bluray and hd-dvd

There are two high definition DVD formats. Bluray and HD DVD. Of course you knew that. Both formats have been released. There are players. There are movies. And, nobody cares. I don’t see any discussions or reviews online. It’s one big yawn. Bluray fanboys will point to the upcoming PS3 release. That being the Ace up the sleeve of the format. Interestingly enough, PS3 fanboys ‘predict’ that it will be the Bluray format that will help selling the console. A 500 US$ Bluray player disguised as a gaming console might be a cheap Bluray player, if others cost a 1K. But in the consumers mind they have to compete with the 40 US$ DVD player that plays an awfully huge library of movies. Upscaling DVD players cost just a few hundred dollars.

The quality of these next generation formats is certainly superior to DVD. The current discs however have been partially made from sub par telecine masters I have been told. That aside, people don’t understand nor care about quality all that much.

Those two new formats have a better picture than traditional DVD. In order to see it you have to be equiped with a HD set.

Let’s have a look at the last format change. DVD replaced VHS tape. And it was better in the following ways:

  • Image quality. Much more resolution. VHS was dreadful.
  • Audio quality. They called that CD quality. VHS was dreadful.
  • Sourround audio. Five speakers in your living room. No possible before with anything.
  • non touch mechanism. VHS is an analog tape. Tape is tricky as it is. Tape and head wear and environmental impact like dust. Analog tape degrades. Every time you use it
  • multi angle. yes, is a feature. Nobody used it. Almost nobody.
  • multiple audio tracks. Directors commentary or alternative language tracks. Both add great value.
  • menu system. Helps with branding and use.
  • non linear. Jump to any location is almost instantly. Together with the menu system
  • no rewind. Sounds like a stupid thing. Now that you don’t have to rewind anymore. Was major annoyance withVHS and big deal for DVD
  • smaller and known form factor. “just like audio CD”
  • region code and copy protection. Good for the studios. They thought.
  • computer use. I have used a data tape based on S-VHS. Was 75,000 US$.

With DVD there was a format war too. The other one backed by Circuit City and Dreamworks folder almost instantly. It’s “feature” was that the movies were much cheaper, but would expire with in 48 hours. After that they wanted to charge consumers for every view. Greed. Make sure you hide it well, or you will fail like that.

DVD vs. VHS is a pretty substantial list. After a few years it was a done deal.
Bluray and HD-DVD will never build any momentum. They will fail like Super CD or UMD or Minidisc have failed.

2 Responses to “bluray and hd-dvd”

  1. scottt Says:

    I’ll throw down my prediction, which is that this format war will be fought and won in the burner trays of the world.

    HD content on a disk? Who cares. This format has been artifically tied to this content when in fact it is most usefull as a high capacity cheap archival format - kinda like CDR way back when.

    While the studios wage their war in the Best Buys and Blockbusters across the globe they probably won’t notice that we’re happy to just download the same content to our massive harddrives over our broadband connections. Granted that if you happen to be doing this now it is almost certiany not kosher, but millions of consumers are voting with their mice so sooner or later our corporate keepers will figure out how to make their buck out of the new business model that evolves. Sure the shrinkwrapped DVD market is the big one, and that explains the desire to keep that model just the way it is thankyouverymuch, but if that was the goal then a treaty would have worked better than a war.

    Meanwhile we’ve all filled up our terabyte harddrives with content, and are looking for a way to squirrel it away, send it to Grandma, share it with friends etc etc - enter ‘New Plastic Disc B’.

    On that basis I’d say that BluRay was slightly ahead of the game. You can buy burners and media now, and although hellaciously expensive right this minute it’s gonna get cheaper eventually. Don’t tell anyone, but I paid $750 for a CDR burner and $5 each for blank CDR’s not too long ago….

  2. Duane Says:

    I was pretty excited about high-def two years ago when they started talking about DVDs (I worked alot with H.264 back then). But the fact that they went with two standards and not one was a big blow to the industry. Even though I’m sure they will have players that will do both shortly, it’s just a mess that should have never happened. Also, all those TVs that Best Buy and Future Shop have been ramming down people’s throats for years (you know the ones, the “HD-ready” ones) won’t work since Hollywood and the DRM guys won’t allow the analog outputs to show you high def (only DVI or HDMI). So, thanks for selling me that $2000 TV that will only do low-def — now what?

    The whole industry is bent around screwing the consumer, which is why movie attendance is down everywhere (who wants 20 minutes worth of ads?) and why I won’t be buying a HD DVD player when they come out.

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