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Next DVD Format War Still Wide Open

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the going-to-have-to-buy-fifth-element-again dept.

253

An anonymous reader writes "Despite the wishes of partisan players like Sony and Toshiba, many consumer electronics manufacturers are opting to support both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs in upcoming media players." From the article: "Consumer electronics maker LG Electronics and PC maker Fujitsu-Siemens both said on Thursday they would keep their options open after computer giant Hewlett-Packard said last month it would back HD DVD as well as Blu-ray. Bjorn Sehrm, senior director Digital Home of Fujitsu-Siemens, told Reuters: 'We are planning to put both in. We don't take a stand in that fight, and actually we're very sorry that fight is happening.'

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Who wins? (4, Insightful)

Agent00Wang (146185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890143)

Who does this format war even benefit? I'm glad that some vendors will support both formats, but I for one will be waiting for things to die down before I invest in either format.

Re:Who wins? (5, Insightful)

Serapth (643581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890197)

Actually this upcoming generation of media benefits the consumer very little. Thanks to draconian measures in HDCP obsoleting a good chunk of consumer electronics out there, it infact pretty much screws the consumer.

Im not one to boycott products, but there is always a first. I will as long as possible, refuse to buy any product built around HDCP. Sadly, that means HD-DVD, BluRay, the PS3, etc... I sure as hell am not going to buy a new monitor and video card to support Vista. This doesnt mean no Vista, but from the sounds of it, it does mean no Media Center.

This is one time where consumers should unite and say a collective "Fuck you!".

Re:Who wins? (4, Interesting)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890245)


Another concern is that newer media formats might not have the life cycle of CD and DVD. CDs are still useful and have been around a couple of decades, CDs are scratch tolerant, etc. DVDs still work, but are more fragile. How well do Blu-Ray and HD-DVD stand up?

Re:Who wins? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890344)

This is probably mostly due to data density. If your scratch is the same size on a CD/DVD/HD DVD/Blu Ray, then on a CD it would damage x bits. Since a dual layer DVD holds about 14 CDs, i'm guessing the same scratch would take out 14x bits. Now if the new stuff holds 50 Gigs, lets call that 5X a DVD, it would take out 70x bits. Although I heard blu ray is supposed to have some heavy polymer that prevents scratching, how much will your fingerprint or speck of dust stop the player from reading properly. There's a reason that they put hard drives in sealed containers. I would think that a device such a bluray or hd dvd would require that there be very little dust in order for it to read properly. Either that, or a lot of ecc data.

Re:Who wins? (5, Informative)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890488)

>> "Although I heard blu ray is supposed to have some heavy polymer that prevents scratching, how much will your fingerprint or speck of dust stop the player from reading properly."

They actually came out with a new polymer covering for the Blu-Ray that's highly scratch-resistant. They did a demo a while back trying to jam a screwdriver into the disk and it was still fine. It's really quite an improvement.

>> "how much will your fingerprint or speck of dust stop the player from reading properly."

Possibly, but on the other hand that's not permanent damage :)

Re:Who wins? (2, Insightful)

KDan (90353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890639)

No, but given the omnipresence of dust, it's as good as permanent even if it keeps shifting from one part of the disk to another...

Daniel

Re:Who wins? (2, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890378)

If the new generation of disks really are yet more fragile, that spells bad news given the increased efforts to prevent legitimate backups. They'd love to see us buying the same movie three or four times because of damaged disks. No, thanks. I'll stick with DVDs until I can buy HD movies online.

Re:Who wins? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890264)

I sure as hell am not going to buy a new monitor and video card to support Vista

What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Talking. About.

Get a life and stop believing everything that d!gg.com and Sl@shdot sell you.

Re:Who wins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890376)

"consumers should unite"

Wtf dude? Just dont buy it. There is no solidarity in buying movies.

both win, and maybe consumers too (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890312)

Neither wants to license patents from the other or otherwise be excluded. That would be a big loss.

So they fight. To encourage adoption, they have to keep down the licensing fees. That means other electronics vendors get a "good" deal (pay an arm only, not the leg too).

In the end the royalties are split between the two groups and everything supports both formats.

Of course, the whole royalties thing is sick, but currently a given.

Re:both win, and maybe consumers too (1)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890507)

With DVDs we got stuck with "both formats", + and -, and it's confusing as hell. How does that benefit anybody?

Re:Who wins? (5, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890338)

The format war benefits the Hollywood studios.

If we're expecting a straightforward repeat of VHS vs. Beta, then it will go something like this: The first round of Early Adopters will buy both systems in quantities roughly proportional to manufacturers' established market shares {Sony and Sanyo made Beta kit; JVC supplied cheap VHS machines, built under licence in sewing-machine factories, to rental companies for badge-engineering}. One system will eventually come to dominate, for a reason ultimately determined by neither the consumers nor the manufacturers {VHS recorders, which were mainly supplied on a rental basis, were more easily field-maintained than the technically-superior Beta system}.

However, this time around there will be a crucial difference. When Beta died out, and customers renting Beta machines had to be supplied with VHS replacements, the rental companies took it upon themselves to copy users' accumulated tape libraries onto the new format {Macrovision had not been invented then}. This time, owners of the "failed" format will simply be expected to purchase their favourite films again, to the benefit of the movie studios.

So you bought a film once on VHS, again on VHS because the first one wore out, then on DVD, then once {if you picked the winner of the new format wars from day one} or twice {if you didn't} on the new, high-definition discs.

The crucial deciding factor with cassettes turned out to be field-maintenance. I'm guessing that this time, with new high-definition discs, the crucial deciding factor will be how easily any intended consumer-shafting measures {under the colour of copy-prevention} can be defeated. The important company to watch here is Sony, because they make the discs and the players; so they are unlikely to make copying easy on their players, since they would be shooting themselves in the foot. Player manufacturers who are not involved in the content industry have less to worry about {and the people working in their labs, who are ideally-placed to introduce backdoors, enjoy a movie as much as the next person .....}

Re:Who wins? (1)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890530)

>> "So you bought a film once on VHS, again on VHS because the first one wore out, then on DVD, then once {if you picked the winner of the new format wars from day one} or twice {if you didn't} on the new, high-definition discs."

And now, due to HDCP, you can't even watch it until you buy a new monitor! ;)

Re:Who wins? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890349)

Who does this format war even benefit?

The people who have patents on the winning format.

Re:Who wins? (2, Funny)

littlem (807099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890351)

Who does this format war even benefit? I'm glad that some vendors will support both formats, but I for one will be waiting for things to die down before I invest in either format.
Certainly not DVD Jon - with two different formats to crack he might need to spend two afternoons working on it instead of one.

Re:Who wins? (1)

brix_zx2 (955395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890442)

I'm still waiting for the TV thing to die down, HD or not HD, Plasma or LCD (plus now there is a new one to the flat TV line-up isn't there?).

Re:Who wins? (2, Informative)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890552)

>> "I'm still waiting for the TV thing to die down, HD or not HD, Plasma or LCD (plus now there is a new one to the flat TV line-up isn't there?)."

Yeah, there's SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display) coming out fairly soon (probably 2007). That's basically flat CRT, with each pixel being an individual mini electron emitter (a la LCD).

Re:Who wins? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890657)

> but I for one will be waiting

Error in line 2 of input - inaccurate assumption ("I, for one") that most people speak for others, not themselves.

PS3 (1)

cosmotron (900510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890145)

Looking at how much each component of the PlayStation 3 will cost, $350 for it's Blu-Ray player... Sheesh, I hope that HD-DVD players will be cheaper, though I remember how much DVD player were when they just came out. Oh well, looks like I will have to keep my DVD's even longer. =]

Toshiba pushing HARD (4, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890149)

I was just driving around in the metro Detroit area only to notice that Toshiba is going promos for HD DVD at most of the electronics joints. They are spewing this stuff over the local radio stations so I stopped in.

Most consumers seem to be blown away. I think that being first to market ("later this month") will be a big win for HD DVD.

Sony might have blown it with PS3 delay (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890200)

Blu-ray looked like the easy winner for a while there. But they're coming out later and at double the price of HD-DVD. Add in the delay of the PS3 (supposedly the "poor man's blu-ray player") and it doesn't exactly make blu-ray look like the champ it once was.

-Eric

Re:Sony might have blown it with PS3 delay (1)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890258)

But they're [Blu-Ray] coming out later and at double the price of HD-DVD.

One thing that I noticed at the Toshiba demos was the recognition that the term "HD DVD" was getting. Consumers know both HD and DVD separately so this is a huge advantage over "Blu Ray".

The demo was a split screen comparison of SDTV compared to HD DVD. On a big TV, that made HD DVD look real impressive and most onlookers were eating it up. When I suggested that the rep compare DVD with HD DVD, he just shrugged and said that they didn't have such a demo.

How convenient. It looks like the bad guys will win again.

Re:Sony might have blown it with PS3 delay (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890285)

It looks like the bad guys will win again.

Since when is Sony "the good guys"? With all the DRM on both formats, I'd say they're BOTH the bad guys. But, given choice of the lesser of two evils, I'd definitely go with almost ANYONE over Sony. With the recent rootkit debacle and their inexplicably fanatical obsession with preventing any hacking of the PSP, I wouldn't trust them to take out my trash much less design a new media format.

-Eric

Re:Sony might have blown it with PS3 delay (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890700)

For a while, Blu-Ray was in a good company: Apple, porn, PS3, while HD-DVD was associated with Microsoft. This had tipped the scales, at least for me in favor of Blu-Ray. But lately with Sony's rootkit fiasco, late and overpriced PS3s, the scale is tipping the other way.
But their heavy DRM schemes really constrict both standards.

I'll probably only be interested in them once the burners are available at reasonable prices so that I can make nice HD home movies on my Mac. As of now, with the current limitation of DVDs iMovieHD is kinda pointless...

Re:Sony might have blown it with PS3 delay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890294)

"Add in the delay of the PS3"

Bzzzttt!

"at double the price of HD-DVD."

Bzzzttt!

What a fucking dunce. Go away!!!

Re:Toshiba pushing HARD (4, Insightful)

smackenzie (912024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890257)

I used to think Sony had a sure win. I'm definitely not sure anymore. Look at:

HD DVD on Vista

Toshiba releasing a laptop reasonably soon with HD DVD

cheaper MSRP ($499 vs $999 and $799 vs $1799)

Sony is releasing first round of writable blu-ray disks that are slow (2x) and smaller than first release HD DVD (25 GB vs 30 GB)

Studios and electronic manufacturers increasingly hedging their bets.

Delay of PS3

I'm really beginning to believe that, once again, Sony competition (HD DVD) will become the "normal" standard with Blu-ray being the standard for those with a Sony PS3 or Sony-compatible hardware. Statistically speaking, that's exactly what has happened in the past with various degrees of success (Beta, Memory Sticks, Mini-discs, UMD, etc.)

Re:Sony's culture is a disaster for this (1)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890677)

Statistically speaking, that's exactly what has happened in the past with various degrees of success (Beta, Memory Sticks, Mini-discs, UMD, etc.)

Without speaking to the "statistics," it sure does seem like whenever you go with Sony you have to swallow hard about the more expensive format of whatever it turns out to be. Just about the only exception in my life is my cheaper, kids' camcorder -- which happens to be the one case I've considered where they went with the same digital tape, and compression, everyone else uses, for the model I would up choosing anyway. (There was another I preferred, but it would have been locked into a different compression method that screwed me.)

DVD still King! (2, Insightful)

ivan kk (917820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890151)

It don't really matter what format is gonna win, everyone will still purchase dvds for years to come.

Re:DVD still King! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890190)

Supported by the fact that there is still a tidy trade in prerecorded VHS movies. Many of my local grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations still have them for about $5.

Re:DVD still King! (1)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890273)

VHS tapes are also under $1 on close-out sales, but I've had a couple problems with new tapes that are simply defective (locked spindles, bad audio, etc.). I suppose it's hard to have much profit at $0.75 for a whole tape cartridge plus, coincidentally, having a movie on it.

Re:DVD still King! (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890404)

I wish people would start producing HD-output capable DVD players that could do HD-WMV and HD-DivX or HD-Xvid.

Then I could watch recorded HD shows on my DVD player.

Re:DVD still King! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890548)

>I wish people would start producing HD-output capable DVD players that could do HD-WMV and HD-DivX or HD-Xvid.

Screw WMV, Microsoft zealot...

DivX and Xvid also can't hold a candle to H.264

So yes, I'm proposing DVD players which support H.264 on regular DVDs.

And if you think I'm an Apple zealot for proposing H.264, check again. It's a real industry-standard, unlike WMV, DivX or Xvid.

Re:DVD still King! (1)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890643)

Both DivX and XviD comply to the MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile (ASP). H.264 is also known as MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding. There are many parts to MPEG-4, and each part has different profiles; I'm a little unclear on all the boundaries. However, all three DivX, XviD, and Apple's implementation of H.264 are standards based.

Re:DVD still King! (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890455)

This idea suprises me, as I am very tired of having to HD record something off of HBO in order to see it properly. I rarely watch DVD's anymore because they look like crap.

Re:DVD still King! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890610)

I rarely watch DVD's anymore because they look like crap.

Wow, you live like, in an parallel universe! DVDs "look like crap"? What kind of superhuman vision do you have?

The only way to sell your product (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890156)

If you're only going to support one, people will not buy 'til they know which format is going to win and wait it out before buying a $1000+ piece of electronics that is obsolete in a year when the war is over.

By supporting both, you can convince people to buy, because no matter which format it's going to be, you will be able to play it. If they cannot see where the balance is going, they will not buy at all. Not having something is still better than having something that has no support anymore in a year.

Thus the strongest pushers in one or the other direction, insisting on supporting only one format, are not going to sell many of their players.

And, in turn, of their consoles. Sony will most likely only support BluRay in their PS3. If BluRay loses the format war, this would be a serious blow to their sales.

Re:The only way to sell your product (2, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890360)

That applies to the people who actually know there is a format war going on, but I don't think that includes as many of average Joe Consumers out there as one might think. There are still many people out there who will simply buy whichever format hits the streets first, because it's what they'll immediately see as "the new DVD." These are the folks who will end up royally screwed and angry if another format turns up and buries their one.

GOOD! (5, Insightful)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890158)

I hated the DVD +/- wars. They were stupid and quite frankly boring to me as a consumer of DVD video.

The whole war died when everybody started supporting both formats. Here's hoping the HD/Blue war will die without a shot fired.

Re:GOOD! (0, Flamebait)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890347)

I hated the DVD +/- wars. They were stupid and quite frankly boring to me as a consumer of DVD video.

And how exactly you needed a burner to use DVD video, particularly considering that there is no download service that let you burn to DVDs, is left as an exercise to the reader... Oh wait. your home vids burned on your DVD+R burner didn't work on your DVD-R player, right?

Re:GOOD! (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890407)

Absolutely. In fact, I think we should ban all products like this [apple.com] . Clearly no-one uses them.

Re:GOOD! (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890592)

Really? I found the +/- wars as very exciting : At first it looked like - was going to win, with its slightly larger format, then + seemed to be winning the race with more support.. then it all ended rather suddenly with everybody support dual readers/writers. That was a shame.

I convinced myself that + was good, and - was evil, so supporting + was a good thing. Now with the dual drives, they sort of cancel each other out. It is sort of like google's motto "do no evil" - sure that is ok, but not as good as "we do good" - just neutral.

And we all know that you can't trust those neutrals.

Re:GOOD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890652)

I hate these filthy neutrals! With enemies you know where they stand but with neutrals? Who knows! It sickens me.

DVD -- schmevedee (5, Insightful)

iogan (943605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890159)

I know, it would be cool with a billion pixels, and 15.1 sound systems and all that, but honestly, when is someone going to start making movies worth while watching again? I mean seriously, my biggest problem is finding stuff worth the time watching -- not that my TV is too small, or the resolution too low. I mean, my eyes are only this good, I honestly don't think I can tell that much of a difference.

Anyway, that's todays rant about the state of modern culture all done with. I feel better already.

Re:DVD -- schmevedee (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890198)

No kidding. I gave up reading books because the resolution and clarity just wasn't there, not to mention the lack of sound. When they start printing books on super high-resolution, make-lots-of-noise-when-I-turn-the-page paper, then I'll consider reading again...

Re:DVD -- schmevedee (2, Informative)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890668)

You do know the resolution of a printed book is an order of magnitude greater than any screen, yes?

Re:DVD -- schmevedee (1)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890203)

I agree, I personally don't need anything better than DVD quality if that. I have better things to spend my money on.. like, oh say, my kid's college fund!

Re:DVD -- schmevedee (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890300)

Oh c'mon. Which is really more important? Your kids college fund? Or Batman Begins Again?

Re:DVD -- schmevedee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890586)

Who the hell is modding the parent as insightful?! If I had any points right now, I'd be modding it offtopic. It's got absolutely nothing to do with the discussion. /. mods at their finest, sheesh.

How many? (4, Insightful)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890160)

How many people will buy either of these new formats and still plug 'em in via legacy jacks?

I imagine most /.ers will avoid both formats until there is a clear winner, and the prices drop.

Re:How many? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890611)

That won't work though, will it? Because of copy protection.

Maybe this would be a good thing, if a lot of people buy them, and then return them when they don't work. Might get some people thinking.

The new DVD formats suck (3, Insightful)

chrisguy13 (644249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890169)

I was looking forward to these until that whole HDCP mess. My nice HDTV uses the "analogue hole" to get its signal, something those dicks in the MPAA don't like. If anything, I'm rooting for Blu-ray. As much as I hate Sony lately, more storage is always better, and I'd almost be able to fit my mp3 collection on one disc.

Re:The new DVD formats suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890479)

My nice HDTV uses the "analogue hole" to get its signal, something those dicks in the MPAA don't like.

So let me get this straight: The MPAA wants to get their dicks into the analog hole?

Re:The new DVD formats suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890624)

>So let me get this straight: The MPAA wants to get their dicks into the analog hole?

Remove "og" and you've got it.

Thank you, I'll be here all day.

Upgrade to the more constant Xvid format! (5, Informative)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890182)

Xvid files can be put on any storage device/media! Furthermore, they have a greater reaching compatibility: you can play them on Linux, Mac, Windows, and many DVD players. If a device doesn't support your Xvid file, there are free tools (mencoder) [mplayerhq.hu] available that let you re-encode it into almost any other format and codec.

The unfortunate part is that you can't buy these superior Xvid files, because none of the companies that sell TV shows are willing to sell such a great product. Luckily, "torrent sites" have filled the gap in the market. They're against the law (assuming copyrighted content, that is...), but superior.

Re:Upgrade to the more constant Xvid format! (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890238)

you can't buy these superior Xvid files, because none of the companies that sell TV shows are willing to sell such a great product.

No, you can't buy them because you studios can't put any kind of DRM on Xvid files. That makes it a no-brainner for them.

No DRM = No studio support. End of story

-Eric

Re:Upgrade to the more constant Xvid format! (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890387)

That's completely stupid.

You can put a DRM wrapper on any type of file you want.

End of story.

Re:Upgrade to the more constant Xvid format! (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890500)

You can put a DRM wrapper on any type of file you want.

No you can't, smartass, because Xvid is open-source under a GNU GPL license. That means you couldn't wrap the format in any DRM format which restricts its open-source nature. In other words: Use Xvid, can't use DRM.

End of story.

-Eric

Re:Upgrade to the more constant Xvid format! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890674)

No you can't, smartass, because Xvid is open-source under a GNU GPL license. That means you couldn't wrap the format in any DRM format which restricts its open-source nature. In other words: Use Xvid, can't use DRM.

So you're saying there's no way to legally encrypt an xvid avi without violating the GPL? Even if the MPAA decided on something as lame as zipping it with a password, that's illegal? Furthermore, you can't store an xvid avi on an encrypted drive?!

These are rhetorical questions, you CAN in fact wrap ANY format in a DRM.

Re:Upgrade to the more constant Xvid format! (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890267)

Ok, you've sold me.

Now, do I put these Xvid files on HDDVD or Bluray disks? Instruct me! :D

Whichever format has 1st cheap enough burner wins (5, Insightful)

OzPhIsH (560038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890195)

I'm not buying either "next generation" format for their DRM crippled HD video content. I'll be supporting whichever format has the first cheap burner with reasonable priced blank discs. If DRM is a big hurdle in te way of that, kiss my support goodbye.

This must mean an 8.5 GB Dual Layer price drop! (1, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890204)

The 8.5GB dual layer discs will now be MUCH cheaper, right? Anyone?

both tecnologies? (1)

Alworx (885008) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890205)

Maybe I'm over-simplifying things, but in this day and age is it that hard to implement a device that reads both technologies?

From what I understand, the issue is on the lasers being red or blue... well... put two lasers? Vary the voltage?

Or am I missing something (like mutually exclusive rights/royalties)?

Alex.

Re:both tecnologies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890584)

They both use blue lasers you moron.
Try learning something before posting on /. and showing everyone that you are a n00b!

Upsampling DVD trumps all... (4, Informative)

limabone (174795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890214)

I have a DVD player (OPPO Digital OPDV971H) that does a really good job of upsampling a dvd to HDTV quality (up to 1080p I believe, although my tv doesn't support it). It all depends on the quality of the DVD itself, but the better the DVD transfer, the better it looks. I have a 60" Sony LCD and upsampled movies look fantastic. Good transfers like Sin City, or Finding Nemo for example look gorgeous.
You can buy an upsampling DVD player at your local electronics store for a tenth of the price of a blu-ray or hd dvd player, and then you can sit on the sidelines and watch the current format war wage, and save yourself some money.

Re:Upsampling DVD trumps all... (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890402)

DVD frames still only contain 576 lines of 720 pixels each. All you are doing by "upsampling" is making the pixels bigger.

Re:Upsampling DVD trumps all... (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890430)

but the better the DVD transfer, the better it looks.

Thanks, Professor! :-)

Re:Upsampling DVD trumps all... (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890439)

My computer and PowerDVD seems to do a pretty good job of upscaling too. (Granted, I'm playing through a projector with RGB input, but you can get videocards with component output, or DVI->HDMI, depending on your display's inputs.)

Re:Upsampling DVD trumps all... (2, Informative)

kmankmankman2001 (567212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890448)

It does NOT transform a DVD into HD quality. Upconverting from 480i to anything doesn't make it HD anymore than does slapping a snazzy body kit on a Yugo make it suddenly drive like an Aston-Martin. You are still saddled with the limitations of the original, 480i, source material. The promise of HD DVD formats is that the source is actually high quality from the start.

That said I won't be buying one for quite a while as I think it's going to be a long, stupid, battle until one format finally emerges as a 'standard'. Until then I'll keep outputting 480i over HDMI from my Pio 79avi into my Pio 1130 and let the PDP do the heavy lifting for upscaling. It's pretty good but no comparison to REAL HD.

In the meantime I don't expect M$ and others to sit idly by. With the continuing drop in HDD prices and the advent of near plug & play connectivity it's quite conceivable that HTPC's could move into the current DVD space and pre-recorded hard-drives and/or download-on-demand for true HD content could make the whole format debate irrelevant. I'd certainly prefer not to cede M$ yet another potential monopoly position but the idiot$ letting this format war continue don't seem to understand that the clock is ticking.

Re:Upsampling DVD trumps all... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890525)

You know the scaler in your Sony TV is better than the one in that DVD player. Its placebo that you think it looks better, or you don't have the settings between the two inputs you used matched up. If you used a 480i component signal (if you have a DVD player that supports it) or even 480p, you'd get a better picture. You just have to tell the TV that the source material on that input is cinematic (I don't remember what they call it, I set it up ages ago in my Sony set) and let it do the rest. It'll do the 3:2 pulldown and scaling itself.

Re:Upsampling DVD trumps all... (1)

limabone (174795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890603)

The TV is definitely not better at upsampling. Believe me I didn't just rush out and purchase an upsampling DVD player. For sure the dvd player does a much better job at upsampling than the TV. I wrestled long and hard on whether to actually pull the trigger, and I have no regrets. The quality difference is noticeable. I did a random test with friends and family; I would randomly select which image I would show them first, and have them say which one they thought was better. A couple of people said they didn't notice a difference, but nobody said the TV upsampling looked better. Anyone who had an opinion after seeing both images said the DVD was better.

Re:Upsampling DVD trumps all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890629)

No not really.

Playing a HD Xvid from my DSM-520 into my HDTV kicks the crap out of the upsampled DVD's.

Although HD content on the boradcast channels and Cable TV have been severely degraded lately. The Last superbowl for example. if you compare it side by side to the previous year it looks worse.

That is to say... (4, Insightful)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890215)

"Next DVD Format War Still Wide Open"
I other words "Still No News on the DVD Format War".

I'll just pick up a Playstation3 and hope Blu-Ray wins out.

Re:That is to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890281)

"I'll just pick up a Playstation3 and hope Blu-Ray wins out."

Hope?

PS3 and BluRay have already won.

Console and storage format wars are won long before products hit retail shelves.

Which makes it pretty sad to watch the diehard Xbox crowd root for their stillborn console - just like it was sad to watch mostly the same people root for their Dreamcasts.

Re:That is to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890394)

Which makes it pretty sad to watch the diehard Xbox crowd root for their stillborn console - just like it was sad to watch mostly the same people root for their Dreamcasts.

Except that I actually felt bad when it happened to the Dreamcast...

Re:That is to say... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890437)

PS3 and BluRay have already won.

Won, Hell?!?! Neither one of these has even been RELEASED yet.

Hell, no one has even *SEEN* a PS3. It will probably be another year before it is even released in the U.S.

Blu-ray was once the clear leader in the format race. But in the last few months, it's been one misstep after another for them. HD-DVD is looking better and better.

-Eric

The purchasing public is pretty smart... (4, Interesting)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890222)

Danger: what follows is strictly opinion. Thank you.

I think the new generation of what becomes the evolution of the digital versatile disk [wikipedia.org] will have to pass the BetaMax test. Most folks who have the money to purchase "the next big technology" of video interaction have either experienced or heard about the VHS vs. BetaMax battle. Without exception, the people to whom I have spoken (about next-generation "DVD") have said, "I'm waiting until the dust settles, and then I'll start thinking about buying one of the new-technology devices." The second thing they have said (again, without exception) is, "I hope the players will play my stack of old-format DVDs."

I have the strong feeling that the manufacturers and implementers will fight it out, and the consumer will watch and wait. Whomever wins out will get the lion's share of the "going forward" business.

Something that is very important to me: I hope that the "battle" will be short-lived. Here's to hoping that once things settle, the economies of scale and availability will make the next generation DVD-type disks (and players) quickly affordable.

Cost difference? (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890240)

Does anyone have any idea how format support will affect price? I mean, today the difference in cost between a CD-ROM drive and a DVD/CD-ROM drive is pretty small, but 5 years ago the difference was significant.

So if manufacturers make devices that will support both HD formats, how much more expensive will those be than devices which support only one format? (Obviously most if not all the devices will support legacy formats from CDs to DVDs).

Re:Cost difference? (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890640)

It's a very interesting question, with some telling answers. HD-DVD has the same physical structure as current DVDs--the data film layer is sandwiched between two .6mm layers of transparent plastic. Blu-Ray has the film closer to the bottom of the disc, with a very thin layer of scratch-resistant plastic covering it

This is the reason why manufacturers were much happier about HD-DVD than Blu-Ray--they can produce HD-DVD on the same lines with much the same equipment as normal DVDs. Blu-Ray requires much more re-tooling.

This also means that HD-DVD players don't have to do much to handle DVDs--the laser head moves slightly differently, but no focus problems. Of course, this may all be moot, since DVD players can also play CDs, which contain the data film on top of the plastic, right under the label (making it easier to scratch).

BluRay Won - Get Over It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890247)

These stories of trying to give the impression that there is anything left to the battle between BluRay and the deadend HD-DVD format are pointless.

It's over.

It's been over for months.

There is nothing that will bring HD-DVD back to life.

Sony is about to sell between 100-150 million BluRay players for 399-349 and less over the next five years.

The Xbox 360 is effectively dead and really had little chance to help save HD-DVD with its add on package.

Let's move on. Any talk of HD-DVD is a waste of everyone's time.

So - (3, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890254)

Am I the typical person who isn't going to buy either one because the standard is full of shit and "downgraded signals if you don't have the right interfaces" and "I don't want to buy two players", or am I the anomaly?

After all, these competing standards only matter if you have a HDTV (which I don't plan to have until around, oh, 2009 or so - about when the current one dies and I need something else to play "Final Fantasy XVI" on - or hopefully "Zelda: Twilight Princess" by then.

So I plan on just sitting back, letting both sides make asses out of themselves, and maybe this will wind up like the original Divx - a technology that nobody really wanted to buy.

Of course, this is just my opinion - I could be wrong.

Uhh, wait a minute (4, Insightful)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890262)

All of the stories I've seen is that LG and HP are no longer exclusively going to support Blu-ray (Don't know about Fujitsu-Siemens). Lets review. HD-DVD is coming out in two weeks, and Blu-ray isn't. HD-DVD players are as much as $500 cheaper than Blu-ray. HD-DVD is (not necessarily exclusively) backed by HP, Microsoft, Toshiba, Intel, NEC, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros and other industry giants. The PS3 is ridiculously delayed and its success must be considered in doubt, given its cost and the 360's early release.

Why is Blu-ray even interesting? Because sony supports it? I realize it is a superior format in terms of technology (not price), however, with companies jumping off the exclusivity bandwagon, HD-DVD may have already won. Sony must realize this.

Re:Uhh, wait a minute (4, Interesting)

Benzido (959767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890305)

I think Sony's Playstation team is deliberately holding up the PS3 launch because they aren't at all sure Blu-ray will win. PS3 will certainly die if it has a completely unwanted component that makes up for a third of its cost.

Re:Uhh, wait a minute (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890315)

"I think Sony's Playstation team is deliberately holding up the PS3 launch because they aren't at all sure Blu-ray will win. "

Come on retard. That was just embarrassing to read.

You aren't even trying. FUD again dummy.

Re:Uhh, wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890605)

HD DVD players and BD players cost just as much in mass production. They use the same decoder (mpeg2, mpeg4 and vc1), the same DRM (AACS) with the only difference beeing the fact that BD uses a more precise laser / optical unit - but that maxes out to a $10 difference not $500.

Early adopters will have to pay premium price anyway, DVD players used to cost $500+ in the beginning - today cou can buy them for less than 1/10th that price.

When you say $500 more expensive, you are comparing the price of the "Elite" BD player from Pioneer with the cheapest HD DVD player announced. The Pioneer is a complete HAVI compliant network device that can be used as a media center, playing HD media of your PC or other HAVI or UPNP compliant devices. The current "Elite" series DVD player from Pioneer allready cost well above $1000, so that the BD player is in the same region as the DVD player should not come as a shock.

The PS3 has always been a 2006 product, following the 6 year cycle of past PlayStation. Sony has never given any official release date, but presentations and slides shown to game developers and investors two years ago idicated a 2006 spring release. Most people in the business expect a spring/summer Japan release followed by US for the holiday season and EU next year. So if you think PS3 is "ridiculously delayed" you have been had by anti-ps fanbois or crazy media hype ...

360 in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890625)

The Xbox 360 is doing really poorly here in Japan... Nintendo might steal the show but it's much more likely to be Sony - if they can keep Final Fantasy exclusive to Sony they basically win in this market. So I don't think the 360 is a threat to the PS3's success, they're very likely to dominate at least 1 of the 3 markets and they'll be backwards compatible with the previous most-popular console everywhere.

sales figures [the-magicbox.com]

As for the cost - they're not stupid, they wouldn't have designed it if it couldn't be mass produced cheaply. I would bet all my savings that it launches for under $500. However, that doesn't mean that HD-DVD and/or Blu-Ray players won't be $200 by the time it comes out.

p.s. I strongly dislike Sony, but them's the breaks...

Let the fight go on! (4, Interesting)

Captain Zep (908554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890286)

The longer this format war lasts, the better.

Benefits of new format:

  1. Higher resolution (which hardly anyone will even notice - certainly not the majority of people who don't have huge displays).
  2. Erm, that's it really.

Disadvantages of new format:

  1. Another new player to have to buy.
  2. Excessive DRM which means that just because a disk used to play is no guarantee that it will next time you try it (due to inevitable bugs in mandatory firmware upgrades, if nothing else).
  3. Risk of irreversibly trashing your player if source disk has broken new firmware (mandatory install, remember).

If people start buying these things in droves, then the studios will be able to stop DVD production, and force the rest of us to use them too if we want any new content.

But, a combination of lack of clear benefits, together with excessive DRMing, and lack of a clear format winner, will hopefully mean that these players will be ignored and flop. In which case the studios aren't going to stop making DVDs even though they'd like to.

If they do take off, I can't wait for the first mandatory firmware upgrade that breaks a whole bunch of players. I'd love to see the studios explain what they are going to do about that.

Unless the DRM is removed (which isn't likely), then the only interest I have in this technology is watching it fail as a film format, then become available as a cheap data storage format for computers. Shame really, cos I like films.

Z.

+/- RW all over again -- but there's a cost (2, Interesting)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890319)

We have the technology to build drives that support both, but this will result in more expensive devices, especially given that both formats require different physical lasers. I for one won't be buying one until it's clear that it will support any new media -- and it will probably take a lot longer for drives to drop to the magic price point where Joe Sixpack will buy one, if they have to include support for two physical formats.

The whole DVD+-RW thing was a mess, but at least they're relatively similar formats, and a drive supporting both can be made reasonably cheaply.

The format war will fizzle -- but wouldn't it be better for everyone, including device manufacturers, if we skipped the nonsense this time?

Who cares? (1, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890328)

Who cares? And I mean from a consumer level, why should anybody care? Ultimately, you're going to put a shiny, round disc in your drive, and it'll play. It's that simple. I mean just a few years ago, there was much geek hand-wringing over DVD+R, and DVD-R, etc, etc. And the outcome was the same as it is with every piece of consumer electronics: the manufacturers just put the software for all of the popular formats in their products. It's not a huge deal for them either, since it's just another chip. It's not like we have 2" DVD's and 4" DVD's to worry about. If you go buy a new DVD player right now, the thing plays so many formats, I can't even keep track... DVD-R, DVD+R, 7.whatever gig DVD's, audio CD's, MP3's, CD-RW, etc.

Please note, this post wasn't meant to discourage early adopters from buying now. Those of us without so much disposable income would very much like to see you early adopters keep buying so that we can buy when it's cheap. So remember, early adopters: if you don't have HD-DVD or whatever it's called TODAY, then you're not cool.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Captain Zep (908554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890368)

Ultimately, you're going to put a shiny, round disc in your drive, and it'll play

But that's just it. It's a pretty safe assumption for DVD if you've got a multi-region player.

But with these new fangled waffle-irons, your equipment has to pass a whole raft of continually changing security checks. Stating that "it'll play" is a huge oversimplification.

So hopefully people will avoid it and stick with DVD, where it really does play.

Z.

Re:Who cares? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890423)

Stating that "it'll play" is a huge oversimplification.

Are you saying that you can walk into Wal-Mart and buy a DVD or a CD that doesn't play on any of your DVD players? I find that hard to believe.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Captain Zep (908554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890574)

No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying the opposite. This is why I'm saying that DVDs are better.

Z.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890671)

Since one of my DVD players was bought in England, Yes that is what I am saying. I bought my content from stores, yes the only ones that work in the player (legally) are the ones with a tiny region 2 & 4 written in the box. I have to buy another complete DVD player to legally play any of the content I buy in North America.

Yes I can "mod" the player, but that is technically illegal. I guess for the majority of consumers, it doesn't matter. But for people who have lived in more then 1 region, it is an extreme pain in the ass.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890389)

The difference is that the +/- situation was still using most of the same hardware, the formats aren't all that different.

HDDVD and Blu Ray require more different hardware (most obviously being the lasers), making supporting both more expensive. I'd much rather they settle it and I only have to pay for support for the format that ends up mattering in the end.

HD on Regular DVD! (2, Interesting)

acomj (20611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890374)

I got "step into liquid" because i like watching surfing. It came with a second disk, that was the movie in hi-def. Cool I thought, then after poking around the disk realized it was some windows media format that I can't play on my mac. But isn't the h268 codec good enough for hi-def movie on regular dvd?

Otherwise the larger format should win! (1 season = 1 disk sounds good to me)

enrichment (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890434)

I love this quote -

Asked if consumers would have to buy their favorite movies again, Blu-ray spokesman Simonis said: "Of course! But it will enrich your life."

try, instead -
"Of course! But it will enrich [my corporation]."

Physical Media? What's That? (2, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890459)

Hmmm, if the format war drags out too long it will be a moot point. Networked DVRs with broadband internet connections and large hard drives are going to make physical media a thing of the past for many people. When I can easily rent a movie and download it to my TiVo in just a few minutes, I won't care about DVD formats at all. And over time, I won't really care to own the movie either as long as I can see it any time I want at some reasonable cost. I think the current iTunes model would work pretty well for what I have in mind. So the Sony and Toshiba camps would be smart to settle their differences quickly before the consumer moves on.

Enrich my life? LOL (1)

kmankmankman2001 (567212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890501)

I'm all for true HD content on DVD's. I'm also disgusted by the inability of the two competing groups to work out a standard so that the public (yeah, us suckers that pay real $$ for their products) don't have to make guesses (wagers, really) as to which format is going to be in it for the long haul. There are real benefits to having a true HD content on a portable media source like a DVD. But, the one quoted at the end of the fine article is surely not one of them: Asked if consumers would have to buy their favorite movies again, Blu-ray spokesman Simonis said: "Of course! But it will enrich your life." Snort!! Yeah, I'm all just pins and needles waiting for the HD-DVD version of "Dude, where's my car?" because my life just has this incredible void right now. I at least hope he was laughing when Simonis said that.

porn.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890544)

Yup.. whatever format the porn industry picks up.. will be the standard.. it's too early to tell however.. as both players are still pretty much vaporware..

Most of the people i've talked to, have no plan on upgrading from DVD as copy protection and down-rezzed video just don't appeal to them..

if you bought a 1080p capable disc, who is the f'ckin MPAA to tell you *YOU CANT WATCH IT AT 1080p IF YOUR DEVICE IS CAPABLE!*

so..

my dvd collection will grow.. mostly from other peoples used DVD's who jump on the new HD bandwagon.. only to find out they've locked themselves into a deal with the devil..

None of the HD formats are going to replace DVD any time soon.. regardless of what the MPAA thinks..

put it this way.. joe 6pack just risked his marriage to buy an HDTV to watch nascar and pretty much destoryed his kids college fund, and nearly got divorced for it.. now the MPAA is tellin him to buy a new HD player to play HD movies that won't work properly on his HDTV because it isn't equipped with HDMI/HDCP support..

me thinks joe 6pack will stick with his $29.97 walmart DVD player with component upconversion..

You could make money out of this in the future (2, Interesting)

Mr. Funky (957139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890607)

Buy a pile of PC's having DVD-RW drives on board of all flavors with all kind of OS-flavors, buy DVD-RW stand-alone drives of all flavors and keep them in good shape, ie. don't use them, keep them packed.

Why ? Because there will be a day people cannot play that particular DVD-format because it has become obsolete. And if the content is very valuable (eg. family pics, movies, data) people will be willing to pay large sums of green to you if you are able convert it.

reality (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890664)

While they are fighting it out between themselves

i (average consumer) am downloading latest episode of 24 in HD with 5.1 sound thru my 3mbit connection to play on my HDTV DLP projector

they (the industry have to realise) the future is netwoked not tied up in some heavily DRM'd disks
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