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HD DVD vs Blu-ray Direct Comparisons 423

Posted by Zonk
from the i-complain-about-artifacting-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With today's release of three movies on Blu-ray, Warner Home Video has become the first studio to release movie titles on both high-def formats, making it finally possible to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the same titles on both formats . High-Def Digest has just posted reviews of all three titles — 'Training Day,' 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' and 'Rumor Has It' — comparing video, audio and extras to the previous HD DVD releases. Their verdict? Due to issues with image cropping, audio selection and supplemental features on the Blu-ray discs, the HD DVD versions win this first face-off."
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HD DVD vs Blu-ray Direct Comparisons

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  • by fragmentate (908035) * <jdspilled.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:19PM (#15825456) Journal
    They're using two different players. Doesn't that invalidate this test? At the end of the "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" review, he even states the cropping issue with blu-ray is "likely a player issue"...

    Earlier adopters are the only ones that will see these shortcomings in either format.

    Once it matures, who's going to know the difference. After reading all three of these fluffy articles, I still have no idea which format is "better" because there was no control.

    I choose Betamax.

    • They're using two different players. Doesn't that invalidate this test?

      Unless there is a player out there that supports both formats, no. Mind you, it mind be far easier to build a machine to play either format than building a VCR that could play both VHS and Beta.

    • by no reason to be here (218628) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:30PM (#15825530) Homepage
      Well, if this were a truly scientific experiment, then yes, the lack of a control would invalidate the results. However, the review is ultimately going after something a little more nebulous, the movie watching experience, even if they don't explicitly say such.

      Moreover, doesn't the hardware's quality speak volumes about a formats potential in the market place? If the players don't work properly, who gives a flying f#@k about how great the format is? Especially since Sony will likely keep the price of blu-ray players artificially inflated b/c they're, you know, Sony.
    • by swb (14022) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:36PM (#15825573)
      At some point you have to expect that a comparison is between things that are different, and there aren't any players capable of playing both formats.

      What's frustrating about this test, though, is that there are so many differences between the players that it would almost seem necessary to go through a calibration routine with each player to ensure that the display device was properly calibrated for the source.

      It'd also be nice to take the results of the test to the respective manufacturers and ask them about the output from each player and see if they have any feedback about the problems; the fact that the Samsung player is so new and that patches and firmware upgrades are likely probably makes an early comparison like this meaningless.
      • In addition to the players, you have to expect differences due to the teams that put the releases together. If it's the same team and they're more familiar with HD-DVD, then they're likely to put together a nicer HD-DVD product. If it's a different team, then there might also be differences in skill level and quality control. Throw in differences in brand new, first generation players and you're unlikely to get a perfect apples to apples comparison of what the technologies are capable of.

        Though this is c
    • by Talez (468021)
      They're using two different players. Doesn't that invalidate this test?

      The biggest HD-DVD supporter among the studios fucks up a Blu-Ray release? That alone should invalidate this test.
    • Indeed, VHS was initially inferior to Betamax but improved faster than Betamax. Sony also helped kill Betamax by refusing to release movies on it or sth(?)

      Thus I predict BD will fail due to its Sony link.
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @01:07PM (#15825856) Homepage Journal
      One other thing to keep in mind is that the Samsung model used in the comparison has a now-known defect in one of the video chips, it is a chip for processing high-definition, it's not a format-specific chip. I would regard the video comparisons are completely moot until that gets fixed.

      In the end, I expect both formats to have equivalent picture quality for movies, save for player-specific issues or mistakes in the authoring.

      Even the audio feature comparisons are moot as far as I'm concerned. Except for deliberate choices (leaving out an audio track) or mistakes in the authoring, I don't expect there to be a difference because both formats generally allow the disc producer to use the same sets of audio codecs.

      The whole idea of A-B comparison is interesting, but because, as you state, they haven't isolated all the variables, it really isn't sufficient.
    • It's also not apples-to-apples because there is no way, in the tests that were performed, to separate out the merits of the format itself from the merits of the data on those formats, which are two completely different things.

      The other interesting thing is that some features, such as the bookmarks for scenes, have nothing whatever to do with the medium on which the information is stored but just what the media packagers and media players want to do with various bits of information on that media.

      However, a

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:20PM (#15825459)
    Review summary: Training Day was boring on HD-DVD, but very interesting on Blu-ray.
  • More concise (Score:5, Informative)

    by LotsOfPhil (982823) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:21PM (#15825465)
    Here are the summaries:
    Training Day
    Whatever its merits as a film, 'Training Day' has made history by becoming one of the first titles to be released on both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. In our first head-to-head comparison, we found the HD DVD to be superior. The unfortunate cropping of the Blu-ray image, coupled with more noticeable compression artifacts and an overall darker cast, can't compete with the more consistently pleasing presentation of the HD DVD. Also a strike against the Blu-ray version is that both the Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital-Plus soundtracks have been dropped in favor of plain old Dolby Digital, and even the disc's menu navigation is more clunky and with less interactive functionality. Certainly, this Blu-ray release delivers fine video quality in its own right, but the format's backers will need to step it up if they are going to win the hearts and minds of early adopters over HD DVD.
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
    With our second Blu-ray versus HD DVD battle on 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' we again declare victory (although by a smaller margin) to the HD DVD verison. Most of the same problems we found with 'Training Day' on Blu-ray -- namely the picture cropping (though it is likely a player issue) and darker cast -- reappear again here. The absence of HD DVD's Dolby Digital-Plus tracks on Blu-ray is problematic, and I still find Blu-ray's clunky menu navigation quite irritating. Though with 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' Blu-ray has proven it can deliver moments of stunning high-def as good as HD DVD, it is still not delivering that level of quality as consistently. Very close with this one, but still no cigar.
    Rumor Has It
    I must say, our first Blu-ray versus HD DVD comparisons continue to yield surprises. I wasn't expecting to see much difference in video quality between the two formats with 'Rumor Has It...', yet the two discs did bear noticeable differences, with the HD DVD boasting better detail and a more film-like look. And Warner has again dropped the Dolby Digital-Plus option from the Blu-ray version. However, the Blu-ray is a good $5 cheaper than the pricey $39.95 list price the studio is charging for the HD DVD/DVD combo version, so at least Blu-ray has that going for it. But even with its higher list price, in this reviewer's opinion, the HD DVD release delivers overall better bang for the buck.
    • Based on this review, everyone should buy blue ray. In vhs vs betamax, the lower quality, larger capacity version won. If history repeats itself, we'll see that again.
      • Based on this review, everyone should buy blue ray. In vhs vs betamax, the lower quality, larger capacity version won.

        But while this review says Blu-ray has lower quality, we already know that it has larger capacity. What to do?

        Actually, I can answer that question: Keep buying DVDs. Their quality is adequate, they're cheap, and they're easy to copy (important if you have young kids).

  • by bchernicoff (788760) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:21PM (#15825468)
    Hooray for the terrific initial movie titles released!!
  • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:21PM (#15825469) Journal
    So are the image problems are result of the encoding technique used on the blue-ray? You'd think with the increase in disc size that they would use a better scheme. Is this a fault of the movie producer or Sonys default encoding scheme? Anyone have any ideas???
    • by iainl (136759) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:34PM (#15825556)
      There are two problems at the moment. Firstly, it seems that the Samsung player just isn't terribly good, despite costing twice as much as the Toshiba. But by far the largest aspect is that the current batch of BluRay discs are mastered with the MPEG-2 codec, rather than the superior VC-1 that HD-DVD discs are using. This is because Sony's initial mastering software did not support the use of the more advanced codecs.

      This has just recently been fixed, so discs should start appearing toward the end of the year with exactly the same encode as the HD-DVD, and the only remaining aspects will be the quality of the player, and any necessary culling of extra features or audio formats to make the film fit on a 25Gb BluRay instead of a 30Gb HD-DVD.
      • wow, an informative answer. Thanks.

        So here's a new one: why compare a single layer BR with a dual layer HD? Can't BR go to 50? Do the initial players not support dual layer disks?
        • My reply is kind of directed at MindStalker as well, as it's essentially the same question.

          BluRay does indeed go to 50Gb in the specs, but they're currently failing to manufacture dual layer discs on a commercial level, so all currently announced titles are only 25Gb at most. The first couple of batches have been more like 22Gb, because they daren't even go to the edge of that first layer, but they're starting to get braver.

          Actually, the HD-DVD group recently announced that they're planning to introduce a t
      • 25Gb BluRay instead of a 30Gb HD-DVD.

        Hold on I was sure the blueray was the bigger size?

        • Format capacities (Score:5, Informative)

          by WebCowboy (196209) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @01:30PM (#15826073)
          Hold on I was sure the blueray was the bigger size?

          The biggest CURRENTLY AVAILABLE format is HD-DVD:

          BluRay: 25GB/layer * 1 layer = 25 GB
          HD-DVD: 15GB/layer * 2 layers = 30 GB

          Furthermore, the video encoding scheme used by HD-DVD is more efficient--BluRay is still encoded similar to standard DVDs though in a few weeks some BluRay discs using identically encoded video as HD-DVD will start showing up. I'm not all that certain studios will spend extra money to produce excluseinve content to take advantage of the extra 5GB on HD-DVD.

          One thing that isn't discussed much is that although the two formats can use identically encoded video, IIRC they have different DRM schemes and different programming methods (for interactivity/menus). The reviewer was quite disappointed with the performance of BluRay for interactivity--its responsiveness was much poorer than that of the HD-DVD release, so much so that it more than erased the benefit of faster initial start-up of Blu-ray. Combine the inferior quality of these releases with the fact that there is less selection of BluRay players, and they cost much more than HD-DVD, and the smaller number of titles than HD-DVD, and BluRay has an uphill battle on its hands to escape the fate of becomeing the Betamax of the 21st century.

          Take note that BluRay has the largest POTENTIAL size. I THINK current BluRay players are dual-layer capable, but even if they are this capability isn't well tested as there is no capability to mass-produce dual-layer discs yet. That'll take another year, at which time there will be an ample 20GB extra room on BluRay vx. HD-DVD. If BluRay can hang on for another year then this could be what it needs to come out on top. More importantly studios will have to actually take advantage of the space for meaningful exclusive content, and hardware vendors will have to bring down the price of BluRay players to be much closer in price to HD-DVD. Consumers will pay a premium for the extra capacity, but only a small one, and the quality had better improve from the current offerings.

          In the end though, content will win this war. Given how things are shaping up BluRay will be second fiddle for a couple of years IMO. I don't know if either format will win total domination either--in another decade it won't matter how the bits are patterned on the little shiny plastic discs, because even today the little shiny plastic disc as a distribution medium is slowly going extinct. The kind of people who have HDTV sets today are also the kind of people who have digital cable or sattelite, and digital HTDV service offers video-on-demand and/or PVR digital recording. Just as iTunes and similar services are surging as CD sales flatten out and decline, electronic distribution of video content will change the industry.
      • Unless there is some problem with Blu-ray dual layer discs that I'm not aware of, your numbers are off there. Blue-ray can support 25GB per layer where HD-DVD can have only 15GB, which would make the dual layer sizes 50 and 30.

        Am I missing something?
      • by green pizza (159161) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @01:04PM (#15825828) Homepage
        AFAIK, BluRay holds 25 GB (GigaBytes) per layer, and HDDVD holds 15 GB (GigaBytes) per layer. I have already seen 50 GB BD-ROM blanks at Frys (albeit for $39) so I know the dual layer BluRay discs are already possible. I've also heard that many HDDVD movies are shipping on 30 GB (dual layer) discs. That said, it is entirely possible that the current BluRay movies are shipping on single layer 25 GB discs to save money in manufacturing as it would be cheaper to stamp a single layer disc and "25 GB is close enough to 30 GB".

        AFAIK, both BluRay and HDDVD support the same three codecs: MPEG-2, H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC), and VC-1 (WMV9).

        AFAIK, the current BluRay authoring software only supports MPEG-2 at this time, so the initial discs were encoded with MPEG-2... even though VC-1 and H.264 codecs have been on the market for several years...

        AFAIK, the current HDDVD authoring software supports MPEG-2 and VC-1, and the initial discs have been using VC-1.

        We won't be able to see a true Apples to Apple comparison until we can compare two discs that used the exact same codec at the exact same bitrate, or even the exact same H.264 / VC-1 data.
  • The real losers: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy AT tpno-co DOT org> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:22PM (#15825478) Homepage
    Consumers.
    • Terrible Age (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alaren (682568)

      This comment is really the most disappointing thing about this new "format war." Once upon a time, we consumers could count on competition to benefit us in some significant way, be it with better technology (think automobile manufacturers) or lower prices (since VHS technically wasn't better technology) or what have you.

      Nowadays, the "competition" will still probably result in "lower" prices, but only relative to the already overpriced media and price-fixing known as "region coding." And the choices of

      • I'll stick with DVDs. Probably for another decade at least.

        Same. If and when it stops becoming a valid option, I have pretty much resigned myself to not buying videos anymore.

        Let's hear it for hollywood!
      • And the choices of DRM are like something straight out of a Monty Python skit...

        "Well, you can order the DRM HD format with DRM, that's not got much DRM in it."

        Hey, that would make a good EFF anti-DRM video!

      • I'll stick with DVDs. Probably for another decade at least.


        I'll stick with downloading movies from the net, and watching them on my 19" CRT monitor.

        Yesterday I watched a 1280 pixel wide Blade Runner, which had amazing quality (it was a 3.8GB .avi).
  • PlayStation 3 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:24PM (#15825486) Homepage
    Isn't the PlayStation 3 essentially going to decide the "better" format? If* the PS3 sells in large volumes, then that means that Blue Ray will be de facto High Definition format?

    *When
    • by Anonymous Coward
      you must be new here... p0rn will decide.
    • by Jarnis (266190) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:58PM (#15825769)
      It's anybodys guess at this point. PS3 is so overpriced at launch that it's no longer a done deal by a longshot. It all depends on what each console has to offer to gamers next holiday season. Xbox 360 has suffered due to lack of good exclusive titles, which supposedly is getting fixed this winter. At the same time PS3s launch lineup is still very much in the dark.

      PS3 may still turn out to be the biggest turkey in the universe of game consoles, or it might pwn everything. At 300$ at launch it would absolutely surely wipe floor with everything.

      At 599$, with crippled version having no HDMI, nobody knows what happens yet.

      My personal bet is that X360-Wii -combo will beat PS3 for the first year, until lot more games are ready, and Sony, after bleeding for a while, goes for broke and drops the price. HD DVD/Blu-ray fight will be an irrelevant sideshow, as the movies are way overpriced and offer no serious benefits unless you buy a super-expensive TV. Whoever first gets the standalone player price down and offers more *movie* features wins. Additionally, if, say, HD-DVDs DRM gets cracked first, and people can start making 'backups' of their HD content bit like you can muck with DVDs today, Blu-ray will insta-lose the fight right there unless they can counter with technical merits (none so far, the formats are almost identical) or price (not likely with sony).
  • by Grave (8234) <awalbert88@noSpaM.hotmail.com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:25PM (#15825496)
    Early in the life of DVD, The Matrix was the one disc that really got a lot of attention. It's what convinced me that DVD was more than worth the cost - from the surround sound to the higher definition playback, it was plainly superior. Seeing it on VHS and then on DVD made me realize how much I was missing from the experience. I have yet to see either new format in action, but from all I've heard, there is no compeling reason (even when it becomes affordable) for the average Joe to upgrade from DVD to HD or Blu-ray. I highly doubt those three movies above are going to convince anyone.
    • What?? Everyone was using DVD Waaaaaaaaay before the Matrix. Even my parents. Perhaps your TV is just too crappy to notice much of a differentce, or you are just slow to adopt, eh?
      • Maybe it's a regional thing, but my experience was the same as the OP. DVDs existed for a long time, but only a small percentage of people actually went out and bought DVD players. In fact, I remember DVD players really kicking off for the mass-audience around 2001-2002, and everyone I knew who bought their first DVD player at that time also bought The Matrix as their first DVD.

        I'm not sure I knew anyone who owned a DVD player in 1998.

    • Early in the life of DVD, The Matrix

      It's hard to think of a DVD that came out over 2 1/2 years into the format as "early in the life of DVD." But the first "special editions" that really got me excited were T2, 12 Monkeys, "A Boy and His Dog" (one of the first DVD's I bought), and the Brazil Criterion box set. And there was, of course, the Alien SE's (later eclipsed by the greatest DVD special edition set of all time--the Alien Quadrilogy box set)

      -Eric

    • I have not seen Blu-ray or HD DVD in action yet either. My guess is that unless you have a HD TV the difference between them and current DVDs will not warrant the expense of upgrading.

      Can anyone give actual perceived results of HD DVD or Blu-ray on an 'old' TV?
    • I hope by no compelling reason, that you more specifically mean that there are no titles out yet that justify getting either format.

      It doesn't take a video snob to notice the difference.

      People who claim there is no difference simply have not seen the difference between DVD and a high-dev format. I don't mean pumping a DVD or cable into an HD T.V. and and stretching and zooming in on the picture. I mean actual HD programming from either an HD channel or a high dev movie format. The problem I think i
  • Or, at least, my prediction has further evidence. :)

    I have a simple rule these days about deciding what formats to pick. I simply pick "not Sony" and I'm pretty much always right. Sony stuff seems to look good on paper, but the implementation ends up sucking.

  • Not Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doytch (950946) <markpd@gmailFORTRAN.com minus language> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:36PM (#15825572)
    This is not surprising at all.

    Until Sony actually finds their brain and starts using modern compression techniques(y'know, ones that aren't a decade old), this will only continue. Really, MPEG-2? H.264 and the HD-DVD VC1 completely blow MPEG-2 out of the water with regards to quality/space. The Blu-Ray discs' extra space might make it closer when they start making dual-layer discs, but that's far away, and unless they also switch compression, HD-DVD will still be better.

    And what does all this mean? Nothing of course. If the public actually sees fit to buy these clunkers in droves, then whoever has advertising wins. I do hope they both flop, but that's an argument for another day.
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aol.cTWAINom minus author> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:38PM (#15825588) Journal
    The technically superior standard almost never wins in the US.

    We chose x86 over PPC
    We chose VHS over BetaMax
    We chose 8VSB over OFDM (for HDTV Broadcasting)
    We chose CDMA over GSM (only just now starting to change)
    And now we will probably end up with BluRay because of some gaming console... (PS3)

    • BluRay currently has greater capacity. The only reason its picture quality sucks is because Sony has been using MPEG-2, even though the format supports H.264 and VC1/WMV9.
    • We chose x86 over PPC

      We chose x86 before PPC existed. We stuck with x86 for a variety of reasons, including very good performance, wide availability of systems, ability to run old software, and reasonable price. PPC wasn't and isn't clearly better (at least not in every regard.) RISC didn't prove to be better than CISC when transistor budgets rose, and decode units started taking up a tiny amount of die space. RISC also tends to take more space for the instruction stream, so CISC makes better use of in

    • x86 is and always was superior to PPC. Most knew it immediately. Apple took a little longer.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    PLEASE, WAKE UP: Warner Home Video Inc. is member of the HD DVD Promotion Group [hddvdprg.com].

    So what would you expect? A better Blu Ray release?

  • How were they encoded? Which bitrates were used?
    At the decoding, were there any noise-filter used?
    How could the author called his monitor a HDTV reference when it's only capable of 1366 x 768 (which is not full HD but more like half-HD, full HD is 1920x1080)

    • AFAIK, all of the currentl BluRay movies were encoded with MPEG-2, even though the format supports MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 and VC1/WMV9.
  • Only the loser is already certain: The customer who lets himself be locked in.
  • VHS vs Betamax (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BigNumber (457893) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:46PM (#15825667)
    I keep hearing that the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD is just like the VHS vs Betamax from the past. There is a real problem with this analogy. With VHS vs Betamax, there wasn't any existing technology that did the same thing (unless you count reel projectors, which I don't). One of those technologies HAD to win because the market demanded the technology and there was no alternative.

    The Blu-ray vs HD-DVD debate leaves out the very important aspect of existing DVD players and recorders. The market isn't really demanding a newer prettier picture quality or better sound or additional features that don't already exist on regular DVDs. With DVD-R camcorders now catching on in the consumer market, there's an even more compelling reason to stick with the older technology. It's an added feature the neither new format supports.

    I predict that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will go the way of DAT and SACD. There may be a new format in the future but it's too soon and not advanced enough to take over the market. There will be a niche market for them just like Laserdisc for the true videophiles but that's all.
  • DVD? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:46PM (#15825669) Homepage Journal
    How about comparing both to DVD as well? I'd sure like to know why I am expected to pay 50% more for a blue-ray version of a movie than a regular DVD version.
    • How about comparing both to DVD as well? I'd sure like to know why I am expected to pay 50% more for a blue-ray version of a movie than a regular DVD version.

      I think that would be the fairer test -- rather than comparing Blu-Ray to HD DVD directly, compare each to a "standard" DVD. Of course, what makes this difficult is the fact that the players are all going to vary so much. You need a test rig that could take the direct output of the disk read and put it through some kind of standard processor, so th

      • Re:DVD? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Overzeetop (214511)
        Not really. Go find a critically reviewed set of upsampling DVD players - there are a bunch on the market - and put that up against the HD versions, all fed through HDMI to the viewing device. You might even try the DVD as both an upsampled and at the native 480p, just for kicks. Players are still part of the picture, no matter what the format, since you have to have a player to view the movie.

        Now, if you go out and buy a 50" monitor from Best Buy along with the cheapest player they carry of each type, plug
        • No, you're doing the wrong test. You need a typical crt based 27 inch television in a room with average lighting and a group of normal people. Then you let them watch the movies, but don't tell them if they are watching HD-DVD or Blu-Ray or plain DVD. Then you ask them for their opinion on which was best. Of course, since these are supposed to be HD formats, you would probably want to use an HD TV instead of that 27 inch TV, but you get the idea.

          What is important is not which is technically the best, bu
  • I'm a bit confused... don't the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray specs both support the same video codecs (I believe the audio codecs between the two can differ)? But Blu-Ray supports a larger stream and larger available space. I believe they just had the specs for the two in the last Videographer and that's where I'm recalling this from, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong. In any case, if that is true, it makes no sense that Blu-Ray would be inherently worse quality... quite the opposite.

    HOWEVER... that said,
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:52PM (#15825719)

    Training Day

    What?

    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

    Who?

    Rumor Has It

    Wazzat?

    These are their flagship release titles? Oh, I can't wait until these formats crater.

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:56PM (#15825744) Homepage

    What is there to compare here? The format of the media storage is completely irrelevant to the quality of the movie. The movie is encoded in a binary, compressed codec. The combination of the codec, the compression level, the decoder in the player, and the quality of the components in the player - these are what determine the quality of the movie.

    And since both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray support the same codecs, it is almost totally dependant on the player. The disc format of the movie doesn't make any difference whatsoever.

    What a stupid article. Why not write an article comparing a movie viewed in a white to a movie viewed in an black house? It would have about the same difference on image and sound quality.

  • Unless either of these formats is scratch resistant I think I'll stick with hardrives, thanks. How they ever got people to buy little disks that get the crap scratched out of them no matter what you do is beyond me - it's a recipe for paying for the same thing twice if you ask me.
  • If I'm wrong, please correct me or elaborate...

    Isn't this all really about enhanced DRM and content protection using the lure of higher definition -- that most of use won't really notice past a few feet, or care about after a few beers? Kind of a "ignore the man behind the green curtain" (Wizard of Oz) kind of thing?

    Aren't these new players are designed to thwart fair use and be disabled remotely. What are we willing to give up for the bright and shiny pictures? Are we all fish? Until my current pla

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @01:22PM (#15825988)
    Due to issues with image cropping, audio selection and supplemental features on the Blu-ray discs, the HD DVD versions win this first face-off.

    Okay, so due to issues WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FORMATS THEMSELVES, HD-DVD won. This means nothing.
  • by earache (110979) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @01:48PM (#15826242) Homepage
    The porn industry is going to decide this one, just like they decided the betamax vs VHS.

    My wager is that they'll go HD-DVD, which means the rest of us will too, despite Sony's best efforts.

    Training Day wasn't the first HD-DVD, btw, Island Fever 3 with Tera Patrick was.

  • by Jerf (17166) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @02:16PM (#15826484) Journal
    One of the reviews mentions the menus are even slower on Blu-ray than they are on DVDs, routinely taking two or three seconds for even the simplest of operations.

    The reviewer said something to the effect of DVD being OK, but I disagree. Every DVD menu that I've ever seen on any player already trends towards the slow side. I understand taking a moment to load new content, but what's up with taking a second to register the pressing of the "up" or "down" button?

    Why, in 2006, does every piece of consumer electronics feel (and often look) like it's being powered by a Nintendo Entertainment System, with some sort of auto-delay-on-input circuit added for extra measure? I understood it in 1996, but ten years later and if anything it's worse; every generation seems to get slower and slower. My TiVo Series 2 is actually a little slower than my Series 1, which I thought was impossible. My Comcast cable box when I tried it last year had multi-second response times for everything. My cell phone can't seem to do anything in less than half a second, except input text. For every DVD player I've ever seen (except the PS2), you can see it drawing the menus and stuff to the screen. Come on! You can't draw text to the text in less than half-a-second? My Commodore 64 seemed to manage that feat, even when running in BASIC!

    I realize that not all consumer electronics are going to act as snappy as my computer, but must it feel like I'm doing everything over the web with a 9600 dial-up connection?
  • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @03:46PM (#15827161) Homepage Journal
    So score one for HD DVD's VC1 compression codec over the MPEG2/AVC scheme used for Blu-ray

    Both Blu-Ray and HD DVD support both VC1 and MPEG2/AVC, if I'm not mistaken. They are comparing the encoding on a specific movie, but imply that it's inherent to the format.

    Unfortunately, due to disc space limitations, Warner has elected to drop the [TrueHD Dolby Digital] track altogether on the Blu-ray release. [...] But more troubling is that Warner has also dropped the Dolby Digital-Plus track off of this Blu-ray release

    Disc space limitations on Blu-Ray? 25GB on a single layer is really not enough (compared to 30 on a dual-layer with HD DVD) that two audio tracks had to be dropped? Something is fishy here.
  • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:36PM (#15827847)
    I saw the first blueray players setup at the local electronics retailer yesterday. Frankly, I wasn't impressed. I have an HDTV and a decent new progressive scan DVD player.

    When I first walked in to the store, and saw the big scren tv playing its movie, I wasn't wowed, I did NOT say: "Damn, that's clear, that can't be a DVD! Is it BlueRay? HDDVD? I gotta find out more!"

    I just assumed it was a regular DVD, and didn't give it much thought. I didn't have the slightest idea that I was looking at a BlueRay presentation until I noticed the blue ray logo on the advertising signage underneath.

    This is a miles away from when I saw my first DVD, when I was literally amazed. Especially because at that time I mostly watched rented VHS, which were always somewhat worse for the wear.

    Factor in the premium for the HD player and the movies themselves. ($46 bucks for movies I would typically pick up for under $20, often under $15)

    So, will I get one? Yeah, eventually, when the price comes down to around 200-300, the format war is settled (or rendered irrelevant by cheap dual-mode players), and title availability is high. My first impression left me disctinctly underwhelmed. Paying *that* much more for soemthing that doesn't look even half *that* much better just isn't worth it to me.

    Your mileage will, of course, vary.

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