package) that a HD-DVD title is done in H.264? And even if it has that information on the back, thats meaningless to the average consumer.

          I would be happier if one of the specifications dictated H.264 (or at least did not permit MPEG2 to be used on HD-DVD/BDs). At least that would remove one variable, you know that they're at least using the best codec permitted.
    • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:49PM (#15609601) Journal
      Plus, DVD was playable on existing technology. You didn't need to go buy a $2000+ monitor to enjoy watching a DVD or appreciate the advance in quality and new features.

      Maybe there will be a demand for HD DVD and Blu Ray when HD sets are a lot more common, but not until then.
    • Suddenly, everyone could have a GREAT copy of their favorite movie ... for the output cost of about $50 for a cheap player.

      While I agree with most of your comment, the bit about $50 DVD players is revisionist history. I seem to recall they were more like in the neighborhood of $1000 when the DVD format first launched. Sure you can get a $50 player now but not at the beginning. Cheap players had little to do with the initial success of DVD. I think it was just the improved quality and the nice form fact
    • My DVD player (a higher end Sony) has SACD as well (of course not DVD-Audio also, why converge?). I was going to try it out, back when I bought it, until I discovered that due to copy concerns the SACD only worked over 6 ANALOG CABLES!!! So let me get this straight, my video DVD's will come through on the digital link to my receiver, but if I shove a SACD in, I have to switch inputs (even though it's the same device with essentially the same media [yes I know, just making a point]) but it won't play the sam
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:41PM (#15609554)
    If people have the physical disc, then they would be able to copy or watch/listen to the content almost as many times as they want. That is something the XXAA doesn't want. They would make more money from on demand rather than someone actually owning the disc. Eventually, everything will be in a Pay-Per-Use format. The way to prevent it, stay away from the XXAA.
    • I feel like I'm the only one who sees the elephant in the room. The MEMBERS of the MPAA, such as, oh I don't know, Sony for starters, are the ones pushing this "technology upgrade" not because they think it will benefit people in terms of a "better viewing experience" but because it creates a new and as-yet-uncracked DRM format and larger file sizes so complete rips will be more difficult to trade online.

      The MPAA members and other studios will start in a few years to release their blockbuster movies HD-ONL
  • #3 is the killer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Have Blue (616) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:41PM (#15609557) Homepage
    Advantages of switching from VHS to DVD:
    • Much higher quality video and audio
    • Random access
    • Don't have to rewind them
    • Switchable audio tracks
    • Subtitles that are optional
    • Extras
    • Nifty menus
    Advantages of switching from DVD to HD/BR:
    • Much higher audio and video quality if your TV cost four digits. Small improvement in quality on low-end HD or SDTV.
    • ...and that's about it.
    • Re:#3 is the killer (Score:3, Informative)

      by king-manic (409855)
      Advantages of switching from VHS to DVD:
      Much higher quality video and audio
      Random access
      Don't have to rewind them
      Switchable audio tracks
      Subtitles that are optional
      Extras
      Nifty menus
      Advantages of switching from DVD to HD/BR:
      Much higher audio and video quality if your TV cost four digits. Small improvement in quality on low-end HD or SDTV. ...and that's about it.


      Also multi disc movies can now be on 1 disc and the menus can have more neat things int hem liek small java games ect.. Also the major studios have d
    • by nobodyman (90587) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:11PM (#15609696) Homepage

      Ah you left out one:
        - more robust forms of DRM

      In my mind, this is the real motivation behind the HD-DVD / BD camps -- they aren't trying to sell consumers on HD quality, they're trying to convince Hollywood to adopt the format based on how well you can lock it down. Then, just kill of DVD's. Why entice consumers when you can *force* them, right?

      Of course this scheme will fail -- you can't convince Hollywood to embrace a new technology (for any reason) because they are scared of change and hate risks. You have to drag them kicking and screaming into new technology.
  • by Kohath (38547) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:42PM (#15609562)
    The article is a troll. Don't feed the trolls.
  • by DarthBobo (152187) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:43PM (#15609566)
    Both of my DVD players (including the one built into the 32" LCD I just bought) play MPEG4/DivX. In other words, they can already handle a full HD movie -- its just that none are available legally on standard DVDs. The only thing the new formats offer for the purpose of watching video is DRM -- hardly a good reason to upgrade for consumers.

    I'll be amused if we start seeing DivX encoded pirated DVDs start to appear in the states that offer HD on a standard DVD. The studios response should prove interesting ...

    • by benwaggoner (513209) <ben@waggoner.microsoft@com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:33PM (#15609783) Homepage
      Well, the Divx HD profile is 1280x720 and only 5.1 audio at best. Both advanced formats are 1920x1080, and support up to lossless 7.1 96KHz 24-bit audio. And I've never seen a Divx HD disc without palpable artifacts, while the standard for VC-1 encoded HD DVD is transparency to the D5 HD master.

      HD DVD is at least as much of a jump from Divx HD as Divx HD was from DVD.
      • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:36AM (#15610906)
        Well, the Divx HD profile is 1280x720 and only 5.1 audio at best

        Ok, not everything is Divx (The bastard offspring of the Microsoft MPEG4 codec from 1998.)

        VC-1 has been doing full 1080p and fitting on a standard DVD for years now, including support for 7.1 surround without artifacts (Even when viewed on a native 1080p rear DLP projector with a 20' screen size.)

        The problem is that studios had initially planned on using this format for the next generation DVD content, but the DRM promises of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray made them wait for the new medium.

        There have been a few movies released in the VC-1 format in HD on standard DVDs, but not many. Go buy T2 Extreme at Walmart for an example of a movie in this format that is 3 years old now. (You can also download sample movies and clips in this format from: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/musi candvideo/hdvideo/hdvideo.aspx [microsoft.com]

        Just an FYI to everyone, VC-1 is one of the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray codecs, but it is also known formally as Windows Media 9 Format (WMV9), VC-1 is the name adopted after it was approved as a standard format.
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:45PM (#15609572) Homepage Journal
    When Div-X came out, I felt like the companies had to update to use the format ASAP. It allowed more content, and more definition at the same time. Five years later, we're still stuck to MPEG-2 DVD's. Guess Who's at fault? [mpaa.org]
  • No, no, no! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RemovableBait (885871) * <slashdotNO@SPAMblockavoid.co.uk> on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:48PM (#15609591) Homepage
    High definition is headed for a niche market at best, not an industry takeover.

    I fundamentally disagree with this statement. Most people now have at least heard of HDTV; there have been plenty of adverts for high-def digital cable and satellite services here in the UK, especially in the run-up to the World Cup (which can be viewed in HD with the required equipment).

    I'm also pretty sure that people buying larger TVs today are buying HDTVs. The big thing about it is the 'Wow' factor of these sets. With a good HD source, the massive screens are pretty amazing. Now, people bought enough DVDs of old VHS tapes for a huge back catalog of old (and oftentimes, shite) films to be released on DVD. What is to say it won't happen again?

    Personally, I believe it is far to early to tell what will happen. But, no matter what Audioholics says, High definition IS the future and it WILL take over eventually.
    • Re:No, no, no! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      It's kind of funny. A sport where most parts of the field is just green grass and people shooting a ball is pushed to for HD quality and attempts to sell sets that way. Are they ridiculing human intelligence or just stupid? :-) What exactly do I wish to see in HD quality? The sweat on mens foreheads? Hairy legs? Seriously, movies with special effects would make much more sense and I'd be more interested if more channels started advertising their movies in HD here. Some dedicated pay-per-view movie channels
    • Re:No, no, no! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skreems (598317) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:28PM (#15609766) Homepage
      You can walk out of a Best Buy with a 50 inch DLP HD television for only $1300, on sale. That's pretty damn cheap. On the other hand, you can walk out of K-Mart with a very high-quality (for CRT) 32" flat-screen for about $300. Which do you honestly think mainstream consumers are going to buy?
      • Re:No, no, no! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:13AM (#15610659)
        And while $1300 may sound cheap to the young geek, making deceant bucks at a tech job without a family, it's not cheap to the parents working blue collar jobs with their 2.5 kids to take care of. That $1000 difference is a lot of other things they probably need more.

        For that matter my parents, who do not work blue collar jobs and do make more than me, still don't own a large HDTV and I'm not sure they ever will unless I get them one as a present. It is simply in the "too expensive" category. In their world, TVs are meant to cost a couple hundred bucks, and they don't care about the pretty picture. They've been to my house, they've seen Discovery HD on a nice TV with nice sound, it's just not a priority. So it *IS* expensive in terms of being "more than most peopel want to pay for it". Something is cheap when people feel like the price you are asking is less than it should cost. No matter what the absolute price, if they see it as not worth what you are asking, it's expensive.
    • Re:No, no, no! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drewmca (611245) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:43PM (#15609821)
      I think far more compelling to average people is the TV set format. The picture is nice and people really enjoy it when they see it. But I think what really gets people about HDTVs is that they're usually in a format (plasma, lcd, etc.) that has significant advantages over CRTs, including widescreen (though CRT can do that), lightweight, thin, larger screens with much less associated bulk, etc. If anything will drive HD adoption, it will be when these more convenient TV types become more affordable. You don't see a lot of people buying CRT monitors these days, do you? So I think the real driver in HD adoption won't be the picture quality so much as the convenience of HD format monitors.

      Regardless of what that does for HDTV, though, it doesn't really mean much to BR or HDDVD. The better picture is nice, but it's still hard to justify a whole new player and library when there aren't any convenience benefits, like portability or ease of use. If DVD had exactly the same picture and sound as VHS, it still would have replaced it. THe primary reason for its adoption was the convenience of the format. Until there's a new format that's easier to use than laser-read discs, DVD is here to stay and I think the HD formats are dead in the water.

      Let's not even get into the fact that the new formats actually make things less convenient with their DRM "features". Or the fact that someone's going to tell me that my $3200 plasma TV won't work with the formats because it doesn't have an HDMI input.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:51PM (#15609611) Homepage Journal
    I thought that the article was fairly concise, and accurately described 10 reasons why the format wars have already failed.

    But they forgot another one - most Americans don't have, and don't want to buy, an HDTV set that would even need either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, nor do most consumers see any reason to pay twice as much for the same product they can use today.

    Is this true in a few years? Perhaps not. But it's true today.

    Which leads us to the conclusion that both Sony and our other player decided to fight this battle early, after what happened to them when Beta and VHS fought - the stakes are so high they're trying to front-end the decision, but both sides ended up trying to steal a march on their competition, resulting in two formats way too early for consumers to be interested in either.
    • by realmolo (574068) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:03PM (#15609661)
      Yes, I agree.

      I think that the various companies pushing "HD" movie formats are *radically* overestimating how many HDTV sets are actually out there. Most people I know don't own an HDTV. Most people in the U.S. don't own an HDTV. Most people in the U.S. don't *have* the disposable income to buy an expensive set. And as the article said, if you don't have HD channels, then the picture is worse.

      HDTVs won't be everywhere until *most* of the content on regualar broadcast TV/cable is in HD, and the sets are under $400 or so, and HD DVD players drop to under $100. And that's a long ways away.

      Plus, many people just bought new TVs in the last few years, since the price of 32" CRTs dropped through the floor. They're not about to upgrade.
  • by bobcat7677 (561727) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:55PM (#15609626) Homepage
    Yes, most of us remember laserdisks. They were expensive when they came out and never really went down the price. the players got cheaper but they were always something that only the elite home theatre people had/used. And eventually they went away because a newer technology that made more sense came along to knock them out. I predict a new packaging that makes more sense (maybe something less scratch prone and smaller) will come along in a year or two and both HD-DVD and Bluray will find their way to garage sale bargain bins everywhere. Just like Laserdisk, 8 track tapes, and lawn dart games.

    not sure how lawn darts relate exactly but it sounded good:)
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:44PM (#15610322) Homepage

      It already exists. It's called "the internet".

      I remember reading this somewhere, and I totally agree with it. By the time this is settled it will be like the battle between Floppy cameras and Smart Media cameras: both lost and were obsolete.

      There are those rumors about a Netflix set-top box, or that they will finally integrate into TiVo. That's what is going to happen. It's clear as a bell. After all, once the pipes get big enough, why should I bother to pay $20 to buy a disc I'll watch once or twice when I can pay $2 to watch it each time I want, when I want. That's what PPV is, but instead of having 100 movies to choose from, I'll have Netflix's whole inventory. ANY movie. Like those old Quest commercials: "We have every move ever made in every format in every langauge starting any time" (or something like that).

      The only DVDs I watch I get from Netflix because I don't like buying them. Why should I pay $20 for a movie I'll watch once, or $50+ for a single season of a TV show? If Netflix released a set top box (or makes my TiVo do it) so that whatever is in my queue is automatically downloaded on to the drive during the night or whatever, I'll be happy. Watch what I want, when I want. And because hard drive space is cheap (DVDs are only 9 gigs tops, uncompressed) they can pre-load more than the 3 movies that I would currently be allowed to watch (based on the plan I pay for).

      Let the early adopters and studios sort it out. My way is more convenient. It's cheaper (you can P2P the popular movies between boxes) and there is no distribution. My way has no postage, no delivery, no "I'll go to the store and buy the movie tomorrow". No broken discs, no scratched discs, no lost discs.

      When there is a winner in the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray war, I hope they enjoy it. They'll have a year TOPS before the average consumer passes them by for set top boxes and the iTheater store. The only chance they have is with high-def content, and bandwidth and the ability download films 24/7 will nix that advantage pretty soon.

      • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:56AM (#15611358) Journal
        After all, once the pipes get big enough, why should I bother to pay $20 to buy a disc I'll watch once or twice when I can pay $2 to watch it each time I want, when I want.

        First off, the pipes won't be big enough for HDTV in reasonable download time for well-over a decade. Just calculate how many days it would take to download a 50GB movie on your connection.

        The consider you'll need to buy a second line, or upgrade your speed, since your connection will be effective unavailable as you are downloading each movie, for DAYS at a time. Internet access isn't free.

        Then consider how much money it's going to cost companies to pay for their own pipes to let you download 50GBs from them, and try to figure out how that will turn into a $2/movie business model.

        My way is more convenient.

        How is maxing out your connection (which you pay for) for several days more convenient than NOT wasting your connection, and getting the disc in 1-2 days as Netflix currently does?

        It's cheaper (you can P2P the popular movies between boxes)

        Bullshit. Bandwidth is massively expensive. There is too much variety in movies to expect several people to have them available when someone else wants to watch. ISPs will rake Netflix over tho coals for having their customers uploading 50GB files. Far too many users are behind firewalls and NAT routers for this to work. Nobody is going to max-out their upstream, all day, every day, making their connections useless. Asyncronous connections mean you need 10+ people who have the movie, and are willing to share, for every 1 person that wants to download it. Nobody is going to want to pay for Netflix, pay again with all their downstream bandwidth, pay again with all their upstream bandwidth, wait several days, etc. It's complete nonsense, until bandwidth is orders of magnitude cheaper, everyone has connections that is orders of magnitude faster, etc.

        My way has no postage, no delivery,

        Bandwidth is FAR more expensive than postage, and you'll have pretty much all the same delivery problems.

        no "I'll go to the store and buy the movie tomorrow".

        Yes, and far worse than now.

        In other words: Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. And, Bullshit.

        They'll have a year TOPS before the average consumer passes them by for set top boxes and the iTheater store.

        What strange, magical, mystical world do you live in?
  • by rmerry72 (934528) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:58PM (#15609639) Homepage
    I watch most of my videos as XVid AVIs with DVD resolution or less on a projector giving me a screen of over 100 inches (ie 2.5m down here). My projector is only 854x480. Most movies are encoded at 720x304 or there abouts.

    And yet, even at 100 inches, it looks fine. Yes, I don't disagree that tripling the resolution to 1080i *should* make it better to watch, but how much. At that size, sitting about 3-4m away my eyes are constantly shifting focus from one side of the screen to the other, and we really can't sit much closer or we'd get a very sore next and miss a hell of a lot.

    When designing PAL the designers settled on 480 vertical lines because when sitting at the recommended distance (3 times the width of the screen) the human eye can only see 480 vertical lines. 1080 lines seems like overkill.
  • by SydShamino (547793) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:59PM (#15609641)
    The other side of the coin is the lack of HD content available on TV - and this is a biggie. While Billy Bob is impressed by his DVD player, he is dumbfounded by his cable TV - which actually looks worse than it did on his old set (mostly because it's bigger). You see, nobody told Billy Bob that he'd have to get an antenna or subscribe to HD service from his cable/satellite provider. He was also not told that most of his favorite shows (Billy likes sitcoms and the Sci-Fi Channel) aren't yet available in HD, regardless of technology or service provider. As a result, many Americans are underwhelmed or feel like they got burned by HDTV. The last thing they're going to do is rush out and buy the next greatest thing.

    I too have an HDTV but no HDTV service. (In my case, I knew regular TV would look "worse" and picked plasma over LCD/DLP because IMO plasmas look better when playing non-HD content.) DVDs do look significantly better - but the high price of HDTV service (extra $20+ a month, plus money to Dish Network for a new receiver, plus loss of ability to archive shows like I can with my old pre-encryption DVR) together with the lack of content (football, Lost, and Law and Order are about it right now for me) makes it far, far too much to pay.

    I'm not certain off hand if my TV has the correct plugs (HDMI, whatever) to work with the highest resolution HD-DVD/Blue-Ray players. Be assured, if it doesn't, there is no reason that I would ever consider buying either type of player for many, many years to come. (P$3 is already off the list, so no sneaking one in that way either, Sony.) Even if my TV was supported, I'm not sure yet if entire-seasons-of-TV-shows-on-one-disk is better than ability-to-backup-and-play-from-server, if I were to want to do that. I doubt it.
    • by hugg (22953)
      I will say that the quality of a fully-HD show is enough to make me watch it live, even the commercials. Some of the rebroadcast movies (Sound of Music, Pixar flicks, Rudolph) are really worth seeing. But it's just sad when you realize how much potential is lost in the average HD broadcast. Very few content is shot in 16:9, even fewer in anything higher than 480p (PBS is the exception, but seems to go out when a truck passes by my house.)

      What bugs me the most is when a show/commercial/movie preview is a let
  • Similar to DVD... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wframe9109 (899486) <bowker.x@gmail.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:59PM (#15609643)
    I'm guessing the launch of HD media will be similar to that of DVD... It was very slow to get off the ground, people were reluctant to uprade until prices came down and releases were abundant enough. Eventually it will become more widespread (after the PS3, after computer companies start installing them on basic computers, after HDTV is more widespread) I'm guessing it will be a good 2 years before this starts happening give or take... Arguing that it will stay a niche is naive, unless you expect some higher capacity/better media to emerge, which doesn't seem to be the case.
    • Re:Similar to DVD... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by misleb (129952)
      But DVD is/was a singular format. Its uptake was just a matter of time. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are competing. Nobody knows which one to invest in. That combined with the small leap in technology and absolutely no added convenience for consumers... well, the whole thing just stalls. Probably until someone comes out with a format that is actually more convenient than DVD. Like something that doesn't scratch, for example.

      -matthew
  • Mass confusion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rdickinson (160810) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:00PM (#15609649)
    the market place is totaly confusing, not to techheads like us, but to the general public.

    Thats whats going to kill these formats.

    You have HD dvd players (upscaling) that dont play HD-dvd's, Tv's are HD ready, HD compatable, what HD, 720p, 1080i/p? Component, DVi, HDMI, HDCP, region codes or not... Can I play my CD in my HD-DVD, my blu ray in my car..?

    Your avererage consumer, ne average sales guy doesnt know the answers, it its new expensive and confusing it wont sell.
  • by Julian Morrison (5575) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:04PM (#15609666)
    ...as a read-writable computer medium. Nobody's going to complain about being able to burn more data to a disk.

    It will make no significant inroads as a ROM medium in any flavour. It may even damage PS3, as if they had picked Betamax.
  • by Talez (468021) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:04PM (#15609667)
    Geez. It's not launching a whole new format. It's an evolution to an existing one. DVD and HD can happily co-exist. DVD will be phased out over the next 10 years just like VHS and pretty soon we'll all be buying HD movies simply because its the only thing out there. Anyone who doesn't want to buy them can keep using DVD but it will be like using a VHS now.

    Get a fucking grip people.
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:08PM (#15609686)
    There is no way in hell I am going to invest in a technology when there is a 50-50 chance that it will go the way of the Betamax. A brief and informal survey among my friends -- some of whom actually bought laserdisks and such -- shows the same thing. Also, the thing is so riddled with control mechanisms that I get the impression I would never really own a movie again: It seems that they could just decide to switch off my copy when everything they plan to do is finished and done. Oh, and then there is the region code thing again. That has to go before I will even consider it. In short, no way either way. Try listening to the customers and getting your act together next time, and we'll see.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:20PM (#15609735)
    I was in Best Buy yesterday, and a couple techs were running a Blu-Ray player on a large projection TV. They were showing the sequel to some gothic/futuristic movie I'd never seen and don't rememebr the name of. I couldn't see any difference in picture quality though over DVD, and I'm a graphic artist. A customer there said "oh yeah it's much more detailed, you can see the gilm grain". Well yeah, I could see the film grain all right. It was like noise all over the screen. If the film is that low res that I can see the grain even at HDTV resolution, then how much better could the picture quality really be? When I scan a photo, if I can see the film grain, I've reached the limits of the resolution, and I've got the picture scaled too big. So if HDTV is showing the film grain, they need better cameras cause the picture could be much sharper than what I'm seeing with a proper camera.

    Undettered though, I looked at another display they had which was showing HD movies on a smaller screen which was not rear projection. The picture quality was better, but I still couldn't tell, even looking at CG like Chicken Little, if I was seeing a better picture than I would get on a DVD. Or rather, I couldn't tell how much better the picture was. I couldn't tell if it was just a small improvement or a big one.

    All these idiots had to do was make their demo disc show the movies side by side with the DVD version and it would make the difference clear. But they didn't. Instead the consumer is left to guess about the difference in quality between the two formats. Also, they only had a display for the Blu-Ray and I asked them if HD DVD had come out yet, and they said yes, and they pointed me to a small display in a corner with no video being shown. I'm looking at this, and I'm saying to my self, how the hell do they expect this thing to sell at all if they've got it stuck in a corner and they're not even showing video of it?

    Oh and another thing. Instead of being in slick black DVD cases like all the rest of the DVD's, the HD DVD's were in these blue cases I think. Or maybe that was the blu-ray discs and the HD ones were in white cases. I think they were slimline too. Anyway the packaging struck me as really cheap and flimsy looking, and the discs were $10 more than new release DVD's, and these were OLD titles! Haha! Hollywood thinks they can get people to pay $30 for a movie which is selling for $15 on DVD at Wal Mart because it's been out for 12 months? DREAM ON!
    • by MP3Chuck (652277) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:00PM (#15609898) Homepage Journal
      "All these idiots had to do was make their demo disc show the movies side by side with the DVD version and it would make the difference clear."

      http://www.cornbread.org/FOTRCompare/index.html [cornbread.org]

      It's a LOTR DVD/HD-DVD comparison. The page I linked to containes DVD captures compared with downsampled HD-DVD captures. You can click on each one to see an upsampled DVD capture compared with a 'native' HD-DVD capture.

      Not quite the same as having FMV side-by-side, but it's the next best thing.
      • by aaronl (43811) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:11AM (#15610993) Homepage
        As others have mentioned, while the stills looks wonderful, it ends up not mattering when it goes FMV. You might remember a few years ago, ATI was tauting that they could do motion blur on their GPU. Having very highly detailed images that have discrete steps doesn't look right. People wanted to blur their high resolution renders when things were moving around, because it looks more correct to the eye.

        In those comparisons, you notice that the up close visuals of people are nearly identical, but the backgrounds, where people aren't really looking, look much sharper. This could very likely be an artifact of the video compression on the DVD vs. the newer compression on the HD stream. The color space is noticably better on the HD version too, but that could be for the same reason.
  • by RatBastard (949) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:25PM (#15609755) Homepage
    They forgot reason 11: No one gives a wet fart about high-def DVD. No one. A few videophiles and the usual "gotta have the next bestest toy" nerds love the idea of high-def DVD, but Joe Sixpack (and Sally Sobstory and just about everyone else) does not care at all.

    Great. I can see the zipper on the back of Darth Vader's uniform, or the edges of Spock's ears. Big flipping deal. DV-Audio died for the same reason quadrophonic music died: who listens to music in that chair set up just so? Outside of audiophiles, no one.

    This is technology without a need or a demand.

  • wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Punto (100573) <puntob.gmail@com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:40PM (#15609812) Homepage
    7. People Want Technology thats 15 Minutes Ahead of Its Time

    Wrong, and this is why this whole article is useless. Remember the first time you used a modem, how you thought "this is how all information should be transmitted", and when you tried to go out and tell everybody about it, their response was basically "leave me alone kid, I'm reading the newspaper here"? 10 years later, and people are starting to realize that "OMFG, newspapers might become obsolete!!!!?" Pleople like their technology at least 5 years behind of its time.

    I'm not really defending the new formats (and I won't buy into them until they sell me a drive that can play both formats for = $100), but a bunch of guys saying "we don't need some new fancy format, we're fine with good old DVDs" sounds familiar.. Lets talk again in 5 years.

    • Re:wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bnenning (58349)
      Modems were fundamentally different from newspapers, and to a lesser extent DVDs were fundamentally different from VHS. HD-DVD and BluRay aren't; the only advantage is more pixels, and you pay for it both in dollars and DRM straightjackets. To abuse the analogy further, it would be like AOL coming out with a 96k modem that could only dial to them, and expecting everyone to "upgrade" from 56k.
  • My Oracle says... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kaenneth (82978) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:49PM (#15609848) Homepage Journal
    The next big format will take a different physical form, we went from audio/video on spools (loose tape, film) to cassettes to discs to...

    solid state

    SD, Compact Flash, etc. why not a movie on a chip in a credit card sized package? easy enough to make a secure ROM card, and each one can have it's own custom DRM hardware, or not.

    Just slap it into the slot, pull it out when you are done, no moving parts, no optical surfaces to get scratched, worst case use some contact clearer like old NES cartridges.

    Carry your favorite movie in your wallet, to enjoy at home or on the go (players built into public transportation seat-backs)

    Even if the technology dosn't allow a whole HD movie on a card, the card could be the license key for on-demand download of the high quality version, with the portable version built in.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:52PM (#15609864)
    Ah, come on - these two formats have been out for weeks and people are already calling them failures. I say: give it some time.

    Look at the current players. The Toshiba HD-DVD player is a subsidized Pentium 4 that sells for 500$, with Toshiba losing about 200$ on each unit. The 1000$ Sony Blu-Ray player is a similar hack, built not with custom chips but with a general purpose CPU that's way more complex and expensive than is required for Blu-Ray playback.

    Think about the next generation of players, or even the generation after that. For starters, those players will use custom electronics that are less expensive and less complex than first-generation players. They will be smaller, draw less power, and will be built in far greater quantities. Those second and third-generation HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players will be far cheaper; I predict a 200$ HD-DVD player by the end of next 2007, and a 100$ player by the end of 2008.

    Now, Blu-Ray will get a boost from the PlayStation 3 - which, by the way, will not remain at 500$ for very long. Just consider the PlayStation 2, which originally sold for 300$ and now sells for 130$. I predict that by the end of 2007, the PlayStation 3 will cost no more than 350$.

    DVD took a few years to get established, and so will these formats. But the prices will start dropping, and more people will start using them. HD really looks great. And regardless of the trolls who claim that you need a 5000$ TV to enjoy HD, 720p TVs (which do offer a significant quality improvement over standard DVD resolution) are pretty cheap nowadays.

    Let's also consider the other big factor that will drive HD-DVD and/or Blu-Ray adoption: computers. Optical drives for computers are usually cheaper than stand-alone units. Soon, software players will be available, and computer manufacturers will start installing HD-DVD and/or Blu-Ray drives in their machines.

    Right now, Blu-Ray RW is incredibly overpriced, but when the drives can be bought for 300$ and the discs 3-4$ each, you can bet that people will start buying them in droves. Optical media does have some advantages over hard drives; people will not stop using discs and replace them with portable hard drives.

    Will those new formats replace DVD? Of course not. DVD will keep on living for a long time. But the two HD formats will become quite popular: after all, HD does look awesome. Once you've seen HD content, going back to a normal DVD kind of hurts.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:59PM (#15609891)
    "If the recording industry had presented a plan to phase out CDs and the "format war" had been avoided (simply by the industry picking one format over the other) we would all be using DVD-Audio players and illegal downloadable music would be mostly confined to analogue rips or older music"

    This is so full of it.

    If they had pushed out CD's to replace them with DVD-A standard then the DVD-A DRM would have been cracked..

    As it is now most people dont use it so there has not been a huge impetus to crack it.. yet it has already been effectively circumvented through that windvd crack.

    this guy is a starry eyed idiot if he actually believes that drek he spews.
  • by olddoc (152678) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:08PM (#15609920)
    Who made the VCR a success?
    The porn industry!
    I understand porn is a big percentage of DVD sales too.
    While I agree with most of the points of the article I would like to hear
    what the big producers in the porn industry have to say.
    When the price hits $100 I'll buy one for my computer for backup.
    • by Steve B (42864) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:21PM (#15610466)
      While I agree with most of the points of the article I would like to hear what the big producers in the porn industry have to say.

      "Geez -- our customers really don't want to see every pimple on her butt or the incision lines from her boob job."

    • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:53AM (#15610796) Homepage
      I'm not so sure the porn industry needs high-definition.

      My first encounter with higher quality porn came from my days of working on high-end hotel entertainment systems a few years ago. We'd gotten in some samples of DVDs where the manufacturer was touting the high video production quality of the product, all the way to using a higher than average bit-rate when encoding; none of this soft focus stuff. My boss wanted to know whether there was a big enough difference there that it would make for a good demo (the real money in hotel video on demand is all in the porn). As a single guy who had a 65" HD-capable Toshiba rear-projection CRT setup at home, I was the obvious flunky to check that out. I watched for a bit that night and brought the DVDs back the next morning, frown on my face. When asked "what's the problem?", I said "two words: razor bumps. I don't need to see that much detail."

      Fast forward to last year. My sister had a nice HD LCD TV, so she jumped at the chance to get her cable upgraded with Comcast's HD box ("The Sopranos" in HD was the big draw). Late one night I stopped by, wired up the component video, sorted out the surround sound issues, and went browsing around the channels for good HD content to show the result off. After going through a few channels of "HD" that was obviously just upsampled junk, I found an unexpected source for some great quality video obviously shot in real high-def: HBO's "Cathouse", a documentary series about the goings on at a Vegas brothel. This was just amusing for a bit, and then I saw her eyes get big and she moved closer to the TV. She works in cosmetic surgery, and her first comment about the picture was "my God, I can tell you what they did wrong when they stitched her boobs back together".
  • Woohoo! (Score:3, Funny)

    by east coast (590680) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:16PM (#15609958)
    CLV LaserDisc is the winner! Yahoo!

    Oh... sorry... wrong thread... and decade....
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:31PM (#15610013) Homepage
    Where would we be if a bunch of naysayers had gone around knocking Polavision, quadraphonic sound, or the IBM 4 inch diskette?
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:32PM (#15610019) Homepage

    There are some big problems with Blu-Ray. Getting the compression right is hard. I was watching a Blu-Ray demo at the Sony Style store at the Metreon in San Francisco. Now this is Sony gear in a Sony retail store set up by Sony employees playing a Sony demo disk in an environment intended to show the technology at its best. And I'm seeing blocky areas of bright light jumping in the background in a concert video. It looks like the compression algorithm has trouble with camera rotation.

    Some of the content looks great; some looks terrible. It's painfully clear that you can't just dump the content into the compressor and expect good results; it's going to become another labor-intensive step in post production, at least for a while.

  • Key Points (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:44PM (#15610065) Homepage Journal
    I couldn't get through TFA, but I think this guy misses some key points.

    1. A lot of people have spent good money on HDTVs, and they're starving for content.
    2. Both formats are mechanically compatible with each other and with DVD. This is a huge difference from the VHS/Beta situation.
    3. The transition is cheap compared to VHS to DVD. New players play the old media, and they are much less expensive than the first generation of DVD players.


    It is my opinion that the transition to HD will be pretty painless. Three years from now you'll be able to get a player that plays DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray for $100, and we will have forgotten what all the fuss was about. Oh, and one of the formats will be relegated to leverage the studios use against the owners of the other format.

    -Peter
    • Re:Key Points (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JFMulder (59706) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:25AM (#15610700)
      A lot of people have spent good money on HDTVs, and they're starving for content.
      As someone who watched Prison Break, 24, House, Lost, Alias, Invasion, Bones, American Idol and Tout le monde en parle last season, totalling 10 hours of HDTV shows a week, and considering I don't watch Desperate Housewife, Boston Legal, West Wing, most HBO shows, ABC/NBC/CBS sitcoms, CSI (all three versions), Las Vegas and just about any other american TV show right now, I wouldn't say that people are starving for content. Sure, we might not have news in HD, but most entertainment shows are (even Jay Leno and Saturday Night Live are in HD!).

      Now, wether this content is actually GOOD or NOT is another debate.
  • by Critical_ (25211) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:55PM (#15610127) Homepage
    I am an avid home theater fanatic with a massive front projection screen and a high-end audio system to go with it. (Here's a bad picture [imageshack.us] of the system. For scale, each one of the front black speaker is 6 feet tall.)

    For someone with a similar large format setup, this technology is a worthwhile leap in quality because I can see the lack of resolution and compression artifacts inherent in many DVD transfers. Having a large display surface area makes noticing such issues much easier even for novices. However, those people who are content with their Sony and Hitachi consumer level television regardless of the display technology involved (tube, LCD, and Plasma) probably won't see the difference nor will they care.

    I'll go through the points quickly...

    1. Nobody likes false starts
    I agree that the Toshiba HD-DVD player is lacking in terms of usability and quality, but it is a Toshiba and a first generation product so bugs are expected. It would be rather unfair for me to compare to my US$10k+ Meridian 800 series [meridian-audio.com] DVD player that has gone through a number of revisions for refinement to a first generation DVD player from many years ago. Even if they were both new and unused, products and implementations improve with time. However, even the Toshiba HD-DVD "budget" player with its superior resolution still makes my combination of Meridian 800 with line quadrupler look soft in comparison.

    This technology cannot simply be written off even though I am disappointed 1080p isn't available. For a majority of consumers, the difference between 1080i and 1080p will be even less noticable than the jump from 480i/p to 1080i. Even for an enthusiast this isn't a problem until the new 3-chip DLP solutions capable of playing 1080p are widely available from Marantz and Runco. I also find the lack of HDMI is a blessing in disguise. Sure, we can't run 1080p and multichannel audio over one cable but the amount of copy protection possible on that interface makes me cringe. The fact that movie houses have a right to protect their content isn't in dispute, but the very notion that with the flip of a switch any component can be rendered useless through key revocation makes purchasing expensive and esoteric a much larger risk than it should be. If nothing else, I expect the esoteric ultra-high end companies will produce (and they have in the past) a better interconnect format but that won't make a difference with Joe Public.

    2. Format Wars Don't Sell Players
    Agreed. This curse hit SACD and DVD-Audio as few years ago. The initial bickering and lack of material made buying into either format a liability. Furthermore, there were artists on both formats that I liked which weren't available universally across formats so I bought machines that played each format. Other technical problems such as no individual channel volume and delay adjustments and the lack of a single digital output made hooking up the player difficult for consumers. Meridian and others made a proprietary single interconnect but this wasn't available in any budget machines.

    Arguably, the general public doesn't care about multi-channel audio because CDs are good enough. Besides fanatics such as myself, who here has both an SACD player and a DVD-Audio player? Not many. Penetration of these formats into the market has been very slow and nearly non-existant. Interestingly my car has a DVD-Audio system from the factory but the manufacturer probably did research and realized that their target demographic probably has the disposable income to play with such formats.

    3. HD DVD and Blu-ray are NOT Quantum Leaps in Technology
    From the article: "Consumers, most of whom rarely know how to properly configure their players or home theater systems, are perfectly content with their current DVD players..." (emphasis mine). The general public doesn't care. Many times I see my friend's te
  • by Will_Malverson (105796) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:12PM (#15610199) Journal
    From 1996:

    http://www.robertsdvd.com/failure.html [robertsdvd.com]

  • by rirugrat (255768) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:39PM (#15610526)
    A regular DVD upconverted to 1080i or 720p on an HDTV looks really good to me, and it doesn't cost as much as you think since these special DVD players have come down in price. Plus you get to keep your DVD collection.

    Chris

  • Incomplete (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tm2b (42473) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:16AM (#15611558) Journal
    Any discussion of video technology adoption that ignores the impact of pornography is incomplete.

    So the question should be, will pornography on the new formats be better in any substantial way? More interactive, more content, more arousing? Will they be making films of a longer duration, will they be providing more extras?

    Wait and see what the adult industry does with this format - if they yawn and put out 60-120 minute, linear 480p movies with no more extras than a DVD, then the format is not going to have a rapid adoption rate. If they get more creative with the new format, well, then there's a shot.
  • by netsavior (627338) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:32AM (#15612214)
    Look, I have a 5.1 Surround sound, butt shaker enabled, pop-corn machine, Blacked out windows, 7 foot projection display, stadium seating, 300 square foot movie theater in my house. This is just not a "Media Room."

    I don't think there is anyone who cares LESS about HDDVD/Blueray.

    I can't tell much of a difference between Progressive Scan and HDDVD as demonstrated in the store (except the usual here is a CRT bubble with a DVD playing, and a $9,000 HD Plasma with a HD-DVD playing, see how much better?)...

    I have a 2000 lumen 1024x576/1024x768 projector (yeah I know it is not 1080p, but it is still higher quality than I need) and HD HBO/Starz/Network channels with an HD-DVR (which is the only DVR my cable company offers otherwise I would have a much better Standard Resolution Tivo), so I have seen a lot of movies that way and I just could care less about the barely perceptable differences between these and DVDs, and I am definatly not an average consumer.

    Hell I have a decent VCR (most VCRs are crap) and it is connected in with SVideo, and I can tell you that some of the old VHS tapes don't look that different from DVDs.

    I guess I am just not "in" to quality that can only be measured by reading the specs on the box.

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