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DVD Format War Already Over?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the there-were-these-things-called-laserdiscs dept.

640

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

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640 comments

RIP GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609523)

The GNAA is dead. What a bunch of pathetic losers. Have not done a good crapflood in months.

Dude, Suck My DONG (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609739)

You're dead. Rightfully modded troll. Homosexual Negroes have a place in this world, and if you disagree with this, you are a racist.

They might have a point (5, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609524)

About the only compelling thing in these new formats for me is data storage and back up, and I'm still not sure that they will be more cost effective than cheap raids or even external HDs.

Re:They might have a point (4, Interesting)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609534)

That's what I'm in it for too. I have over 100GB I'd like to keep a good incremental backups of. I just hope they can start spinning off archival quality media at a reasonable price by the time the drives hit around $100/each. Am I asking too much? :-)

Re:They might have a point (5, Insightful)

rmerry72 (934528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609605)

High density plastic discs will never compete against external hard drives for serious backups. They are a proven, reliable media with the advantages of constantly being able to rewrite and reuse them as needs change.

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

HD DVDs would be useful as a transient storage container for transporting data between locations, because its eay to transport and after copying the data to its real location it can be thrown away. But not as a backup. Same as DVDs today.

Re:They might have a point (4, Insightful)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609638)

The problem is that magnetic media has a significantly shorter data integrity than what optical media *can* provide. The cheap media most people buy is about as reliable a hard drive.

Re:They might have a point (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609721)

I'd really doubt it. Just a few hours ago, I ordered two 320GB hard drives for about $110 each. Blank BD media goes for $35ish, not to mention $1000+++ for a burner. Not as cheap as blank DVDs, but much faster and a good bit more reliable if the "average lifespan two years, five with optimal conditions and some luck" rumors are true (I'm sure I've got burned stuff older than that which works fine, but I do keep my stuff in good condition). As far as a strictly HD movie format goes, the war is almost certainly over and both have lost - they've just overdone their greed and not given customers a good reason to buy (its success is riding on high-def staying a buzzword since the quality improvement is rather minimal, and both have a ton going against them).

The Markets Will Determine The Winner Of This War (3, Informative)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609529)

See what Gizmodo [gizmodo.com] said in 2004.

They left one out (5, Funny)

Nybble's Byte (321886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609533)

Vinyl sounds better.

It has a richer tone (0, Troll)

Atroxodisse (307053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609596)

That is all. Not to say that it isn't better. It is, much. I just mean that that is all I have to say about Vinyl.

Re:It has a richer tone (1, Insightful)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609790)

*hisssss* *pop* *hisssss* *crackle* *pop* *hisss*

Reduced dynamic range

Wears out

Huge

Sounds terrible.

Yeah, I can see how you like vinyl better.

Re:They left one out (4, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609633)

When I'm in my car my iPod playing lossy music through a $15 tape adapter sounds way better than vinyl does. Actually in my Honda Civic the vinyl sounds mostly like a room full of cats regardless of the source material. I haven't figured that out yet but I assume it's just that the awesome bandwidth of the vinyl sound is just overloading my system.

Re:They left one out (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609660)

Actually in my Honda Civic the vinyl sounds mostly like a room full of cats regardless of the source material.

Yeah, but that's probably the Civic you're hearing, not the vinyl. :)

They 'TWO' out (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609685)

I liked reel to reel... It was so versatile and you could choose what level of quality you wanted by the speed so you could set up for a party and have it going all night on one tape or you could have high quality and just one album...

Bring back tape :p

It's called bitrate (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609788)

Funny, I can do the same thing on an iPod, by just reducing or increasing the bitrate of the songs I store on there. Exactly the same principle. Tape is just lossy magnetic samples of an analog waveform after all - faster speed is simply more samples/sec.

Of course, tape sucks in so many other ways...

Re:They left one out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609692)

OK, so vinyl sounded better, but did it look better on TV [cedmagic.com] ?

(Answer: No, not really)

Re:They left one out (5, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609698)

Record vinyl [vestax.com] from any external audio source.

Or, if you're lazy and don't want your mp3's as vinyls, just use a Winamp plugin [winamp.com] ? :-)

Re:They left one out (1)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609722)


Really? Hmm, so you don't mind the audio compression performed when recording to vinyl?

You don't mind that the audio range is less than the spec for CD?

You don't actually think the average(or above) needle on a record player can actually produce anything higher than 22Khz do you?

Now, if you want to complain about the lack of production quality on music CDs these days, be my guest.

OK, I'll bite (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609801)

Really? Hmm, so you don't mind the audio compression performed when recording to vinyl?

Nope. What's done to CD releases these days is worse. See below.

You don't mind that the audio range is less than the spec for CD?

Nope. Both formats exceed real-world dynamic range requirements for music, even highly dynamic classical music.

You don't actually think the average(or above) needle on a record player can actually produce anything higher than 22Khz do you?

My Shure cartridge can easily hit that ... but after 3-4 plays, the vinyl isn't going to have anything up there anyway. I don't really care since as a late thirtysomething male, I couldn't hear it anyway. What I do know is that the top end I can hear sounds a lot better on my $250 analog rig than on my semi-audiophool CD player. My thrift store copy of Dark Side of the Moon kicks the hell out of my CD version, for instance. The fact that I paid $0.50 for the LP and $8.00 for a used CD makes me like the whole LP thing even more.

Now, if you want to complain about the lack of production quality on music CDs these days, be my guest.

OK, thanks!

Mastering houses, under pressure from the record labels to make their releases louder than the other guys', are shitting all over the idea of dynamic range. Louder! LOUDER! LOUDER!. Pretty soon everything is going to be mastered as a modulated square wave.

I'll take Ye Olde Tech any day.

The New Yankee Audio Backu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609760)

Here's how I back up [vinylrecorder.com] all my digital audio.

And .... it doubles as a wood lathe in case I need to make a lamp or bowl.

4. Studios are Conservative (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609540)

I guess, in the sense of risk-averse.

Relative to the Southern Baptist Convention, though...

Re:4. Studios are Conservative (1)

coop247 (974899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609800)

I am definitely an early adopter, yet I wont get one because for now I dont need one. All you need is an HD PVR and a large external hard drive. You can record HD movies from premium channels and pay per view. A $200 hard drive is better than a $1000 player and $30 bucks a movie.

This is why movie studios are conspiring and lobbying so hard to get the broadcast flag up and running. Once they have the flag, my PVR will erase the movies after a certain time period.

...because hollywood owns the government....which is why the government is spying on us..and big oil wanting war....and...and.....

Another reason for failure (5, Insightful)

ezratrumpet (937206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609541)

Another reason that HD-DVD might fail is that the general public doesn't realize that there's a difference between "DVD player" and "HD-DVD player." The medium of content delivery didn't make a visual change such as the change from vinyl to CD, from 8-track to cassette, or even when comparing VHS and Beta.

Re:Another reason for failure (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609607)

I believe that was covered in reason #3 regarding quantum leaps in technology.

-matthew

Re:Another reason for failure (4, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609642)

HD floppies didn't fail. ;-)

Heck, the bastards stick around to this day.

Floppy disks are the media format parallel to Paris Hilton.

They simply refuse to get impopular despite how crappy they are.

Re:Another reason for failure (1)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609795)

HD floppies didn't fail. ;-)
What's an HD floppy?

Re:Another reason for failure (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609804)

Not an SD floppy.

Re:Another reason for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609645)

If the general public doesn't realize the difference, then someone who wants a DVD player will buy a HD-DVD player by mistake. Lack of visual change might lead to success, not failure.

Re:Another reason for failure (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609770)

No, if someone doesn't realize the difference between DVD and HD DVD, they will buy whatever's cheaper: a DVD player.

Re:Another reason for failure (2, Interesting)

staeiou (839695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609709)

Another reason that HD-DVD might fail is that the general public doesn't realize that there's a difference between "DVD player" and "HD-DVD player." The medium of content delivery didn't make a visual change such as the change from vinyl to CD, from 8-track to cassette, or even when comparing VHS and Beta.

The change from vinal to CD or 8-track to cassette was radically different in magnitude than the DVD to HD-DVD or BlueRay. Not only are the disks the exact same size and shape, but there are many opportunities for backwards and forwards compatibility. You can't stick a CD on your record player, nor could you stick an 8-track in your cassette deck. You can stick a DVD into your HD-DVD player.

Well, duh. I could have told you that (5, Insightful)

Achra (846023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609547)

There's a simple rule to follow:
Is this all that much better to Joe Sixpack than what he had before?

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

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

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609563)

> SACD... Does anyone have an SACD player?

Actually, if you have a halfway-decent CD player, you probably do. The question is, how many SACD's do you see actually getting pressed?

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (2, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609620)

I know my CD player doesn't play SACDs (I picked up a free one somewhere, popped it in just to see). Nor does my car's. Or any of my computer drives. I really doubt most do- there's no demand, so why incur the extra cost? Maybe high end stereos do, so they can put it on the box as a feature point. But the majority of people don't have high end stereos.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (1, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609576)

> What part of Hi-def DVD is going to be any different than SACD or DVDAudio? Anyone?

The fact that HDTV is slated to replace NTSC come hell or high water. And those high-dev DVD's really do look nicer on HDTVs.

'course when the deadline actually rolls around, does anyone think the switchover will actually happen? I forecast indefinite extensions, myself.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609610)

Yup- for the third time now.

The actual uptake rates for HDTV are anemic. THats likely to continue for the rest of the decade. People are replacing dead TVs with HDs, but not running out to buy HDs (and not always replacing with HD, since there's still a huge price difference). Until the price difference drops dramaticly, and we give it most of a decade for the old sets to break, we won't see a significant market penetration.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (2, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609582)

Your argument Audio CD vs SACD is valid for the most part, imho. The same would go for Audio CD vs DVD-AUDIO. The quality increase is indeed not perceptible by most - certainly not on their gear.

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

HD-DVD (or BlueRay) over DVD might not be as particular a jump. It does have higher resolution, of course, but it doesn't specify anything with regards to possible higher framerates or even better encoding (yes, DVD has better quality than most video - it certainly lasts longer. That said, I absolutely HATE the mpeg block artifacts you get on DVD and sometimes very much prefer the S-VHS copy.
If it does specify encodings that pretty much get rid of those blocky artifacts, I'll take one as soon as they become more readily affordable (the higher resolution is an added perk, but I don't mind watching some stuff on my PDA screen - so whatever). If instead the publishers just decided to compress the video more in order to store more trailers / fringe features / whatever like what has happened with DVD.. no thanks.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (4, Informative)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609691)

On the other hand, they can both easily store surround sound. An Audio CD could as well, of course, but then it's not really a red book (is that the one?) Audio CD anymore.

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

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

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

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

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

Yaz.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609599)

Yes, it's an obvious improvement. If Joe Sixpack eventually purchases an HDTV, he'll see the obvious association between SD = DVD, HD = HDDVD/BluRay.

PS3 and XBox 360 have upgraded to HD, because it's an obvious improvement. OTA TV stations have upgraded their broadcasting equipment (and over time, their cameras) to HD, because it's an obvious improvement.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609629)

Yes, it's an obvious improvement. If Joe Sixpack eventually purchases an HDTV, he'll see the obvious association ...

But the thing is, Joe Sixpack only bought an HDTV to watch the World Cup on, and returned it right afterwards. Most people don't want to spend the money yet. They just don't see the need.

So, the format wars are being fought years before they should have, and as a result, consumers just don't care, because they don't need them, and can't see any difference.

Besides, most consumers will be buying a 32 inch DLP set anyway. Not the 60 inch or more 1080p HDTV they would need to even notice the difference.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609757)

OTA TV stations have upgraded their broadcasting equipment (and over time, their cameras) to HD, because it's an obvious improvement.

Really? I thought it was because of a government mandate [dtv.gov] (pdf), at least in the US.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (4, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609601)

Plus, DVD was playable on existing technology. You didn't need to go buy a $2000+ monitor to enjoy watching a DVD or appreciate the advance in quality and new features.

Maybe there will be a demand for HD DVD and Blu Ray when HD sets are a lot more common, but not until then.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (1)

dbcooper_nz (782764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609658)

There are two major differences this time.

(A) People are buying high quality tv's - they were not buying high quality speakers and amplifiers.

(B) The improvement from HD video is much more obvious than with SACD etc.

Re:Well, duh. I could have told you that (2, Informative)

baxissimo (135512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609753)

Suddenly, everyone could have a GREAT copy of their favorite movie ... for the output cost of about $50 for a cheap player.

While I agree with most of your comment, the bit about $50 DVD players is revisionist history. I seem to recall they were more like in the neighborhood of $1000 when the DVD format first launched. Sure you can get a $50 player now but not at the beginning. Cheap players had little to do with the initial success of DVD. I think it was just the improved quality and the nice form factor. Maybe they were a little cheaper than LaserDisc players too, but it wasn't $50. I don't even think VHS players were going for as low as $50 back then.

Reason number 10 the most likely reason (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609554)

If people have the physical disc, then they would be able to copy or watch/listen to the content almost as many times as they want. That is something the XXAA doesn't want. They would make more money from on demand rather than someone actually owning the disc. Eventually, everything will be in a Pay-Per-Use format. The way to prevent it, stay away from the XXAA.

Right... (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609556)

So many many companies out there are investing in HDTV products, because it's only an incremental improvement. Sony, Microsoft... OTA TV stations... satellite TV dedicating large amounts of precious bandwidth... PVR companies...

Re:Right... (2, Informative)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609637)

The author was specifically referring to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as mediums for delivery... not HD in general. Obviously, if people don't have to do anything or buy anything extra to use HD content there won't be a problem getting them to buy it.

-matthew

#3 is the killer (5, Informative)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609557)

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

Re:#3 is the killer (2, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609578)

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


Also multi disc movies can now be on 1 disc and the menus can have more neat things int hem liek small java games ect.. Also the major studios have decided thats the way they want to go and if they do it right you won't have much of an option just as it's very hard to find vinyl copies of yoru favorite top 40 hits it'll be very difficult to find DVD's of your favorite movies eventually.

Re:#3 is the killer (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609635)

It'll only get hard once it has significant market penetration- they won't kill their cash cow. Its still possible to get many movies on VHS, and most rental stores have large VHS sections still. If people don't buy HD players, studios will drop HD like a hot potato.

Re:#3 is the killer (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609756)

Also the major studios have decided thats the way they want to go and if they do it right you won't have much of an option just as it's very hard to find vinyl copies of yoru favorite top 40 hits it'll be very difficult to find DVD's of your favorite movies eventually.

That's only true if they make the price essentially the same. The 95% of customers who don't care about extra resolution will see the DVDs for $15, and the HD/BluRays for $30, and guess which one they'll pick? As long as the studios expect people to pay more money for something they don't care about, they're going to lose money if they try to force people over.

Re:#3 is the killer (2, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609598)

Advantages of switching from DVD to HD/BR:
  • Much higher audio and video quality if your TV cost four digits. Small improvement in quality on low-end HD or SDTV.
  • ...and that's about it.
"about it"? There is only one reason for HD/BR: DRM Nothing else.

Re:#3 is the killer (4, Insightful)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609696)


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

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

Of course this scheme will fail -- you can't convince Hollywood to embrace a new technology (for any reason) because they are scared of change and hate risks. You have to drag them kicking and screaming into new technology.

Re:#3 is the killer (1)

coop247 (974899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609732)

The one thing I didn't see in the article was the mere fact that only about 18 million households (about 20%) own a HDTV, and only a small percentage of them will actually want a HD player. Thats a pretty small target market considering you can get HD movie channels (HBO, Cinemax...) with cable/satellite, as well as HD pay per view.

Why spend 500 on an HD player when my cable box give me the same thing, well because its also a Playstation.

//RANT
From now on, people who don't actually own HDTV's are no longer permitted on the format war topic. HD is better, much better. Once you have one you'll know.
//END RANT

Both formats lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609560)

I have my DVD burner and External Disks.
Movies, I have a under 100 euro region free DVD player. Suits me fine.

Troll article (4, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609562)

The article is a troll. Don't feed the trolls.

Re:Troll article (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609674)

The article is a troll. Don't feed the trolls.

But what about the troll children? Won't anyone think of the troll CHILDREN?!

In part because they're useless (5, Interesting)

DarthBobo (152187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609566)

Both of my DVD players (including the one built into the 32" LCD I just bought) play MPEG4/DivX. In other words, they can already handle a full HD movie -- its just that none are available legally on standard DVDs. The only thing the new formats offer for the purpose of watching video is DRM -- hardly a good reason to upgrade for consumers.

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

Divx is much lower quality (3, Informative)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609783)

Well, the Divx HD profile is 1280x720 and only 5.1 audio at best. Both advanced formats are 1920x1080, and support up to lossless 7.1 96KHz 24-bit audio. And I've never seen a Divx HD disc without palpable artifacts, while the standard for VC-1 encoded HD DVD is transparency to the D5 HD master.

HD DVD is at least as much of a jump from Divx HD as Divx HD was from DVD.

Wrong paradigm! (2, Interesting)

Nigel_Powers (880000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609568)

Who in their right mind would go out and spend big bucks on a crappy hi-tech hi-def dvd player, when most titles aren't available to rent, and the ones for purchase are $30 a pop? Yeah right! And monkeys are flying out of my butt!


Progressive scan dvd players are dirt cheap, rentals are plentiful and cheap, and movies for purchase are nearly as cheap.

Back to the drawing board, fellas.

And divx? Fine, thanks :-/ (5, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609572)

When Div-X came out, I felt like the companies had to update to use the format ASAP. It allowed more content, and more definition at the same time. Five years later, we're still stuck to MPEG-2 DVD's. Guess Who's at fault? [mpaa.org]

Re:And divx? Fine, thanks :-/ (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609796)

DVD's have a standard format. You can't just change the encoding format anytime you want. And they are using MPEG4 now.

Re:And divx? Fine, thanks :-/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609811)

When Div-X came out, I felt like the companies had to update to use the format ASAP. It allowed more content, and more definition at the same time. Five years later, we're still stuck to MPEG-2 DVD's. Guess Who's at fault?

The reason DIVX died is that sites like Slashdot campaigned against it almost nonstop. For example, see this article. [slashdot.org]

Dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609585)

Damn! that article looks familiar. Pete and Repete say "dupe!"

No, no, no! (4, Insightful)

RemovableBait (885871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609591)

High definition is headed for a niche market at best, not an industry takeover.

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

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

Personally, I believe it is far to early to tell what will happen. But, no matter what Audioholics says, High definition IS the future and it WILL take over eventually.

Re:No, no, no! (2, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609678)

It's kind of funny. A sport where most parts of the field is just green grass and people shooting a ball is pushed to for HD quality and attempts to sell sets that way. Are they ridiculing human intelligence or just stupid? :-) What exactly do I wish to see in HD quality? The sweat on mens foreheads? Hairy legs? Seriously, movies with special effects would make much more sense and I'd be more interested if more channels started advertising their movies in HD here. Some dedicated pay-per-view movie channels do, but that's not a good way to reach the masses IMHO.

Re:No, no, no! (4, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609766)

You can walk out of a Best Buy with a 50 inch DLP HD television for only $1300, on sale. That's pretty damn cheap. On the other hand, you can walk out of K-Mart with a very high-quality (for CRT) 32" flat-screen for about $300. Which do you honestly think mainstream consumers are going to buy?

opinions are like a-holes... (2, Informative)

disturbedite (979015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609603)

i agree, this article is a bit of a troll. .."this pending format release/war is simply the most ridiculous thing I've seen in a long time." while he makes some reasonable points, it seems the motivation that sparked this was frustration. just because its the "most ridiculous thing" hes seen in a long time (in his opinion) doesn't necessarily mean squat. look at all the other format wars such as beta/vhs and laserdisc/dvd...

One point he got wrong (1)

Atroxodisse (307053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609608)

The PS3 will be marketed as a kind of all in one home theater device. It already has the gaming aspect, that is obvious, and the built in blu-ray support. They have also said that it will have many aspects that a home computer is now used for.

Re:One point he got wrong (1)

Palshife (60519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609752)

They have also said that it will have many aspects that a home computer is now used for.

Can you list a few of these aspects? Sony hasn't.

10 really good reasons plus a new one (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609611)

I thought that the article was fairly concise, and accurately described 10 reasons why the format wars have already failed.

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

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

Which leads us to the conclusion that both Sony and our other player decided to fight this battle early, after what happened to them when Beta and VHS fought - the stakes are so high they're trying to front-end the decision, but both sides ended up trying to steal a march on their competition, resulting in two formats way too early for consumers to be interested in either.

Re:10 really good reasons plus a new one (5, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609661)

Yes, I agree.

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

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

Plus, many people just bought new TVs in the last few years, since the price of 32" CRTs dropped through the floor. They're not about to upgrade.

Backup every month. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609621)

That 4GB DVD is a poor way to backup my small 500GB hard drive. blu-ray and hd-dvd are about 25GB or so. Don't tell me the wars over when I need a high (higher) capacity backup solution.

Yep, it's the Laserdisk all over again (5, Interesting)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609626)

Yes, most of us remember laserdisks. They were expensive when they came out and never really went down the price. the players got cheaper but they were always something that only the elite home theatre people had/used. And eventually they went away because a newer technology that made more sense came along to knock them out. I predict a new packaging that makes more sense (maybe something less scratch prone and smaller) will come along in a year or two and both HD-DVD and Bluray will find their way to garage sale bargain bins everywhere. Just like Laserdisk, 8 track tapes, and lawn dart games.

not sure how lawn darts relate exactly but it sounded good:)

Re:Yep, it's the Laserdisk all over again (1)

Conception (212279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609703)

Actually, I predict that online distribution will be the next media. People will just use video on demand from their cable company, or over the net with something like media center. The next big thing may be no disc at all.

Re:Yep, it's the Laserdisk all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609707)

We managed to get an 8-track working for a whole 3 hours today at work...yeah...slow day...

Congress will ensure at least one format succeeds (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609631)

What the author of this fairly dry article has failed to mention, is that congress and the FCC are mandating a change to HDTV. While it may be pushed back once more before it actually happens, even grandma with her 15 year old picture tube is going to need a HDTV to SDTV converter. More tech savvy consumers (the ones using DVD and not VHS, oh wait everyone!) will end up with an HDTV in the next 10 years, given the 5 year lifespan of recent TVs. As the price of the HD-DVD and BluRay drops, consumers will purchase them instead of DVD players, since they are backwards compatible.

The change won't be as well pronounced as VHS to DVD, since VHSes couldn't be played on a DVD box. However, HD-DVD / BluRay will not be a DVD-Audio. With DVD-Audio, congress didn't mandate we all switch from stereo to 5.1 systems. Had they, my feeling is you would have seen a slow but steady uptake, as I am sure you will with the HD formats. Further more a CD sounds pretty damn good right now, but there is a lot to be longed for in the interlaced crud that comes off of DVDs, the air, and cable.

Re:Congress will ensure at least one format succee (4, Informative)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609655)

What the author of this fairly dry article has failed to mention, is that congress and the FCC are mandating a change to HDTV.

NO ... what's being mandated is a change to digital TV broadcast. Digital TV != HDTV.

Ignoringthe format - is HiDef a furfy anyway? (3, Interesting)

rmerry72 (934528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609639)

I watch most of my videos as XVid AVIs with DVD resolution or less on a projector giving me a screen of over 100 inches (ie 2.5m down here). My projector is only 854x480. Most movies are encoded at 720x304 or there abouts.

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

When designing PAL the designers settled on 480 vertical lines because when sitting at the recommended distance (3 times the width of the screen) the human eye can only see 480 vertical lines. 1080 lines seems like overkill.

HDTV and Lack of Content (4, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609641)

The other side of the coin is the lack of HD content available on TV - and this is a biggie. While Billy Bob is impressed by his DVD player, he is dumbfounded by his cable TV - which actually looks worse than it did on his old set (mostly because it's bigger). You see, nobody told Billy Bob that he'd have to get an antenna or subscribe to HD service from his cable/satellite provider. He was also not told that most of his favorite shows (Billy likes sitcoms and the Sci-Fi Channel) aren't yet available in HD, regardless of technology or service provider. As a result, many Americans are underwhelmed or feel like they got burned by HDTV. The last thing they're going to do is rush out and buy the next greatest thing.

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

I'm not certain off hand if my TV has the correct plugs (HDMI, whatever) to work with the highest resolution HD-DVD/Blue-Ray players. Be assured, if it doesn't, there is no reason that I would ever consider buying either type of player for many, many years to come. (P$3 is already off the list, so no sneaking one in that way either, Sony.) Even if my TV was supported, I'm not sure yet if entire-seasons-of-TV-shows-on-one-disk is better than ability-to-backup-and-play-from-server, if I were to want to do that. I doubt it.

Re:HDTV and Lack of Content (2, Interesting)

hugg (22953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609751)

I will say that the quality of a fully-HD show is enough to make me watch it live, even the commercials. Some of the rebroadcast movies (Sound of Music, Pixar flicks, Rudolph) are really worth seeing. But it's just sad when you realize how much potential is lost in the average HD broadcast. Very few content is shot in 16:9, even fewer in anything higher than 480p (PBS is the exception, but seems to go out when a truck passes by my house.)

What bugs me the most is when a show/commercial/movie preview is a letterboxed 4:3 format -- you end up with a small rectangle inside of the $2000 rectangle that is your HD-capable TV. I also don't realize why so few advertisers take advantage of the format. Do the broadcasters charge by the MB? I'll watch *any* well-shot HD commercial.

This is why I think HD-DVD will fail -- if consumers don't even demand hi-fi TV, why would they demand hi-fi DVDs?

Re:HDTV and Lack of Content (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609759)

Well, my cable service doesn't charge extra for HDTV content, and the HDTV cable box is the same price as the standard box, so I didn't feel I was paying a lot for questionable content. I must say that the main benefit in current HDTV is sporting events - they are gorgeous in HD. The remaining content in HD is very spotty.

But that is not the only reason why I bought an HDTV. You see, I like movies.

Plain old ordinary DVDs - a good DVD player is essential - are far better on an HDTV than they are on a standard TV. While they are not up to full-blown HDTV quality, they are a lot closer to HD quality than they are to standard TV quality. An HDTV plus a Netflix subscription gives you plenty of good quality source material. One of the interesting things is that while the SciFi channel is broadcasting in NTSC, they are producing their new content in 16:9 for DVD. This means that those Netflix DVDs look far better than the broacast of teh same show.

As far as HD-DVD and Blu-Ray? I am not interested until the format wars end. Right now I am quite happy with the appearence of DVDs on my HDTV.

Similar to DVD... (3, Insightful)

wframe9109 (899486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609643)

I'm guessing the launch of HD media will be similar to that of DVD... It was very slow to get off the ground, people were reluctant to uprade until prices came down and releases were abundant enough. Eventually it will become more widespread (after the PS3, after computer companies start installing them on basic computers, after HDTV is more widespread) I'm guessing it will be a good 2 years before this starts happening give or take... Arguing that it will stay a niche is naive, unless you expect some higher capacity/better media to emerge, which doesn't seem to be the case.

Re:Similar to DVD... (2, Interesting)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609717)

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

-matthew

Mass confusion. (5, Insightful)

Rdickinson (160810) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609649)

the market place is totaly confusing, not to techheads like us, but to the general public.

Thats whats going to kill these formats.

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

Your avererage consumer, ne average sales guy doesnt know the answers, it its new expensive and confusing it wont sell.

I expect HD DVD will make inroads (3, Interesting)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609666)

...as a read-writable computer medium. Nobody's going to complain about being able to burn more data to a disk.

It will make no significant inroads as a ROM medium in any flavour. It may even damage PS3, as if they had picked Betamax.

Re:I expect HD DVD will make inroads (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609726)

That's what will make the PS3 SHINE!

A BetaMax player.. for only $799 you can play ultra-cool-ass games on BETA!

Gotta go... no one steal my idea!

Talk about your mountains out of molehills (2, Insightful)

Talez (468021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609667)

Geez. It's not launching a whole new format. It's an evolution to an existing one. DVD and HD can happily co-exist. DVD will be phased out over the next 10 years just like VHS and pretty soon we'll all be buying HD movies simply because its the only thing out there. Anyone who doesn't want to buy them can keep using DVD but it will be like using a VHS now.

Get a fucking grip people.

Re:Talk about your mountains out of molehills (1)

cuantar (897695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609708)

I agree. If I understand things correctly, in order to get any sort of real benefit from either of the new HD media, one also requires a HDTV, and a Hollywood-friendly, DRM-infected one at that. I don't have one, and I hardly have money to feed my computer addiction, so I won't be making a purchase like that until they're either cheaper than normal TVs or all I can get. I'm also quite happy with my DVDs and have no desire to re-purchase them all.

I suspect many people will only buy into the HD-craze when prices match DVD or DVD starts to disappear. Hollywood can't stand to lose a dime of profit, so I doubt the latter will happen anytime soon while people are still willing to purchase them.

There is a simple reason why these won't succeed (1)

TwoTailedFox (894904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609673)

Mr and Mrs. John Q. Taxpayer know bugger-all about these new technologies. Expecting them to make an informed decision about using either of them is like expecting China to turn Capitalist.

Two formats, too much DRM and RCs kills anything (5, Informative)

Nice2Cats (557310) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609686)

There is no way in hell I am going to invest in a technology when there is a 50-50 chance that it will go the way of the Betamax. A brief and informal survey among my friends -- some of whom actually bought laserdisks and such -- shows the same thing. Also, the thing is so riddled with control mechanisms that I get the impression I would never really own a movie again: It seems that they could just decide to switch off my copy when everything they plan to do is finished and done. Oh, and then there is the region code thing again. That has to go before I will even consider it. In short, no way either way. Try listening to the customers and getting your act together next time, and we'll see.

480 lines ought to be enough for anybody (2, Insightful)

rifftide (679288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609712)

The format wars - hey, nice going guys - will ensure that sales get off to a slow start. But 2-3 years down the road, there will be action and science fiction movies with special effects that will knock people's socks off. And when that happens, many will want to own a copy, and they'll buy if the price of these players is right. It's a matter of when, not if.

0. DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609734)

Similar to DVD-Audio's lack of success

They're already screwing up. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15609735)

I was in Best Buy yesterday, and a couple techs were running a Blu-Ray player on a large projection TV. They were showing the sequel to some gothic/futuristic movie I'd never seen and don't rememebr the name of. I couldn't see any difference in picture quality though over DVD, and I'm a graphic artist. A customer there said "oh yeah it's much more detailed, you can see the gilm grain". Well yeah, I could see the film grain all right. It was like noise all over the screen. If the film is that low res that I can see the grain even at HDTV resolution, then how much better could the picture quality really be? When I scan a photo, if I can see the film grain, I've reached the limits of the resolution, and I've got the picture scaled too big. So if HDTV is showing the film grain, they need better cameras cause the picture could be much sharper than what I'm seeing with a proper camera.

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

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

Oh and another thing. Instead of being in slick black DVD cases like all the rest of the DVD's, the HD DVD's were in these blue cases I think. Or maybe that was the blu-ray discs and the HD ones were in white cases. I think they were slimline too. Anyway the packaging struck me as really cheap and flimsy looking, and the discs were $10 more than new release DVD's, and these were OLD titles! Haha! Hollywood thinks they can get people to pay $30 for a movie which is selling for $15 on DVD at Wal Mart because it's been out for 12 months? DREAM ON!

Marketplace brimming with hyperbole? (1)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609750)

...in a marketplace that is brimming with hyperbole.
Is that meant to be taken literally?

Reason 11 - no one cares (4, Insightful)

RatBastard (949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609755)

They forgot reason 11: No one gives a wet fart about high-def DVD. No one. A few videophiles and the usual "gotta have the next bestest toy" nerds love the idea of high-def DVD, but Joe Sixpack (and Sally Sobstory and just about everyone else) does not care at all.

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

This is technology without a need or a demand.

Re:Reason 11 - no one cares (1)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609761)


It isn't audiophiles that listen to their music sitting in that chair in the perfect location for all the speakers, etc.

It's their friends when they come over the visit. (and not by choice).

Really the audiophiles listen to 1970s transistor radios (you know, with the single hard plastic earplug).

ot ...but lovin it (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609813)

"It isn't audiophiles that listen to their music sitting in that chair in the perfect location for all the speakers, etc.

It's their friends when they come over the visit. (and not by choice)."

Doh, busted ;)

hehe, vintage pioneer quad system and that is soo true :)

Re:Reason 11 - no one cares (1)

Tamerz (702147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609791)

I'm sorry, could you repeat that? My leftish, center, right side, high speaker wasn't aimed correctly. I didn't hear you.

Audioholics? (1)

Dhar (19056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609781)

I don't have to listen! I can stop whenever I want!

-g.

wrong (3, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15609812)

7. People Want Technology thats 15 Minutes Ahead of Its Time

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

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

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