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No HD-DVD Movies Until April

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the very-expensive-paperweight dept.

243

Jed from Pan and Scan writes "It's official: when the first HD-DVD players are released on March 28, there will be no movie titles available in the new high-def format for at least another three weeks, and far fewer than initially announced. Warner, the only studio that was planning on having HD-DVD movies to accompany the format's much ballyhooed debut, will now release just three initial HD-DVD titles -- and not until April 18."

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Look at it this way... (1)

TheCarlMau (850437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942610)

If this fails, then Warner simply records this down as a lost. However, if it succeeds, these movie titles will be the most successful rentals!

Re:Look at it this way... (4, Funny)

mzieg (317686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942961)

Well, yeah. I had no interest in watching $1M Baby before now, but at quadruple the resolution...wow! And checkout those blemishes on Tom Cruise's chin! I knew it!

Re:Look at it this way... (4, Funny)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943354)

No matter how much you increase the resolution, it still won't make people appear on the screen in a movie they weren't in ;-)

Marketing Idea? (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943208)

With the uncertainty whether Blue Ray or HD-DVD will grab the market, it seems like there should be plenty of people sitting on the fence to wait and see which wins. Nobody wants to end up with a bunch of HD-DVD discs if Blue Ray ends up being the dominant format or vice versus. Same story as VHS versus Beta, I should think. So what if the companies backing one format guaranteed they will replace your movies with the competing format if theirs flops? That way there's no reason not to buy that format (aside from the expected outrageous intructory costs), and it subsequently has a much greater chance of success. Of course, if the competing format followed suit with the same guarantee, then the advantage for the originating company is basically lost and it could cause sustained high prices in the long run. Hmmm...maybe it's not such a good idea.

Re:Marketing Idea? (2, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943305)

Which format has porn?

I have one word for this... (-1, Offtopic)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942612)

snap

Movie Selection (5, Insightful)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942623)

The Last Samurai, Million Dollar Baby and Phantom of the Opera? Did they just have a monkey throw a dart at the board for those picks?

I can understand Million Dollar Baby and I'm glad The Last Samurai was picked, as that was a very underrated film. I'm still surprised they chose that instead of say, a blockbuster, or a major academy award winner. But Phantom of the Freakin' Opera?! WTF?

Re:Movie Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942670)

If they were smart they'd release Star Wars, I know Star Wars fans that buy the set in whatever new media there is, and they'll buy it even if they don't have a player. Star Wars fans are crazy

Re:Movie Selection (4, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942844)

Uhm, duh, before there can be a Star Wars release, George Lucas has to rewrite the script again.

Re:Movie Selection (4, Funny)

jferris (908786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942912)

How on eArth caN you Say tHat? NO, That can't be right. FrIckin' Retard. There! I Said iT!

Re:Movie Selection (1)

redtape (37014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943229)

Wrong! Greedo never shot!

Re:Movie Selection (2, Funny)

mzieg (317686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942982)

If Warner Bros was smart, they'd consult a lawyer before distributing a 20th Century Fox film :-)

Re:Movie Selection -- WRONG STUDIO (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942995)

Um ... The Star Wars franchise is owned by 20th Century Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Warner Brothers is owned by Time Warner.

Re:Movie Selection -- WRONG STUDIO (2, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943345)

Pedantic? Yes, thank you. Actually, the Star Wars franchise is owned by George Lucas and Lucasfilm, Ltd. 20th Century Fox has the distribution rights. :)

Re:Movie Selection (5, Funny)

Basehart (633304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942730)

"Did they just have a monkey throw a dart at the board for those picks?"

It would have been someone in the marketing department who made these choices, so that's a yes.

Re:Movie Selection (4, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942752)

Since the selling point of HD-DVD is the picture quality, you should go with special effects pictures and summer blockbusters where you can really show off the picture quality on a big TV. "The Matrix" is a perfect example- its the kind of movie where even if you'd seen it before, you'd want to watch it again just to soak up the visuals, and it would show off the capability of high definition. Launching your platform with dramas makes little sense.

Re:Movie Selection (0, Flamebait)

jimlintott (317783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942808)

'The Matrix' is one of the ugliest movies I've ever seen. It's green. It is also one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It sucks. Hard.

If you want to see a good looking (and good) movie try 'Lawrence of Arabia'.

Re:Movie Selection (1)

computechnica (171054) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942878)

The Matrix was the first DVD I bought when I built a PC with a Creative DVD drive with decoder card and watched it on my monitor. Then when I bought my HD set and DENON DVD-3910 DVD player with HDMI interface it was the first video I watched on it. So yea having the Matrix on HD might convince me to buy a player, but I will probably just keep waitng for the PS3.

Re:Movie Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942944)

Good luck watching the Matrix on HD-DVD on your Blue-Ray PS3. I bet it will work great.

My TV has a sniper in it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942848)

I don't care what features come out on HD-DVD, or Blue Ray, or anything else; theres a sniper trapped in my TV, and I daren't watch it. I daren't even go in my front room, in case he shots me in the eyes. He's from the war!

Re:Movie Selection (1)

Gaima (174551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942910)

But Phantom of the Freakin' Opera?! WTF?

That choice actually makes some sense.
Some people, as weird as it sounds, do actually like opera!
The market for HD is small enough as it is, and if for whatever stupid reason you are only going to release 3 movies, make them from different marketable genres.

Re:Movie Selection (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943005)

Some people, as weird as it sounds, do actually like opera!

Which PotO is not. It's an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which in any event argues in favor of impressive sound much more than impressive picture quality. And DVDs can already do that.

Re:Movie Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14943082)

> Some people, as weird as it sounds, do actually like opera!

And Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, so it's a win-win!

Re:Movie Selection (2, Insightful)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942924)

Actually, including Phantom of the Opera makes sense. I'm more puzzled about Million Dollar Baby.

They have The Last Samurai for the widescreen epic battle scenes to show off the quality of the format in this kind of movie. Phantom (or any kind of musical, Chicago or Moulin Rouge would have served just as well - Phantom is simply newer) is there to demonstrate the sound qualities. It's as close to opera as you can get while still being accessible for a "normal" audience. Plus, it's geared at the female half of the market. Musical fans can be as obsessed as Star Wars fans, and Phantom is one of the most popular musicals around.

Million Dollar Baby is unexpected because it doesn't actually do anything for the format. I'd have expected a movie that shows off special effects. Like Matrix or Star Wars, as others have already said. Something with big explosions and preferably space ships.

Re:Movie Selection (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14943029)

I'd have expected a movie that shows off special effects. Like Matrix or Star Wars, as others have already said. Something with big explosions and preferably space ships.
and huge...tracts of land!

If the Debut (4, Funny)

hkgroove (791170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942633)

...the format's much ballyhooed debut...

If it was during the full moon on April 13th, it wouldn't be ballyhoo but skullduggery.

Makes Sony look good (3, Insightful)

spacebird (859789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942638)

Hard to do, I know.

But... no releases for three weeks? That's three weeks of wasted advertising, shelf space, and cost to retailers, and while the first three movies are all great movies, how many people will pay over a hundred bucks for a new player and another thirty to watch a movie they probably own already in marginally better quality?

Re:Makes Sony look good (1)

spacebird (859789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942655)

excuse me, upwards of FIVE hundred bucks... Honestly...

Re:Makes Sony look good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942692)

how many people will pay over a hundred bucks for a new player and another thirty to watch a movie they probably own already in marginally better quality?
how many people are there on Slashdot?

Re:Makes Sony look good (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942843)

how many people are there on Slashdot?

About twenty. The rest are dupes flaming themselves. *cough!*

Re:Makes Sony look good (1)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942705)

How went out and bought a £250 DVD player and Mars Attacks when it first came out? I know I did as I like to be on the cutting edge (Though I have a bit more sence now days) however there will be people who want to get this and they will be the hard core audience so prehaps it might be suprising to see what sort of feedback they give

Re:Makes Sony look good (1)

spacebird (859789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942807)

Yeah, but the difference between DVD and HD-DVD isn't nearly as clear as VHS to DVD. When I bought my DVD player I remember plugging it in and being shocked at the picture quality. To get a difference in picture quality with HD-DVD you'll need an HD-TV and even then it won't be all that different, from what I've seen. Too much money for too little improvement, in my opinion.

Re:Makes Sony look good (3, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943053)

When I bought my DVD player I remember plugging it in and being shocked at the picture quality.

Not to mention no rewinding, no tapes getting eaten by the player, no degredation in quality over multiple viewings, defective tapes, tracking issues, zoom, repeat functions that are easy to use...

DVD had real advantages over tape. The only advantages that the new formats seem to have is clearer picture (if your TV supports it) and a familure disc format that everyone who'd buy it is already use to so there is no learning curve for the Joe Sixpacks out there.

Re:Makes Sony look good (4, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942866)

How went out and bought a £250 DVD player and Mars Attacks when it first came out?

DVD and VCR are worlds apart. This is more akin to CD compared to one of the newer audio formats like Super-CD or DVD Audio. I don't know a single person who's upgraded their audio and I know a ton of music fans, more so than movie fans. There were great advantages to DVD, this simply isn't the case with Blu-Ray or DVD-HD. Not to even mention the percentage of people who can take true advantage of the formats playback. How many people own a HD TV to make a better viewing experience with? I'm sure this number is much smaller than the number of people who could take advantage of DVDs clearer picture when it first came out... A great margin infact.

I would buy one if I know who was going to win the format wars only so I don't needlessly buy new titles under an older format but without knowing what kind of player I would be able to buy in 3-5 years when my current one dies and not knowing if I'm going to be able to buy new releases for my new player if it loses the format wars in a couple of years I'm a bit stand-offish about buying the new players/media at all. DVD didn't have a competitor, that was acceptable. CDs never had a serious competitor in the early days.

I don't know what to buy and I'm sure Joe Sixpack is even more confussed. My guess? It's going to be at least two years until there is enough of a stir and a clear enough vision of the future until the public accepts this technology on the same level that they accept DVD today.

Re:Makes Sony look good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942960)

Who said that retailers will stock it. W/O movies to sell I doubt that they'd waste the shelf space. Better to simply let it sit in a warehouse and then stock when there's an actual demand.

Re:Makes Sony look good (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942963)

I always thought stuff like this would push the format-war in Sony's favor (well, the PS3 more so than this, but still). Not only do they make players, but they have tons of content. Other studios may be hesitant to put movies out until they see which format will be more popular, but this is Sony's tech, so they'll have no problem choosing and flooding stores with movies. In addition, they'll likely have a higher capacity to make the discs, as they probably have a bunch of machines destined to stamp out PS3 games sitting around doing nothing right now.

Re:Makes Sony look good (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943175)

I am by no means an audiophile, videophile, or any other type of phile... but I can certainly notice a huge difference between movies on DVD and things broadcast in HDTV.

That being said, I believe there is a reason to upgrade... but probably not for n thousand dollars for all of my movies + a player.

Nice selections (0)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942640)

At least according to the article we should get 'Batman Begins,' 'The Matrix' and 'Constantine,' on HD-DVD. Personally I think those are excellent choices. Maybe on this version of Batman Begins we can actually get some extra features.

Re:Nice selections (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942838)

Whoah!

I am an FBI agent!

Re:Nice selections - Don't count on it yet. (4, Informative)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942888)

You need to read the article more closely.

The studio will now release just three initial HD-DVD titles on April 18: Clint Eastwood's Best Pic Oscar winner 'Million Dollar Baby,' the Tom Cruise starrer 'The Last Samurai' and the big-budget screen update of 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Each title will have a retail list price of $28.98.

The three that you mention are supposed to be available "in the coming weeks" but "no street date has been set". Don't count on anything coming out until you get the official press release. And don't be surprised that those movies are not released for a long time if HD-DVD acceptance is lukewarm or colder.

Here's what I don't get (2, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943328)

"Don't count on anything coming out until you get the official press release. And don't be surprised that those movies are not released for a long time if HD-DVD acceptance is lukewarm or colder."

But if you're a movie studio, why not release on whatever platform anybody wants? It's not like Warner has to buy a pressing plant. What is the economic argument for not having lots of movies available in HDDVD, BlueRay, or whatever format somebody wants to sell?

Re:Nice selections (1)

niskel (805204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943311)

Extra features? Not likely considering that, in most cases, the feature presentation itself barely fits on the disc. I see extra features gettign the shaft as far as HD-DVD is concerned unless 'every' release is 2-disc.

Blue Laser Burner (2, Interesting)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942646)

What I want is a blue laser DVD burner so I can get the HD I record off of my hard drive without having to use a whole spindle of DVD-R or RW. I don't think that will be affordable if even availabe this year. I'm not concerned with the upcoming rehash of DVD vs Beta at the video store.

Re:Blue Laser Burner (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942720)

I was reading an article earlier today (found via google news) that stated that Sony will price blank 25GB BluRay discs at about 20-25 bucks, with 50GB ones running about 50-60 bucks. The 50GB ones won't be available until the end of the year. Assuming HD-DVD+-R/RW prices are in the same ballpark, I would just stock up on hard drives. Or get a tape system if you really have that much critical data that truly needs to be backed up.

Re:Blue Laser Burner (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943263)

Blank media is always expensive when it first comes out. I remember when CDrs were $5 a pop. Now they're 1/100 of that. It's what you pay for being an early adopter.

Re:Blue Laser Burner (1)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942733)

You mean VHS vs. BetaMax... Oh no...

I forsee (1)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942651)

a lot of chickens. No one wants to buy the player until there are movies, and no one wants to make movies until people buy the player. Gentlemen, we have reached an impasse.

Re:I forsee (1)

_Swank (118097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942727)

and that is why blu-ray will win.

Re:I forsee (1)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943189)

I don't know if you remember, but this is similar to what happened when DVD videos first came out. There were no feature length films (only a demo disc) available when the first DVD players came out (at a price of around US$600!) and look how DVD has fared. True, the didn't have competition that was similar (i.e. Blu-ray) but people were willing to make DVD movies back then when most people pheared another laser disc fiasco. Now that people are more comfortable with movies on discs, in theory, things will work out.

Or another alternative.. (5, Funny)

saboola (655522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942672)

You can get HD content right now, with no added cost to yourself. I am sure there are a torrent of options that could be found with a bit of searching.

Re:Or another alternative.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942977)

If not that, you could Use the Net instead. :)

How do I upgrade my current DVDs? (5, Interesting)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942674)

Since I do not own my DVDs and have already paid a license fee for the content and intellectual property, what fee structure is available for those of us that just want to upgrade to the additional content? Obviously that is not worth re-licensing what we already have, right?

Re:How do I upgrade my current DVDs? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942754)

Both HD-DVD and Blu-ray players are backward compatible AFAIK, so whats the problem?
And a high-def version of a movie isnt covered by the same license as the DVD version either way.

Re:How do I upgrade my current DVDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942783)

Silly consumer.


You only have a license for the content in that format, on that physical disk, not a general license to the content itself in any other format or on any other disk.


To upgrade, simply purchase a shiny new copy at normal retail prices.

Re:How do I upgrade my current DVDs? (1, Insightful)

black mariah (654971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942799)

Shut up, shithead. The fee structure is pull your fucking head out of your ass and quit being a pathetic cockbite. Moronic fuck...

Re:How do I upgrade my current DVDs? (1)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942952)

It's worth it if you or others willingly pay for it. And since most of the unwashed masses don't think in these terms and aren't tuned in to the great intellectual property debate, many of them will pay for it.

Who cares? (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942686)

Because people who got burned in VHS vs. Beta are going to sit this one out until a format "wins."

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942798)

This might be a little different in that I would think the "life expectancy" of an HD DVD player would be a bit better than that of a VCR. ( As there are no heads to wear out or get dirty, and certainly an HD DVD would last indefinately.) So, at least you'd be able to watch movies that you own.

I knew one person that had to keep a BetaMax on life support for 10 years as his collection of videos was in the thousands.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942831)

Just like we sat out for dvd-r and dvd+r...

Just like we sat out for 56 k-flex and x2

Nah, it's going to be another fubarred setup until someone agrees on something a little more solid.

unnecessary (5, Insightful)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942721)

am i the only one who sees the transition to HDDVD as being unnecessary? VHS was a standard for much longer and when the transition to DVD did come, there was a clear difference between the two both in quality and level of technology. HDDVD and BluRay seem to me like things which are being forced on us by cotent and hardware companies. I guess like CDs they will eventually be popular, but i dont see it happening any time soon.

Re:unnecessary (1)

onetwentyone (882404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942921)

Of course it's unnecessary. In order to get the most out of either the Blu-Ray players or the HDDVD ones, you need to have a television capable of producing the high end image these puppies are spitting out.

Looking at the costs (say three to four hundred) of the players, you need to add the cost of a brand new, high end TV plus a stand, plus a couch so you can sit down, plus one of those coffee tables so you can put stuff like food/drinks on, plus a house to put all this stuff in. I recommend you take a loan out as the next generation of content restriction will be very expensive. ;)

Re:unnecessary (2, Insightful)

pixelate (916876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942966)

Is it early to expect the market to begin the rollover to a completely new format (like VHS -> DVD)? Yes. But HDTV adoption is increasing steadily, and even non-tech-savvy consumers will start to notice that their DVD's look considerably worse on their new displays than the movies on TNTHD. Is the next-gen (whether its Bluray or HD-DVD) going to fail? No-- every HDTV that gets sold will also come with a natural sales pitch: You're not getting everything out of this purchase unless you're buying the HD-DVD player! Problem is, the sales weasels will be right.

Re:unnecessary (1)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943010)

am i the only one who sees the transition to HDDVD as being unnecessary?

They are prolly pushing this out in attempt to get back copy protection after the de-css debacle. Unnecessary for consumers. Necessary for the money-hungry studios and distributors.

I'm sure the copy protection will be cracked soon enough. What a waste of time.

Re:unnecessary (2, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943030)

I tend to agree. 90% of consumers are probably still watching non-hi-def TV's, and won't see any huge improvement in the clarity of next-gen DVD's. All they'll get out of this transition is more frustrating previews and ads they can't fast forward, etc.

I'm guessing when they get their shit together and decide on a format, the studios will start releasing the "deluxe" DVDs (with special features, commentary, etc.) ONLY on the new hi-def format. After a couple years, they'll start offering some entire movies only on high-def DVD. In other words, they'll force the transition on us.

I gave... (2, Insightful)

fatboysmith (673609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943069)

my father-in-law a DVD, the other day, of a George Jones concert to play in the dvd player, I gave him a few Christmas's ago. He called me the next day complaining that the disk would not play in his player. I stopped by his house later to see what was up. He walked me to his pickup truck and began fiddling with the CD player. The reality of this latest technology is that 80% of people don't know or care what HD or BluRay is. The other 20% knows what it is, but most likely won't be able to afford it until the price hits the gutter. The example I saw on /. the other day about a guy who bought a $5000 Plasma TV and a new DVD player, but refused to buy a $50 DVI or Component cable is the reality for the bulk of people. The NEED for the product doesn't exist. Most people are still in shock from the effects of DVD.

Re:unnecessary (1)

Tiro (19535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943088)

Your mistake was upgrading too early. I am rather glad I skipped the DVD stage entirely; I only bought two DVDs and one was a gift. You should have skipped the DVD generation, or switched to renting when they announced high definition several years ago.

Or be like my father, who bought a BetaMax recorder twenty years ago... and never upgraded :]

Re:unnecessary (2, Insightful)

SteveX (5640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943306)

If you have a good HDTV, it's necessary.. if you don't, it's not.

Re:unnecessary (1)

David Leppik (158017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943352)

Try watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on a DVD. The word 2001 is huge (if you have a huge display) but "A Space Odyssey" is barely legible-- even on the 80-inch picture from my projector. I, for one, am waiting for (1) an HD replacement for DVDs to take hold, and (2) prices to come down on HD projectors. I've been waiting for five years so far, and I expect to wait another five years. But this is a step in the right direction.

Re:unnecessary (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943371)

Nope. But thankfully our opinions don't mean jack to the industry, so it's a non-issue. I've looked at HD clips next to standard def clips. While there's definately a noticible difference, it doesn't even compare to the DVD/VHS difference. Plus the fact that HDTVs are far from ubiquitous, the rediculous content protection rules that'll make it that much more beneficial to pirate the media, and the only advantage over DVD is the resolution. Not like going from tapes to DVDs, which don't require a special - exepensive - TV, the first DVDs at least didn't have too bad of content protection (and it was cracked quickly enough, not that AACS and HDCP won't be), and actually offered physical advantages (no moving parts on the media, no rewinding, multiple languages, useless bonus features that appeal to some, 5.1 or better surround audio and a huge increase in picture quality).

Consider: I used my old TV tuner to record, in the hightest bitrate setting, a VHS movie. I then took the DVD version and transcoded it to a pretty lossy 700MB .avi Xvid file. The VHS file was about 2.5GB. And the DVD version looked monumentally better. Still bad compared to my lossless transcodes, but everything was sharper, sounded better, etc. HD media offers some extra detail and possibly a better audio track (I've read DTS is a standard of both HD formats - any truth to that?), but won't be any more in focus than a standard DVD movie. I wish I could find a site that had some HD vs SD clips of LotR again, but oh well. Anyways, there was some extra detail in things like hair and distant trees, but aside from that almost nothing. Certainly not enough of a difference to make most people run out and buy a new player, TV and video collection.

The good news is that you can't spend more than $90 to replace your collection. The bad news is that it only covers up to three movies in your collection. Whatever, I get free retals thanks to working at a video store. No free player though.

Time for the age old classic "demo disc" (3, Interesting)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942732)

I always loved the fact that older consoles came with a game (Made playing the original Gameboy with someone rather easy since everyone had Tetris). Even in the newest Generations, I still think they should at least include a demo disc, since when Johnny with his part-time job gets his PS3, he might not be able to afford a game. I think it's not that different in this situation, maybe including a HD-DVD (Or even DVD depending on how many trailers it could hold and if it could support high-def stuff) of teasier trailers and such just so people can say "See? This is what I got... Looks great, eh? You want one, don't you?"

Re:Time for the age old classic "demo disc" (1)

Raguleader (961891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943164)

Heh, an HD-DVD packed full of movie trailers included with the player would be the awesomest thing ever.

Can't we all just get along? (1, Insightful)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942737)

I am sick and tired of these format wars. Consumers suffer the brunt of the cycle of corporate fighting. Beta vs. VHS anyone?

Like Richard Pryor [imdb.com] , I choose "None of the above!"

Hrm (1)

DigitalBubblebath (708955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942738)


Sounds like deliberate sabotage to me :p. Warner are releasing Blu-ray discs too?

My rules have not failed me yet (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942751)

I did it with DVD and LaserDisc

Don't buy in to the new standard until it gets as common as the old one. (therefore I bought zero laserdiscs)

I am not a whore for quality, but I do own like 400 movies in VHS and DVD. Honestly I could care less about HD-DVD (even though my projector is capable of better than DVD quality).

It suprises me that marketing would have me think that the average consumer cares about practically inperceptable differences in picture and sound quality. I noticed the jump from VHS to DVD, but honestly I cannot even tell the difference between the picture quality (not size) at the movie theater and at my home theater with DVDs on an 8 foot projection, and lets face it, an 8 foot projection is pretty much the limit for a home theater.

I just don't think there will be much difference to the average consumer besides branding and price.

Re:My rules have not failed me yet (4, Insightful)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943278)

If you can't tell the difference between SDTV and HDTV, you are blind. The difference is far from "practically imperceptible". E.g., a friend of mine was testing his new 62" TV. He was watching the NCAA basketball tourney. The first thing I noticed was that the picture looked like crap. He said that not all the games are in HD and switched to an HD broadcast to show me the difference. The difference is not small. SD looks blurry compared to HD (there is a reason Best Buy and the like always show HD content on the demo TVs--no one would buy a 60" TV if they were showing SDTV.

April 1st to be exact (2, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942774)

Sorry, there is no such thing as HD-DVD - APRIL FOOLS!

it's NOT official (1)

jzuska (65827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942805)

Stop saying that, that's the most overused phraze EVAR, ORLY.

It's official Condi is running for prez.

Re:it's NOT official (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14943319)

it's official i just shit in your wifes mouth.

The delay is not surprising, but Warner is STUPID! (5, Interesting)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942830)

I'm as big a movie fan and geek as anyone. I've got my HD-ready 55" widescreen TV that is aching to take advantage of 720p or 1080i in native resolution, not scaled-up DVD resolution. But frankly I am in no rush for either format to come out for several reasons, not the least of which is the DRM that they're trying to push.

Could it be that perhaps Warner is worried about falling into the same trap that Microsoft fell into by rushing the Xbox 360 to market? Any failings during the official release HD-DVD will be fodder for Sony. If Warner releases their movies and HD-DVD bombs, that's obviously their lost money. They're feeling the water of HD-DVD because, let's face it, Blu-Ray appears to have the most popularity from both a technical and exposure perspective. Sony's recent statement that they will no longer force analog down-converting also helps to bolster their high-def DVD position.

What I'm surprised at is that Warner is releasing movies that really should not be on the forefront of high-def showcasing. If you want a format to succeed, you support it with movies that not only show off what the format can do but also are what have a large fan base! Warner is not doing HD-DVD any service with the titles they're releasing. Million Dollar Baby? The Last Samurai? Phantom of the Opera? Oh my f**king God!!! What the HELL is Warner thinking?!

The people who would buy HD-DVD are those who are movie aficionados, technical geeks, or both. The Matrix should be first and foremost one of the top three HD-DVD releases if Warner really wants to help to push the HD-DVD format into people's homes! Come on! Warner owns New Line Cinema! Why for the love of Pete is the Lord of the Rings trilogy not one of the first releases!

Warner might be delaying to feel the HD-DVD water before taking a dive, but with movies like those three, that's water's going to be REALLY cold, and they're obviously not helping to warm it up! With the movies they're releasing, they're not going to convince anyone to spend the money for HD-DVD.

Re:The delay is not surprising, but Warner is STUP (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942974)

The Matrix should be first and foremost one of the top three HD-DVD releases if Warner really wants to help to push the HD-DVD format into people's homes!

Guy, step back from geek culture for just a second and look around; for the most part The Matrix series started strong and got limp fast. Even the more hardcore fans from the first one seem to have lost their interest in the film looking back. I've seen stacks of the Matrix box sets sitting around Best Buys and the like for months.

But I do agree that the idea of three releases in insane and they could have done better. I don't know all what titles Warner has under it's coat but aside from maybe Million Dollar Baby I really don't see these flying off the shelf.

But I guess that's what it is with the fringe formats and thats what this is; a fringe format. For now most of the people who can justify this technology just want it to flaunt it. It's not as much about the actual films. I remember when SuperCD came out; you could buy some Roger Waters live show on SCD before you could buy Dark Side of the Moon. Does it sound insane? Sure. But it was about having something to show off your new technology more than really enjoying the new technology. (disclaimer: before I get flamed, I actually own a few Roger Water albums but, be honest, Pink Floyd was better than any of the solo stuff from any of the members)

Have heart tho, I'm sure they'll have Gigli, the Dukes of Hazzard and Who Fingered Freddie out before long.

Re:The delay is not surprising, but Warner is STUP (1, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943031)

Congratulations! You are the first poster of what will no doubt be many to mention "DRM." You see, in any article about movies, you are required by law to mention DRM. Even though people are just repeating themselves, you will get modded up anyway by fellow pirates who hate DRM and want the freedom to make sure people don't get paid for their work.

Instead of discussing HD-DVD's compression quality, or the films they chose, or Microsoft's backing, or its smaller size compared to Blu-ray, the discussion will instead become protracted DRM discussions for the ten millionth time.

In other words, nothing new will be said in this discussion. Just giving you the heads up!

MOD PARENT DOWN - TROLL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14943195)

Nice broad brush you've got there. So anyone who is against DRM is automatically a pirate. Wow. I guess that makes Slashdot a pirates' den. The clue meter is reading zero. How did you manage to get yourself to spout feces from that particular orafice, and what studio do you work for?

Simple explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14943050)

Million Dollar Baby? The Last Samurai? Phantom of the Opera? Oh my f**king God!!! What the HELL is Warner thinking?!

I think the bottom line answer is simply that those are the three titles that will actually be ready in time. If Warner is faced with releasing three mediocre titles within three weeks of player shipment, or three great titles three months after player shipment, might as well have something rather than nothing. Early adopters will want SOMETHING HD to watch when they purchase their new players, and lets face it, usually it's exactly that thinking that goes into purchasing the titles anyway (i.e. people will purchase the titles out of curiosity vs quality or interest).

As much as most /.'ers like to take a "we're smarter than those industry idiots" attitude, it's obvious to even the thickest of skulls that having titles like LOTR or Matrix could sell big, and if there was a way to push those titles out in time, I'm sure they'd be doing it. It's not like there's some Warner exec saying "what, I didn't realize the LOTR would sell better than POTO!".

Simply wrong (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943154)

Oh, please.

HD-DVD has been coming out for a long time now, and when I last checked Warner owns the largest CD and DVD manufacturing plant in the United States, located just outside of Scranton, PA. Assuming that they do still own that facility, they could very well have done whatever is necessary to get more product out if they really wanted to.

Additionally, I can't imagine that anyone would spend the money to purchase equipment with movies that they very likely will not want just for the sake of having that movie in HD, especially with a format war on the horizon. That attitude goes against the vast majority of early technology adopters. Bleeding-edge videophiles want something, yes, but they want something to show off their new technology. None of those movies would really be adequate to do that IMHO. Sci-fi, action, fantasy, and other movies that depend on richly-detailed and highly colorful visuals would be far more appropriate. Okay, perhaps The Last Samurai might fit that category, but I still don't think that that movie has a broad and fnaatical fan base to warrant people buying an HD-DVD player just for that one movie.

But Million Dollar Baby? Hell, they might as well release The NeverEnding Story!

Blockbuster rentals? (1)

fury88 (905473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942837)

It'll be pretty hard with those unlimited Blockbuster and Netflix rentals with only 3 titles!

Now watch... (0, Flamebait)

shidoshi (567151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942864)

...as the typical Slashdot crowd says how unnecessary HD-DVD and Blu-ray are, and how only a small fringe group of people really care about it, and then go back to saying how OGG support should be in everything.

As a Blu-ray supporter, anything that helps HD-DVD stumble is okay in my book.

Maybe even hollywood .. (4, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942868)

.. realizes that these new formats are going to flop.
They won't save you if you're down.
They won't make bad movies good; they won't even make ok movies good.
They'll make money off enthusiasts that'll buy a movie they already own in 2-3 formats who just -have- to buy it again.
They won't get people to respect you for a devistatingly lackluster year of movie.
They won't wash the bad taste out of my mouth for putting unskipable anti-priating ads on the DVDs I PAID FOR.

Lack of movie content (1)

BungleX (951724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942875)

The lack of (movie) content support with HD-DVD is going to be its downfall. If Warner would release classic movies that people actually want to see it might help. I think for HD-DVD to survive it needs to concentrate on the backup to writable media now, by releasing blank disks (at a lose if they have to) at an affordable price. That might intice people to purchase for their computers. But I don't see that happening..

Not to sound all geeky... (2, Insightful)

Elvis Parsley (939954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942877)

...(a lost battle around here, I suppose), but what about pr0n? That industry always seems to be out on the cutting edge.

I ask purely for information, of course. No, seriously.

Re:Not to sound all geeky... (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942937)

Given the, uh, budget constraints of most pr0n shoots, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting. We're lucky they switched from super 8 cameras to video.

Re:Not to sound all geeky... (1)

British (51765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943190)

Given the, uh, budget constraints of most pr0n shoots, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting. We're lucky they switched from super 8 cameras to video.

I see it as unlucky. When it switched from film to video, production costs(and values) dropped, and the quality dropped even further.

Not True (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942894)

There is already an HD-DVD available as a matter of fact. The adult film "Pirates" included an HD-DVD in it. Of all of the things to have that included in it I thought it odd. But it is in fact in there.

Way to Go... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942939)

...early adopters. Yet another lead balloon that the sheeple bought into.

A product looking for a market (4, Insightful)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942946)

Based on how few people I'm aware of who have spent the cash on a new HDTV set, I predict that HD-DVD will be a failure in the USA, at least for the next few years.

Similarly, when the HDTV broadcast deadline rears its ugly head, I think you'll see the cable companies offering digital to analog converters to allow their subscriberts (those who haven't upgraded their TV's) to continue getting their television, which means that their current DVD players will continue to meet their needs.

Don't get me wrong... I think HDTV's great, but there hasn't been a compelling reason to upgrade to it, and based on HDTV sales, at least here in Michigan, I think most people are in the same boat.

The economy's in the tank, jobs are scarce (particularly in my neck of the woods thanks for the ineptitude of GM, and their multiple plant closings), and people are understandably hesitent to spend a grand or more to replace e television that's still serving them well.

Add in the higher media costs, the lack of uses, the lack of pre-recorded content, and the lack of players for the media, and it all spells doom for the format. If it's still around in a few years when more people have upgraded to HDTV (assuming old TV's continue to die, and the economy begins a turnaround some day), maybe it'll have a chance at becoming a standard then. For now, it's a waste of money for most people.

Digital Broadcast Deadline... Not HDTV (4, Informative)

dunc78 (583090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943341)

The deadline is for broadcasts to be digital, not HD. HD is just a subset of digital broadcasts, there are also Standard Definition digital broadcasts.

No Movies? (4, Insightful)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943089)

The studio will now release just three initial HD-DVD titles on April 18: .... and the big-budget screen update of 'The Phantom of the Opera.'

So, this is equivalent to being stuck with WaveRace when the N64 first came out?

The way Blu-Ray and HD-DVD will enter market (1)

cejones (574416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943109)

We all know how the Movie Studios will make these new formats win in the marketplace. They will pick certain movies and ONLY release them in Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. No normal DVD release. Of course, this means they need a blockbuster movie that many people will WANT to own... (Good luck on that one studios) The studios will force the consumer to switch to by reducing and eventually eliminating normal DVD sales of movies. They did the same thing with VHS.

Optimistic scheduling disease ... (2, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943152)

As the old saying goes, "People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in ten years." I think that applies very nicely here. It took much longer for HDTV to take off than was originally believed. When I bought my first rear projection TV back in 1993 the salesman said "you should hold off and buy an HDTV-ready TV - everyone will be replacing their TVs by 1995 when HDTV broadcasting begins". I ignored his advice and, last year as I was replacing that old klunker I bought a 57" HDTV-ready widescreen. Personally, I believe HD-DVD will probably catch on, but it will take some time.

Surprised (1)

bloodstains (676306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943219)

I am shocked at the negeative acceptance this is getting. I for one can't wait for Blu-ray or HD-DVD to take off. My major reason for not owning an HDTV is lack of content, and this solves that problem. My cable provider dosn't do HDTV in my area yet, there are aparently too many trees for me to get satalite, and OTA is out of the question. I can't even receive standard def TV. Besides that the majority of TV I watch isn't available ATO. I suppose I could be the exception, but I can't believe there arn't a bunch of people in a simmilar situation as me.
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